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Griot - Elisabeth CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.95 | 13 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars The first minute and a half of this record constitutes a bold statement of intent: this record is going draw from all 4 corners of the prog world and serve up a genuinely diverse listening experience. Robert Fripp's mellotron, Keith Emerson's organ and piano, and even Misha Mansoor's extended range guitar riffing all manage to find their place somewhere in this record. I am sure there are influences that I can't even begin to recognize and appreciate. And yet all of it is pulled together into a tasteful tapestry that is still, somehow, thoroughly modern sounding.

Although formally the brain child of Portuguese musicians João Pascoal and Sérgio Ferreira, Elisabeth relies heavily on contributions from musicians from all over the world. A global project in scope, the album continues to push its ambition by incorporating a mini-novel to accompany and further flesh out the story told by the music. I am a poor evaluator of literature and so will refrain from passing any judgement. But I certainly respect the attempt at cross pollinating different art forms.

For all the record's strengths, I do have one gripe. Vocalist Maria Branco who performs the lead vocals on all the tracks but the last is clearly a talented and competent singer. But her versatility is limited which is a problem for a record as diverse as this one. For the softer and jazzier passages, Maria's voice shines. But as the music progresses to heavier passages, her delivery stagnates. There were several points on this record where I found this jarring.

In sum, this is definitely one of my favorite records of the year thus far and is essential for prog fans of any stripe looking for good new music to in which to sink their teeth.

ssmarcus | 4/5 |


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