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Cancellations Our Admin team and warehouses are in different locations. We receive thousands of messages a week, sometimes we cannot get to all messages quickly. Also please ensure you include a reason for the cancellation so they can quickly be considered and actioned. So, this is, to date, the ultimate in Carmen albums. Barring "Tales of Spain," there's not a bad song on here.
In fact, if it weren't for that there are only two-and-a-half songs on the album, I'd rate the living crap out of it. Which is a good thing, by the way. If you're only going to buy one album by Carmen, which, in a perverse way, is both possible and impossible, this is the one. I can hardly think of a better repetitive, but almost never awful, downbeat heavy progressive folk album. And yes, that includes Songs from the Wood. It wasn't that dark, after all. Naturally, I litterally devoured the album and enjoyed almost every minute of the record.
Ok, not all the tracks are a masterwok, but the whole thing is very near to that. The music is not folk in the usual sense, mixing a convincing peculiar way of glam rock it reminds me a fusion between Queen and Jethro Tull with flamenco rythms and flavours. As many of you already know, Spain is not their homeland and so the result has that unespectable touch that is often what progheads are searching for. Mellotron and synths played by prog rock beauty Angela Allen is the icing on the cake. The whole record is excellently played and involving, from start to finish.
The opener "Bulerias" 5,23 mns , the energetic "Bullfight" 4,17 mns , the flamenco-spacey "Stepping Alone" 2,52 mns and the whimsical "Sailor Song" 5,12 mns are a real "tour de force". You cannot avoid to fall in love with them! But it's not the end. Running time is enough to provide some other highlights: the nice ballad "Lonely House" 4,06 mns , the long somehow a little bit pretentious "Tales of Spain" 8,58 mns and the exciting "Fandangos in Space" 6,36 mns , deliver more extended and proggy parts with some references to the main theme of the opener.
All in all, a classic and superb record, matched by the follow up which is, in my opinion, even better. Most of the albums I have reviewed since I joined Prog Archives have been albums that I have had for a long time.
This album, however, is a relatively recent find for me and do I need to add that I never would have heard of it if it wasn't for Prog Archives? I have now been listening to this album quite a lot for about six months and it is now safe to say that this is a masterpiece of progressive music. This is truly unique and brilliant music! It is quite different and I must admit that I wasn't fully convinced on the first couple of listens.
But there was something that made me come back and hear it again and again. And now I cannot listen to the first track without listening to the whole album. It's strongly addictive! The music can be described as progressive Hard Rock with many influences from Flamenco music and very strong melodies! This album is filled with good musical ideas, great harmony vocals often reminding of Queen , a perfect mix of acoustic and electric guitars with occasional synthesizers and a discrete Mellotron in the background.
Several songs also have those typical Flamenco hand claps and Spanish castanets. Unique and brilliant! All the instruments are very well played and the guitars, bass and drums are all elaborated and compete with each other for attention.
It is never the case that there is just a simple rhythm section over which a leading instrument can carry the music forward. All instruments carry the music forward all the time, which makes for a loaded and constantly interesting sound. The music is totally restless! This might be a bit tiresome for an untrained ear, but after just a couple of listens new layers reveal themselves.
The bass guitar is played by Jethro Tull member John Glascock. And there are a few similarities with Jethro Tull's music. What I like most about Fandangos In Space is that there is an enormous sense of urgency in the whole album and not one second is wasted on filler and there are absolutely no weak moments.
Every musical idea is exploited only to its full potential and then they immediately move on to the next one - they have so many! Some musical themes are featured in several tracks, making the whole greater than the sum of the parts. The whole album is really one long piece of excellent music where every track flows perfectly into the next one. If I must choose a favourite moment I would pick Looking Outside My Window, which repeats the Bulerias theme but soon transforming into something brand new.
Then a couple of minutes into Looking Outside My Window, there is again an acoustic part which could be Poor Tarantos part 2. This is a brilliant arrangement! The Bulerias theme returns again in the title track. And the Retirando theme also appears in more than one track towards the end. The lyrics are predominantly in English but some lyrics are in Spanish. But it really doesn't matter where they come from or where they are going into space? The album features predominantly male vocals, but occasional female vocals are heard as well.
In Looking Outside My Window the female vocals remind slightly of Babe Ruth who also had some Hispanic influences in their music, but Carmen is extremely much better.
Naming any favourite tracks from the album would be futile since I would end up listing all of them! This is a very consistent album that is great from start to finish. It closes with a beautiful acoustic outro. The one listed above is only 37 minutes and 51 seconds!
I haven't heard the short version, but I strongly suggest you get the long version in the 2CD set. Fandangos In Space is a masterpiece of progressive rock and extremely recommended! Part of my relative enjoyment of Carmen may stem from my inability to understand the over the top kitsch of their material, or even divine a guess as to their level of "seriousness". This allows me to revel in the pan-cultural "Bulerias" and "Bullfight", as well as the compact "Stepping Stone" which gets full marks for inventiveness in a short time frame, while the Flamenco prowess of David Allen in "Por Torrantos" is another highlight.
But repetitiveness of lyrical material can be problematic if the song is not particularly memorable, which is the case in "Sailor Song" and "Lonely House", even if the wordless vocal section of the latter is appealing. But "Retirando" is a better example of this technique and throws in a mellotronic massage for good measure. Still, any formula used will generally be overused at some point, which is the case here and there throughout this disk, and keeps me from considering "Fandangos in Space" to be an essential release at large, although people with a penchant for the flamenco mixed with hard rock and a sprinkling of psych may well turn cartwheels cross the floor over it.
One thing is pleasant here and in fact, on every record , songs differ greatly. When somebody said that Not of This World by Pendragon songs sounds very similar, I agree but don't see it as a mistake. Well, this is opposite situation. Some of the lyrics are in Spanish, and they talk way too much about Spain. I love Spain as much as the next person, but there is more to life than just Spain.
Begins with singing in Spanish, then English. Some good flamenco rock. In the middle the song changes and a guitar solo. Then footwork and celebratory voices. Acoustic part near the end before it goes back to the main theme.
Then a synth solo with percussion. After a different section. Ends with a vocal dominated part. Features "do do do" type vocals. I like the synths in this song. Starts off with the main theme from "Bulerias" briefly, then changes to a part with mostly Angela singing. Some vocals in Spanish before an acoustic guitar section. More acoustic guitar and harmony vocals. After the bass solos for a bit. Music stops then a nice harmony vocal section; I like the part that goes "good it is to feel the sun".
Then some Mellotron and vibraphone. Some "badadada" vocals. Ends as a folk-rock song. The title track starts off sounding like Gentle Giant before it goes into a flamenco rock part. The two parts alternate. I like the guitar playing in the Gentle Giant-ish instrumental middle section. Later on some great footwork and piano briefly. Tienen Jaca Tan Toera. Acariciando Tu Pelo. Mira Que Mira. Un Trono en el Cielo. Campesinos de Mi Pueblo. Grandes Metales.
Maria La Canastera. Tanguillo Ecijano. Paquito Vargas. El Infierno. Maruja Garrido. Aquellos Duros Antiguos. Hermanas Romero. Las Paquiras. Morena de Verde Luna. Los 4 Barmans. Te Vengo a Ver. Adelfa Soto y Pepe Soto. Tangos del Moreno.
Por Fiesta en Cabra. Que Noche. Antonio Arenas. Jose Luis Campoy. Plaza de Soberania. Adelfa Soto. Por los Cuatro Costados. El Peque Sevillano. Romance de la Luna Luna.
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