Saturday, 7 July 2018

Canarios “Ciclos” 1974 Spain 2x Lp`s Prog Symphonic

Canarios “Ciclos” 1974  Spain 2x Lp`s Prog Symphonic
full vk

Canarios started off as your typical pop/rock band from Spain. They seemed most known in this early phase for the 1968 single “Get On Your Knees”. But by 1970 the group disappeared, because Teddy Bautista apparently had to do military service. By 1974 he returned to music and Canarios returned, in a drastically different musical direction, to full-on prog rock. Serious prog rock, to say the least. It’s like if Los Bravos (the only Spanish band in the 1960s I know to have a hit in the States with “Black is Black”) disappeared for a few years then come back as a full-on prog band (which never happened, of course). So what they do here is take on Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons in totally full-blown prog rock context you can imagine. Kinda like ELP did for Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. This group went hog wild on synths and Mellotron, with various vocals of varying quality, including an Indonesian-born soprano, while Teddy Bautista’s vocals himself certainly aren’t the strong points. If you’re familiar with the original, you’ll find many familiar themes, but doing silly things (that even most other prog groups would never think of) like going into a barbershop quartet thing and singing how it’s a plastic Christmas and then going into some silly bluesy guitar playing is something totally out of the question on the original. One part had a flamenco feel reminding me a tad of Triana (although this came out before Triana released their first album). There are also more experimental passages too and so much going on that it needs several listens and full attention. This is the kind of thing that would get classical purists running for the hill, but then this was meant for prog rock fans, the type that enjoyed ELP’s Pictures at an Exhibition. Really strange album from a group that started as a standard pop rock group, and this album is the big reason Canarios is even known at all in prog circles. If you fancy Vivaldi’s work in a prog setting, this come recommended… by Proghead .~

LOS CANARIOS did an original and majestic recreation on the most well-known VIVALDI’s opus, “Le Quattro Stagioni”. Very complex and creative, plenty of beauty and instrumentally great. In a different way, bands like EKSEPTION or SKY gave a sort of rock rythm to classic stuff, but this Spanish band made a complete work, adding own structures and keeping the magic of the original baroque piece. 
I just heard another album in the same vein, IL ROVESCIO DELLA MEDAGLIA’s “Contaminazione”, another essential masterpiece beside CANARIOS’ “Ciclos”….by…by Marcelo ….~

For those who love progressive rock Classical adaptations will simply freak out over Los CANARIOS’ “Ciclos” who re-interpret Vivaldi’s classic symphony “Le Quattra Stagioni” (The Four Seasons). I would say the RDM’s “Contaminazione” is to Bach as CANARIOS is to Vivaldi. For those who know the Four Seasons well will immediately recognize the substitution of electric guitar and analog keyboards for violins. Vocals although not overly dominant are sung mostly in English and are mostly operatic by the magical vocals of Rudmini Sukmawati. “Ciclos” offers some simply outstanding keyboard work with loads of moog and mellotron thoughout. Essentially “Ciclos” is a musical re-interpretation of Vivaldi’s 4 Seasons with some complete re-interpretations and variations on his masterpiece. One of the most striking aspects of this album is the vast use of instrumentation throughout (ie. Theremin, orchesta, banjo,, phase shifter….)….by loserboy ….~

I am generally very wary of these albums that rob , steel and dress up the classic composer especailly the well known classic. I generally disapprove of this and if you are to read my reviews on some of the most shameless groups Trace and Ekseption , you will see this clearly. It always seemed that a category of progressive musicians always suffered from not being accepted by the so-called “Higher Culture Circles” (Classical and artistical circles) and tried to force the doors open by sticking some (rather clumsy) orchestrations and/or re-working the classics. 
Although this sole album by Canarios (an evolution of spanish pop band los Canarios) is full of those flaws , the high rating I give should hint you that there is much more than the re- working of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Sure there are moments when the ridiculous is followed by the sublime when the overheard chorus/reprise of Four Season’s main theme is slowly changed to a driving prog rock with choirs (sometimes ala Carmina Burana - reminding you of Magma). This double vinyl is now on a single Cd and is a great value for money but also artistically. There are some real weird moments where an old blues song ending seems atrocious in such a finely crafted album , but on the whole this is a very odd , curious but ultimately rewarding acquisition. 

