Band: Daddy Antogna Y Los de Helio
Band Website: www.myspace.com/daddyantognahelio
Label: Independent Release
Release Date: 2009
It’s always a treat to hear prog bands from South America and know that the genre is still alive and well in many different forms. I was contacted about the band Daddy Antogna Y Los de Helio some time back and was told they’d released a CD entitled Viva Belice. The band is based in Buenos Aires and features the original drummer from well-known groups such as Ave Rock and Pastoral. The group is made up of Daddy Antogna (drums), Fernando de la Vega (drums), Nicolás Diab (bass) and Alan Courtis (guitars). Just to provide a little extra colour they enlist the musicianship of Fernando Gallardo (violin, accordion & zampoña) and Carmen Levinson (violin, cello). The music here is not quite what I expected, not the traditional melodic symphonic style. You’ll want to put this disc in the “adventurous” category.
Viva Belice is 8-tracks clocking in at 44-minutes with most of these instrumental compositions running in the 4 to 5-minute range. Musically you can tell by looking at the line-up that this is going to be a little different. And in fact there are a couple of musical threads that pop up instantly; for one thing this music is both more intense and more complex, with almost a jazzy flair or at times a hint of 20th century classical. The guitar tends to bring a harder rock edge to the music but it usually is more of an embellishment to the whole proceedings. There are moments where the music is angular, even slightly dissonant and then other times where it’s soft, mellow and moody. If you have a chance check out their You Tube videos, because you get to see the band sitting in a room facing each other with each musician doing their thing, and that’s the way the music comes across. It’s a kind of “heads-down” grooving, almost improvised kind of sound. That said they manage to lock on to some great melodic riffs and then spice it up with the more abstract moments. These compositions still project a distinct proggy flair for musical shifts in time, tempo and structure.
This disc was originally released back about 2009, but it’s the first I’ve heard of them so hopefully they have some new material coming along soon, because it’s clear they work really well together. I’m going to suggest the music of Daddy Antogna Y Los de Helio is going to appeal most to fans of bands such as Djam Karet as there are many similarities in sound. All in all it’s a fascinating listen. Check them out.