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9 Jun 2017

Los Natas “Toba Trance II” 2004 Argentina Psych Stoner Rock













Los Natas “Toba Trance II” 2004 Argentina Psych Stoner Rock
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This long and winding album induces a trance in the listener. Toba Trance is an unpredictable journey filled with lush, dawdling soundscapes surrounded on all sides by arrays of gradual rock crescendos. It is actually comprised of 2 separate albums. I, released in 2003 and II, released in 2004. Half of the 8 tracks are over 15 minutes in length. Los Natas superbly craft these long songs in ways that keeps them engaging. Whether it’s through extensive percussive variation, (drum kit, tabla, shakers & various native south American instruments) or the ethereal, mind-bending jams between the guitars and bass, the songs rarely tire and feel ‘born of themselves’.

In listening to this you will find your mind wandering from the music, as one does (especially when listening to songs over 15 minutes). Even so, upon your minds return the music feels natural from where you left off. On a couple of occasions this album does drag a bit, as seen in the sizeable ambient beginning of ‘Die Possime’, which definitely achieves its goal of inducing a trance-like state. A portion of this albums greatness however, is how well they relate these repetitively tense sections to the high points within each song. At times slowly creeping their way through sinister ambiance, only to strip off ominous sheets of sampling at precisely the right time to reveal the buried beauty of hidden melodies.

Particularly in I, Los Natas explore minimalism, often repeating measures of nothing but a slow, gorgeous electric guitar lead that wouldn’t be out of place on a late talk talk record. This is almost always followed by gradual tempo shifts and transitions into doom, drone, ambient or a folky kind of progressive rock. Los Natas really work to tastefully cover many genres whilst always retaining their casual vibe.

The drumming on this is fantastic. Walter Broide brews a wicked percussive concoction of prog doom rock with a modest dose of tabla & indigenous percussion. One notable part where he really flexes his chops is the last couple of minutes of ‘Tracion En El Arrocero’, where his swift tom rolls and explosive cymbal dynamics propel the jam to previously inconceivable heights. The chemistry between bassist Sergio Chotsourian and guitarist/vocalist Gonzalo Villagra is inspiring, as they seamlessly trade the central theme of ‘Humo De Marihuana’ in an airtight game of hasty melodic tag. Gonzalo’s Castilian vocal passages aren’t very common throughout, they are by no means the highlight, but are executed well and sung with passion.

This is an exceptionally jammy album, but the amount of variation is wild. At times touching on mixtures as strange as Argentinean folk music against a backdrop of wind tunnels & static. Tremolo heavy Spanish guitars spawn eerily groovy vibes when all of a sudden you find yourself soaking in the viscous juices of a fuzzy doom riff courtesy of a very subtle yet extreme transition. After the distorted doom of ‘Die Possime’ comes ‘Tomatito’, a comparatively catchy acoustic song and one of three much shorter songs on the album. The second ‘Matogrosso’ sees the band exploring ambiance using guitar swells, static and a didgeridoo. The third ‘La Sepa’ is a soothing final track that goes through three clearly defined movements in its four minutes.

Toba Trance is very much a ‘free rock’ record that successfully combines way more styles of music than you would expect from a three-piece stoner rock outfit. I highly recommend this to fans of the avant-garde side of progressive rock music. I slightly prefer I to II, but they’re both great. These guys were exploring their sonic space in a big way here and the end result is an hour of fully realized, visceral music that touches on some very rare emotions. ..........

Colour Haze and Los Natas have always run neck and neck for me as the true embodiment of all that is good in modern psychedelia. Colorful, extremely creative combined with the distinct and indelible magic to take me somewhere else on the mental plane.

Where Corsario Negro to me was a misstep production-wise – Billy Anderson was plainly a bad choice – 2003’s Toba Trance was a step in the right direction creatively. It may have alienated many fans because of it’s “Left Field” approach more apt to Stephen O’Malley or Aaron Turner than Sergio and the boys, but that work took the band to another creative level with it’s sparseness and use of native South American musical ideas and instruments.

Toba Trance II retains much of the spirit of the first, but is infinitely more accessible. The mind-bending jams featuring the Los Natas signature sonic peaks and valleys are back in full glory, accented by South American/European mixed rhythms and influence indigenous to their native country of Argentina.

A sonicaly stunning, classy and spartan work all at the same time. Another addition to an incredibly genius body of work by this band. ....................

Credits
Bass – Gonzalo Villagra
Drums, Percussion – Walter Broide
Guitar, Vocals, Flute – Sergio Chotsourian

Tracklist
1 Tomatito
2 Traición En El Arrocero
3 Matogrosso
4 Humo De Marihuana
5 La Sepa
6 Que Rico... (Live)

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..

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