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Engel (Miguel Angel de la Llave Jimenez) - Engel CD (album) cover

ENGEL

Engel (Miguel Angel de la Llave Jimenez)

 

Prog Folk

3.09 | 3 ratings

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kenethlevine
Special Collaborator
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars MIKE OLDFIELD's interest in Celtic music reached a head in the early 80s with the albums "QE2" and "Five Miles Out", with echoes to the subsequent "Crises" and "Discovery". While one could argue that he came by this second hand, this phase of his career also inspired a legion of Eurasian followers, such as COLIN MASSON, ASTURIAS, BJORN JOHANNSEN, and the multi-instrumentalist multi-monikered MIGUEL ANGEL DE LA LLAVE JIMENEZ, ENGEL for convenience.

It wasn't just his approach to Celtic styles blended with symphonic progressive rock that was admired and implemented, but, to make the comparisons stick, the pairing of his instrumental prowess with lovely female vocalists. Mike employed MAGGIE REILLY for 4 albums - Engel seems to have benefitted on this largely instrumental album from a few choice appearances by an uncredited singer. This is particularly so on the opener "Yo", which, in spite of its name, is sung in English and is a ringer for Oldfield's "Moonlight Shadow". But the music stands well on its own, and one need look no further than track two, "La Princesa De Las Ranas", where even the timbre of the lead guitar matches that of his idol. Perhaps the most beautiful track of all is the next "Un Dia Diablado", where the singer returns to accompany and highlight a divine melody that sweeps every melancholic emotion out of every cobwebbed corner. A male singer is featured on another lively piece "Una Imagen Para El Diablo" and he acquits himself well. Perhaps it is MIguel himself. Some of his guitar work here seems to owe a certain debt to John Lees of BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST.

Engel is a modest chap, dedicating almost every track to somebody or other, among them his friends, his mother (twice), Juan, and Mercedes. In general this music doesn't rock a whole lot, which sabotages nonetheless valid comparisons to SEVEN REIZH among others, but its main flaw is that some of the later pieces are simply pretty and don't stand out much more than your typical Celtic tune. It's all about the arrangements and the melodic development, and they are somewhat undistinguished a bit too often.

Nitpicks notwithstanding, the biggest disappointment is how this Musea release has yet to beget another, 10 years on. "Engel" proves that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the el diablo that you know. 3.5 stars.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |

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