Toe Ra
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Toe Ra

Lima, Lima, Peru | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Lima, Lima, Peru | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Rock Progressive




"Crítica Toe Ra"

El rock progresivo y la fusión de diversos géneros musicales, en el papel irrealizable, pero en la práctica materializada, ha tenido y tiene acá sus adeptos. Como antecedentes nacionales que datan de los 60 y 70 están TRAFFIC SOUND, BLACK SUGAR, POLEN y EL ÁLAMO; en los 80, FRÁGIL y DEL PUEBLO DEL BARRIO; ahora en los "dosmiles" destacan entre otros, FLOR DE LOTO y SUPAY. Y siempre hay calichines que aparecen en escena. Damos la bienvenida entonces a TOE RA, cuyo nombre se compone de una flor alucinógena y del dios solar egipcio. Compuesto por el siguiente personal: bajo, Germain Berrocal; batería, Ernesto Álvarez; guitarra, Nikolai Ramos; percusión, Leonardo Monge; teclado, Edyson Tipo; y voz, Héctor Mondragón; han editado su disco debut, el EP AD ASTRA, de apenas 5 canciones, pero de casi media hora de duración.

Directo al grano, Absentha abre con una guitarra y bajo siniestros y pesados sobre ritmos aplanadores. Tras una bajada y encaminada a otro plano, vuelven frenéticamente. Kailas (Cascade Into Orbit) está matizada por efectos electrónicos dosificados y otro sonido grupal. Tarolazos de Álvarez dan la pauta de inicio de Mandala, que por momentos parece un SANTANA enloquecido con Monge castigando esas congas, y mostrando todo el poderío vocal de Mondragón. Tipo aplica un pianito inocente y Berrocal un bajo solapa para introducir Albireo, de sabor latin jazz y que camina con la prestancia de los ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND, hasta que Ramos mete quinta para acelerar la marcha. Y Ad Astra, la canción que da título al EP, condensa todo el potencial del grupo con feroz vocalización, bajo pulsante, tramos rítmicos cambiantes, y solos de guitarra y sintetizador bravísimos que recuerdan a RAINBOW.

Definitivamente, es uno de los mejores lanzamientos de este año. Altamente recomendable. - Diario Coreeo

"A Dead Price (The Influence Of)"

The world seems to be truly endless. Whenever I find a band that I love that’s from a city or country that I’ve never loved anything from before, I always feel as if I’ve conquered another place. That I can now claim that another place on the globe has something fantastic, showing that great art knows no bounds. I’ve recently had underground artists from Tunisia, China, Andorra and even the hell hole of New Zealand show up on my radar and impress me, and with this, the debut release from experimental post-prog band Toe Ra, I can now add Peru to the list.

Toe Ra play an eclectic and hard-hitting style of experimental progressive rock, with distinct links to the modern post-progressive scene of Coheed and Cambria and Circa Survive. But desite writing most of their lyrics in English, and keeping a very western vibe throughout their music, Toe Ra don’t fully cut off the unique and fresh influences from their own culture. The most notable outside influence here is the use of a full-time percussionist in addition to regular drummer. The drummer here predominantly plays parts that control the rockier side of this music – the snare, the cymbals, and the bass drum, and the percussionist adds a whole lot of new flair; most notably through high-end, hand-hit toms that are particularly evident during “Absentha” and “Mandala”.

They also bring some great jazz and psychedelic elements into the music, the former being evident in the odd-one-out, lounge jazz track “Albireo”, which is dominated by walking basslines and fiddly pieces on a Hammond organ. The song is a bit of a strange one, considering most of the other tracks are hard-hitting rock songs with big riffs and pounding drums, this is secluded and laid-back, containing some neat improvisation. Although I think this is a nice interlude sort of track, it is in fact the second longest one here, and is way too much of a departure from the main sound to make me excited about it within this context, and it doesn’t help that I really don’t care for any of this song, musically. The tones irk me, particularly the guitar and Hammond, and the only redeeming factor is that this song further shows how incredible Hector Mondragon Graham is as a vocalist.

On the other side of the influence tree from the jazzy tones, there is also a great heavy psych and hard rock vibe running through some of the songs here, especially during “Mandala” and the closing title track, with the former having a guitar tone and riffing style that reminds me a lot of ’71 throwback band Jess and the Ancient Ones, as well as many of those occult rock revivalist bands. The closing of this track goes nearly into full neo-psychedelia, with effects on nearly everything and a full-on leslie mode Hammond organ flying all over the place.

But all these strange influences, the hand-drumming, the psychedelia, the jazz, the massive layers of effects all over the vocals and guitar really only seem to call one distinct influence to mind, and it’s something that could be the downfall of these guys critically, is the massive, permeating, and undeniably huge Mars Volta influence on this EP. I feel this is why I think “Albireo” was a necessary interlude, even though I’m not a huge fan of it, because it doesn’t have that huge influence (although it’s still something you can imagine TMV doing). The vocal performances, to the song structures to the psychedelic effects, to even using an identical effect on the vocals at the end of “Kailas” to one on De-Loused in the Comatorium.

Of course, The Mars Volta, being one of the most inventive and interesting bands of the 21st Century, are hardly a bad influence to hold, and some may see that as a barrier to getting into this EP, but the melodies and riffs on this EP are top quality, even going by Mars Volta standards. Most of the tracks here are built around a simple yet catchy melody/riff combination, like the second track, “Kailas”, which has a great riff running through the whole track, on top of a piece of ambience that reminds me an awful lot of “Flugufrelsarinn” from Ágætis byrjun. The song is mostly in 7/8, the bass and drums dominating a fantastic groove, keeping a really cool rhythm going that makes it feel quite upbeat and fun. The opening track, “Absentha”, also has a great lead riff, a syncopated and mathy riff that sounds like it’s in a mysterious time signature, but is actually in relatively straight 4/4. The mid section of this song is probably my favourite part of the EP, a smooth ambient break that reminds me of Porcupine Tree, but with far more emotive vocals.

