Jos?Luis Fernandez Ledesma Q. Reviews

Also see: Nirgal Vallis

Bookmarks: Sol Central

From: Mark Fonda <>
I have just received a wonderful album called EXTRACTOS from our friend from the Luna Negra, S.C. label... Juan Jos?Salas R. (Thanks!!) Overall, this is a fabulous orchestral, pastoral, symphonic and multi-faceted endeavor... along the lines of AFTER CRYING from Hungary or HECENIA from France... very continental or provincial sounding. It was produced over a 7-year period from 1986 to 1993 by JOS?LUIS FERN?DEZ LEDESMA Q., the keyboardist for Nirgal Vallis ("Y Muri?la Tarde"). It is all instrumental (except for a couple of small vocal tracks) with the emphasis on keyboards (naturally)... a real 'epic' style with many colors and flavors of instrumental progressive including piano, synth, organ, harpsichord, violin, guitar, saxophone, flute, percussion,  etc. The composition and production are immaculate with every single note and passage in perfect order and harmony. This is what modern prog-rock is supposed to be all about!!! According to Juan Jos? EXTRACTOS is a compilation of some music for theater plays and other tracks more in the same vein of Nirgal Vallis. However, unlike NV, which is more neo-Prog due to the strong use of vocals, Extractos has vocals on only two tracks, both female and well done... one by Alquimia (some of you may recognize her for her own recordings which feature a very nice voice, rhythm and synth repertoire!) The tracks flow together in a splendid combination of powerful, passionate and lively themes interweaving with others which are delicate, playful and melancholic. Most of the tracks have some acoustic piano and synth but from there the mix varies with plenty of variety and change of pace and mood. The keyboard playing is sumptuous throughout and it can be compared favorably to either Rick Wakeman or Tony Banks. All of the lyrics and liner notes are in Spanish. Jos?Luis has another solo recording "Motivos para Perderse" which is on the Musea label. It is a conceptual album about an imaginary journey. He also has an album on ReR Megacorp with singer/composer Alquimia called "Lenguas Muertas"... translation "Dead Tongues" (!?).

From: "upnsm0ke" <>
np: J.L.F. Ledesma, 'Extractos' ...a very tasteful, evocative album. I like the saxes on track four. It's very different from what I expected, but listening to an album where instrumental chops are 'not' on the walls and the ceiling was actually refreshing.   You can thank Mark Fonda for recommending it, too. Actually, he said if I didn't order it, he'd have a bunch of thugs tie me up and drop me on the doorstep of The Blue Oyster! So how many releases does Ledesma have? Are they instrumental/vocal/both?

From: "Luna Negra S.C." <>
Jos?Luis Fern?dez Ledesma has two solo releases on CD: "MOTIVOS PARA PERDERSE" (Musea); "EXTRACTOS" (Luna Negra).
He has also recorded with his group NIRGAL VALLIS: "Y Muri?la Tarde" (Musea); One track on "Pangea, The World of Progressive Music" (Luna Negra). and one with mexican singer ALQUIMIA: "Dead Tongues" (ReR). There will soon be a new Luna Negra release by JLFL, "Sol Central" which we think will be available by May '99. And, yes, they all are both, instrumental and vocal.

From: Brian Phraner <> Juan (@ Luna Negra) and I recently did a CD swap. I sent him our latest CD "Crossing the Sound" and told him he could send me anything he wanted from the Mexican Prog scene, so he sent me "Sol Central". I believe that is both the name of the group and the CD (I put it into my CD holder for travel so I haven't looked at the cover since I got it - "Juan, you could correct me if I'm wrong?"). They have both male and female vocals in Spanish and a wide variety of instruments including wood winds. They have a nice writing style that sometimes reminds me at time of a blend of early PFM, Gentle Giant and Esperanto (anyone remember them?) with a love of dissonance that you usually find in a authentic tango orchestra (I know that's a stretch. This is much different from tango music but I'm sure these people grew up hearing a lot of close harmonic intervals) or even like King Crimson. They also reminded me a bit of Thinking Plague (whose music I also love) There's even one spot where it sounds like someone playing lead melody on a modem. This music really takes some time to listen to and you have to have a tolerance for people playing with occasional abandon, strange and dissonant melodies or harmonies and the occasional slight tuning disagreements (which in the context of this music works). I Love it. IMHO

From: "Luna Negra, S.C." <> Just some notes about Brian's review on "Sol Central". Actually it's not a band. It's the third Jose Luis Fernandez Ledesma - here with his girlfriend, Margarita Botello- CD (other two are "Motivos para Perderse" and "Extractos"). Jos?Luis is the keyboard player for Nirgal Vallis (with one CD "...Y Muri?la Tarde"). Yes, both Jose Luis and Margarita sing and play all instruments and also there's and oboe player, and the drummer of Kromlech, Leo Pati?. I must add there's a lot of Magma/ After Crying sound-like. Sometimes symphonic, sometimes more RIO oriented.