The fact that this album exists at all is a bit of a wonder, since it was recorded in 74 during the closing years of Franco’s fascist dictature and Spain’s progressive period was not really to start until the death of the dictator. Maybe the fact that these guys hailed from the touristic Canary Islands helped, but the production of such an ambitious album was obviously too expensive , so much that I cannot see this being done without some official help. Just an educated guess by my many childhood vacations throughout Spain in the 70’s and the striking contrasts of then-relatively-rich E C countries and the poor , rural , dictatorial Spain of those years…. by Sean Trane ….~

This is a monumental album. A potentially cheesy concept, a space opera with music based on Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, ought to have fallen flat on its face, especially at 73 minutes running time. But it’s such an explosion of unbridled creativity that it just plain works. The songs are excellent and the choral arrangements are stunning. Both female and male lead vocals are excellent. The Vivaldi adaptations rock surprisingly hard, driven by some of the best (rock critics would say “propulsive”, for which they should be shot) drumming I’ve heard on a Seventies album (and some of the best-produced drum sounds as well). Unapologetically stident synths alternate with lush mellotron, and thunderous upbeat sections contrast with pleasant ambient sections. The music’s so good, I’ve never even bothered to follow the storyline. Despite many abrupt changes throughout the long album sides, the music never fails to be melodic and interesting. The group was wise to quit after releasing this monster…they couldn’t have done any better. This record’s glorious pomposity represents symphonic prog at its best….by Heptade …..~

Did you think that “Tales from Topographic Oceans”, “The Lamb” or ELP’s “Pictures” were bold and ambitious projects? Well, they pale in comparison with this album from Canarios, mostly the creation of band leader Teddy Bautista. Another adaptation of Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” to rock? Aargh no, vade retro! Well don’t worry, this one is really special and in my opinion deserves full credit. It never intends to be a transcription of the classical work to rock instruments, it’s an avant-garde loose re-interpretation of the theme which revisits several fragments of the Vivaldi’s work, but has also a lot of own material. 
The ambition put in this work was huge, double vinyl album with a trascendental concept, integrating early 70’s prog-rock, classical music, electronic experimentation with Moogs, Mellotrons, ARP’s, Theremin and such stuff, opera, classical choir, gregorian chant, broadway musical, greek chorus narration, lyrics partly in english, spanish and latin, you name it. 

With such a daunting task the result would inevitably be a totally ridiculous pastiche or a masterpiece of modern art, and they achieved the latter. We also need to consider the context. If this album would be released now in 2010 I’m not so sure what my opinion would be, but this was made in early 70’s underdeveloped Spain, which was in most respects 10 to 20 years behind compared to the main european countries. The sense of authenticity and the conviction and professionalism with which Canarios undertook this mamooth task makes you take your hat off in front of this work. 

The cyclic nature of the seasons is re-interpreted into a mystical adaptation of the Eastern culture cyclic concept of the universe and life in it. As in Genesis “The Lamb”, the booklet includes apart from the lyrics a text explaining the story (in spanish at least in my edition, which being my mother language I understand). 

Spring is translated in the first concert “El Paraiso Remoto” (The distant paradise) as the creation of the universe and the birth out of mother nature’s Matrix of the perfect life form, Embryo, eager to assimilate everything around him. 

The second concert “El Abismo Proximo” (The nearby abyss) takes the place of Summer, with life now around the year 1700 impersonated as Febos, sucumbing to the temptation of mastering the world, the process of alienation from nature and its creator, discovering technology and becoming an impersonal and anonimous being. 

The third concerto “La Ciudad Futura” (The Future City = Autumn) sees life (now middle- aged Metantropus in the year 2126) immersed in an extremely technocratic and grey society where beings are given doses of “alcoholin and nicotin” to keep them quiet or even subjected to the “cybernetic process” where they are reprogrammed to be submissive (George Orwell and Aldous Huxley revisited). Metantropus escapes to the mountains where he has a revelation telling him that the only way out is to recover his sense of unity with the universe and the creator, but he gets caught. 

In the fourth concert “El eslabon recuperado” (The recovered link = Winter), life is now the elder Anacros and finds itself in an impersonal dying world in the year 2700 where the radiation of the sun has been depleted and society keeps a hopeless life harnessing some remaining cosmic energy. The prophet Oracle tells Anacros that his fate is to reunite with the creator (“the Supreme Programmer”) by crossing the doorway of death. Anacros submits to his fate, voluntarily going to the Expiatory Machine which gives his prana-less material body back to Matrix, while his spirit or karma returns to sit at the right of the Supreme Programmer, from where they witness the Apocalypsis of the material world and its return to the primeval state, from where the cycle will start all over again. A truly astral voyage not only in its storyline, but also in the music which goes along with it. 

