Aisles: determined to put Chilean prog on the map
Chilean sextet Aisles have been on the go for 15 years, but it seems they’re now ready to take the next big leap forward. Prog learns more about the South Americans’ latest plan of attack…
Four albums in, and Aisles have world domination on the brain. It’s fair to say the sextet are already big fish in their home country Chile, and with their new record Hawaii, things are decidedly outward-looking.
“We’re still trying to reach more people with our music,” admits guitarist Germán Vergara. “It’s our intention for Hawaii to be listened to by a global audience.”
It’s a tad ironic, then, that the band’s new record is a two-disc concept effort essentially penned about the destruction of Earth.
It’s an engrossing evolution from Aisles, whose eclectic neo-prog styling shares parallels with everyone from Marillion and Genesis to Spock’s Beard and Gazpacho, gradually securing them a loyal, burgeoning fanbase over the last 15 years. But they’re hungry for more. Lucky, then, that Hawaii has all the chops and chutzpah to merit Aisles’ latest gung‑ho international charge.
Opener The Poet Part I – Dusk immediately catapults the listener into quick-fire Neal Morse-esque adventurism, but for every full-bodied lick or fusion-fuelled drum attack, there are atmospheric musings or melodic majesty. It’s Aisles’ most ambitious piece of work yet, and like all the best concept albums, it’s glossed with an overarching, enchanting narrative that takes the listener by the hand into other‑worldly realms.
It’s music for the imagination. We write to convey feelings and to mentally take you somewhere.
“It’s a story about a group of humans that are able to preserve the human race and other species, and also the human legacy and cultural, scientific heritage of the world,” says Vergara. “But it’s a dark album because it’s about the destruction of Earth. As a result, all of the things that happen in the album are in the context of the future, like the year 2400 or something.”
“When you read the lyrics and hear the music, you go back and forth,” adds vocalist – and Germán’s brother – Sebastián Vergara. “You go 100 years, 50 years back, so it’s a very interesting concept.”
The tunes underpinning the plot are similarly cinematic, journeying through peaks and troughs, light and shade. “It’s music for the imagination,” Germán says. “We write to convey feelings and to mentally take you somewhere. It’s very eclectic too. It varies in terms of genres and styles of music.”
Hawaii took just over one year of “hard, hard work” to write and record, with 10 days spent in a retreat-style studio 40 kilometres away from Santiago to immortalise their ideas into album form.
“It was a very interesting and pleasing experience, to be together recording music and staying in the studio,” Germán says. “It was in the countryside, so it was an ideal situation to record an album about space and the future. We were in the country without any distractions or city life.”