Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography - Forest Stairways CD (album) cover



Progressive Electronic

4.39 | 8 ratings

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4 stars Intelligent and thoughtful ambient/prog-electronic French artist Yves Potin usually releases works under the alias, but this 2017 offering sees the man reclaiming his own name, and why shouldn't be proud to do so - `Forest Stairways' is one of his most colourful and unpredictable instrumental efforts to date! He incorporates a mix of ethnic instrumentation, keyboards, programming and guitars to craft a series of restrained prog-rock pieces, New-Age soundscapes, chilled jazzy diversions, light world music elements and hypnotic ambient atmospheres that can call to mind everything from Tangerine Dream, Andreas Vollenweider, the Delerium label era of Porcupine Tree and even the acoustic/electronic fusion of the early Ozric Tentacles discs at any moment - or sometimes all within the one track!

`Flying Owl' makes for schizophrenic opener! Book-ended with Kitaro-like eastern mystery from ringing koto-guitar, hypnotic chimes and the gentlest of laid-back jazzy grooves, it evolves into shimmering Berlin School darker electronics and maddening pulsing beats with improvised spacey electric guitar ruminations in the manner of the early Porcupine Tree discs. `Fern Chimes' alternates between lulling washes of ambient electronic caresses alongside deeply dreamy electric piano trickles with some seductively intrusive clanging electronics that take the piece in a very disorientating and surreal direction - equal parts sweet dream and edgy nightmare!

No such diversions for `Forest Mist', its placid warm guitars softly embracing and drowsily romantic, almost reminding of Andreas Vollenweider's fancy acoustic atmospheres, and maybe even the more reflective moments of the spiritual era of the Santana band. The darker and more enigmatic `Mirror Lake' holds eerie crystalline drones and even little teases of alien tribal chanting and jangling percussion, with an almost elegant cinematic flavour to Yves' synth soloing. The most near-unnoticeable of bursts in tempo and fleeting jazzy interludes ripple throughout closer `Future Tribes', glacial shimmering drones and slowly expanding synth pools lapping at dancing electronic slivers teeming with life, and Yves' guitar moves between languid mellow strums and reaching electric tendrils.

While some transitions between passages aren't entirely smooth, there's a completely unpredictable and deliciously eclectic daring approach here that shows an artist constantly experimenting and challenging himself, forever searching for more evocative and unexpected atmospheres to keep listeners on their toes. Constantly full of warmth and variety with a good mix of lighter and heavier moods, `Forest Stairways' is one of Yves Potin's loveliest achievements to date, and a perfect choice for listeners wanting a highly original prog-electronic work that crosses over into multiple genres.

Four stars - and just look at that beautiful cover art!

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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