From: "Luna Negra, S.C." <> Subject: Sol Central FYI: This will be the roundtable review that will appear in Expos?Magazine about one of our latest releases: Jos?Luis Fernandez Ledesma Q. & Margarita Botello "Sol Central" (Luna Negra CDLN-12, 2000, CD) Peter Thelen: Ledesma should be known to most Expos?readers, via his "Dead Tongues" collaboration with Alquimia (reviewed issue 10) and more recently his "Motivos Para Perdere" (issue #12) and "Extractos" (issue #17 web-overflow). These are all excellent releases and come highly recommended, but none could completely prepare the listener for this most recent collaboration with vocalist/percussionist Margarita Botello. Ledesma provides the composition, keyboards, kalimba, ocarinas, voices and sound manipulation, while guests (including Alquimia, German Bringas, and Leonardo Patino of Kromlech) fill in the gaps with additional voices, woodwinds, trumpets, drums and loops. Most of this comprises the lengthy seven-part title suite, a multi-layered composition that brings together all the diverse elements into a delicately balanced whole, far beyond any routinely identifiable influences. Ethnic musics, complex rhythms, shimmering melodies, and a strong electronic component are all embedded within the fabric of the piece, at times giving it a very avant-garde face, while at other times a relaxed and spiritual nature. Botello's multi-part vocalizations(and Ledesma's as well), often multi-tracked and treated with effects, float melodically over a dense and rhythmic base where electronics, percussion, and other instrumentation create a colorful backdrop and support vehicle. One might occasionally be reminded of Jade Warrior (island period), Thinking Plague, or even Opus Avantra. The overall effect is quite stunning and unique. Closing the disc is the nine minute "Pueblos Perdidos", a more serene and intensely spiritual piece based on droning electronics, loops, floating trumpet, percussion, and voices. Highly recommended! Mike Ezzo: Mexican progressive music usually follows one of two patterns: that of the symphonic '70s; or the ethnic hybrid '80s/'90s. Ledesma however plots his own trajectory. Subscribers may wish to peruse previous issues for more information about this former Nirgal Vallis member's past work. A word of warning, however, is due. The sedate and pastoral sounds of that side of his output will not prepare you for "Sol Central". This time, the rhythmic vitality has taken a powerful shot in the arm. Ledesma keeps the proceedings churning to the end, by adding various percussives and winds to the fold. The result is an engaging Mexican twist on the European RIO approach, that carefully subverts its experimentation beneath a strong sense of melody and form. One might compare it perhaps to some of the Art Bears' work, but the difference here is that the lyrics are not grounded in mundane everyday concepts to do with the human condition and politics. Rather they deal with the magical and natural world, by use of allegory and metaphor. His vocalists sing in a more traditional operatic custom, as befitting this unique concept. Finally, the whole package is highly appealing with its fold-open cover, including some beautiful art work, and lyric translations (into English). Here is one CD that I neither knew of nor expected, but look forward to delving into further in the future. Steve Robey: Mexico is well known for its fine contributions to progressive rock, but I am still surprised at the ambitiousness and uniqueness of this fine release. Sporting a ringing endorsement from avant-rock trendsetter Chris Cutler inside the booklet, this release equally emphasizes the lush, symphonic attributes of classical prog with the forward-looking ambition of the RIO movement. Consisting of a 35-minute, 7-part masterwork and a pensive 9-minute closer, Sol Central employs a wide range of vocal textures, acoustic and electric sounds, and wonderful lyrical content (sung by Botello in a resounding, impressive soprano). Fernandez Ledesma Q is a restless, imaginative composer, handling most of the instrumental work while covering more stylistic ground than most bands do with a 5-piece lineup. I was often reminded of 5uu's with the unconventional harmonies, rapid pace, and layered keyboards alternating between lush synth textures, warm piano sounds, and percussive madness causing sharp turns at every juncture. The 35-minute title track contains both vocal and instrumental movements, juxtaposing philosophical musings (sung in Spanish, with English translations also included in the booklet) with equally probing, fiery interludes. Botello's empathetic, involved vocal sections indicate a great deal of involvement in arranging the difficult material, and easily justify her equal billing on the project. Several guests contribute oboe, sax, trumpet, and electronic embellishments, and help to create a dense, multi-faceted whole. The pairing of Fernandez and Botello produces a wonderful, mystical, dangerous opus that should appeal greatly to most readers out there. This should be a cinch for my top ten list for the year.

From: Brian Phraner <> Subject: Re: Sol Central > within the fabric of the piece
I've probably listened to this CD (Sol Central) 30 times in the last few months, usually while I'm at cruising altitude (- yes... on an airplane!) I've been trying to flood my sub-conscience with the magic in this disc in hopes it's influence will somehow surface subtly while I'm writing tunes for Phreeworld's next CD. Is that legal?

