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Jazzcomputer.org - Forest Stairways CD (album) cover

FOREST STAIRWAYS

Jazzcomputer.org

Progressive Electronic


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Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Intelligent and thoughtful ambient/prog-electronic French artist Yves Potin usually releases works under the alias Jazzcomputer.org, but this 2017 offering sees the man reclaiming his own name, and why shouldn't be proud to do so - `Forest Stairways' is one of his most colourful and unpredictable instrumental efforts to date! He incorporates a mix of ethnic instrumentation, keyboards, programming and guitars to craft a series of restrained prog-rock pieces, New-Age soundscapes, chilled jazzy diversions, light world music elements and hypnotic ambient atmospheres that can call to mind everything from Tangerine Dream, Andreas Vollenweider, the Delerium label era of Porcupine Tree and even the acoustic/electronic fusion of the early Ozric Tentacles discs at any moment - or sometimes all within the one track!

`Flying Owl' makes for schizophrenic opener! Book-ended with Kitaro-like eastern mystery from ringing koto-guitar, hypnotic chimes and the gentlest of laid-back jazzy grooves, it evolves into shimmering Berlin School darker electronics and maddening pulsing beats with improvised spacey electric guitar ruminations in the manner of the early Porcupine Tree discs. `Fern Chimes' alternates between lulling washes of ambient electronic caresses alongside deeply dreamy electric piano trickles with some seductively intrusive clanging electronics that take the piece in a very disorientating and surreal direction - equal parts sweet dream and edgy nightmare!

No such diversions for `Forest Mist', its placid warm guitars softly embracing and drowsily romantic, almost reminding of Andreas Vollenweider's fancy acoustic atmospheres, and maybe even the more reflective moments of the spiritual era of the Santana band. The darker and more enigmatic `Mirror Lake' holds eerie crystalline drones and even little teases of alien tribal chanting and jangling percussion, with an almost elegant cinematic flavour to Yves' synth soloing. The most near-unnoticeable of bursts in tempo and fleeting jazzy interludes ripple throughout closer `Future Tribes', glacial shimmering drones and slowly expanding synth pools lapping at dancing electronic slivers teeming with life, and Yves' guitar moves between languid mellow strums and reaching electric tendrils.

While some transitions between passages aren't entirely smooth, there's a completely unpredictable and deliciously eclectic daring approach here that shows an artist constantly experimenting and challenging himself, forever searching for more evocative and unexpected atmospheres to keep listeners on their toes. Constantly full of warmth and variety with a good mix of lighter and heavier moods, `Forest Stairways' is one of Yves Potin's loveliest achievements to date, and a perfect choice for listeners wanting a highly original prog-electronic work that crosses over into multiple genres.

Four stars - and just look at that beautiful cover art!

Report this review (#1787524)
Posted Tuesday, September 26, 2017 | Review Permalink
BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Jazz multi-instrumentalist Yves Potin puts lush soundscapes together in a way that might be familiar to lovers of the music of Andreas Vollenveider and Robin Guthrie or even Ozric Tentacles, Steve and David Gordon, and Paul Hardcastle but where Yves' music is different from the cited artists is in his exciting and use of percussion, layers and layers of synthetically-rendered musical nature sounds over which he employs heavily treated guitars, koto, and other synths to move the music forward on their melody lines. It's truly gorgeous music, soul-engaging music.

1. "Flying Owl" (10:12) has the rhythmic drive of a Berlin School sequence-driven song but is guitar, koto, and percussion dominated! The opening 90 seconds is more ambient and relaxing, but by the two minute mark we are off to the races! (9.5/10)

2. "Fern Chimes" (9:47) sounds like the music I would have made had I stuck with it! Love the deep bass tone, the percussive and computer-generated nature sounds, and the guitar strums, and the gentle keyboard play. At 4:50 there is a shift as a bulfrog-like bass line takes over as the main driving force. Many layers of keyboard-generated sounds are interspersed over the top of the bass creating quite a busy image of a nature scene. Vibes in the seventh and eighth minutes are cool. (9.5/10)

3. "Forest Mist" (9:20) wonderfully beautiful and relaxing "Tropical" background over which heavily reverbed electric guitar strums are spaced out so that they can float away with the mist. This is so like a Robin Guthrie soundscape! Then the koto comes in as the lead instrument. Gorgeous! (9/10)

4. "Mirror Lake" (9:17) despite the draw of the lush synths and deep bass lines, it is the busy hand percussion that is my favorite stuff to pay attention to on this one. Great chord and melody lines from the keys here. The added keyboard percussion in the final third of the song is really cool. (9/10)

5. "Future Tribes" (11:32) opens with very slow attacking synth washes and lots of waves of tuned and electronic percussion sounds over which large hand drums are played in hypnotic patterns. Echoing guitar strums enter in the fifth minute while some slow-decaying lead notes also present themselves, one at a time. At the very end of the sixth minute these lead guitar notes start to feel as if it's Allan Holdsworth playing them. Then Pat Metheny-like synth-horn guitar lead joins the party! (Think "Are You Going With Me?") This is awesome! The bass has transformed into something more upbeat and insistent and the percussion falls right in line. I'm dancing! I'm in Heaven! (My version of heaven will have lots of dancing and lots of music like this.) (9.5/10)

I will repeat the statement I made in song #2: Yves has created music that I feel would very well have come out of my own heart/mind/brain had I continued trying to pursue a course as a musician/composer--music that comes from the soul and feeds and affects other souls. Well done! Bravo and Encore! LOTS more!

Five stars; a masterpiece of progressive rock music and definitely a shining masterpiece of prog electronic music. This is my first exposure to Yves' music! I can't wait to get to know his previous (and future) work!

Report this review (#1911141)
Posted Sunday, April 1, 2018 | Review Permalink

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