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Rousseau - Flower in Asphalt CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.43 | 53 ratings

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4 stars "If there is only one who's dreaming, it will stay a dream forever. All of us dreaming will be the beginning of reality." [Brazilian folk song]

That quote is displayed first in the CD booklet and it nicely sums up the positive vibes emitted from this fantastic album by Rousseau. This album is often described as a lesser version of Camel and in my opinion it is just as good as Camel. While it came after the best Camel work it is one of the most beautiful Symphonic albums you will ever hear. Lush keyboards, delicate acoustic guitar, soaring passionate electric leads, solid bass and drum work. Oh, and the flutes. If you're a flute junkie you'll be quite pleased. And this is an all-instrumental work so we are blissfully free of vocals which gives the players complete control of the space. "Skylight" opens in rather dramatic fashion before the flute enters announcing that hope lives! The other standout tracks for me are "Le Grand Reveur" with its majestic themes, and the long closer "Dancing Leaves." But the whole album is one gorgeous symph prog treat to the senses. While some prefer their second album which introduced vocals (and not good vocals) it is the passion of their debut which makes it their best work. You can tell these guys were driven by a love of music, idealism and if not naivety then at least a lack of music business cynicism.

Flower in Asphalt is one of those perfect 70s rock moments where it all comes together thanks to the people and the time/place that allowed the approach. This German band greatly admired the work of 18th century French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau and named their group after him. Rousseau wrote about subjects like man's relation to nature and society, as well as about the "social contract." The conceptual beauty of the material is furthered by the feelings evoked from the album artwork. This passage from the liner notes sums up quite well the music within: "the celebration of a very harmonious music but also refined, impressionist, suggestive; a music inducing bucolic or vaguely nostalgic pictures, quiet atmospheres, melancholic climates and evoking romanticism."

If you love Camel, Willowglass, Celeste, Locanda Della Fate, or Novalis you simply need to hear Rousseau. This is another title currently out of print but hopefully that will be remedied someday. Until then it's worth hunting for a used copy.

Finnforest | 4/5 |


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