Agustin Criollo - "El Retorno del Sol de Nada"
(Icono Music 2002, icono 004)

From Aural Innovations #20 (July 2002)

Augustin Criollo started his musical career in the late 1980's founding the band 'La Increible Inglesia Atomica' (The Incredible Atomic Church) in 1990. By the late 90's he had moved on to forge his solo career and his unique style of music on the underground scene. With the help of friend and fellow anti-musician Francisco J. Torres, Agustin recorded and released his debut 'Iconoclasta' in 1998. In 2001 he released his second album 'Oxomorfosis' which I reviewed in issue #18 of AI. This is his third solo release to date and I have taken on the job once again because I liked 'Oxomorfosis' so much.

'El Retorno del Sol de Nada' or 'The Return of the Sun of Nothing' to give it it's English name, is a lengthy sixty-five minute album which delves into the varied influences that has affected Agustin's musical style over the years. It was recorded in Chicago between September 2001 - March 2002 on a digital 16-track recorder, which gives him a lot more depth considering 'Oxomorfosis', was recorded on an analogue 4-track recorder.

The album starts with "Entre Galaxias Heridas" a 7.26-minute phase of Brian Eno styled prog rock, which motions throughout in guitar freak out mode, passing over it's time with thought provoking style. Similar to "Tierra de Nadie" and "Algo Mas", these tracks are all done with spirit and energy, rawness and passion. "Algo Mas" has some great wah-wah guitar work and "Tierra de Nadie" has an interesting Vocal chant coming and going here and there. I like it.

There are some spacey moments here as well with "Eclipse" offering some sitar keyed sounds played in an almost Arabic vibe. Very mellow. "Penumbra" and "Monolito" are both very Tangerine Dream sounding oscillations-wise, sort of noise creation to start with but both build into something quite unexpected. "Penumbra" stirs the passions of an improvisation freak, whilst "Monolito" builds into some great wah-wah guitar. Very Quintessence in the freakout guitar way.

The title track "El Retorno del Sol de Nada" is a 7.23 minute journey in an almost Pink Floyd's Obscured By Clouds mould. The passages are very much in that vibe. The guitar is allowed to weave its magic over a very laid back stoned beat. Very Pink Floyd in its mellowness and sound, it floats along in a definite Obscured By Clouds mould whilst the beginning sounds exactly like "Goodbye Blue Sky" from The Wall. "El Fin" or "The End" is a mellow acoustic sounding piece similar to the beginning of "El Retorno del Sol de Nada". It has some nice slide stuff on it as well as spoken word taken from a short story of the same name by Jorge Luis Borges. I just wish I could understand it, as most of the words are in Spanish, I am guessing. Good stuff anyway, despite the language barrier.

Agustin Criollo has progressed on his quest into exploration of sound and has produced an album of good length that flows from start to finish. The music is creative and raw, it induces new thoughts and ideas, and it starts where 'Oxomorfosis' left off. The quality is 100% better than that of his previous release. The album as a whole is definitely in a style of his own, and it should appeal to a much wider audience for it delves into more varied styles ranging from Prog Rock to Ambient Noise Creation, Electronica to Triphop. Interesting combinations filled with great ideas, a very creative album.

For more information you can visit the Agustin Criollo web site at:
Hear music at Agustin's web site at:
Contact via snail mail c/o Agustin Criollo; 753 Storm Dr #2-A; W. Dundee, IL 60118.

Reviewed by Albert Pollard

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