Toti Soler

MR 413LP MR 413LP

Munster Records present a first time vinyl reissue of Toti Soler's self-titled second album, originally released in 1973. Toti Soler's second album, together with Sabicas, Smash from 1971-72, and the recording Paco de Lucía made with jazzman Pedro Iturralde, were seminal in creating flamenco fusion, a blend that has travelled far. Soler's syncretism between Hispalis and the Catalan Mediterranean, another form of fusion, was released perhaps paradoxically by Edigsa, the label that the guitarist worked with the most, the founding spirit of which was to safeguard the local language, Catalan. In 1972, the ancient call of flamenco took Soler to Andalusia, where he studied under the renowned guitarist Diego del Gastor. When he returned to Barcelona, he commenced a long parallel chapter as acoustic accompanist for the singer-songwriter Ovidi Montllor from Alcoy, leaving rock and the electric guitar behind. However, watts and rock still pulse through in his second LP (self-titled but also referred to as El Gat Blanc), 1973, but play a minor role. Spanish guitar and flamenco metonymies flourish on this theoretically transitional instrumental work, which would become one the most popular of his discography. The arid but magnetic notes of the first track on the album, "Sardana Flamenca" delve deeper into the subconscious, which Soler recorded on his own with his Spanish guitar, except the electric pieces where members of the band OM helped out. The synthesis that works in "Sardana Flamenca" is aromatic, hypnotic, luminescent. The song formed a quadtych with the following three tracks: "El Gat Blanc", "Tristenge", and "Guisela"; ablutions in flamenco waters, scented with folk-blues salts. "Taj Mahal" is a tribute to his friend and fellow musician, where drums make a timid appearance, demonstrating Soler's success on this project. "D'una Manera Silenciosa" is a delightful flamenco adaptation of "In A Silent Way". "Balada En Sol" returns to Spanish guitar, making an inspiring crossing from the Catalan coast in Maresme to the bay of San Francisco. "Sevilla", the longest track, became, the second most popular song on the album after "Sardana Flamenca". It was a scintillating freak meeting of Smash and Hot Rats, and the last recording for OM, with hefty improvisation and torrents of wah-wah. The final track, "Estudi" returned to acoustic territory, mixing Andalusi blues with a warm Californian glow. Several generations have already discovered in this album one of the key works to understand many of the things that happened later in Catalan and Spanish pop. Includes an insert with notes and a rare Toti Soler photo.