Sporelights, the new album from progressive/post rock band Bauda, is certainly not a difficulty proposition to get closely familiar with but it does need time to reveal the myriad of layers and creative colours within its compelling body. Consisting of seven immersive encounters, the release is a flight of temptation which has major moments of creative seduction but equally from start to finish only keeps ears and imagination eagerly and increasingly greedily involved.
The fascinating Sporelights is the third album from Bauda, a band which emerged in 2006 as the solo project of guitarist/vocalist/chief-lyricist-songwriter César Márquez. Inspired musically and lyrically by the great landscapes of their homeland Chile, the project released the Del Mar Al Aire EP in its first year with debut album Oniirica appearing in 2009. As things evolved and grew, Márquez recruited drummer Nikolas Recabarren and bassist Juan Díaz into the band in 2012, the trio’s creative collusion giving birth to second album Euphoria…Of Flesh, Men and the Great Escape that same year. In 2013 the line-up was added to by keyboardist Edgardo González with Bauda soon working on its next release, Sporelights. Produced by René Rutten of Dutch alternative rock band The Gathering, the album takes its themes from “the perpetual struggles of men against the enslaving nature of modern societies”, and swiftly lays an immersive ambience on the senses as a sign of things to come.
That coaxing is through opener Aurora, an instrumental of sonic suggestion and rhythmic incitement which is as portentous as it is gripping revelry for ears and thoughts to contemplate. The keys of González weave a radiant, kaleidoscopic tapestry of sound and suggestiveness as a more tempestuous atmosphere brews, rhythms in turn aligning to the more caustic creativity of Márquez’s guitar. Subsequently as cold and sinister as it is warmly inviting, the piece flows and evolves right into Vigil, the post punk air and textures of the former continuing but soon wrapped in enticing vocals and the melodic seducing of keys and harmonies. Magnetism drips from the track, its eighties spiced air offering essences seemingly inspired by a Porcupine Tree or The Pineapple Thief whilst the orchestral wind of the song rises and lifts the senses over an underbelly of rugged and compelling rhythms, a blend which alone fully involves attention and appetite.
The album’s title track steps forward next, Sporelights entwining guitar bred melodies with a thickly alluring and inventive prowess; eighties band Modern English coming to mind before a relative calm gains great volatility urged on by the predatory tone of the bass as steely hooks litter the absorbing web spun by Márquez’s guitar. Once more an evocative atmosphere lays an inescapably captivating tempting in collusion with the increasingly impressive individual and united craft of Bauda, the result a glorious, almost smothering hug of lively adventure.
A slightly calmer but more shadow honed proposal comes through War next, its melancholic breath and darkly soaked air simultaneously mesmeric and imposing. Military inspired beats skirt the smouldering beauty of melodies and vocals as thicker haunted hues courting the almost fiery atmosphere and radiance embracing ears and thoughts. As its predecessor, the track is sheer captivation and matched by Tectonic Cells in its own individual drama. Rhythmically an adventure alone, beats and bass swiping and grumbling in a multi textured waltz, the song blossoms into a sunspot of sonic suggestion through keys and guitar. The instrumental bewitches as it incites, seduces with an emotive and physical trespass leaving a greed for more, a hunger then sated by the rock pop festivity of Asleep In Layers, another song coloured with a more eighties post punk/new wave seeding amidst a theatre of progressive and melody soaked imagination.
Completed by Dawn Of Ages, arguably the least impacting but no less enticing song on the album with its crystalline melodic kisses, electronic drama, and tempestuous ambiences around ever impressing vocals, Sporelights is a masterful pleasure. Being our introduction to Bauda, how it compares to previous releases in sound and growth we have yet to learn but if they are half as enthralling and enjoyable as Sporelights, they are a future must check out too.
Sporelights is released October 19th digitally and on CD via Temple of Torturous @ https://templeoftorturous.bandcamp.com/album/sporelights
Pete RingMaster 19/10/2015
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