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Forgas Band Phenomena - L'axe du Fou CD (album) cover

L'AXE DU FOU

Forgas Band Phenomena

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.40 | 56 ratings

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fuxi
Prog Reviewer
4 stars This album seems a considerable step forward when compared to the band's previous release, the live album SOLEIL 12. There are two main reasons: (1) the tunes are more likable; (2) the soloists seem far more inspired.

I must admit, when I first started playing L'AXE DU FOU, my heart sank. I thought: "Oh no, yet another post-Canterbury album where one unexciting, repetitive rock riff merges into the next (and into the one after that, and the one after that) without too much going on in the way of excitement... Haven't we heard too much of THAT on all the mediocre Gong albums Pierre Moerlen released after ESPRESSO II?"

But my spirits immediately revived when I realised that, this time, Forgas's riffs are rather good, really! His players, too, may not have the stature of Allan Holdsworth or Kenny Wheeler but they give it all they've got. Each single solo makes your heart melt, the wide VARIETY of solos (shared out among saxes, flute, trumpet, guitar, violin and keyboards) keeps listeners on their toes, call-and-response passages within the brass section are remarkably lively, and the album makes you feel better as it goes on. It's old-fashioned jazz-rock, but there's not a whiff of the elevator to it; it really and truly lifts your spirit!

Perhaps the main reason for the band's success is the fact that (acoustic) violinist Karolina Mlodecka operates as the main soloist. Her playing is so sensitive and refined I got a little jolt of pleasure every time she came on.

Yep, since Forgas is a Moerlen-inspired drummer, L'AXE DU FOU actually reminded me (again and again) of all the best passages on classic Gong albums like ESPRESSO II and SHAMAHL. I can't think of any higher praise. I sincerely hope Forgas will keep this incarnation of "Phenomena" together and treat us to many other life-enhancing releases.

fuxi | 4/5 |

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