Review: Erik Neuteboom
The musical brainchild is Robert Santamaria who played in Venezuolan symphonic prog band Tapobran but later moved to Spain,founded Amarok in 1990 and released the debut album Els Nostres Petits Amics in 1994, followed
by a serie of albums until 2007. Then Amarok disbanded but re-united in 2015, with the album Hayat Yolunda, six years later followed by this new effort entitled El Ojo Del Mundo. Robert Santamaria is still the main composer, writer and he plays an impressive
range of instruments, from keyboards, accordion and Turkish saz to Iranian santur, dulcimer, xylophone and glockenspiel, this is the second coming of Mike Oldfield on Tubular Bells! I am familiar with some albums, and appriciate the strong ethnic twist in
The inspiration for this new album came from the music from the Balkans, and
from Greece to Anatolia (Turkey). Listening to El Ojo Del Mundo I am carried away to wonderful ethnic music, embellished with a wide range of instruments and topped with very passionate native vocals, what a voice from Marta Segura. She colours the music
very strongly with her contributions, especially in Sota La Pluja (sultry violin and hypnotizing percussion), Cançó D'Amor (dreamy atmosphere, sparkling flute, and fascinating sound of the kanun, a Middle Eastern harp) and Luna Y Sal (flashy
synthesizer soli, mellow flute, and a tight percussion).
The long composition Saraswati is a 3-part suite, based upon Hindu symbolism. It contains a slow rhythm, strong
female vocals, blended with flute and violin the interplay is sparkling. In the second part an atmospheric interlude with didgeridoo and percussion, then violin joins, captivating ethnic prog. El Vals De Las Libélulas is a short piece featuring
omnipresent flute, along the kanun.
The epic track on this album is La Sexta Extinción (close to 18 minutes), it delivers lots of changing atmospheres, fine work on flute
traverse, hypnotizing percussion, and in the second part soaring keyboards, a catchy beat and atmospheric parts, pretty adventurous prog folk. The song Gibra'ara 2021 features wonderful dreamy vocals, in a slow rhythm, gradually the vocals turn into more emotional,
embellished with flute and violin. Finally the titletrack El Ojo del Mundo (close to 12 minutes), the most obvious blend of Old School prog and folk. It starts mellow with flute, then a slow rhythm that contains the distinctive Hammond organ, and a tight beat.
Then swinging bass runs, flute, synthesizer, and a jazzy trumpet, what a varied eclectic sound.
If you are up to a captivating blend of prog and ethnic, with the emphasis on the latter, this is an interesting album to discover.