Get this crazy baby off my head!



Mahtrak - Panorama - 2004 - Editio Princeps

Debut CD from Brazilian Jazz-Rock band Mahtrak. Mind-blowing instrumental music with a very distinct vintage sound. If you like classic Jazz-Rock from the seventies, this one is for you! © http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/mahtrak

Smoking hot fusion quartet from Brazil. This one is a pure burner from beginning to end. The band is modeled after 70s fusion bands like Return To Forever and Mahavishnu Orchestra but with a bit more rock bite a la Kenso. Keyboards feature liquid synth solos, blistering Hammond and Rhodes and even Mellotron. Guitarist Antonio Rodrigues adds a bit more distortion to his sound then what you would expect form a fusion player but it all blends with the high energy of the music. Great unison lines between keys and guitar propel the disc along. © LasersEdge

Samba! That is definitely the first musical synonym that we get, when we hear Brasil (although, samba actually has roots in African music). But jazz-rock ensemble Mahtrak is trying to bring brasilian jazz-rock and progressive rock scene to life. Their idols are obviously Return to Forever, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Weather Report, Caravan, Soft Machine and such; as we can see, all this groups are from Europe or North America. So Mahtrak wants to become, like their idols, synonym for the music of their continent, South America. Album “Panorama” is a perfect start to fill that empty space that is under the label of jazz-rock in south-american musical culture. “Panorama” was recorded 3 years after guitarist Antonio Rodrigues, drummer Cris Oliveira, bassist Fabio Cesar and keyboardist Paulo Viana had formed their band; “Panorama” was released in its final form in 2009. On the album, Mahtrak is staying loyal to the prime sound of jazz-rock that evolved in seventies of 20. century, to experimentations with Hammond, Rhodes and Mellotron in combination with vintage, classic rock sound of electric guitar. A very nice surprise is also that musicians didn’t make a seventy-ish minute long record, as it is a “progressive” norm – they rather did a 40-minute one, which is, well, kind of refreshing. Band opens the album impressively with a wonderful “Tempestade”. Guitar and keyboards cooperate in an unbelievable maneuver. Although Viana plays just a few chords on the keys, it is perfectly compliable with Rodrigues’ fenomenal solo playing – he plays with a real feeling. “Breeza” represents a beautiful keys melody, and serves as some kind of a bridge for the first and third track. Epical “Tempestade” is so flown into a humorous “Nachos y Tequila”. Cheerful jazz-rock party-like song represents a relaxation before “harder” parts of the album – jazz-rock meets disco and funk. Still, the structure of the song itself is rather complex, full of classical jazz-rock elements. “Sinestesia” is once again a keys-oriented track that introduces the sound of Mellotron. A beautiful melody drives us toward a fifth track of the album, “Mantra”. “Mantra” is a more straight forward jazz-rock track that is very Brand X-like. The next one is a title track, “Panorama”, that really pictures the theme of the album, the point of it all, the sky and the clouds and the sitting under them. It is probably the song made with the most effort, as it is also one of the longest creations on the album. Album goes to the second half with “Frankenstein goes to Disneyland”. Intro creates a hard, horrorish atmosphere that is accompanied by a chaotic sound of guitar. The track is somehow funky, which probably represents the “Disneyland” part of the song, and the horror-like part of the song is “Frankenstein” part. “Frankenstein goes to Disneyland” is probably the most original-sounding song on the album. After that horror we expect another keys-oriented “bridge”, and we get one - »Il Tamburo Spaziale«. It is a bridge to the ninth track of »Panorama«, Crystal Canyon«. This one is a more of a gentle song, very touchy and full of feeling. »Crystal Canyon« gets rid of the darkness, which was the prime subject of some of the previous songs. The same gentle sound continues on “Venus”, which pictures a beautiful woman, a goddess. The melody is a bit sentimental, very emotional. The last song is called “Oraculo” and it means oracle. It is a song, where all the musicians chip in and show all their musical knowledge. It is where Mahtrak really shines. Mahtrak’s debut is really something. It shows what a great musical vision the band has, and because of that, the band already has quite a fan base. Their superb feeling for combining music from seventies and interpreting it into a modern sounding one is unbelievable. On the top of all, Mahtrak has their own way of playing and creating their music, and that makes them unique. That is why the expectations are big, and I myself can’t wait for their second album. © http://www.mahtrak.com/imprensa_port.html

