Kharmina Buranna - El Arte de Seguir Vivos. 2008 Mylodon (Chile)
Kharmina Buranna - Seres Humanos. 2012 Azafran (Mexico); 2012 Musea (France)
Though from Peru, Kharmina Buranna remind me quite a bit of the 1970s Argentine progressive rock scene. They squarely fit the "retro prog" category and play a direct mix of early 70s styled blues rock mixed with classic era Yes, and a dose of 70s Italian progressive rock. So imagine a cross between El Reloj and Ave Rock! Other guideposts would include Invisible, Agnus, and Espiritu. Kharmina Buranna definitely are Western European sounding, and do not possess any indigenous elements in their sound, differentiating them from their peers like Flor de Loto or Supay. "El Arte de Seguir Vivos" has many twists and turns, and contains a fat 70s analog sound. It holds up well on repeated listens, and something new reveals itself each time - always the hallmark of a great album.
"Seres Humanos" continues in the same path, though they aren't as pointedly retro, and their sound has been updated ever so slightly. While the analog keyboards and production are still in full force, the composition style reminds me of the best bands of the early 90s. Gone is the blues rock, and in its place is a more stately sound with added female vocals. I hear a cross between Quaterna Requiem with Solstice in many places (though there is no violin). I found their new album no less enjoyable than the debut, despite a conscious move away from the early 70s style. The compositions are multi threaded and consistently engaging. Kharmina Buranna has certainly put forth a strong argument that they may be the best pure symphonic progressive rock band from South America today.