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Finnegans Wake - Yellow CD (album) cover

YELLOW

Finnegans Wake

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.82 | 15 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars Having met Henry Krutzen a few times since he made an incredible sax solo on Anekdoten's first concert in Brussels (Le Sud in June 95) during the encore (it was a KC number) , and having listened to his solo albums (starting as soon as 79 with Silences), I can tell you that he is a man of vision. In the mid-90's, he started his own is group, taking the name from an Irish novel and released on the Italian Mellow label, the album Yellow, graced with a yellow modern artwork where you can guess knights and horses. Inside the booklet, every song gets its own painted artwork and lyrics printed

Musically FW is a strange mix of jazz-rock with some RIO chamber rock. The group is mostly a trio with Aucremanne on keyboards, Lemaitre on bass and drums (and programmed percussions), Krutzen on almost everything else (including sax and cello) and vocals except for the guitars, handled by Ouchinsky, but there are many other guests including Wendy Ruyman on violin.

Opening on the 9-mins highly dramatic Chamber Music with strident guitars and slow martial beat and Krutzen reading James Joyce's lyrics Chamber Music, making it a fantastic entrance into FW's musical world. The 6-mins Wooden Horse is definitely ogling towards RIO pastures, on bass motif (clearly Lemaitre's "maitre penser" is Pastorius) and violin and Henri's bizarre singing on even more bizarre lyrics of Richard Redcrossed. These two "things" only get weirder in the short King Wenceslas, and sometimes you'd think of some of the early Hackett strange vocals with a slight Richard Sinclair and Robert Wyatt feel. The album's centrepiece 11-mins+ El Cid, very much an organ-driven tune, followed by a short piano interlude (For Joelle), before Aucremanne's Last Poem starts again on strident dirty guitars and Krutzen eructing his vocals. The closing Standards To You is probably the catchiest and most conventional "song" on the album, but the constantly crescendoing track ends up with a searing guitar solo to close things up.

However, on this debut what strikes me the most is the production: not that it is poor quality (recording is fine) but rather the lack of it - or more exactly the lack of means. This album could've gotten easily a better rating if someone had done a real job of it. For the rest, the music is what can be expected from a typical Belgian band doing music between RIO and Canterbury. Worth a spin for the amateur of the genre.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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