From: "Luna Negra, S.C." <> Subject: Best of 2000 (According to
Jose Luis Fernandez Ledesma Q. / Margarita Botello (Mexico) 2000 - "Sol Central" (45 min, "Luna Negra")
Line-up: Jose Luis Fernandez Ledesma Q.; Margarita Botello (did you notice - she's also a player!) - vocal, synth-bass, percussion
Music / Lyrics: JLFLQ (except 1,2 - JLFLQ/Botello; 6 - Alquimia/JLFLQ)
Prologue. The hero of this review, whose full name includes another two words (they do it like that - sometimes they give the full name), and who has in reality something in common with Columbus, because he with his creation does no less than discover new territories for progressive rock, put out, together with singer Margarita Botello, his second album in general and for the excellent Mexican label Luna Negra in particular.
The album. Generally, however, the music and the singing are here so independent from everything heard before, that only a person who knows our genre inside out will realize why for example an apple tree has among other apples not even a pear or a pineapple, but something totally unknown, wonderfully delicious, and the taste is completely new. Still, the 'insider-out' sees that this strange fruit grows on the apple tree, he just sees it. And though the taste tells something different, even contradictory, turned upside down and dusted with powdered sugar, the 'insider-out' feels that the powdered sugar, like sand in the eyes (and this to him?), clouds his sight of the apple tree, but his memory is good, thanks to God, and he trusts it not to lie to him.
Summary. A pure masterpiece in all possible and impossible meanings of this cocnrete word.

From:  Subject: NR 20 - 2001 (Luna Negra Special)
JOS?LUIS FERN?DEZ LEDESMA Q. / MARGARITA BOTELLO - Sol Central Rating: * * * * * MEXICO 2000 LUNA NEGRA CDLN-12 Time: 44:58
Track listing: I. Sol central (35:45) 1. Datura Inoxia 2. Amnesia 3. El avatar 4. Por los cuatro costados 5. La gran feria 6. Ciencias celester 7. La de los acertijos II. Pueblos perdidos (9:03)
Jos?Luis Fern?dez Ledesma Q's and Margarita Botello's album "Sol Central" is a really thrilling album. This is a album that would've suited the magnificent Cuneiform label perfectly. It is however released on the Mexican label Luna Negra. This was a new experience for me, but I have heard that this is Jos?Luis Fern?dez Ledesma Q's second album, but his first collaboration with Margarita Botello on vocals. The experimental music has similarities to bands such as Eskaton, Forever Einstein, Henry Cow, Dave Kerman & 5uu's, King Crimson, Magma, Thinking Plague and Volap?. I guess that the music may be to extreme even for many progressive rock fans, but if you're familiar with and like the artist on the Cuneiform label you will love this album as much as I do. This is one of the top releases from 2000, a progressive masterpiece. Check it out! -Reviewed by Greger R?nqvist-
Contact: JLFLQ. Arteaga y Salazar 1046 Contadero, Cuajimalpa 05500, M?ico, D.F. Tel: 58 12 04 35
Jos?Luis Fern?dez Ledesma Discography: Extractos (M?ico, 1997) CDLN-03 Sol Central (M?ico, 2000) CDLN-12
JLFLQ. Arteaga y Salazar 1046
Contadero, Cuajimalpa
05500, M?ico, D.F.
Tel: 58 12 04 35
Jos?Luis Fern?dez Ledesma Discography:
Extractos (M?ico, 1997) CDLN-03
Sol Central (M?ico, 2000) CDLN-12

From: Otso Pakarinen <> Subject: Sol Central
Hello list, I recently had the good fortune of getting the "Sol Central" CD by Jose Luis Fernandez Ledesma Q. and Margarita Botello from Luna Negra. It's not quite "e-prog" but who cares - this list seems to have developed to a more general progressive list anyway (not a bad thing IMO). Their style is reminiscent of Magma and Univers Zero; some Gentle Giant, Canterbury prog and Zappa influences can be heard here and there. (A note to Captain MDA: yeah, this albums is probably not your cup of tea...) To my ears this album is, simply put, amazing! All songs are strong, varied and exceptionally well played. Margarita Botello's vocals are gorgeous (also Alquimia guests on one track - their voices blend together beautifully). The stuff is reasonably complex, sometimes approaching classical music in a similar way to Univers Zero. All in all, this is one of the absolutely best progressive albums I have heard lately (only one other recent progressive album excited me as much as this one: Zinkl & Alquimia's "Underwater" - now that is DEFINITELY e-prog!) Bottom line: if you're into Zeuhl and RIO -type prog, you can't afford to miss "Sol Central"! The album is available from Luna Negra.