20​.​000 Leguas de Viaje Psicoactivo

by Mater Dronic

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about

Psychedelic Prog and acid folk masterpiece

"Never judge a book by its cover. Well it seems the same maxim could apply to album covers, too. Would this be ambient/dance/space rock maybe? Erm, not exactly, it is in fact a double CD of impressive scope and execution and featuring the jaw dropping axe skills of one Jose Carlos Sisto and limited to 300 copies. It owes a huge debt to classic rock shot through with melody and subtlety, which isn’t to say there isn’t an abundance of molten fretwork – far from it. Aw, let’s get on with it...

Tasteful if overly long acoustic opener “Alma, Espacio Y Tiempo” with its bright guitar, lush strings and distinctly pastoral atmosphere, is largely atypical of what follows on the first disc of approaching 80 minutes. There is enough fret melting to spoil even the greediest fans of guitar rock and there’s fun aplenty to be had in spotting myriad influences and reference points. “Cometas Brillantes” for instance begins life with a choppy King Crimson (Belew-era) intro before building into a rawkish dust blower, while “A Camara Lenta” takes its lead from a chugging bump and grind riff with an edgily atmospheric Farfisa playing over the top. In the midst of it all there are some nicely crafted tunes as well (“Hipnoguinol” and the rockier but melodic “Electroadagio”, one of my favourites here) and even within some of the more in-your-face-compositions there are moments of tasteful restraint. However what will most likely attract attention are the wig-outs, such as “Circulos Zen” (which takes me back to my formative (musical) years in the early 1970s without actually sounding corny, derivative or particularly dated), “Cosmographias” which is one of the most psychedelic offerings without sacrificing any of Sisto’s cut-the-crap raw guitar energy and “Versos Magicos” which has a hint of some of those multiple guitar army Southern Rock bands of yore as well as something much, much meaner. Even here though, Sisco knows how to chuck in a more ear-friendly mid-section.

And that, my friends, is disc 1. Another protracted even gentler (and rather gorgeous) opener, “A Traves Del Sol”, prefaces the second slab and continues in a similarly dreamy and rather languid vein on “Muy Suavements”. It’s at this point the penny begins to drop. This is definitely a game of two halves. If disc 1 was the primal and unashamed homage to 70s rock then this is Sisco etc (largely) unplugged. “Cancion Del Alacran”, “Conjuro Electrico”, “Sutra Diamante” provide a delicious main course the latter in particular showcasing Sisco’s dextrousness on the old lacquered plank and thoughtful, light-psych arrangements. More curious still is “Shakti’s Delirium” with its eastern percussion and raga phrasings, while “Lunas Del Sur” is a delightful sliver of ambient electronica with more eastern steeped guitar (imagine an outtake from Gong’s “You” sessions) only slightly let down by some interspersed crescendos although the final quarter of this 10-minute plus cut is more reminiscent of disc 1 and pretty uplifting.

So there we have it, plenty to marvel at over the course of two CD albums (and we can expect a triple vinyl package) during which the quality undulates remarkably little. It’s an enjoyable voyage of discovery tempered by the fact that my Spanish is so poor that I am unable to comment on the lyrical quality of 2000 Leguas which I am sure is every bit as intriguing as so much of its musical content. To recap though, it’s a limited edition, I’m late with the review, so head to Shiny Beast/Clear Spot in the event that you wish to explore further."

(Ian Fraser) TERRASCOPE UK

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released February 28, 2012

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Mater Dronic Jerez, Spain

Mater Dronic, is an Acid rock /Psychedelic band created by José Carlos Sisto.

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