Agusa – Prima Materia (2023)

Agusa - Prima Materia (2023)
Artist: Agusa
Album: Prima Materia
Genre: Psychedelic Rock, Space Rock, Progressive Rock, Folk Rock
Label: Kommun2
Year Of Release: 2023
Quality: FLAC (tracks)

Tracklist:
1. Lust och fägring (Sommarvisan) (14:30)
2. Under bar himmel (10:19)
3. Ur askan (10:28)
4. Så ock på Jorden (7:17)

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Personnel:
– Mikael Ödesjö / guitar
– Roman Andrén / keyboards
– Jenny Puertas / flute, voice
– Simon Ström / bass
– Nicolas Difornis / drums, percussion, voice

Veteran Swedish instrumental progmatists release their fourth studio album since their 2014 debut.

1. “Lust och fägring (Sommarvisan)” (14:30) great opening motifs, conjuring up reminders of CAMEL, CARAVAN, KHAN, and even THE DOORS. Then we move into the blues-jazzier side of the band’s stylistic preferences with a VAN MORRISON/J TULL-sounding motif. When things speed back up I’m reminded more of CARAVAN or SANTANA. Then, at 8:25, we slide into a more contemplative groove–albeit one that is cruising along while the guitars and flutes up top mesmerize us. All the treble instruments build in collective volume to form a weave that coalesces with some BEATLES-like wordless background vocals singing beneath the CLAPTON-like guitar shredding. At 11:00 we turn left at the Y and start a steady race down the dirt road toward the river-side hippy commune, jamming some pop-jazzy Latin melodies along the way (especially on that sexy flute)–until we’ve arrived (or thought we had: the music fades as if we’ve descended into the woods out of view but then returns in a cool continuation and finish of the drive). Excellent, cheerful, very entertaining jam. (29/30)

2. “Under bar himmel” (10:19) a familiar Billie Joel melody (“New York State of Mind”) gives this CAMEL opening an oddly comforting Golden Gate Park Hippie feel–just another day playing and partying on the grass in the golden California sun. Int he fourth minute the speed shifts and we find ourselves fully engaged in a KHAN-CARAVAN romp through the park–probably on bikes. The soloing lead guitar makes me believe we’ve crossed the Bridge to the other side and are cruising on motorcycles on the country roads of the Marin County Headlands–perhaps on our way to Black Sands Beach. Definitely catching a vibe as we languish on the Beach, enjoying the lazy afternoon and hazy hallucinogen-enhanced campfire cookout. A nearly perfect day! (18.5/20)

3. “Ur askan” (10:28) opens with organ and full band in CAMEL-sounding weave. In the second minute an odd klezmerish motif takes over, trying to be rhythmed Latinly or maybe Reggae-ish. Not my favorite passage as I am not much of a fan of either klezmer or Reggae music. At 3:25 there is an odd syncopated bridge that takes us into a more Eastern European/Finnish motif (which is not far away from the previous klezmer/Reggae one). I like this motif much better. At 4:50 then we seem to be going in a heavier SANTANA direction, but then we suddenly go back to the klezmer/Reggae motif and then back to the Eastern European motif at the end of the sixth minute. A solid song–and well-composed–just not my favorite types of musical styles. At the seven-minute mark the music dies off and we’re left with a Gamelan-sounding echo-bass continueing the chord progression from the previous motifs while flutist Jenny Puertas sings in a somewhat-operatic voice (in Spanish) before the band returns with some PROCOL HARUM/CAMEL/KHAN instrumental sounds and soloing from the electric guitar and organ. (17.5/20)

4. “Så ock på Jorden” (7:17) acoustic guitar strumming (recorded from a microphone–which I love) is accompanied by whole band singing in wordless vocal weave with a little organ helping out. Then, at 1:05 a very bluesy, rudimentarily constructed PROCOL HARUM-like organ motif is launched. Flute eventually accompanies and mirrors the melody lines being played by the Hammond. As this motif develops its folk melody lines are eventually built-up with a very JETHRO TULL-like instrumental palette. The flute melodies that move forward in the fourth minute are, as are often the case on this album, quite Andy Latimer-like–even when the music turns more ALLMAN BROTHERS/JIMMY WEBB/ Midnight Cowboy-like in the fifth minute–a motif that continues with some variations pretty much to the song’s end. I like a lot of this song. (13.25/15)

A-/five stars; a minor masterpiece of instrumental retro-prog rock that has, based on the excellent song structures and whole-band performances on three of the four songs, suddenly become my favorite Agusa album. Highly recommended for all prog lovers!
Review by BrufordFreak, progarchives

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