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Finnegans Wake - Blue CD (album) cover

BLUE

Finnegans Wake

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.00 | 27 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars Fifth album from this now Belgo-Brazilian (the group has relocated there) and the third exploring a colour after Yellow and Green, but there is no trace of the man Alexandre Mourras-Barros, that overtook the group by storm with his arrival in the double 4th album, eventually inciting the group to move to Brazil. So what happened to this guitarist that had even contributed to the songwriting? Why is he absent here, replaced by a pianist (of Brazilian persuasion), whom BTW is also co-writing half the tracks on this album? With a slightly tribal blue artwork, hence the title, this album was released in the fall of 08 on the AltrOck label. Another pleasant surprise is the album's excellent production, a novelty for the band ever since their 4th, as the first three were really poor in that department

Musically, this album is not really much different than the previous double album and its vast array of chamber music, but next to Green and Yellow, the contrasts will be striking as the music was near jazz- rock with a Canterbury twist, but Blue is firmly in chamber prog with a Zeuhl twist. But comparing from Pictures and 4th, you would be hard pressed to find an aspect of the band that would have changed due to the band's relocation in Brazil, but the progression is really there and they've grown a Zeuhl affinity. If the group remains a Belgian duo (Krutzen & Lemaitre) with a (different) Brazilian, the new-coming pianist Marcitio Onatre, there are still some very notable Belgian prog stars, such ex-X-L S Pierre Vervloesem and Present's Reginald Trigaux and Guy Seghers either helping out or playing in the "bonus track" Agakuk. Another strange quirk is that the texts are sung in German on an operatic tone and signed Xocil A. Schultz.

After a lengthy languid piano entrance Honfleur finally starts on violin and organ, before returning to the piano and the track to start a second time, his time with a metallic guitar. Ever heard Metallica's guitar mixed with RIO-like Chamber prog??? Well in 4th and now in Blue, you can, and I would've never thought they'd fit so well. The following Die Geste is definitely more RIO with hard German female operatic voice mixed with really cold early-UZ-like music. Somehow until it gets electric (and warmer), Art Bears wasn't far away. The following Mida presents more of the same without vocals, this time including the metallic guitar and a Zeuhl twist. Very ambitious stuff. Luftspiel marks the return of the German opera vocals.The next two tracks, Blue and Things are both instrumental (and to be truthful, it's better this way) and are bot developing the new Zeuhl thing that has appeared in FW's music of late. Clearly by Magical Cave, the album has turned schizophrenic with the sung tracks clearly heading towards operatic complex chamber prog and gentler instrumental, mopre intent on fusion. .

Aside from the laughable (or at least amusing) notion of the bonus track available on a brand new album, that never was published without it, Blue is another typical Finnegans Wake albulm, although it might have a tad more Zeuhl influence, but this is not just due to the Present-infected Agakuk bonus track, it's pretty well all over the place, savantly mixed with the usual avant-garde RIO that was always theirs.

Once the disc stops spinning and the laser shuts off, there isn't a shadow of a doubt you've just listened to one of the most essential album of the year in the "complex prog category, and it is again little wonder it is a Belgian, as so many dozens of these ever since Univers Zero and Cos started.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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