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José Luis Fernández Ledesma - José Luis Fernández Ledesma & Margarita Botello: Sol Central CD (album) cover


José Luis Fernández Ledesma



4.53 | 24 ratings

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5 stars And this Mexican musician never ceases to impress me!

For those who don't know, José Luis Fernández Ledesma is an iconic and incredibly talented musician from Mexico, who has worked in several projects such as Nirgal Vallis or Saena, and with the help of his unconditional partner Margarita Botello, he has released a vast amount of "solo" albums, in which we can appreciate his compositional skills, and a richness of sounds. Back in 2000 he released "Sol Central" which has been by several people named as his masterpiece. It is an album that comprises two compositions, though the first one can be divided in seven parts.

So that first track would be "Sol Central", a complete 36-minute song, but since it is divided and each piece has its name, I will review them one by one. "Datura Inoxia" starts with a soft atmosphere and the beautiful voice of Botello, but seconds later it explodes all of a sudden creating a surprising and chaotic atmosphere. Since this first piece, we will notice that the album is full of changes, colors, textures, nuances, sounds, everything, it is vast and rich music. Returning to the piece, I love the keyboards and how they put a specific mood; worth mentioning the guitars and other arrangements, because this is first class music, written and performed very intelligently.

"Amnesia" has a totally RIO sound, the female vocals of Botello and the prominent oboe may remind you to Art Bears or Henry Cow. This is the shortest piece, but one can find a wonderful package of musical and visual elements here, you have only to close your eyes and let the music do the rest. The vocal game here is actually wonderful. "El Avatar" is one of my favorite passages here. I love its first seconds with that tense atmosphere; the keyboards and piano play here a leading role, because they mark the rhythm and create the ambient and sensations. A thing I like a lot from Ledesma's album, is that intercalation of pure instrumental passages, with the parts where Botello's voice appear, all are well- crafted and performed.

"Por los cuatro costados" is a beautiful, relaxing and atmospheric passage in which we will listen to the environment, accompanied by a soft oboe and some distant percussion. Three minutes of tranquility. "La gran feria" offers the opposite, in spite of its first five seconds, then the song becomes a bit crazy with some drum loops and some peculiar voices. To be honest this part really makes me nervous. Though I truly enjoy the contrast between passages, this may be my least favorite of the whole album, though it is cool how it represents some of the Mexican folklore.

"Ciencias Celestes" is the longest part of "Sol Central". I like how it is gradually progressing, adding new elements little by little. The guitar here is crucial, so I invite you to put attention to its development through this track. After four minutes there is a noticeable change, where it slows down a little bit, repetitive bass lines appear, and a inclusion of a trumpet can be heard, giving it new nuances and producing different images. Then you let the music take you to its realm, and you will feel calm, easy, and grateful.

The final part of the long epic is "La de los acertijos" , in which we will once again find a richness of elements, some of them creating a folkloric sound that may have a taste of Mexico. This is a weird track, the vocals actually sound pretty strange, but it perfectly complements the music, the structure and what this hearing experience offers.

The second (strictly talking) and final track is "Pueblos Perdidos", which is an exuberant nine-minute track. It retakes the trumpets used from the previous tracks, and it really works as an attraction, I feel captivated by its sound, while the atmospheric synthesizer puts its background. Later Botello's voice join and shine once again, all together create this beautiful and extraordinary final track.

What a great album, though I have to admit my favorite is still Designios, Sol Central can easily be adored by any progressive rock fan. My final grade is 4.5, but I will round it to five.

Enjoy it!

memowakeman | 5/5 |


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