[Review] Angel Ontalva & Vespero – Sada

Angel Ontalva is a Spanish guitarist, known for being a member of October Equus, who at the same time continued his solo career which sees him collaborating over the years with due artists. The first solo was released in 2012 and since then 10 albums have been released, the last “Sada” recorded in collaboration with the Vespero, a Russian band that like Ontalva has emerged at the highest levels in recent years. Released on February 1, 2020 for OctoberXart Records and available on CD and Digital, it confirms the good things heard in previous productions. The sound is mature, with elaborate structures, full of ideas and positive ideas, proposing a sound mixture between Progressive, Jazz Rock and Fusion veins. The opener “Uwasa No Onna” begins with a melancholic hypnotic effect guitar arpeggio, to which the other instruments are soon added, immediately immersing ourselves in the atmosphere that we will hear in the rest of the record. The rhythm session is intricate, with a drum with complex and accelerated structures, solid and deep bass lines with layers of keyboards that create the right sound carpet on which Ontalva‘s guitar is enhanced. Guitar that is the master of sound, with long solo sections interspersed with openings halfway between the Jazz Prog and the spatial sounds given above all by the keyboards, always precise in supporting the soloist. “Theme For Sada” is the track that inspired the title of the album, characterized by the presence of the violin that adds quality and allows for different sound evolutions. The bass is hypnotic like the softer and more percussive drum than the previous one, with the guitar dueling in melodies with the violin, before a change that elaborates and distorts the structure of the piece. Time accelerates and the sound returns to the terrain of Jazz/Fusion, with Angel’s guitar leading the group in winding sound paths rich in technique, at times virtuous but never ending in themselves, creating a good mix of all instruments always well linked to each other. “Her Eyes Sparkled In A Strange Way” begins with atmospheric keyboards and violin cues, with a repeated effect guitar, while the drum draws here a soft and more linear Jazzy rhythm in the first part. The guitar is enriched and developed in a rather elaborate way, this time acoustic with melancholy melodies, while the intensity increases with the passing of the minutes. With the intensity, the complexity of the rhythmic session also increases, with guitar and violin that intertwine creating retro-flavored phrases, pleasant and well-executed that lead us to the finale, where the song closes with an acoustic guitar cue. With heavy electric guitar riffs, “Day Of Truth” kicks off, which after a brief intro that hinted at a more Rocking development, with a change we return to the sound terrain of the album. The atmospheres are dark, for a song that makes sudden tempo changes its winning weapon, passing from Jazzy moments to other Fusion moments, seasoned with a dose of experimentation and a frenetic and very intricate rhythmic session. The guitar and the violin alternate in solos, and the bass offers a superlative test by creating killer lines, a good song, perhaps the most experimental of the whole album, showing another facet of their sound. “A Sense Of Clarity” begins with a carpet of keyboards and a soft guitar arpeggio, the rhythm session is constantly evolving. The central part, with unpredictable developments and sudden changes, is made up of violin and guitar that dialogue perfectly as we have become accustomed to in the previous songs. The second part is one of the most intricate and complex sections of the whole work, with frantic acceleration and soft openings that dampen the tones, offering a technically very high level proof. Concludes the album “Futari Kiri” which is the longest track on the album, which begins slowly and then acquires intensity as the song develops, which also becomes more and more elaborate. The violin guides the sound in the first part, with the electric guitar that is inserted and guides us in a central section where a long solo enhances Ontalva’s technique. In the second part the intensity decreases, while still remaining a very elaborate piece, to lead us to the closing, alternating more frenetic moments with softer openings. A collaboration between technically very valid artists, which produces a quality album, where despite the long solos, there is no virtuosity as an end in itself but rather a combination of instruments that highlights the performance of the singles. Ontalva‘s guitar is certainly the main instrument, with the violin carving out an important space for itself by dueling with it and intertwining in melodies and solos. The rhythmic session is constantly changing and evolving, in fact the structures are full of tempo changes often with frenetic, intricate and complex rhythms but functional to the proposed music. The bass always offers well-developed and elaborate lines, which are load-bearing, while the keyboards create layers that alternate Jazzy and Fusion melodies with atmospheric carpets that bind perfectly setting the basis for the violin and guitar solos. Overall, a successful album, with good level compositions, with all the musicians involved who dialogue perfectly, creating an excellent understanding and valuable sound patterns. A listening recommended for all lovers of the more Jazzy sounds of Prog, which at times cross over into Fusion, entirely instrumental with long solos, especially guitar, another valuable chapter in the discography of these artists.

Tracklist

1. Uwasa no Onna (7:20)
2. Theme for Sada (6:24)
3. Her Eyes Sparkled in a Strange Way (6:54)
4. Day of Truth (6:27)
5. A Sense of Clarity (8:26)
6. Futari Kiri (9:59)

Lineup

Ángel Ontalva / Guitar
Alexander Kuzovlev / Guitar
Vitaly Borodin / Violin, Piano
Alexey Klabukov / Keyboards, Synths
Arkady Fedotov / Bass, Synth, Noises
Ivan Fedotov / Drums

Angel Ontalva |Official Website|Bandcamp|Facebook Page|Twitter|Instagram|Spotify|YouTube Channel|

Vespero |Bandcamp|Facebook Page|Twitter|Instagram|Spotify|YouTube Channel|

Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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