This album is surely not for everybody’s taste. For my personal taste there is a bit too much experimental material and the parts of true 70’s symphonic rock (reminiscent of King Crimson, The Nice, Focus, the most experimental side of Yes etc) feel too short because of it, but they are nevertheless great, with wonderful work by all the musicians. 

At any rate this is an often forgotten masterpiece, an album which every lover of early 70’s prog-rock should have or at least know, a classic in its own right….by Gerinski …..~

After the release of a disastrous debut album (“Libérate”) recorded in 1970, this Spanish band gets back with something totally different this time. And quite good, I must say. 
It is not the first time that a rock band approaches some classical oeuvre. Their model with this double album might well be ELP with “Pictures At An Exhibition”. It is particularly true during the opener “Paraíso Remoto”. One can find lots of bombastic (pompous) moments and appreciate the rework around this famous theme. 

The second movement “Abismo Próximo” is more complex and mixes art-rock, opera-like vocals and some folkish moments as well. The second half of this song is really brilliant: a superb combination of mellotron, superb vocal part and a moving guitar solo: it sounds as THE archetype of the symphonic style we appreciate so much. Still, this great passage is a bit too short IMO. 

Mostly instrumental, this album shows a very good musical maestria and if ELP (and the usual clones) are on your list of fave band, there is no doubt that this work will enjoy your ears. 

The third movement Is not so pleasant: from classical to eclectic prog, this track is quite difficult to apprehend. There is also some similarity with ELO (the spoken intro from “El Dorado”) at the middle of the track. I am lacking harmony and great instrumental passages. It is the less achieved section of this good album. Too much choir and church-related effects to my taste. 

The inspiration seems to lack for the fourth section “El Eslabón Recobrado”. An unnecessary percussion part like the one during “The Ancient” (from “Yes” TFTO) is quite useless in my opinion. It only makes a long track even longer. The synth moments just after this are quite noisy. 

In all, this album holds some excellent musical moments and some?other ones. In my rating system, three stars sound logical…. by ZowieZiggy …..~

The story of this little known progressive rock gem is almost as interesting as the music itself: a true, sprawling four sides of pure symphonic grandeur of the scope and ambition of “Tales from Topographic Oceans” or “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.” The Spanish band started out as the pop/rock group Los Canarios and had several releases which did well, but were of little interest to prog fans. Then around 1973, leader Teddy Bautista split with his bandmates and retained the name, shortening it to just Canarios. He surrounded himself with all new people and decided to create an epic work for the ages. Today, “Ciclos” is little known and rarely discussed, but I think this is likely the most significant Spanish progressive rock title of its time. As Hugues points out, even the fact that such a project could come to fruition given the political/social oppression of Spain in this period makes it very existence incredible. The high-minded plot themes deal with the circle of life and the history of humanity. 

“Ciclos” contains only four songs, each covering an entire side of this double album. The music is a free reinterpretation of Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” and a serious attempt to meld together classical music with symphonic progressive rock. I say reinterpretation because this is not purely a rock band covering a piece of classical music. Everything is subject is change here and the four pieces show a wealth of creative writing and arrangements. The band brings in all various styles to play with: symphonic prog, jazz rock, avant-garde, operatics, and melodic pop/rock. The end result ends up being something not far from the Italian prog of the same period: ambitious, bold, a bit naïve, and sometimes a bit over the top. The “everything but the kitchen sink” approach is on display here. It’s a complex album and in my view a great success, but it takes time to reveal itself to the listener. Like some other reviews I’ve read, the album did not appeal to me at first. Had I written a quick review it would not have been complimentary. But the more you play this one, the better it gets, which is why I rarely write quick reviews. Sections of the album are beautiful beyond belief, other sections rock hard, and other sections leave you scratching you head at what you just heard. Not bad at all! 

“this album is much more than just a cheesy rock adaptation. The band put a lot of effort to mix elements from jazz, blues, opera, and even the modern avant-garde classical into Vivaldi’s original. Listeners are treated to harpsichords competing with blues and jazz-infected electric guitars, moog synths that let loose a flurry of notes from Vivaldi’s original composition before jumping into funky seventies fusion, classical guitars that gently play melodic interludes as the drummer bangs away inspired by John Cage’s compositions for percussion. These guys simply loved to mix different genres of music together.” -Steve Hegede 

As some have pointed out, it can be a bit garish and cringeworthy at times-this is a fair criticism. The keyboard sound choices in particular can be a little cheesy and may make the album too dated for some. In a pure sound sense it does not hold up quite as well as the Yes and Genesis titles mentioned above. But, for those who don’t insist on refined restraint in their prog adventure, “Ciclos” is a pure roller-coaster ride that may leave you breathless with listening pleasure. It is certainly not the least bit ashamed to wear its heart on its sleeve. Tightly performed and with reasonably deep, punchy sound, the album lays out a convincing and jamming rock base over which it displays incredible window dressings: I most love the oodles of unique instruments, the little baroque elements, the occasional operatic vocals and choirs, and the adventurous avant-garde excursions. The album can seem inspired by Topographic Oceans although Yes were more seasoned, and Oceans final product more “musically mature” than this one. My personal guess is that most people who like classic era Yes, Genesis, or Banco will be very happy to have acquired Canarios. I consider this title nearly essential to a deep prog-rock collection. 

