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Cos - Babel CD (album) cover




Canterbury Scene

3.66 | 58 ratings

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3 stars Quite a turn in stylistic choices for these Canterbury babies, a band that evolved with the times.

1. "Babel" (4:22) supreme COS playfulness over a disco beat. Intentionally making fun of the disco phenom or using it to gain listeners? Pianist Charles Loo and Pascale sure seem to be having a blast! (9.5/10)

2. "Good Wind" (3:16) starts out a little too slow and somnambulant for the listener to get excited about: you can't dance to it and you certainly can't jam to the guitar and piano solos. The bass player feels like he may fall asleep at any moment. (7.75/10)

3. "Cha Cha Cha" (4:00) again, Cos playing with a musical form: this time, cha cha. Was it adventure, boredom, or pure curiosity that drove them to do thus? Hopefully, they're having fun! (8/10)

4. "Mein Maschine Ist Schön" (8:34) close to a carnival/cabaret piece, Pascale sings in German in her inimitable way over the music. In the third minute all instruments but bass and percussion drop away while Pascale whisper sings. There follows an almost humorous guitar and organ duet over the bass and drums. Despite it's slow-build in volume and intensity over the second half, this song is, overall, a song of intimate subtlety and relaxed dexterity. Unfortunately, despite it's subtleties, it bears little draw for further study or review. (15/20)

5. "Sors Ton Pétard, Johnny" (4:30) another surprisingly sedate song, at least in its rhythmic foundation. There are some cool plays at odd tempos around the two minute mark and thereafter, and then the kazoos enter and take over. Ooops! those were two tracks of fuzzed up electric guitars! Interesting how the band has really become a piano-bass-drums-and-guitar combo (7.75/10)

6. "Oostend, Oostend" (2:55) very cool little chamber étude. (10/10)

7. "Greeneldo" (13:12) back to a disco beat for the rhythmic foundation, pleasant sustained organ chords provide the key support for Pascale to go off on one of her extended forays of vocal acrobatics. At the end of the fourth minute the reins get handed over to the percussionist and organist. In the fifth minute there is an unexpected choral bridge leading into a section of true Canterbury sound and more choral "hits." At 5:45 organ and Pascale team up again to explore, with more choral bridges. The first half of this is really awesome with a lot of STEELY DAN-ishness in it but an over-extended mid-section and tired and drawn out final two minutes make me feel as if the song should have been cut off after about seven minutes. (25.5/30)

Total Time: 40:49

Despite the strangeness of these compositions (the odd juxtapositions of musical styles upon and within each other), this is the best recorded and engineered of the Cos albums.

3.5 stars; a viable contribution to the lexicon of both Canterbury jazz fusion and progressive rock music but no masterpiece.

BrufordFreak | 3/5 |


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