And I think that, although he does admittedly move towards Cedric Bixler-Zavala as a sonic influence, Graham is an insanely emotive and brilliant vocalist. The aforementioned Porcupine Tree break may feel like PT in the synths and ambience, but the high-pitched and intensely emotional vocals on the top is something that Wilson could never dream to perform. The vocals throughout this EP are nothing short of fantastic, calling to mind several very talented singers, like during the opening track, when he reminds me a lot of the insane runs that Mandroid Echostar’s Michael Ciccia uses. But throughout the entire EP, Graham never fails to bring an emotional performance, rather than just a purely mechanical one. The high-pitched note held at the end of the opening track is spine-chillingly good, and I feel this may be where these guys even take a foot up on The Mars Volta, through the emotional delivery in the vocals.

Toe Ra are definitely a promising young band with ambitious players in their midst and a very, very accomplished vocalist. Ad Astra may draw from The Mars Volta a fair bit, but there are hints here at a sound that could be developed to be separate from them, most notable the hard rock and heavy psych elements of this, and the jazz-based interlude. Some may find their strong Volta influence off-putting, but I honestly don’t mind it, and I find that Toe Ra keep the weirdness on the backburner and focus more on great melodies that TMV, so I can actually enjoy this EP more than a lot of their stuff. A good debut, and I hope to hear something great from these guys in the future. - Doctor Prog 10th

"Toe Ra nominada en el Ibiza Music Video Festival"

Con dos años en la escena musical, la novel banda de rock peruana Toe Ra postula al Ibiza Music Video Festival gracias a su videoclip del tema ‘Mandala’, dirigido por el productor musical Jorge Murrieta.

El sencillo, que se desprende del disco Ad Astra, postula en las categorías de Mejor video, Mejores efectos visuales y mejor director.

“Se trata de un festival internacional de videos y música interactiva que reúne lo mejor de los videoclips de diversos países y las novedades del sector audiovisual. Para nosotros han sido una sorpresa estas nominaciones pues somos la única banda peruana que ha llegado a este festival.
Los resultados se conocerán el 3 de octubre”, contó Héctor Mondragón, vocalista del grupo.

Murrieta contó detalles de lo que fue la grabación del videoclip. “Fueron cuatro meses de producción, trate de mostrar la performance de la banda, se hicieron tomas rápidas y cortas. En mi caso, es mi sexta producción”, refirió.

Toe Ra busca romper esquemas en el rock peruano. “Nuestro reto es poder romper esquemas con la música peruana”, expresó Mondragón. - Diario La República

"Toe Ra en cabina!"

From Coca cola Fm Peru encounter - Coca Cola Fm Perú

"Video de Toe Ra postula a varios premios en el Ibiza Music Video Festival"

El reciente video de la novel banda nacional Toe Ra, “Mandala”, está nominado a varios premios en el Ibiza Music Video Festival (IMFV), un festival internacional de videos y música interactiva que reúne los mejor de los videoclips y la publicidad mundial en las últimas novedades del sector audiovisual y creativo. En este evento, que se celebra anualmente en la ciudad de Ibiza (España) y premia los videos más destacados del año, la agrupación peruana está nominada a Mejor Video, Mejores Efectos Visuales y Mejor Director.

El videoclip ha sido dirigido por Jorge Murrieta y según confesó, su concepto visual es el desdoblamiento del cuerpo. “Es el punto medio entre el ir y venir de la mente, es ahí donde se crea el llamado mundo "Mandala” y se encuentra la música con la mente”, señaló el realizador que se valió de varios efectos especiales para darle un atractivo especial al clip.

La banda Toe Ra se integró en 2012, cuando Germain Berrocal (bajo) inicia un proyecto de rock experimental inconcluso que dejó en 2008. Durante ese tiempo Germain se dedicó a ser músico de sesión, tocando con bandas de la escena comercial y teniendo como meta iniciar un proyecto propio. El concepto de Toe Ra sería el de un grupo que reuniría diversas tendencias.

Es en la búsqueda de integrantes que Germain se contacta con Ernesto Álvarez (batería), en ese entonces estudiante de música de la UPC, que se siente identificado con el estilo de Toe Ra y decide unirse a la banda. Luego se incorporarían Nikolai Ramos (guitarra), Héctor Mondragón (voz) y Leonardo Monge (percusión) como conformación definitiva y estable de la banda.

El nombre Toe Ra viene de la unión de dos conceptos: Toe es el nombre de una flor psicoactiva que es usada como ingrediente en el ritual del Ayahuasca y Ra es el dios sol en la mitología egipcia, dador de vida, responsable del ciclo de la muerte y resurrección. El grupo lanzó este año su primer EP titulado Ad Astra y su primer single es “Mandala”, cuyo video logró ser nominado a los premios Ibiza Music Vídeo Festival. - RPP


2014 - Ad Astra Ep
-Ad Astra

2016 - In Eluvies



Toe Ra is a project from Hector Mondragon, Germain Berrocal, Ernesto Alvarez, Martin Ortiz and Diego Farje. Through their music, they intend to kickstart a journey for the listener with their nuanced compositions, overwhelming soundscapes and moving lyrics.

While the press labels them as “experimental rock”, they don’t define themselves under a single genre, but revel in using a wide array of them throughout their catalogue, such as post-prog, latin and jazz.

In their music and lyrics there is a permeated psychedelic existentialism fused with a dose of latin groove that has defined them since the release of their first album, ‘Ad Astra EP’ (2014) down to their most recent one, ‘In Eluvies’ (2016).

Band Members