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Edhels - Still Dream CD (album) cover

STILL DREAM

Edhels

 

Neo-Prog

3.20 | 18 ratings

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Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
3 stars I first heard the name of this strictly instrumental French symphonic outfit in Edward Macan's 1997 book "Rocking the Classics" (an excellent scholarly study of Progressive Rock aesthetics, by the way), in which he cites Edhels as one of three examples, along with OZRIC TENTACLES and DJAM KARET, of where Prog Rock was heading at the end of the millennium.

Like a lot of other contemporary Neo-Prog acts, Edhels (the band's name was supposedly derived from Tolkien, but don't quote me on that) was heavily influenced by more than one classic 1970s role model, in this case blending the delicacy and nuance of golden age GENESIS with the macho instrumental bluster of ELP circa "Fanfare for the Common Man". But guitarist/band leader Marc Ceccotti isn't just another musical tomb raider, and what elevates Edhels above the crowd (besides the welcome lack of any histrionic Neo-Prog vocals) is his gift for melodic lyricism, and a certain Gallic sensitivity to color and tone rarely heard (in the mid '80s, at any rate) on either side of the English Channel.

It's hard to describe the music of Edhels without sounding like a pretentious connoisseur of fine wine. The songs all have a rich, full-bodied sound, textured with lush synthetic strings and electric pianos, and spiced by the occasional tart aftertaste of Ceccotti's Fripp-inspired guitar work (both electric and acoustic: the 42-second epilogue "Twine" wouldn't sound out of place among Mr. Fripp's LEAGUE OF CRAFTY GUITARISTS.

Okay, so the music sometimes lapses into that big, bad midi-drum and keyboard overkill all- too popular in the 1980s. It dates the album somewhat when heard today, but at least provides a little depth and aggression to what otherwise might have been a pleasant but negligible New Age movie soundtrack.

In short: a worthwhile addition to any well-rounded music library, and a band deserving further exploration.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |

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