Optical Delusions

Planeta Imaginario
Non-Airable Tracks: 
Cuneiform Records
Album Art: 


Planeta Imaginario (“Imaginary Planet”) are a jazz-fusion sextet from Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain named after a 1980's children's television program produced in the same location. I specify this because, for those of you who don't know, Catalans are crazy people – which as someone of Catalan descent I am allowed to say, not to mention just look at Salvador Dalí and Joan Miró's paintings, but more on that later. Optical Delusions additionally is the band's third album – their sophomore effort Biomasa having been their debut on Cuneiform Records – and initially jumps out at me for several reasons other than this being a jazz-fusion band in 2011: (1) This band had 11 members when they formed in 1999, then 8, now 6 (2) this is supposed to be supposed more “jazzy” and In a Silent Way like than their previous recordings (which, mind you, I have not listened to) and (3) two non-subsequent 3-part movements titled “The Little Dog-Man's Clinical Preludes” and “Imperfect Elements in Red Quartz” that are shorter in their entirety than most songs on the album. Preconceptions aside, this is an extremely imaginative recording and a highly rewarding listen. On the “The Garden of Happy Cows” alone you'll find variations between world, jazz, and rock percussion, electronic instrumentation, and sick organ and sax solos. What does this mean exactly? That genres be damned – Prog-rock? Jazz in its many varieties? Experimental? - Planeta Imaginario is going to play whatever they want and they are going to kick ass at it whether its straight ahead with a certain feel, ambient and vague, and free, best explained perhaps in the amazing sampling on “Pure and Imperfect Art Element.” As a last note, what is most fascinating about this band aside from the stunning work of the rhythm section with Dimitris Bikos on fretless bass and Vasco Trilla Gomes dos Santos and many duties of keyboardist/bandleader Marc Capel is the band's focus on visuals when their art is so abstract. Named after a television program and surrealist song titles that at the very least invoke outlandish imagery...I dunno, some food for thought.

Sounds Like: 
Chick Corea, Joe Zawinul, Positive Catastrophe
Recommended Tracks: 
Angioma (Track 5)**** - more ridiculous electronics, cool sax and trombone solos; lotsa genre shifts
Hermangioma(Track 7*** - very Zappa-esque
Imperfect Persuasive Element (Track 12)*** - really, really fucking good sax solo
Jonathan Cohen
Date Reviewed: