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Eclectic Prog

3.58 | 63 ratings

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Special Collaborator
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars Having (legally) downloaded the audio tracks, I don't know anything of the DVD. Debuting with a live album is quite unusual. This means that FROMUZ are very confident in their live high audio quality.

The album starts with electronic sounds that after a couple of minutes are muted into a jazzy piece with odd signatures, dark ambient and a flavour of Canterbury. In the middle there's a bit of distorted guitar, that's what makes me think to an "eclectic" mare than to a JR/F band. However "Intro" is a great opener. Its merit is to contain even if in a disordered manner, most of the elements that are typical of the band's sound, from electronic to rock passing through jazz.

"From Fromuz" is a jazz-rock instrumental, at least for the first minutes, before a guitar solo adds a touch of blues. Then guitar and drums remain alone for a very jazz moment. A great number from a technical point of view. The guitar solo grows in a solo that seems coming from the 70s rock. It's amazing how so many different things can be included in a single track without giving the impression of being a patchwork. Bass and piano play another jazz number at minute 7. The jazz side of FROMUZ is fantastic. The guitar interrupts the dialog to return to the main theme and the song goes to its end.

"Wax Inhabitants Town" has an electronic opening that reminds to Vangelis, specially when the melody is driven by the high pitched sound of the keyboard. When the guitar starts the mediterranean mood disappeares and we are back to electronic prog. The drums are electronic, too. At minute 5 it becomes darker with the distorted guitar and the regular drums, but it's just a passage which connects to another slow moment. I feel the Canterbury element present also in this track at least until minute 8. At this point another rock passage leads into another "movement". This is the first time in which the music has a bit of "Middle East" flavour. Far from being ethnic, anyway. The coda is rock. If we don't consider the first 5 minutes we can say that the main recurring theme is the "dark rock connection".

"Gameplay Imitation" is one of the highlights. I really like the sounds used and the rhythmic parts. As the opener, it as many different parts which are connected by "sliding transitions". I mean that there are no holes in the music's continuity. This is not an easy track. It requires the listener's attention, and this is what I like in prog.

"Spare Wheel" is a strange track. The keyboard's "whistle" seems taken by a 70s B-movie, but it's accompanied by a heavy instrumentation. I have in mind the Ryo Okumoto's solo albums. They are on similar ambients. How can I describe it? Eclectic fusion maybe? Spacey sounds and a great guitar work for the second heavier part of the track.

"Familiarization Results" is another example of "heavy jazz". The start is heavy and uptime, then in the middle the tempo slows down, I'm not sure but I think it's 5/4, some stops and go with drums and the heavy part restarts. We can now here vocal effects. I can't understand either a single word but it's part of the track. It comes at the right time in the right way. The coda is a crescendo of heaviness.

Violins are the opener of "Harry Heller Theater". A sort of string quartet that leaves to scene to drum and heavy guitar. If until now what I have heard was reminding me to the late Soft Machine, this track is between Yes and King Crimson (those with Lake). Fantastic guitar and a soft touch of neo-prog, maybe. At least in the less rhythmic parts. I want to underline the fact that mentioning other famous bands is only to try giving an idea of the kind of music. FROMUZ is an original band with its own sound. The fusion between jazz and heavy rock is a distinctive and original tract of the band.

The closer "Babylon Dreams" is a little bit heavier. Here I can't identify a specific band to compare them. For the kind of composition and the musical passages the closer is the Finnish Pekka Pohjola, with a particular reference to his Mathematical Air Display. The Harpsichord interlude is something that can make think to Pekka and his band Wigwam. A short guitar interlude and a short drum solo are there to break the rhythm that suddenly reprises and later gives room to a speacey section of keyboard and drums, very similar to what's done in the "Intro", like closing a circle, followed by a powerful guitar solo to the conclusion.

In brief, this is a very good album full of good music. One that requires attention, but non too much. What is missed is the "li ve ambient". I know that it's a live only because it's written on PA, but there is no public noise or applauses, like it has been recorded in a club, but the sound is too powerful for a club. It sounds like a studio album, effectively.

I'm currently rating it with 4 stars, only because before giving 5 stars to an album I need more listens. In case I'll update this review later. For me it's currently an excellent addition.

octopus-4 | 4/5 |


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