The vocals are in English which pains me, but will no doubt make this title more accessible to some proggers who don’t like non-English vocals. Try to get the Japanese mini-lp sleeve CD which will give you a beautiful gatefold presentation, great sound, and the reproduced inserts…… by Finnforest ….~

This is an excellent work of Spanish progressive rock released in 1975, which is loosely (and I mean loosely) based on themes abstracted from the four concertos of Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. As an aside, this is not the first time that the concertos of The Four Seasons have been adapted. For example, in 1765 Michel Corrette (1709-1795) based his motet (it’s a sacred composition for several voices) Laudate Dominum de coelis on the Spring concerto. 

Moving forward to 1975, the work Ciclos is divided into four sprawling pieces that collectively span 73 minutes in length (trust me, the 73 minutes go by very quickly and leave you wishing for more). The four movements are incredibly diverse and feature wonderful arrangements and dynamics, intricate ensemble work, and varied instrumentation. In fact, the music on Ciclos is so complex and intricate that my anemic “description” of the music can’t do it justice - there really is too much going on. Although classical themes from Vivaldi’s work are addressed here and there (rarely actually), the music on this album is very original and occasionally heavy progressive rock, and is infinitely more sophisticated in it’s approach than prog band Trace’s ham-fisted “interpretation” of Bach for example. I think it is worth stressing that the album Ciclos does not present an exact reproduction of The Four Seasons, nor does the band Canarios sound like Renaissance - these guys are much too far “out there” and progressive to play it safe….by..J.Park….~

One of the best albums of the prog rock genre. Ciclos is an adaptation of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons.” They don’t make a note-by-note interpretation, but they add some typical prog rock elements, such as the use of Mellotrons and Moog synthesizers, played with virtuosity. This recording is a more accurate interpretation of a classical piece than “Pictures at an Exhibition” by Emerson Lake & Palmer. There’s a lot of color in this recording, with vocals in English, Spanish, and Latin, plus the presence of opera singers, electric guitars, and electronic keyboards. This one has been long out of print, but it’s worth it for fans of progressive rock. It’s an underground classic of the genre… Juan Sjöbohm…..~

Geez, how does a band go from ‘60s beat band (Los Canaries), to this slice of over-the-top experimentation ? 

Having recorded several albums as Los Canarios (The Canaries), in the early 1970s Eduardo Teddy Bautista Garcia was forced to take a break while completing his Spanish national service obligation. His military service over, in 1973 Bautista returned to the music business, reactivating Los Canarios. Notorious for going through musicians and apparently serious about exploring new directions, Bautista kept his reputation intact by hiring a completely new Canarios line-up in the form of lead guitarist Antonio Garcia de Diego, bassist Christian Mellies, drummer Alain Richard, and second keyboardist Mathias Sanveillan. 

Released in 1974’s, “Cycles”. was a double album concept piece loosely based on Antonio Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons”. Admittedly much of the concept plotline was lost on me - supposedly it had something to do with the history of the world covering everything from creation of the Earth to the future Apocalypse. To be honest, given the set was largely instrumental, the plotline almost didn’t matter. Spanning four sides and clocking in at over seventy minutes, if you could get through a couple of original pieces, it didn’t take long for Vivaldi’s classical melody to break through (which was actually a good thing). That said, to my ears the set has always reminded me of a cross between and early Mike Oldfield effort and an Alan Parsons Project release Like much of Oldfield’s work, the album took Vivaldi’s work and added layers and layers of rock instrumentation to it. Doubt the comparison, then check out the instrumental section entitled 'Kybernatic Process’. The supposed concept, recalled Parsons’ catalog. The results weren’t always pretty and the sheer length of the album meant you had to be in the right mood to sit through it. Still, the set had some highly enjoyable segments and has gained a strong reputation among progressive fans. The length probably also helped explain why it was one of the most expensive albums ever recorded in Spain….by….RDTEN1 ….~

