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Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) - Excalibur: La Legende Des Celtes CD (album) cover


Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)


Various Genres

2.63 | 8 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
3 stars ALAN SIMON, from the historic Breton capital of Nantes, may not be a household name everywhere, but the "Excalibur" trilogy released over the past decade and a half, and lavishly performed on stage, was a big seller in his native France. "Excalibur" occupies the sonic terrain at the intersection of "Riverdance" and the ALAN PARSONS PROJECT, and Simon himself seems comfortable with one foot in Keltia and another in crossover prog. While he has enlisted the help of other artists on albums more appropriately filed under "S", herein is a collaboration of "Various" friends under his direction, including an orchestra and well known artists like TRI YANN, FAIRPORT CONVENTION, ROGER HODGSON (SUPERTRAMP), GABRIEL YACOUB (MALICORNE), ANGELO BRANDUARDI and DAN AR BRAZ.

The result is a mixed bag with the scales tipping to the plus side. Brilliant orchestral sequences like in "Ad Libitum" (featuring CARLOS NUNEZ on flute), haunting and occasionally chilling prog folk songs like "The Elements", "Morgane", "Camlann" and "Gest of Auvin", and more overtly celtic beauties like "Davet ar Baradoz" are among the many high points. In contrast, "Morning Song", "La Complainte de Perceval", and "The Will of God" are glossy and drossy as most IONA or latter day BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST. "Castel Rock" and "Celtic Dream" are slightly above average Celtic rock instrumentals that benefit from rock instrumentation, particularly lead guitar accents and modern percussion. One of my personal favourites is "Pour L'Amour de la reine", which is TRI YANN's faithful approximation of MANU CHAO with all the attitudinal musicality that accompanies such a posture.

ALAN SIMON's first "Excalibur" disk straddles a delicate furrow between the ancient and modernity, and does so more tastefully than one might expect. Almost 3.5 stars.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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