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ASTURCON

Symphonic Prog • Spain


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Asturcon biography
ASTURCON was a band based in the Asturias region of Spain, and was formed sometime in the second half of the 70's as the creative vehicle of composer and multi-instrumentalist Victor Carrizo, taking the band name from a race of local horses.

In 1980 Carizzo (drums, flute, bagpipe, vocals) hit the studio, accompanied by P. Solana (guitars), J. Carlos (keyboards) and J. Carlos Martinez (bass) to record their one and only album - the self-titled production "Asturcon", issued in 1981 on Diapason Labels.

Blending elements from local and celtic folk music with symphonic art rock was the stylistic expression pursued; according to the critics with a fair degree of success, in particular on the longer creations on this production.

The album was reissued on CD in 2004, and is relatively easily available these days as a result. The music has a Celtic folk sound embellished with a Spanish flavour. The sound is akin to MIKE OLDFIELD from his "QE2" period, and there are Latino guitars and bagpipes that create a very strong sense of place especially in a European sense.

UPDATED 2014 ---AtomicCrimsonRush (Scott Tuffnell)---

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3.72 | 23 ratings
Asturcón
1981

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ASTURCON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Asturcón by ASTURCON album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.72 | 23 ratings

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Asturcón
Asturcon Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Named after a traditional horserace in the land of Asturians, Asturcon was formed in the spring of 1978 in Gijon by singer, multi-instrumentalist and composer Victor Carrizo along with guitarist Paulino Solana.The group apparently had a different line-up during its early days, but the classic quartet was settled by 1980 with Jose Carlos Mingla on keyboards and Juan Carlos Martinez on bass.They recorded their only album in just three days during September 1980 at Toni Martinez Studios, former guitarist of the Psych Pop band Los Bravos, but it was only released in 1981 on the Diapason label, a branch of the Spanish Dial Discos.

The album opens with the stunning ''Mayu'', a 12-min. opus of Asturian Folk Rock, composed as a symphonic suite, with endless changes and some Fusion flavors during the interplays.This piece is performed mainly on electric piano, synthesizer and electric guitars, passing through emphatic rhythmic lines and solos, but also offering some more down-to-earth moments with a pronounced folky flavor.The presence of bagpipes and the flute interplays are beautiful and the track is built basically on instrumental themes with only some sporadic vocals around.''Xareu en la 214'' has its own charm, much folkier than the opening piece with the intense bagpipes and the jazzy taste on piano and guitars, while ''El Ventolin'' is a pretty nice example of furious Prog Fusion with twists and turns, highlighted by the guitar moves of Salino and some nice flute and keyboard parts.''El galope del Asturcon'' is closer to the opening style, featuring multiple thematic variations in a dramatic, semi-symphonic mood, albeit with a rather harder approach.It has an epic sound with atmospheric passages and harder moments with electric guitars in the forefront, while the poetic ending section with the melancholic vocals and the depressive guitar solo is extremely moving.''Anada pa lo mio aidina'' is a laid-back Folk Rock instrumental, showing the bagpipes returning next to the electric piano in a melodic trip into the land of Asturia.''La coralina'' is somewhat split between happy Latin Rock and Prog Fusion with pleasant vocals and grooves but also some dense interplays on guitars and flute.

As with many bands from the region, like Crack, Tren or Trasgu, Asturcon had a short life, disbanding in 1982.Several years later Juan Martinez would appear in the line-up of the Jazz Rock band Zem.

Very good album and unique in its own way, one of the extremely rare releases from Spain to combine full-blown Prog with a fair dose of bagpipes and flute.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

 Asturcón by ASTURCON album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.72 | 23 ratings

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Asturcón
Asturcon Symphonic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Asturcon from Spain is one of the most intresting bands that ever came from this country in early '80s in progressive rock movement. With only one album released selftitled in 1981 and taken the name from some race of horses from that region, Asturcon manage to capture my attention from first to last piece. Intresting are the combinations of folk passages with symphonic touches and some celtic prog arrangements, imagine bands like Crack, Triana or Azahar geting together with Mike Oldfield,and the result is Asturcon. The first track Mayu, the longest from the album has a clear symphonic prog orentation, minus the intro who has that celtic atmosphear with bagpipes and all ingredients for such music. Second tune Xareu En La 214 is really intresting, has an odd rythmic section, very nice in the end and enjoyble it sounds to me a lot with another spanish band Abedul, El ventolin is another worthy track but El Galope Del Asturcon is my fav from here. Excellent changes in tempo, nice moods from jazzy parts to folk with great keyboards and inventive arrangements. So, overall a very entertaing and consistent release that goes rather unnoticed in prog circles, for that period, this album, musicaly speaking keeps the flag high. 4 stars to me
 Asturcón by ASTURCON album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.72 | 23 ratings

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Asturcón
Asturcon Symphonic Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

4 stars There is a lot of hidden gems laying around in ProgArchives. Gems that knows how to challenge the listener. But some gems are also easy accessible. This album is somewhat inbetween difficult and easy.