Ciclos from 1974 is easily the best known album by Canarios. It also turned out to be their final studio album before they disbanded. When it comes to the musical style of this massive double album it’s easy to say that Ciclos differs a lot from their earlier work. While their early albums represented beat music and psychedelia this most famous LP of theirs is a quite ambitious symphonic prog record. 
Each side of this double LP includes one very lengthy track so you’ll actually find just four songs here even if these songs have separate parts. Ciclos includes very good moments but also some parts which feel a bit loose and mediocre. The D side is probably my personal favourite here. At some points this 73 minutes long prog giant sounds really beautiful. The instrumental work is solid but not exceptional. 
I guess I’ll rate Ciclos with 3,5 stars. The album is a little inconsistent especially on the sides A and B but the best parts are indeed really strong. However the album should be a bit shorter I think. All in all I can recommend this album for everyone enjoying symphonic prog. The album is definitely not a totally perfect and flawless masterpiece of the genre but it has some pretty damn good moments to offer. If you’re not gonna listen to the whole album at least check out the album closer “Cuarta Transmigración (El Eslabón Recobrado)”….by…CooperBolan ….~

The pinnacle of Spanish prog rock, “Ciclos” was also the farewell record by Los Canarios, the group founded by Teddy Bautista. Released in 1974, it’s an astounding conceptual album based on Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” which incorporates synthesizers, mellotrons, vibraphone, electric guitars, a soprano and a classical choir.Regarded as the greatest Spanish soul band, Los Canarios emerged in 1967 and are still remembered for explosive tracks such as 'Get On Your Knees’ or 'Free Yourself’. But Los Canarios had an unusual final incarnation, in a progressive rock style. Towards 1973, the musical and philosophical interests of singer Teddy Bautista led him to breaking up with his bandmates, who continued under the name Alcatraz.Teddy reformed the band with an international formation: drummer Alain Richard, keyboard player Mathias Sanvellian, bassist Christian Mellies and guitarist Antonio García de Diego. They were all daring and versatile musicians; García de Diego still is an essential collaborator of many of Spain’s most popular artists.Only Bautista’s charisma can explain that he actually managed to realize “Ciclos”, possibly the most complex production of 1970s Spanish rock. If it sounds astonishing today, in 1974 it went against all market trends: at the time, singer-songwriters such as Joan Manuel Serrat, Patxi Andión or Lluis Llach were successful; Spanish rock had no presence in the charts and was reduced to a clandestine underground.Bautista had discovered the wonders of synthesizers, mellotrons and sequencers. Later on he would work on his own, exclusively using machines, but “Ciclos” was a collective work. Alfredo Carrión directed a choir from the National School of Singing; Rudmini Sukmawati, daughter of the legendary Indonesian President Sukarno, shone as opera singer. Although Teddy and García de Diego played several roles, other musicians and vocalists were needed.“Ciclos” is usually described as the symphonic rock version of “The Four Seasons”. That would put it close to “Pictures At An Exhibition” by Emerson, Lake & Palmer, but that’s not quite right: Vivaldi’s compositions are integrated into an immense canvas which includes rock, jazz, soul and old popular songs. Keyboards play a fundamental role, although this is a narrative work where a multitude of voices tell the story. Perhaps it wasn’t a coincidence that, in the following years, Bautista would work in musical theatre, with “Jesus Christ Superstar” or “The Rocky Horrow Picture Show”.The plot is harder to summarise: it aims to portray the history of humanity, from the Big Bang to the Apocalypse, through the adventures of a character named Embryo. Explanatory texts were provided within the luxurious packaging, on which people of the stature of Teo Escamilla, the great photography director of Spanish cinema, worked….by…..Diego A Manrique….~

Los Canarios had something of a musical evolution. After releasing three albums of ordinary pop/rock, they decided to turn Vivaldi’s famous suite “The Four Seasons” into a massive double album of progressive rock that more or less summed up everything the genre stood for. To do such a thing with one of the best known and most loved classical baroque pieces could easily have gone very wrong, but the resulting album stands for many as the magnum opus of Spanish progressive rock. The arrangements are incredibly grandiose and complex, and features everything a symphonic progressive rock fan can as for. Here’s swirling Mellotrons, spacey synths, classical guitar, big choirs and several singers that ranges from everything from opera to rock. It would be too much to analyse everything they had done with the original piece, but I’ll give you a few examples anyway. The suite originally opened with the probably best known theme of the piece: spring. In Los Canarios’ version however, it opens with a spacey and mystical passage of atmospheric sounds that slowly builds up to the theme. It’s played in a very energetic and rocking fashion that suits it surprisingly well. Other passages on the album reveal influences from other bands. One of the parts from “El Eslabon Reconbrado” sounds very much like Jade Warrior, while the use of choirs often reminds me of Latte E Miele’s first album. The only unfortunate thing about “Ciclos” is that it was the final album from the band. Too bad, as they really showed they could be a first class symphonic progressive rock band here……~

