Fiat Lux: The Complete Recordings 1977-2000

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Decibel was Mexico's answer to the late-'70s Rock-in-Opposition movement. Fiat Lux gathers the group's two previously released albums (El Poeta del Ruido, 1980, and Furtuna Virilis Plus (2000), and adds tons of rare and unreleased material. This is available either as a 3-CD box set with an extra booklet, or as three separate CDs. El Poeta del Ruido Plus... reissues the first album. Here the music consists of highly complex instrumental rock with lots of free improvisation. Henry Cow is an obvious influence. The instrumentation weighs more toward the acoustic than the electric, with violin, clarinet, piano, and percussion, and the tone is mostly festive, verging on the circus. Very demanding, the music sounds meticulously written down, even though it leaves a lot of room for collective improvisation. This first disc adds tracks recorded at UNAM radio in Mexico City (1979), and live at the first Rock in Opposition Festival in Mexico City in June 1978. Disc Two, titled Furtuna Virilis Plus presents the album that cemented the group's reunification after a hiatus of more than 15 years. Understandably, these recordings are very different and consist almost exclusively of free improvisation. The mood is much darker, but there is still something constantly whimsical about the music. The instrumentation has also changed, and now features more prominently keyboards, drum machine, and loops or samples, but the violin of Alejandro Sanchez remains a signature. To the 1998 sessions originally released as Furtuna Virilis Plus, this reissue adds a few more tracks recorded in 1992 and 1996. Disc Three presents brand new live recordings from March 2000, and archives from 1977-1979. The latter-half of the disc is marred by very poor sound quality and, quality of the music notwithstanding, will appeal only to the most devoted listeners, but the 2000 material is excellent and shows the group integrating the two personas previously pictured into a better whole.