Blanco Project, The - Nightfall

Year of Release: 2005
Label: n/a
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 48:32:00

Well I've never done this before, but in this case it's entirely appropriate:

When we get CDs to review we usually get a press-kit - a descriptive, marketing oriented write-up of the CD, along with some basic background information. The facts provided are always useful and the blurbs may give us a few ideas, but good reviewers never quote the press sheet. Nightfall arrived with a letter from Orlando Blanco that describes his music and background so concisely I'm going to quote from it liberally - and add a few comments of my own:

Nightfall is the Blanco Project's (i.e. Orlando's) debut CD, but the man is no stranger to music. He has a background in classical music, having majored in music composition, and has participated in projects ranging from classical, orchestral, string ensembles, percussion, a film soundtrack, and arrangements for other artists. At the same time, though, he's always been involved in rock, and admits to having a "lifelong obsession with the guitar."

In varying degrees these influences are all present in Nightfall, on which Blanco plays all instruments and programs the percussion. The guitar assumes the lead role in all 7 of the songs, although there's a satisfying interplay between guitar and keyboards - as Orlando describes it, "sort of like a violin concerto with variations." The guitar work is emotional and masterful and more in the vein of a Steve Hackett or an Andy Latimer, than - say - a Vai or a Satriani.

Blanco intended this CD to be an instrumental progressive rock guitar piece, but others have described it as a new age / rock instrumental piece. I would put a different spin on it, and describe it as melodic, symphonic with occasional fusion overtones. And yes, it's definitely progressive and with its clear classical references it evokes memories of the Par Lindh project. Opening track "The Crystal Tower" is a standout in that regard. I know the tracks ought to be played in the sequence the artist presents them, but setting the CD player up to play "Nightfall (Part 1)" and "Nightfall (Part 2)" back to back yielded an interesting 14-minute epic - and I swear, there are a few bars lifted directly from Hackett. "A Cold Sun" opens with a pleasing, softly emotional guitar piece that that recalls Camel. The tracks run between 6 and 9 minutes which gives them time to develop, and they progress through well composed structures that introduce constant changes yet retain cohesion throughout.

The percussion is very obviously programmed and in some passages the bass line is almost mechanical, but those don't detract from an all-round rewarding listen that will have particularly strong appeal to open-minded prog fans with an appreciation of classical music.

There - I used many of Orlando's words, but couched them in my own terms and still described the music in my own way!

The Crystal Tower (7:11) / Zig-Zag (6:42) / Nightfall (Part 1) (5:46) / The Big Dream (7:32) / Too Low (6:13) / A Cold Sun (6:42) / Nightfall (Part 2) (8:26)

Orlando Blanco

Nightfall (2005)

Genre: Rock

Origin CR

Added: June 20th 2005
Reviewer: Duncan N Glenday
Artist website:
Hits: 1209
Language: english


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