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Un Festin Sagital, "Epitafio a la Permanencia"

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Santiago, Chile's Un Festin Sagital weave electro-acoustic sounds with rock instruments and voices to create this unpredictable but compelling album. Harrowing background noises share space with patient guitar motifs for songs that are constantly churning and shifting into different modes and styles. Hints of progressive rock and traditional music serve to heighten and confound expectations, making this album a deliriously engaging experience.

 

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The first few songs are particularly unstable. "Epitafio al Delirio de la Permanencia Part 1" goes through several stages, beginning with a distorted rumble, an urgent organ, and competing voices. The song becomes airy with light drones and a repetitive guitar motif that keeps the song from floating away. Squeals and discordant piano take over before the band goes into an old-fashioned song with saxophone. Metal guitar riffs come in later, and the whole song ends with a whimsical carnivalesque organ section. "Part 2" is initially a more introspective affair with light piano and a low-key electronic background. It builds to a harried, schizophrenic peak in the middle of the track and coasts to a finale against a halluncinatory backdrop of piano and constant yet subtle synthesizer pitches. "L'Age Delicieux (la Revolución Perenne)" is organized similarly to the first two tracks, but relies more on percussion and haunting vocals.

The last three songs have the most consistent structure. The briefest track at just under a few minutes, "¡No Hay Coristas!" could come from the soundtrack to an old spaghetti western were it not for its electronic ending. Although "La Dignidad del Espiritu Bestia" starts with violin and hand drums, it builds into a kraut groove with metal overtones before gradually fading into a long, delicate passage. "Destierro" is a ballad with sci-fi synthesizers and guitars. It has a couple of frenzied moments but is mostly pretty mellow, a come-down from the rest of the album’s hyperactive mood swings.

Even though many of the songs are in a constant flux, they never get unintentionally overwhelming. They work because the changes never seem forced or arbitrary but instead flow naturally from one idea to the next, even when the differences are extreme. The band's excellent musicianship makes all of this possible, bringing plausibility to strange music while never alienating the listener.

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