Qa'a, formed by Spanish multi-instrumentalist Victor Hurtado,
Vesprada (Magia Roja, 2009), a bit fragmented and amateurish,
but already pregnant with an impressive amount of intriguing ideas
conceived and performed by a deviant intelligence.
The alien pulsations and sparse noisescape of Perpetu (9:05)
are pure abstraction until almost the end when they coalesce and swirl into
a symphonic crescendo.
That psychological subtlety is rarely achieved by the rest.
Ancores (9:44) is more conventional loose acid jam a` la
Grateful Dead's Dark Star. Unlike
Desmadrados Soldados De Ventura,
which is all energy and synergy, Qa'a prefers to investigate the least
articulate layer of the subconscious.
Vesprada (9:18) belongs to the category of austere,
sophisticated, electroacoustic compositions, a study in colliding
turbulence and drones, in juxtaposing and integrating ear-splitting dissonance
and celestial order.
Misteris De La Sang (17:14) in an intimidating kind of
excursion into the psyche. At first, it materializes as
free-jazz cacophony, all screeching and snorting; then as a crescendo,
sustained by locomotive-like rhythm and Sonic Youth-esque guitar repetition; then as alien videogame-like signals;
then as abstract dissonant soundpainting;
then as a mysteriously droning saxophone fanfare.
The album overflows with intuitions that are not fully developed, like a
sketchbook for future projects:
the subhuman dub/blues Speakerbox/ Mirror Said,
the Red Crayola-esque freak-out Hungover Dub,
the industrial vignette Fet D'os...
Saxophone and synthesizer frequently upset the balance of traditional
The mental breakdown became much more humane on
Chi'en (Magia Roja, 2009), a collection of less noisy and better
structured songs (and sung songs, not instrumentals).
The main culprit is the
quiet soft ballad Eastdown Westdown (8:00)
with a rather conventional melodic and rhythmic crescendo, something that
one would expect on a Pink Floyd album.
The six songs are stretched over several minutes (up to 25), but their
music carefully avoids the jarring and brainy (or simply anarchic) excesses
of the first album.
Speaker Box (15:42) borrows from jazz-rock shuffles, then embraces
reggae overtones, then indulges in laid-back jamming, and only towards the
end injects a bit of guitar effects (but always over steady drumming).
The sleepy rhythms, languid chant and heroic guitar solo of
Time Is Key (17:28), another homage at
latter-day Pink Floyd, is redeemed
by ten minutes of tense jamming that peaks with an incendiary freak-out
and ends with a mooing drone.
Luckily, Peeling Off (24:55) restores Qa'a to the realm of insanity
with screaming saxes and pulsing electronics, followed by or buries under
ten minutes of percussive orgy, then taken over by an army of evil dancing
sci-fi synths. Unfortunately, parts of it sound redundant. It could have
been edited down to 10 or 12 minutes.
She Provides (10:08) is another glorious slab of space-rock gone
astray, rapidly spinning out of control to become an unclimbable
wall of noise and of screams (but, again, the last few minutes could even
been edited out).
While it doesn't even come close to the brutal creativity of the first album,
Sang (Magia Roja, 2013) has at least perfected the art of
bridging opposite extremes of sound
Sang (8:24) grafts post-Hendrix guitar cacophony onto an electronic dub-funk trunk, and then forgets both to delve into otherworldly noise and thumping, and then opts for a coda of alien radio communications.
Very little happens in Retorn Etern (9:52) over a pulsing beat, and one
is ready to be lulled into a laid-back mood, but then the vocal effects,
a rhythmic acceleration and some sitar-like droning enter a trancey dimension.
A sort of transcendence (and a higher degree of it) is also achieved by
Ascensio (10:36), a protracted percussive study.
No t'Aturis Mai (7:46) works towards the same goal, although it
stereotypical Velvet Underground rhythm
and a merciless crescendo of jarring guitar distortion
for the mindless orgy of drumming.
The spectral electroacoustic composition
Eleccio en el Laberint (11:47) is the ideal soundtrack for a
surrealist painting: metallic noise, tribal percussion, floating drones,
random piano notes, dadaistic nonsense.
The relaxed side of Qa'a stretches out in Vermell Profund (12:33).
The shorter intermezzos are sometimes more extreme, notably the
violently dissonant musique concrete of Mort a les Formigues,
the industrial-grade vomit of Rebenta't tos Agonica.
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