The rare work of the Spanish formation 'Los Canarios’ is certainly one of the best adaptations of a classical work ever recorded. The competition of this rock version of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” is certainly not insignificant (just think of “Pictures At An Exhibition” by ELP) - anyway: This brisk CD contains a fascinating mix of electronics, classical and progressive rock with classical music (more precisely, baroque music), which is second to none. 

Despite the conventional rock instrumentation, the interpretation of baroque music succeeds excellently. So the 'Ciclos’, the cycles (meaning the eternally recurring cycle of life in all its uniqueness and simultaneous uniformity) are a thoroughly serious interpretation of the seasons theme. 

Musically, 'Ciclos’ sometimes leans on the classics of the Italian scene, then again on pre-progressive elements a la 'Aphrodite’s Child’, without one would think that the Canarios are their musical brothers in spirit only as impersonators - the The opposite seems to be the case - 'Ciclos’ not only quotes the genres, it redefines them and at the same time breaks down their boundaries, because this album goes far beyond what set standards in southern European prog rock and that was certainly not enough: just think What southern European bands have done in terms of conceptually designed albums. 

The Canarios renounce their patch on patch pseudo-classical elements, as they unfortunately in the ELP’s late work too often finds - on the contrary, the points of gravity of the composition are quite self-interpreted and never want to translate the original vile into the rock world. With vocals in Latin, Spanish and English they set their own accents in the composition and thus offer interpretation and invention in one. An album for all those who prefer guitars and synth dominated prog rock and a must for those who care about (successful) adaptations of classical rock music. 

It may be that 'Ciclos’ was perhaps a happy stroke of genius, the work of an otherwise unknown formation - but this is certainly: It is a stroke of genius! 

Yes, I know: The album is hard to come by - the devoted reviewer received it only by lucky coincidence of fate (May the progressive rock gods be eternally merciful to me!) - but to all those who are willing to bother to find the work , I promise an exciting journey of discovery into the wonderful world of lost progressive masterpieces. 
¡Viva Los Canarios! ¡Viva Ciclos!…by… Sal Pichireddu…babyblaue prog……~

Unfortunately, I have to “demystify” the previous review of Sal a bit. Meanwhile, the procurement of “Ciclos” is no longer a problem dar. The album was re-released in 2003 by major label BMG on CD and is available on the Internet or in the context of a Spain vacation without the help of the prog gods. After a beginning marked by a sophisticated percussion, a sublime keybomb thrust up on the quiet soles, carried by a singer’s soprano. Shortly thereafter, the well-known leitmotiv of Vivaldi’s “Der Frühling” is presented in a lively manner. All signs point to another version of the classic adaptations that were so popular in the 70s, 

The majestic aesthetics of Vivaldi’s Baroque composition, however, only flash out in phases, providing a framework for contemporary rock elements. Often the terrain of the ambitious classical rock is completely abandoned and the musical content has at times even a pop-rocky coloring, which sometimes reveals slightly schmaltzy traits in some choral sequences. Here, the Spaniards Los Canarios to the Italians New Trolls , who also indulged in her works like a light-footed melodiousness. 

Certainly the variety of styles offered will be skilfully presented, which is underpinned in the form of a variety of instrumentation. The many actors were striving without any doubt to infuse the Baroque song framework with a variety of delusions. Unfortunately, there is a great contrast between dazzling bombast and artificial neoclassical bulge. Especially the choral sequences are sometimes overdone. There are memories of Electra’s The Sistine Madonna . The recurrent male voice is similar to that of Demis Roussos in the service of Aphrodite’s ChildBut she also looks uncomfortably pressed. The contrast between monk chorals to be heard at one place and a flash of familiarity with native Spanish songs also seems too great. 

