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Arrakeen - Patchwork CD (album) cover





3.72 | 48 ratings

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Distant Planet
5 stars This is a wonderful piece of neo-prog minstrelsy, from 1990, worthy of the attention of any prog fan.

The music is drenched in the very essence of La France. In the same way that there was something very English about the early GENESIS sound, something very Italian about the early PFM sound, there is something very French about the sound of the music of Arrakeen.

Fronted by female vocalist Maiko, fans of bands such as STREAM OF PASSION (but imagine a French essence replacing the gothic flavours) will enjoy this as much as the MARILLION fans it is so often aimed toward in reviews. The accessibility and style of the music is probably comparable with early PFM (think PHOTOS OF GHOSTS) and in fact doesn't have so much in common with MARILLION .

The album is only about thirty minutes long, but the quality is exceptional. Compositional skill is high and everything is played with real passion and enjoyment.

The first track 'Le Monde Du Quoi' is probably the closest we actually get to an early MARILLION sound, particularly noticeable in the keyboard lines. The track ends with a memorable guitar solo. The next track 'Differences' is an eleven minute long prog classic and it is here that the French flavour really kicks in. It's a work of many contrasting styles from acoustic piano to heavy guitar power chords. The third track 'L'Entaluve' somehow manages to convert what sounds like a Eurovision song entry from the 80's into an anthemic prog song !!

Musicianship, throughout is second to none and this release evoked some essential and seminal guitar playing from the excellent guitarist Sylvain Gouvernaire, whilst keyboardist Eric Bonnardel displays a talent that is second to none. The whole band provide an epochal performance on the final track, 'Folle Marie' which is recorded live. On this track Maiko's vocals ebb passion and ache with melancholy over a beautiful acoustic guitar riff that is complimented by some emotional keyboard lines before building into a powerful finale where the band are joined by Steve Rothery from MARILLION. This is one gig I sincerely wish I had been at....

It's a shame this album is often remembered only due to the band touring with MARILLION and is often ignored because of this. If you have heard this before and dismissed it, I urge you to listen again with 'fresh' ears !! If you have never heard this, please take the time to find a copy, you will not regret it.

Distant Planet | 5/5 |


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