In 1995, Cris Oliveira and Fabio César, which were then part of Magna, invited Paulo Viana to join their band. They released an EP, did some gigs and split after two years. The musicians moved on to several musical projects till they met again in 2000 and decided to form Solarshift, a progressive rock trio with classical and jazz rock influences. Solarshift was getting some material ready to start the production of their first album when, on a rehearsal, they met guitarist Antonio Rodrigues. As consequence of that the four of them started jamming during those rehearsals, and those jams built into some new and exciting material, which led to a decision: they'd take that direction and this new band would be called Mahtrak. For the next two years they worked heavily on new compositions. In 2004 Mahtrak started the recording of their first CD, PANORAMA. All of them did their best to make sure that the production sounded true to the vintage sound from the seventies, as well as the essential elements to the genre: sharp compositions, improvisation, vigorous bass and drums and breathtaking guitar and keyboard solos. Though they were influenced by the great jazzrock names from the seventies – specially bands such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, The Eleventh House, Soft Machine, Passport, and musicians such as Stanley Clarke, Chick Corea, Jeff Beck, Al di Meola, George Duke, Billy Cobham and several others – Mahtrak has a style of their own, and the tracks you're listening to showcase very well the personality of each member. When the production of PANORAMA ended the musicians turned their attention to other projects. In 2006 Cris Oliveira, Paulo Viana and Fabio César returned their activity with Solarshift and a debut CD is now being produced – it presents original material and features also a chamber orchestra playing with the band. Fabio César also plays bass in the hard rock band King Bird and recorded their second CD, SUNSHINE, released in 2008. This work had also Paulo Viana as special guest. In 2009, Mahtrak has reformed with new guitarrist Fred Berlowitz to support the release of Panorama. Since then the band has been rehearsing regularly and preparing new material for their second CD. - © Album Notes © http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/mahtrak

Mahtrak is a jazz-rock ensemble, born in 2001. The band's material sounds very original but at the same time true to the genre, yet mixing in a generous dose of progressive rock. On "Panorama", their debut CD, recorded in 2004, they explore the vintage sounds of Hammond organ, Mellotron and Fender Rhodes, assimilating influences from such seminal artists az the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Caravan, Soft Machine, Jeff Beck, Return to Forever and Weather Report. Line-up / Musicians - Paulo Viana / keyboards © http://jrock.com.ar/?name=Mahtrak

Not a groundbreaking album, but nevertheless a quite good Brazilian jazz rock album. If you like extremely well played classic guitar and keyboard dominated jazz-rock with a retro 70's sound you may enjoy this album [All tracks @ 320 Kbps: File size = 92.9 Mb]


1. Tempestade (7:01)
2. Breeza (1:33)
3. Nachos Y Tequila (3:52)
4. Sinestesia (2:39)
5. Mantra (2:42)
6. Panorama (5:35)
7. Frankenstein Goes To Disneyland (3:59)
8. Il Tamburo Spaziale (1:10)
9. Crystal Canyon (4:48)
10. Venus (2:52)
11. Oraculo (5:12)

Tracks 1,2,3,5,6,7,9,10,11 composed by Antonio Nogueira & Cristiano Alves: Track 4 composed by Paulo Viana: Track 8 composed by Cristiano Oliveira


Antonio Rodrigues - Guitar
Fabio César - Bass Guitar
Paulo Viana - Keyboards
Cris Oliveira - Drums, Percussion

1 comment:

A.O.O.F.C said...

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