Creatively speaking AISLES the prog-rock outfit from Chile [reminiscent of Yes or Marillion] are at their best point now … totally connected “both as humans and musicians.”
There have been several members of AISLES over the years, including founder members now departed, but this band now feels complete — very tight — the current line-up with new members such as Juan Pablo Gaete on keyboards, is impeccable.
Their vibrant alliances and their subtly crafted rock, progressive, art rock, fusion, world music and other unique styles exemplify the open-minded and eclectic musical vision of the band.
AISLES have long been regarded as Prog Rock, but their approach to music goes far beyond that definition. They create very interesting and powerfully unique musical experiences that cannot be hastily pigeon-holed.
The AISLES new double album HAWAII was conceived during the first period of hot-housing that the band-members had indulged in since “The Yearning”  and is, conceptually, a complete package.
It begins with “The Poet Part I – Dusk” with golden Santana-like guitars [Rodrigo Sepúlveda & Germán Vergara] and twinkling keys.
After a bit of agitation, things settle down with a belching electronic beat. Here the vocal [Sebastián Vergara ] is pasted thin. And sets out the concept. Before a sizzling Genesis type rip in the structure lets in light and bubbles.
“The Poet Part II – New World” is gently efficient. The perfect chirping sounds are angelic in quality. The tender voice leans against an acoustic guitar. AISLES are famed for their melody and virtuosity and you will not be disappointed here.
The track “Upside Down” has already been released to audiences. You can hear it below. It is a generous grand piano-accompanied song with a lyrical voice that reminded us of Geddy Lee. With the shimmering cymbal-play [Felipe Candia] and radiant guitars that extend throughout the piece like the spokes of a wheel, this is accessible and is almost certain to take you to a higher place.
“Terra” on disc 2 is soft and harmonious. A melancholy guitar sighs, while an acoustic guitar manages to collect and add to short rhythms. For lovers of gently evolving soundscapes, and fans of Mike Oldfield [amongst others] this is a rewarding experience.The voice is carefuly placed to add quality and gravitas, and the whole thing sparkles like a waterfall.
“Club Hawaii” — possibly the facade illustrated on the album cover — explains or resolves any questions you might have. But also it opens a door into a new upshot whose consequence might yet be devastating.
Towards the end you reach the eloquent “Upside Down” again — with its sophisticated waltz patterns and immense scope. And thus onto the sign-out darkness and mist of “CH-7” with clever Floyd-like use of photocopy rhythms to create a whirlwind of beautiful music traps that tend to hold the listeners head down, under water as it were, to suffocate with wonderful strains.
For lovers of Santana, Steve Hackett and vintage Marillion this is symphonious, mellifluous and happily nostalgic.
Worth seeking out, this is perhaps one of the most far-reaching and rewarding progressive album of the year.
Out July 29 on Presagio Records