It should not be concealed that the euphoric tones of my pre-critique correspond to the general prevailing opinion in progressive-rock circles. Strangely, the musical content seems to me hopelessly overcharged and overambitious as a self-confessed bombast freak. Despite these critical tones, “Ciclos” is above all doubt in the parts dominated by analog key tones and knows how to play out its strengths. As a complete work, however, it must also be decided to step on the so popular euphoria brake……. Horst Straske..babyblaue prog…..~

Canarios (often called Los Canarios) was a rock band from Spain that managed to release some albums in the late ’60s and early ’70s during the Franco years. Around 1972, leader Teddy Bautista put a brief end of the band to do military service. After military service, he resurrected the band, with such a drastic change in sound, you won’t believe this was a band who once did songs like “Get On Your Knees”! That is to the prog rock sound. Meaning I’m certain the early stuff of the band couldn’t have been too different from what Los Bravos was doing (I hadn’t hear Canarios’ early material), so after a three year break, it’s unbelievable how much Canarios changed between albums! The band at this point consisted of Teddy Bautista himself on keyboards and vocals, Alain Richard on drums, guitarist Antonio Garcia de Diego, Mathias Sanvellian on additional keyboards, and Christian Mellies on bass, with female soprano vocals from Indonesian-born Rudmini Sukmawati. 

Ciclos is this album, released on Ariola, and known outside of Spain as Cycles. This is a full-on prog rock taking of Antonio Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. Let me tell you this is hardly a straight take on Vivaldi, as the band does plenty of their own artistic creativity, after all, only they would get away with experimenting with blues, electronic and even barbershop quartet in the occasional passages. The album is loaded with lots of great analog synths (Moog, ARP 2600) as well as Mellotron. Vocal quality really varies greatly. Teddy Bautista, for example is better off not trying to sing, while Rudmini Sukmawati is much more suitable for the task, given her classical training. Much of the vocals are in English, although there are some Spanish and Latin vocals. This album is extremely complex and elaborate, and so much stuff going on you’ll be listening to lots of times to get it, but you can see after a few listens why this is regarded as one of the greats of prog rock from Spain! You’ll hear the familiar Vivaldi themes, but packed with synths and Mellotron, and in between the band’s own creative stamp. The occasional flirting with flamenco comes to show the band’s Spanish roots for everyone. Of course classical purists would simply stay the hell away from this album. I hear tons of comparisons to the Italian group Il Rovescio Della Medaglia (RDM), since they also did a prog rock adaptation of classical on their classic album Contaminazione (1973), only they took on Bach, rather than Vivaldi. If you’re a fan of Contaminazione, of course you’ll need Ciclos. Whoever thinks prog rock bands have no sense of humor should get a kick of the end part of “Tercer Acto: Ciudad Futura”, where after some great proggy guitar lead solos, the band suddenly breaks into barbershop singing about a “plastic Christmas”. 

By the way, I have never been a fan of straight-up classical music, played the traditional way with orchestra, so it’s nice to see bands like RDM and Canarios (not to mention Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Ekseption, both groups that you know you either like them or don’t) do their prog takes on classical music making making me aware of this music. I’ve never heard The Four Seasons as originally intended, but I do hear some familiar themes on Ciclos, and I know a lot of it was their own ideas too. 
Taking on a classical work in a prog rock context could end up as a disaster, but instead they shined on their take on Vivaldi. 
Really, this album is certain to grow on you, and although a few iffy vocals, it’s certainly one of the finest prog rock takes on classical music! The analog synths and Mellotrons are certain to kill for, as well!….By ben miler….~

It is undoubtedly the most ambitious work of Teddy Bautista and one of the most ambitious carried out in Spanish music. It is the masterpiece of Spanish symphonic rock and comparable to the performances of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, the Japanese superteclist Tomita or the Dutch groups such as Ekseption or Focus. It was released as a double LP that included a complete theme on each of the faces, with a total duration of 73 minutes. 

Based on Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, it is not about playing the Four Seasons with electronic instruments, but about developing the melodies that form it. Here the spring, summer, autumn and winter of the solar year are replaced by four acts or transmigrations - so called the original album - dedicated to birth, youth, maturity and old age respectively. 

Of the Canaries only the name remained, because except Teddy Bautista (voice, mellotron, Moog synthesizers, etc) and the drummer Alain Richard, the other components are totally new in the formation. Antonio García de Diego (guitars and vocals), Matías Sanveillan (piano and several keyboards) and Christian Mellies (bass). Although we must not forget numerous guests among which the soprano Rudmini Sykmawati and the choir director and arranger of the vocal parts, Alfredo Carrión stand out for the quantity and quality of their contributions. 

“Remote Paradise” begins with a chaos of synthesizer that gives way to an anguished melody screamed rather than sung by the soprano parturient that leads to the cry of a child. From there, the Vivaldi Spring emerges with its well-known melody and a luxurious display of keyboards and guitar drums. 

