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Jean-Luc  Ponty - Fables CD (album) cover

FABLES

Jean-Luc Ponty

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I bought this album in December 1987, as a low-price offer in a super-market. This is the first album of J.L. Ponty that I have listened after his "Aurora" album. I found several changes in his style. Being recorded in 1985, it was the first album that I had listened from him recorded in the 80s. His style then incorporated the use of sequencers, and modern technology like the use of the Synclavier. His music style also changed because it wasn`t very similar to his albums from the seventies, which were more "traditional Jazz-Rock", if I`m correct to say that. His music became more accessible, and he was also criticized because his music seemed more "mechanical" due to the use of sequencers. But despite all these changes, I still liked this album, fully recorded and mixed in the digital format, as the back cover says. Ponty himself played or programmed the keyboards, while also using some very good effects in his electric violins. The guitars also had a less prominent role.

"Infinity Pursuit" could be called the "more mechanical in sound" song of the album. It sometimes becomes monotonous, but it also sounds a bit "commercial". "Elephants in Love" has some very interesting keyboard sounds. I can imagine a scene with elephants in Africa while listening to this song. "Radiactive Legacy" also has very good keyboard sounds, with "dramatic" electric violin solos. This song sounds like a "warning to the radiactive legacy". I can feel the "danger", really.It is a serious song, really.

Side Two of the old L.P. starts with "Cats Tales", a song which has interesting changes in rhythm, and it is one of the songs were guitarist Scott Henderson shines, playing a very good guitar solo. "Perpetual Rondo" also has some interesting changes in rhythm, but it also has some monotonous melodies.

In all these previous songs, Ponty is accompanied very well by bassist Baron Browne and drummer Rayford Griffin. As I said before, the role of the guitars was less prominent, and guitarist Scott Henderson plays rhythm guitar most of the time.

The last two songs of the album were played by Ponty alone, using keyboards, sequencers and electric violins. "In the Kingdom of peace" is a song without percussion sounds, only played in a Synclavier and with electric violin solos. It is a really "peaceful" song. "Plastic Idols" has some interesting programmed percussion and interesting "digital effects" used with the violin. It is a very melodic song.

I agree tha t Ponty`s music became more accessible, but it was a good change,IMO.

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Send comments to Guillermo (BETA) | Report this review (#72179)
Posted Friday, March 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
Tom Ozric
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The first I heard of J.L. Ponty was when I purchased Frank Zappa's 'Hot Rats' LP many years ago - Ponty played a small violin part on one of that album's tracks - 'It Must Be a Camel'. Anyways, curious of his solo work, I looked into his 70's albums (naturally), and started with 'Cosmic Messenger', and it was a winner in my books. Upon investigating some of his early 80's work, one couldn't help but criticize Ponty's use of synths and sequencers, somewhat overshadowing the focus on his bowing, (but it just makes his violin solos stand- out that much more), and also a more 'typical' Fusion style to his compositions cannot be ignored. Then I eventually came to this album, 'Fables' (thanks to my friend Daniel), and it was a very fresh sounding LP, having Ponty backed by some really tight players; a great rhythm section of Baron Browne (Bass) and Rayford Griffin (Drums) and guitar ace Scott Henderson. The production is superb. It sounded like a true 'return to form' for Ponty. Right off the mark, 'Infinite Pursuit' is a high-octane performance, full of dynamics and great playing all round - and it really 'rocks', for want of a better word. 'Elephants in Love' is a mesmerising track with ethereal keyboard work, great violin lines and some well placed bass chords. 'Radioactive Legacy' is the longer track of the album (6.16) - a well structured piece, starting out almost ambient with synths & violin, then a mid-section in medium tempo, going through various time sigs (9/8, 4/4, 6/8) and featuring some marvellous violin work, and returning to the ambient passage it began with. Side 2 starts with the most full-on piece, 'Cat's Tales', incredibly performed, and showcasing Henderson's guitaring (think: Holdsworth), and violin, with positive and up- lifting riffs all over. The highlight of next track, 'Perpetual Rondo', would definately be the Bass riff. 'In the Kingdom of Peace' shows off what Ponty does when left alone to create with his synths and violin, producing dreamy soundscapes, and tasteful soloing. Lastly, 'Plastic Idols' is a light piece, utilising some special effects on the violin which I've not heard anywhere else. A highly recommended starting place and excellent addition.

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Send comments to Tom Ozric (BETA) | Report this review (#103294)
Posted Friday, December 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars It seems to me like early 80s was the time when musicians take turn on their music direction as many prog bands did it : Yes with 90125, Genesis with Abacab, King Crimson with Discipline and also Jean Luc Ponty with Individual Choices. For whatever reason - was it because of punk and new wave? I really don't know - the new direction in some ways to another were different with the era before it. Talking about Ponty, the previous album before direction change was Mystical Adventures that was released in 1981. And eversince "Individual Choice" was released in 1983, Ponty had entered new era of music making and sounds whereby he had injected the roles of computer programming to create rhythm section and some electric violin sounds. "Open Mind" in some extent creates another feeling for me personally in terms of style which is quite similar with its predecessor album "Individual Choice", so is the case with Fables which was released in 1985.

One thing for sure with Fables: I really love the sonic production quality : it's really excellent and I do enjoy spinning this album with analog tape (cassette) where the sound is really incredible especially when I play it on my vintage TANDBERG TCD 440 A. Whoooaaaa ... it's fantastic! I don't even bother to buy the CD as I am already satisfied to the fullest with the cassettes quality. "Infinite Pursuit" (5:58) is really a great opening track as it has energy and good Ponty work with his Zeta violin and synclavier and sequencer. The next track "Elephants in Love" (5:21) is exploratory in nature and I like the violin solo especially enjoying the sound from cassette tape. It moves nicely to "Radioactive Legacy" (6:16) and all in all they all seem to be in the same musical array as they share common style all over the album.

Obviously this is not the best JL Ponty album but it's worth collecting. It's probably I love cassette tape sound, my review about this album might be bias. But for sure, musically this is a good one. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#1060282)
Posted Tuesday, October 15, 2013 | Review Permalink

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