Pi2 - Retorn

Year of Release: 2004
Label: Margen Records
Catalog Number: 0104
Format: CD
Total Time: 45:27:00

Although recorded between July and September '98, the early music from the Spanish band Pi2 only gets released just now. Finally released through the Spanish based Margen Records, home label of the specialized Spanish prog quarterly Margen Magazine, Retorn is in fact the first full CD from the Catalan based symphonic band. Although recorded in '98 and released as a demo it was never released commercially. An odd instrument within the band's Camel-like symphonic textures is the occasional inclusion of the clarinet, which to my personal taste I would love to see replaced by flute. With their second CD, Tomorrow's Another Day released in 2001, I notice that only keyboardplayer Pito Costa and drummer Lluis Ribalta remain, whereas on their second album they do have flute and piccolo. So maybe some critics who reviewed the band's demo mentioned the same remarks that made the band alter their line-up for future evolutions. In the lengthy "Nadal '98" there's a section that contains some electronic handclaps, so I wonder why they didn't use authentic handclaps, which would have augmented the Flamenco feel here. However "Nadal '98" most certainly has to be seen as the standout composition on this album as it truly contains a lot of magnificent moments, very laidback and melodic with the clarinet giving it a chamber music feel. The composition also contains a soothing part that would benefit from real strings.

"Galeta" highlights some tasty funky bass playing programmed by Costa whilst "Estiu" contains some Tony Banks references. Although a lot of attention goes towards the lush textures of the guitar, another important aspect within the concept of Pi2 is the ambient approach of keyboard player and bandleader Pito Costa. A nice example comes in the form of the rather short piece "Piano," which makes a nice contrast with the more melodic and rhythmic contents of the rest of the material. Running his own audiovisual music production company and having written in excess of 200 TV commercials, Pito Costa also produced Unoma's debut album and is heavily influenced by vintage progressive rock. Camel, Rick Wakeman, ELP, Genesis, Kaipa are one way or another contained in the original music of Pi2. Due to the inclusion of the clarinet, a song like "Diable" both flirts with fusion as well as ethnic atmospheres. No doubt a very impressive album from a band that hopefully will delight us with many more outstanding albums in the not too distant future!

Retorn (4:53) / Nadal :98 (13:29) / Galeta (4:36) / Estiu (7:00) / Piano (2:01) / Diable (6:24) / Retorn 2 (6:55)

Albert Lleal - vocals Lluis Casals - guitars Lluis Ribalta - drums Pito Costa - keyboards Oriol Camprodon - clarinet, soprano saxophone

Retorn (rec. 1998/rel. 2004)
Tomorrow's Another Day (Dema Sera Un Altre Dia) (2000)

Genre: Symphonic Prog

Origin ES

Added: June 7th 2004
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website: www.pi-2.com
Hits: 813
Language: english


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