I know next to nothing about this band. I know they are from Spain, a country which culturally is more like a union of regions than a country. Each region has their own identity, language and own culture. Spain is a very interesting country in that respect. When it comes to prog rock, that makes albums from Spain a real treat. Something I really appreciate.

Asturias is up in the north-west corner of Spain. A region which also is known for their bagpipes and vibrant folk music scene. The one album wonder band Asturcón is very much basing their ELP like symph prog on folk music. The result is a blend of folk and symph. Just like a good Spanish symph prog album, in other words.

The musicians does a great job. The male and female vocals is great and the sound is excellent too. So is the music which is in the pastoral vein with just enough bagpipes to make this album an unforgetable listen. It scores high in the originality stake and so does the rest of the music. A couple of killer tunes would had been great though. But this is such an interesting album that I would recommend it to everyone.

4 stars

 Asturcón by ASTURCON album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.72 | 23 ratings

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Asturcón
Asturcon Symphonic Prog

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

3 stars I was wondering for quite some time why this have so big average rating (4.82). I realized that it's because just one review and 2 ratings. I don't mind high ratings, I actually welcome them, because they're usually indicator of what's great and what's not. Usually, because sometimes, opinions differ.

You will like this, if (and this is condition) you can handle Symphonic music combined with very distinct folk element, bagpipes. I don't mind them in songs like Danny Boy, but here, it destroys whole experience I get from this album. It ruins large parts of first song, Mayu and second song, Xareu... should better be a joke, because if it's meant seriously, then I should probably kick the bucket.

Fortunately not, because after this "mistake", it returns to synth / guitar heaven that's the best thing about this album, little twists of originality, innovation and all these elements that makes it interesting. Pipes returns back in Añada Pa La Mio Aidina, but for good, as this sleepy rhythm (and slow paced bagpipes) are in harmony and helps to create the atmosphere. La Colarina is rather ballad with dominant flute. So

4(-), it's a great album, provided you're fan of bagpipes and symphonic music. I am fan of latter.

 Asturcón by ASTURCON album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.72 | 23 ratings

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Asturcón
Asturcon Symphonic Prog

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

5 stars Who knew that in 1981 in the Asturias area of Spain, there was a group that developed a Celtic prog style not unlike what Mike Oldfield was honing at that time, seemingly independently? Of course, Asturcon contains natural Latin influences less prevalent, but not entirely absent, in Oldfield's concurrent work QE2, but what sets it apart if the Galician feel if you will, and the fact that it seemed to be even more ahead of its time than Oldfield.

In fact this is a superb work of strength and beauty. The 12+ minute opener, "Mayu" is a great place to start, with its quiet beginning, use of Galician pipes, dramatic spoken voice, and great lead guitar, keyboards and flute interplay. The melodies are well thought out and bolstered by very active drums and bass. This is truly rock and folk blended together, neither overshadowing the other. It is not unlike what Asturian pipe player Hevia would create nearly 20 years later, but actually far more informed by progressive rock.

What sounds like electric keyboards combines with discoey guitar and those not very mellifluous pipes on "Xareu en la 214". Here I think about newer artists like Nahoo, Martyn Bennett and Afro Celt sound system who melded ancient rhythyms and melodies to technology in the last decade or so, but remember, this album is from 1981!

"El ventolin" is divided into a guitar solo with plenty of layers of keys and rhythym, not unlike Oldfield's early 80s work, and skirling flutes. It also features simple and sparse timely vocals, sometimes all at the same time. Another distinctive piece.

The almost title track "El galope del asturcon" again sounds like an organic yet technological marvel, with a number of shifts of mood and style, from jazzy to pastoral to psychedelic. The asturcon is a (wild, I believe) horse native to that area, and the group plays homage to it.

The deliberate "Anada pa la mio Aidina" is one of the most profound melodies on a disk with many. It's a short tune but a powerful one.

The track with the most Latin feel is the closer "La Coralina", and it is also the only one I would really call a song, as the lyrics are belted out in rapid fire, over an insistent flute riff. I cannot think of anyone to even compare this one too. In a way it sounds as eastern European as Spanish. Anyways, it really rocks, as does much of this debut and sole published work of Asturcon.

In the world of prog that we love, really not that much can be said to be truly unique. Given that I feel this way about Asturcon, and that it is a fantastic album in which every song is well above average, I really can only give it 5 stars. I urge you to discover it for yourself.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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