Prologue. This is my first acquaintance with Argentine's Progressive Rock movement (with one of its representatives, to be precise). Before, I haven't heard any band that came out from this country.
The Album. Although Jacinto Corral's "Elydian" is the all-instrumental album, it is, nevertheless, an epic work of a unified thematic concept. The accompanying text represents a story of a man named Dullbeck, whose heroic life was devoted to fight for freedom of his homeland Elydian (VIII century, A. D.). On the whole, the stylistics of music that is featured on "Elydian" is nothing else but a blend of Classic Symphonic Art-Rock and Classical Academic Music. However, only the first five Acts of the album completely conform to this definition. The alternation of bombastic arrangements, performed with the use of Rock instruments, and purely symphonic structures is typical for all of them. Though Act I isn't that rich in sounds of string and chamber instruments, unlike all of the other Acts. It must be said that all the solos and passages of string, chamber, and brass instruments, that Corral masterfully elicits from his synthesizers (including a string ensemble), sound very realistic. Acts VI, VIII, & X are the works of a real Classical Academic Music. Performed without percussion instruments (except for orchestral dulcimers & kettle-drums), they're just filled with a wide variety of diverse and, often, contrasting interplay between solos of viola, oboe, harp, clavier, various cellos and brass, and passages of piano and acoustic or classical guitar. The solos of electric and bass guitars were very skillfully interwoven with the symphonic structures that predominate throughout each of the said three compositions. In a full concordance with the laws of Academic Music, all the arrangements that are present on them develop constantly. Despite the fact that Act XI features only diverse interplay between passages of acoustic guitar, viola, and string ensemble, it is a brilliant piece of a true Classical Academic Music, as well as all three of the aforementioned compositions. The music that is featured on both of the last tracks on the album (Acts XII & XIII) represents a real Classic Symphonic Art-Rock that, however, was composed and performed by the laws of Classical Academic Music. Of course, there aren't repeats on these pieces as well, while the parts of Rock, chamber, and string instruments are intermixed among themselves very effectively. In my view, all those Acts that, one way or another, present Classical Academic Music are the best compositions on the album. These are Acts VI, VIII, X, XI, XII, & XIII. Of course, Acts I to V are also in many ways remarkable works. Both of the remaining tracks, Acts VII & IX are slightly more accessible than all the other pieces that are present on the album. Art-Rock with the elements of light Classical Music would probably be the best definition of the contents of these two pieces. By the way, the short and different versions of the main theme of Act I appear on Acts 7 & 13.
Summary. "Elydian" by Hyacintus is not only a masterpiece, but also one of the most original albums that I've heard since the beginning of the new millennium. I am familiar with the creation of several Brazilian, Peruvian, Chilean, and Venezuelan bands and performers. However, it turned out to be that the first album of Argentinean Progressive, that I've just became acquainted with, surpasses any of the other albums by the South American performers that I've heard until now (honest). Although many of the tracks that are present on "Elydian" contain a highly complex music, I am sure that most of the true connoisseurs of Classic Symphonic Progressive should fall in love with this album.
VM. May 22, 2002
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