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Herba d’Hameli, Spain

 
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First published on October 7, 2012 and moved forward to highlight their new album Interiors.

Herba d'Hameli are one of my favorite current bands who play in a style rarely heard anymore - that of the late 70s French and Spanish progressive movements. The band is still active and playing live as of April 2016.

Herba d'Hameli - Inversa Visual. 2009 private (CD); 2010 Musea Parallele (France CD)
Herba d'Hameli - Girafes a Sibèria. 2011 private (CD)
Herba d'Hameli - Interiors. 2015 private (CD)

According to both PA and RYM, there are three albums preceding these. I haven't heard them to date.

----Inversa Visual

Herba d’Hameli mix contemporary progressive rock with music of the past generation, one that hasn’t been heard in Spain since the glory days of Gotic and Ibio. And perhaps no surprise concerning Gotic, as Herba d’Hameli are also from Catalonia (Barcelona). Flute plays a main part to their overall sound, and frequently drives the melodic and solo sections. Rounding the sound out, you’ll also hear acoustic/electric guitar, keyboards (mix of digital and analog), bass and drums. What makes Inversa Visual so special is their instrumental melodic quotient. Herba d’Hameli are not flashy, and rely on their instinctive ability to write a memorable tune. By memorable, I do not mean pop, but rather something that puts smile on your face without resorting to the kitschy. Lyrics are sung in the Catalan language (though keep in mind, this is still primarily an instrumental album). Oddly enough, the vocals possess a certain restrained characteristic, similar to some of the modern Italian progressive bands.

----Girafes a Sibèria

Girafes a Sibèria: One of the key ingredients to the greatness of the previous album Inversa Visual was the beautiful flute work which immediately called to mind the great Catalan group Gotic. Said member has since left the group, and yet this album is just as stunning, which surprises me probably more than anyone else. So how did they make up the significant loss you may ask? Stunning synthesizer and guitar playing is how, with plenty of rhythm changes to keep you involved. Beautiful melodies never fail either, and L'Herba d'Hameli prove themselves here as well. This is the rare modern progressive rock album that has the warmth of a mid 1970s release. The Catalan vocals also have a soft affected tone to them which adds to the positive nature of the recording. Classic 1970's era Camel looms large here, and it's all for the better.

----Interiors

Three years later and we now have Herba d'Hameli's 6th album, and the 3rd we've heard. First thing we notice: Welcome back the flute! And along with the new flautist comes a new vocalist in tow, who brings with him the virility of a classic 70s Italian progressive rock singer. But still sung in wonderful Catalan, giving it that distinct regional quality. The music continues along the path of its predecessors, and is a wonderful example of that late 1970s symphonic progressive sound as found in Spain, France, and Quebec during that era. One can also hear the sounds of Kenso "II" coming through, the Japanese band themselves being astute students of this most wonderful subgenre. Hearing this album is like visiting the group in winter at a local taverna with a fine bottle of wine, excellent food, a roaring fire, and genuine camaraderie. That is to say the music is familiar, comfortable, and very much welcome. An old friend we hope we will hear from soon again.

Last update: August 20, 2016

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Kenso - s/t. 1980 Pam (LP); 1995 Arcangelo (CD)
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