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Patrick Moraz - The Story of I CD (album) cover

THE STORY OF I

Patrick Moraz

 

Crossover Prog

3.36 | 83 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Fitzcarraldo
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Released while he was a member of YES, this 1976 solo album from Patrick Moraz is, today, a relatively unknown gem. I remember the full-page ad and glowing review in Melody Maker, yet in later years it sank into obscurity. Nevertheless Moraz had created an innovative album: a truly progressive fusion of rock and ethnic Brazilian music. The tracks on this concept album all segue together to take you on a complex and unusual musical journey.

Moraz managed to use synthesiser, piano, electric and acoustic guitar and bass, cello, gongs, marimbaphone, castanets, tap dance, Brazilian percussion instruments (cuica, berimbau, tam-tam, agog˘, surdo, reco reco, repique, tamborim, pandeiro, frigideira, tumba, ganzß etc.) plus some talented female and male singers (not to forget children too) to create a Progressive Rock masterpiece. The album is a symphonic aural feast, varying from heavy to light, from upbeat to romantic. Moraz coaxed some amazing sounds from the synthesizers and from his fellow musicians.

The synthesizer work is immediately impressive on the instrumental 'Impact', which starts with a cacophony from an alien jungle and what one ProgArchives forum member described perfectly as the sound of a hundred monks saying "DOH!" in unison. The Brazilian percussion works amazingly well with the synthesizers and other instruments. After the surreal start the track turns into a Progressive batucada that I defy anyone who understands percussion to dismiss.

The batucada segues into 'Warmer Hands' that, halfway through, turns into more normal Progressive Rock with some good singing by the talented John McBurnie. This track segues into 'The Storm' using yet more amazing synthesizer sounds reminiscent of a huge thunderstorm with the cacophony of the jungle, then segueing into 'Cachaša (BaiŃo)', which uses agog˘ and other percussion instruments to create a sunny, Brazilian-sounding instrumental with children providing vocalisations. Moraz weaves his synthesizer expertly into this musical tapestry.

The start of 'Intermezzo' is beautiful - the simultaneous female singing in English and French over piano gives me the shivers. The clarity and sheer femaleness of the two voices is always striking to me. Then Moraz launches into grandiose piano and castanets before bringing in frenzied synthesizer and almost turning the piece into a tarantella. Segueing into 'Indoors' without you even realising it, guitar, bass and synthesizer continue to dance feverishly together, with a little of John McBurnie's singing. Suddenly the music slows and turns melodiously into 'The Best Years Of Our Lives' with John McBurnie's tremulous, pleasant singing and Moraz' synthesizer whistling in the background with some good piano. The lyrics are moving and this song always gives me a lump in the throat. What a great melody. And then Moraz goes and makes the song even better with some fantastic piano. The tinkling ending of the track fades to allow the listener to turn over the LP, thankfully no longer a necessity for CD owners.

'Descent' kicks in like thousands of screaming birds, slowing into the well-named 'Incantation (Procession)': a slow, fat synthesizer procession with a heavy Brazilian macumba beat which briefly fades to pure percussion and macumba chanting before fading back in and picking up speed to segue into 'Dancing Now', an infectious, up-tempo fusion of batucada, bossa nova and rock. Again McBurnie's lyrics and singing are the business. This segues into the gorgeous piano of 'Impressions (The Dream)' with synthesizer in the background sounding like surf on the night shore. There is some piano on this track that again gives me a lump in the throat, before segueing into 'Like A Child In Disguise', another good song from McBurnie. This song is both happy and sad at the same time: apparently the story of a puerile male who starts the weekend with high hopes but then seems to have blown it yet again with his unrequited love. The lyrics might sound corny to some, but I like it a lot.

The instrumental 'Rise And Fall' again uses batucada percussion but with some heavy electric guitar, synthesizer and bass intertwined. The frenzy segues into the calm of 'Symphony In The Space': the synthesizer sounding like the strings of a classical orchestra and the piece itself like the ending to a classical symphony.

In summary, a unique album. Moraz and the other talented musicians he gathered achieved something difficult: the successful fusion of progressive rock with Brazilian musical themes and instruments. They also made some very good music. Don't let the relative obscurity of this album put you off: it's special. Five stars.

Fitzcarraldo | 5/5 |

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