Tracklist: Intro Terra Hoxe (0:47), L’over (3:27), Passage Terra I (0:28), Antique Song (5:09), Passage Terra II (0:53), Geomelodysong (3:36), Passage Terra III (0:54), Relmu Tromen (4:40), Passage Terra IV (1:01), Desir Du Liberte (5:18), Passage Terra V (1:05), Intimo (3:40), Passage Terra VI (1:39), White Mind (6:47), Terra Hoxe Final (2:33), Quien Eres Tu (6:45)
Fantasia En Concerto is the second album from Hyacintus, primarily the work of Argentine multi-instrumentalist Jacinto Miguel Corral, and follows his debut CD Elydian from 2002.
Fantasia… is a grandiosely imagined concept piece of classically inspired symphonic rock. The story is of a lonely man who attends a concert and finds his dreams and reality merging as he listens to the music. The odd numbered tracks feature the highly orchestral sounding Terra Hoxa Suite and the even numbered tracks represent the man’s dreams and experiences as he listens. The tracks all neatly flow one into another, making this a satisfying listen when taken in one sitting.
There are several guests, contributing bass, keyboards, melodica, cello and vocals, but they are largely confined to two tracks (Desir Du Liberte and Quien Eres Tu). Interestingly, a drummer is credited, but the drums sound almost entirely electronic, which is the weakest link on this otherwise excellent album. Corral therefore carries most of what you will hear on this album, consisting mainly of keyboard and guitar led symphonic rock, mixing bright upbeat pieces (the bouncy opener L’over) with some slower, slightly darker tinged tunes (Relmu Tromen). Always, though, the material is very melodic with many enjoyable tunes and motifs running through each and every track.
Underpinning the sound is the synthetically simulated orchestra conjured up by Corral on his keyboards (occasionally veering towards the synthesiser symphonies of Wendy Carlos or Tomita) making this a work that may also appeal to fans of The Enid – though it doesn’t really sound like them - but where Jacinto really shines is as a guitarist. His playing throughout the disc is immensely enjoyable, with uplifting melodies flowing from his guitar at every turn. Occasionally the sound takes a spacier turn, drifting almost into Pink Floyd territory. Although immediately accessible, the multi-layered structure ensures that there are many nuances waiting to be discovered on subsequent listens, making this a disc that will surely have lasting appeal.
The first fifteen tracks are entirely instrumental, with only the closer Quien Eres Tu featuring vocals. This is a rockier tune than the preceding pieces, though it starts off all moody and emotional, with the vocalist leaning in the direction of many a metal shouter as the song gathers pace in its second half.
The only gripe I have with this disc is that the overall enjoyment is brought down a notch or two by the electronic percussion, but the melodies are usually engaging enough to divert your attention away from this. The production on the majority of the disc is bright – and occasionally shrill - but this mostly suits the style of the music.
I would have liked to be able to program the disc to play the Terra Hoxa Suite in its entirety, making for a nine-minute plus symphonic suite, but as the fragments of the suite are designed to segue with the other tracks, it prevents this from being practical. This doesn’t detract from the disc but would have been a nice bonus.
This is another fine offering of South American Progressive rock from the wonderful Viajero Inmovil label, and the cardboard gatefold mini album sleeve design is up to their usual high standards.
I think this work could have a wide appeal amongst fans of symphonic rock, particularly those favouring more melodic and accessible material.
Conclusion: 7.5 out of 10