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Forgas Band Phenomena

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Forgas Band Phenomena Soleil 12 album cover
3.52 | 20 ratings | 3 reviews | 10% 5 stars

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Live, released in 2005

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Soleil 12 (9:22)
2. Coup De Théâtre (34:47)
3. Éclipse (8:16)
4. Pievre à la Pluie (18:18)

Total Time: 70:43

Line-up / Musicians

- Patrick Forgas / drums
- Sylvain Ducloux / guitar
- Igor Brover / keyboards
- Kengo Mochizuki / bass
- Frédéric Norel / violin
- Stanislas De Nussac / Tenor & Soprano saxophones
- Denis Guivarch / Alto saxophone
- Sylvain Gontard / trumpet, flugelhorn

Releases information

CD Cuneiform Records RUNE 218 (2005)

Thanks to grecobastian for the addition
and to ProgLucky for the last updates
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FORGAS BAND PHENOMENA Soleil 12 ratings distribution

(20 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(65%)
Good, but non-essential (25%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by fuxi
3 stars Bandleader Patrick Forgas has been described as 'the French answer to the Canterbury scene', and this album of his is proudly marketed as: 'for fans of Soft Machine, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, Bruford, National Health, Passport, Frank Zappa', but such a label is in fact misleading.

True, the music on SOLEIL 12 often resembles THIRD (and BUNDLES) era Soft Machine, and it will remind you of Pierre Moerlen's Gong at their gentlest (especially of the Gong albums that came after EXPRESSO II). Forgas reveals a preference for unhurried, repetitive, riff-driven compositions. His drumming style is close to Pierre Moerlen's, and also to John Marshall's. The sound of three brass players (trumpet and saxes) executing the main themes in unison is unmistakably Soft-Machine like. Also, lead guitarist Sylvain Ducloux tends to sound like an Allan Holdsworth-disciple.

But if SOLEIL 12 resembles (some) Canterbury music, it has to be Canterbury music with a straight face. Do you remember how, when Robert Wyatt left the Soft Machine, and when Daevid Allen left Gong, they took most of those bands' humour with them? Forgas Band Phenomena generally sound bright and cheerful, but I see no trace of Canterbury-style humour (or avant-garde leanings) in their work. (No trace of fuzz-organs either!) For this reason, and because Forgas' tunes are so simple and repetitive (the longest composition takes nearly 35 minutes), it makes little sense to compare this album with the extraordinary National Health or even with Zappa, unless you mean such relatively subdued Zappa albums as WAKA/JAWAKA.

I find it hard to dislike this music, but in my opinion other Europeans have come up with more convincing efforts in the genre of 'Small Big Band Jazz-Rock', most notably Michael Gibbs, Pierre Dorge and the United Jazz and Rock Orchestra, all of whom benefit from more outspoken soloists and more tuneful compositions. (Meanwhile, the greatest masterpiece in the entire genre remains Zappa's GRAND WAZOO.) However, I don't want to end this review without saying a few words in praise of violinist Frederic Norel, whose contributions are outstanding. Whenever Norel started playing, I pricked up my ears. If you're curious about the (non-electric) violin in a jazz or fusion context, do give this album a try.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars It was actually a huge relief for me to read fuxi's review of this album. I had my review written and as per usual I like to check out the various opinions on the Web. All I found was nothing but praise for this live album. I just haven't been getting into this record like I thought I would and I agree with fuxi on so many points that I guess I feel vindicated somewhat.

First of all for an album that's adverised as having a strong Canterbury flavour I didn't taste it at all. No distorted organ ,no avant passages except for some dissonant horns in one place. No lyrics so no humour in that way. Mostly this is fairly tame Jazz with a lot of brass and violin. I wasn't even a fan of the violin playing. Some good guitar but not enough of it. The musicianship is fantastic here and I was impressed quite often, I just wish there were some dark moments or weird secions or some smoking Fender Rhodes, something that turns me on musically. There are 4 tracks totalling almost 71 minutes, the longest is almost 35 minutes in length.

This is really good but I have so much already in this style that I consider far better. Three stars, but remember most will rate this one higher so it's worth checking out.

Latest members reviews

5 stars The third release from France's Forgas Band Phenomena, titled Soleil 12, is four songs of rich, captivating, and exploratory Canterbury styled fusion. Led by drummer Patrick Forgas (who recorded projects in the 70's & 80's with members of Magma and Zao), this big band ensemble of eight players ... (read more)

Report this review (#164900) | Posted by camelspotter | Tuesday, March 25, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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