Sjef Oellers 23-March-2001 Sol Central

I was most surprised to discover that Sol Central has been one of the best albums to come out of Mexico that I have heard so far. The album is basically made by a duo: female vocalist Margarita Botello and keyboard wizard Jose Luis Fernandez Ledesma Q. Both play a variety of other instruments and a few guest musicians contribute as well. So in contrast to what one might expect, Sol Central has a complex and dense, multi-layered sound. The title track is a 35 minute suite divided in 8 parts. In the beginning there is a short passage of energetic symphonic blitz that sounds like a cross between the Japanese bands Ars Nova and Ruins (on Symphonica). However, the rest of the title track sounds similar to Thinking Plague, the Science Group or Art Bears. Remarkable are the multi-layerd vocal arrangements and the successful combination of acoustic instruments (oboe, saxophone, trumpet) and a wide array of electronic equipment. The other track, "Pueblos Perdidos", is a beautiful mix of electronic music, enigmatic vocals and a dreamy trumpet solo. An inventive and surprising album. Essential listening for RIO heads.

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