BaudaThis is an interesting project from Bauda, a progressive rocker from Chile. In it he collaborates with Rene Rutten of The Gathering.

After a dramatic opening, “Vigil” is one of the most transfixing progressive tracks I’ve heard. It has that spaced out lazy days feel complete with sound progressions that you would associate with a track by The Gathering. But it’s much more than that. The vocalist, who I presume to be Bauda, has a clear and expressive voice and brings further life to this multi-faceted and well constructed classic rock song. He could have been singing about catastrophe but I felt calm. The title track which follows has more urgency but again in this fusion of calmness, wondrous but accessible patterns creep through every spore, and the vocalist responds to the movement and feeling.

After such bright openings, I was intrigued how “War”, the next track, was going to be dealt with. To a Gathering rhythm which resembles a clock’s pendulum, the vocalist captures a sad mood with great intensity but no drama. What’s so good about all of this is the construction. The rising surges and harmonies come in just at the right moment. There’s a lot of similarity with Porcupine Tree in the creation of vivid, lingering atmospheres and in the vocal output. An upbeat and colourful instrumental follows. Normal service is resumed with “Asleep in Layers”, another track of multiple layers and colours. The energetic and high-in-the-range guitar style here and elsewhere reminds me of 80s indie bands like The Housemartins with a bit of post rock. By comparison the start of “Dawn of Ages” was a bit mundane, but my expectations by now were very high. The drum beats darkly like on “Do They Know It’s Christmas”. The cosmic interlude could have been developed, I thought, but as ever the track opens up and expands like a flower and we find ourselves in the wonderland of dreamy vocals and exotic progressive sound patterns.

I didn’t know anything about Bauda before I heard “Sporelight” but I’m glad I know about them now. The result of this collaboration is a series of highly evocative and immaculately delivered progressive soundscapes.

(9/10 Andrew Doherty)