In “Abismo Próximo” the choirs shine in the beginning with the support of somewhat runaway keyboards. In the central part, one of the most beautiful and simple melodies of the disc accompanied by an electric piano and vibraphone, breaks the previous baroque ornamentation of instrumentation. It follows a guitar solo of progressive descent very well executed, but that little or nothing has to do with the above … nor, of course, with Vivaldi. A sequencer in obstinato and a battery in time of march leads to the most well-known melody of “El verano” , interpreting by the keyboards, with which Antonio Vivaldi wanted to represent the summer storms and the crazy buzz of the flies and insects that announce it . Surprisingly, the storm escapes to become aclassic bolero , type Los Panchos, interpreted by the Trío Porteño. 

“Ciudad Perdida” is the most ornate act of the album. The usual electronic and percussive display is joined by shouts, flamenco touches , classical choral music , jazz and Gregorian with church bells. 

“El Eslabón Recobrado” opens with a soft piano solo in crescendo mixed with percussion, bass and a dislocated guitar. Alain Milhaud intervened in the mixes of the cut “Crisis” where there is a musical break and the participation of the choir that perform an excellent and original voices game giving it a modern touch, which gives way to a solo of arranged bass in the so-called “Ballet de the Shadows ” . The final apocalyptic, which occupies the last five minutes, contains an overactive rock instrumentation with a “vivaldiana” melody played by the keyboards and answered by the solo guitar. 

The first time I heard Ciclos, many years ago, it seemed like a pain. Little by little I have been getting the taste. Of course the work of months of recording, the care to detail of all the passages, the interpretation and the deployment of technical means of the time deserve at least a second listening. It is enough as an example of this technical deployment to say that technicians from the Moog house moved to Spain to program and fine-tune the synthesizers. 

At the time it was the largest budget album recorded in our country. Only the recording cost 2.6 million pesetas (a fortune for the time), which was not at first recovered by far by the label accelerated the breakup of the group. 

A thick music, described by some critic as “a great monument to nothing,” which tends to win over time, misunderstood and criticized in its time, but over the years has opened a gap as one of the summits of world symphonic rock … Julián Molero ….la fonoteca….~

Line-up / Musicians 
- Eduardo “Teddy” Bautista / keyboards, synths (Moog P2, Minimoog, ARP, AKS), sequencers, Mellotron, Fx, vocals, co-producer 
- Antonio Garcia de Diego / electric and 6- & 12-string acoustic guitars, lyre, vibes, spinet, Fx, vocals 
- Mathias Sanvellian / piano, RMI & Fender electric pianos, Hammond, spinet, violin 
- Christian Mellies / bass, Basmate synthesizer, Theremin 
- Alain Richard / drums, percussions, timbales, glockenspiel 

- Alfredo Carrión / choral arranger & conductor 
- Rudmini Sukmawati / vocals 
- Leandro Blanco / vocals 
- Claude Guillot / vibes 
- Paco “El Chato” / percussion (2-e) 
- Trio Porteño / arrangers & performers (2-g) 
- Hermanos Blanco / arrangers & performers (3-f) 
- Eddie Guerin / harp (4-f) 
- Maria del Carmen Alvia / harp (4-f)

Based on “The 4 Seasons” by Antonio Vivaldi.


Primera Transmigración (Paraíso Remoto) (16:50) 
A.1 Genesis
A.2 Prana
A.3 Primera Visión De Un Mundo Nuevo
A.4 Himno A La Armonía Magistral Del Unverso
A.5 Primeros Pasos En Un Mundo Nuevo
A.6 Metamorfosis Extravagante
Segunda Transmigración (Abismo Próximo) (16:45) 
B.1 Narración Extravagante
B.2 Primeras Preguntas En Un Mundo Nuevo
B.3 Canto Al Niño Neurótico
B.4 Himno Crítico A La Primera Adversidad
B.5 Desfile Extravagante
B.6 Proceso Alienatorio
B.7 Serenata Extravagante
Tercera Transmigración (Ciudad Futura) (17:47) 
C.1 Pequeño Concierto Extravagante
C.2 Páginas De Plata De Un Diario Íntimo
C.3 Anti-Himno A La Programación Cibernética
C.4 Monasterios - Proceso Cibernético
C.5 Villancico Extravagante
Cuarta Transmigración (El Eslabón Recobrado) (21:53) 
D.1 Hibernus
D.2 Crisis
D.3 Ballet De Las Sombras
D.4 Himno A La Armonía Implacable Del Fin
D.5 Vanessa (El Aliento De La Osamenta)
D.6 Nirvana Extravagante
D.7 Diálogos A Alto Nivel
D.8 Hiperdestrucción
D.9 Apocalipsis 

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“A Revolutionary New Triumph in Tape” 1958

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