Aisles – Hawaii

Aisles Hawaii Album cover ghostcultmag

It was in 2013 and across the next couple of years that Chilean proggers Aisles would all of a sudden hit the radars of the wider Prog community with an impact with their third album 4:45am (Presagio Records); a splendid release which showed particular homage to Rush amongst other prog greats. That it did so without aping too much and bringing in their own identity showed that they were ones to really watch for. Now, with latest effort, the double-sided Hawaii(Presagio Records), that potential proves more than realised.

With a concept which depicts the establishment of space colonies after the loss and destruction of Earth, and the exploration of new artistry of this future time; Hawaii showcases a much richer soundscape which, when digging deeper, reveals more contemporary influences and wider directions than on previous releases.

The familiarity of Rush and Van Der Graaf Generator sit alongside the at times melancholic likes of Steven Wilson and the otherworldly air of Sound Of Contact and even the uplifting but brooding of Riverside. Once again though, rather than a cocktail of strong and maybe polarising influences; Hawaii is a bold and unique experience with a sound which is wholly theirs. Sebastián Vergara’s voice proves very distinctive and versatile, perfectly complimenting the album’s various moods; emphasised further with the smooth guitar work of Rodrigo Sepúlveda and Germán Vergara. A rich palette and layering and atmosphere makes for newly discovered nuances with various listens and matches up with the explorative story arc.

With a fast growing audience since the release of their third album, Aisles have backed up an increased interest with their boldest, packed and strongest album to date. As a long player it of course will prove time-consuming, but Hawaii proves a compelling and effortless listen otherwise and should prove one of the biggest surprises for many people this year. An essential listen for anyone partial to the ways of prog.



Aisles – 4:45 AM



It is always a testament to the popularity and diversity of Prog when acts come to attention from far reaching places which may be overlooked as musical hotbeds. Chile’s own Aisles are a prime example of such a country providing a predominantly Western cultural form with a truly special talent. Then again, 4:45 AM (Presagio) most certainly has true Prog students at the helm in the form of brothers Germán and Sebastián Vergara.

4:45 AM transcends from upbeat to melancholic and near morose in parts. Opener, the title track, is a punchy, immediate sing-a-long number which screams of Rush worship alongside a neo-prog like pop sensibility. From here it moves into somewhat bleaker pastures with a tuneful instrumental ‘Gllarda Yarura’ and the following fragility of ‘Shallow And Daft’, a commentary of the ills of mainstream radio stations.

There are nods to so many variants of progressive music but in a way that only contribute to the feel of the album without feeling crowbarred in. From the grandiose feel and bleak but uplifting vibes of Marillion on ‘Back My Strength’ to the futuristic synth driven ‘Intermission’, 4:45 AM shows the band’s love for Prog without being a copycat franchise. They even manage to finish up with a long player that is fully engaging from start to finish in ‘Melancholia’.

Germán’s soft vocals prove the perfect compliment to whatever mood the music conveys, from the earlier up tempo numbers to the bleakness of the likes of “Sorrow”. Managing to both attribute to many of Prog’s greats and yet avoiding being cheesy and having an identity of their own, Aisles have given a real gem for the year. A fresh yet warmingly, familiar effort.


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