Gustavo Cerati 11 Episodios Sinfonicos
From the rubble of Argentina comes Gustavo Cerati's 11 Episodios Sinfónicos (11 Symphonic Episodes), further proof that the country's inhabitants create musical masterpieces despite their perpetually horrific political situation. The album is a compilation of the greatest hits of Soda Stereo—Cerati's former band—and his solo efforts, remade with the strings, horns and percussion of classical music. Recorded with a full orchestra live last year in Buenos Aires, the result is a symphonic tour de force, more of a Strauss tone poem than the terrain of rock en español. The arrangements keep the basic chords of the originals but abandon the new wave- and Brit pop-esque sounds that defined Soda Stereo for more epic-sounding rhythms. This is a good thing, since the natural grandeur of an orchestra gives the songs on 11 Episodios the proper platform to highlight the beauty of Cerati's songwriting and voice. Not all is grand, though: thanks to a weird theremin present in nearly every song and Cerati's lyrics of loss and hurt (sounding especially poignant after Argentina's recent socioeconomic strife), a pall of melancholy hangs over the performance. But he offers salvation with "Un Millón Años de Luz" ("A Million Light-Years"), a triumphant cry whose refrain "Don't come back without reason/I'll be a million light years away from home" takes on a new meaning of emancipation for long-suffering Argentines. Hopefully, the rumors of Cerati performing in our area sometime soon are true so we can be privy to this testament to the creativity of the oppressed.
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