Recently from Barcelona, Spain, members of the jazz/rock improv group Planeta Imaginario discussed their new recording Optical Delusions (Cuneiform Records, 2011) and the group's history. Keyboardist and group leader Marc Capel, who speaks Catalan, shared his thoughts through drummer and chief translator Vasco Trilla. Fretless bassist Dimitris Bikos also sat in for the interview. The various influences that can be heard in the music of Planeta Imaginario range from classic progressive rock groups such as Soft Machine, Caravan, and King Crimson to Frank Zappa, Miles Davis and Mahavishnu Orchestra. As revealed in this interview, the rich culture ...read more
The term progressive," when used to describe jazz fusion/rock, suggests a constant forward movement in the music. On Optical Delusions, Planeta Imaginario's third release (and the group's second for international distribution outside of their homeland of Spain), there is a shift towards a sort of larger jazz group sound. The Barcelona-based group delivers thirteen intricate compositions and themes that reckon their Canterbury-flavored music with an overall Gil Evans-type vibe. The omission of guitar on this release contrasts with PI's last CD, Biomasa (Cuneiform, 2008). Keyboardist/leader Marc Capel asserts his tone from the onset of the first song, ...read more
Jazz-Rock fusion has become old hat in the four decades of its existence, but this Spanish octet is aware enough of that to produce music that's not only deftly executed but also leavened with a lightness of touch and heart which keeps it from being the usual turgid stuff. It's good that they haven't let themselves be influenced, too. There's little here in the way of sterile virtuosic flights, but on the other hand the structures of the music are unrestrictive enough to allow breathing space. That said, the use of vocals (un-credited) , particularly on the lengthy title track, ...read more
Further evidence of the multifarious stylistic cross-pollination allowing artists to find a distinct voice largely defined by how it emphasizes each of its many references, Planeta Imaginario's Biomasa is a fusion feast in the broadest possible terms. Combining elements of Spanish fusion a la Chick Corea with African grooves, Canterbury whimsy (Gilgamesh, In Cahoots), knotty Zappa-esque arrangements, slight tastes of classical impressionism, Allman Brothers-style guitar jams and even a hint of Gong and Magma- like psychedelic absurdity, it's the group's second release following Que Me Dices? (Margen, 2004), but the first to receive international distribution. A seriously fine group of ...read more
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