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Patrick Forgas biography
Often referred to as "the French Robert Wyatt", Patrick FORGAS was 18 when he first heard the music that would change his life: the second SOFT MACHINE album. He spent the 70s perfecting his drumming technique, jamming with various Canterbury-style bands and then in 1977, released his first album entitled "Cocktail". Despite his exceptional talent as a composer and arranger, he failed to achieve any success and disappeared from the music scene, only to return in 1990 with a series of albums which he released either under his name or that of the FORGAS BAND PHENOMENA.

The mostly instrumental "Cocktail", comprising an almost 20-minute long epic, displays superb compositions full of inventiveness and melodic research, emphasizing the strong bass lines of Gérard Prévost (ZOI, RAHMANN). After a couple of average releases under Musea, FORGAS churned out the very strong "Extra-Lucide" in 1999. This is first-rate prog fusion that moves through many different moods and is performed by a sextet of ultra-tight musicians (searing guitar, prominent saxes, flute, keyboards, bass as well as GONG's own Mireille Bauer contributing vibraphone and marimba). Curiously, FORGAS' latest release "Synchronicité" completely departs from the Canterbury style. Almost new-age like, it features FORGAS alone at the keyboards and percussions.

Fans of SOFT MACHINE (and especially of Robert WYATT) should definitely check out the excellent "Extra-Lucide" as well as the 77 debut album "Cocktail". "Synchronicité" is far from being a bad album but will more likely attract fans of VANGELIS, ASH RA TEMPEL and KLAUS SCHULZE.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

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Musea Records France 2006
Audio CD$18.75
$3.00 (used)
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PATRICK FORGAS discography

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PATRICK FORGAS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.46 | 14 ratings
1.14 | 3 ratings
3.60 | 5 ratings
Art D'Echo
3.96 | 4 ratings

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Showing last 10 reviews only
 Cocktail by FORGAS, PATRICK album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.46 | 14 ratings

Patrick Forgas Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Raff
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

4 stars Patrick Forgas' debut album, "Cocktail" (originally released in 1977, but reissued by Musea in 2008 with 13 bonus tracks), would not be misplaced among the output of other non-English Canterbury bands, such as Supersister or Picchio Dal Pozzo. As the colourful, cartoon-like cover artwork immediately suggests, this is not the kind of music that takes itself too seriously, in spite of the high technical quotient of the performances. Forgas' Wyatt-like vocals (admittedly a bit of an acquired taste), with their quintessentially French air of sophisticated nonchalance, add to this relaxed, feel-good atmosphere.

The first ten tracks - most of them no longer than a couple of minutes - are those featured on the original version of the album. The 18-minute suite My Trip, strategically placed in the tenth slot, comes in a way as a surprise. The album's undisputed highlight, it is one of those compositions that are almost impossible to describe effectively, on account of its extremely diverse structure. While all the instruments contribute to the build-up of this tour de force, the real star of "My Trip" is Gérard Prévost's bass. A former member of Magma offshoot Zao, Prévost really makes the difference here, his stunning performance holding an otherwise rather fragmented track together. Opening in classic jazz-rock fashion, with echoes of Bruford here and there, it then turns more experimental, with Forgas' scat-like vocalising, and lyrical violin strains to soften the atmosphere.

The bass is also at the forefront in the brisk, uptempo "Orgueil", coupled with clear, tinkling guitar; while "Monks", which also features Canterbury's trademark fuzzed-organ sound at the beginning, is built upon a steadily weaving main theme, enriched by violin and flute. Forgas' elegantly measured drumming is a core feature of all the songs, enhancing even very short offerings such as "Reflet D'Ail" or "Vol D'Hirondelles". His peculiar singing style (a falsetto that sometimes reminded me of The Northettes, even more so than Robert Wyatt) fits the nature of the compositions, in which classic Canterbury stylings meet with funky touches (as in the almost danceable rhythm and vocals of "Rhume Des Foins"), besides the more obvious jazz influences. The latter are very prominent in the title-track, whose smooth, almost lazy flow reflects the carefree attitude implied by the album cover artwork.

The thirteen bonus tracks include alternate versions of some of the original songs, as well as previously unreleased material. The latter ranges from the oddly infectious tune of "Magie Major" to the darker, electronics-infused atmosphere of "Arrête-Toi" and "Espoir". Somewhat frustratingly, none of those tracks (with the sole exception of the demo version of "My Trip"), is longer than four minutes. While all adequate, they are not what I would call indispensable: the bass-driven "Nos Cheveux Emmelés", with its relaxed, jazzy pace and Canterbury-style organ in the background, is the only song that actually stands out. In spite of the album's undeniable strengths, it should also be stressed that 73 minutes are a bit excessive for the average listener's attention span, in particular for those who prefer to listen to albums in one sitting. On the other hand, Musea Records deserve praise for having rescued it from oblivion, even if not all the bonus tracks are up to scratch. Highly recommended to Canterbury and classic jazz-rock/fusion fans, as well as to those who appreciate an outstanding rhythm section, "Cocktail" is a very enjoyable, uplifting effort, worthy of a solid 4-star rating.

 L'Oeil by FORGAS, PATRICK album cover Studio Album, 1990
1.14 | 3 ratings

Patrick Forgas Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

1 stars After a lengthy stop in his career, Forgas came back in the early 90's for a couple of albums, L-Oeuil being the first of the two. Strangely enough Forgas chose to re-work with Tilleman (the better of the two violinist he had used on his debut album), but he did not contact the other former collabs. In either case, of all the guests, the stand out is clearly Gong's Didier Malherbe.

As usual with such a type of project, Forgas (atural multi-instrumentalist) chose to play the vast majority of instruments, meaning he also chose to cut costs of some more, including drums and bass. Remembered we are still at the start of the 90's where these were common practices (from Ain Soph to David Cross, sampling and bad synths were deemed cool as even Malherbe screws around with them ). Sparing the atrocity of describing you track per track, just know that Forgas's supposed admiration for Wyatt's persona is really mostly vocal and again not that evident (except on a few spots), but musically we are in a jazzy feel, but very close to awful pop stuff also, some (Electro-short) even sounding new wave some ten years too late. The album comes with two "bonus" tracks supposedly from the 70's, but rearranged and souped up to fit the wanted modern ambiances. While just as excruciatingly bad as the rest of the album, they cannot help save the album either, as it is difficult to believe those two tracks were written back then. Well My trip is supposed to be a rework or first version of the track of his 77 album, but it is unrecognisable from its vinyl version. Forgas will again exploit that track to a much better result in his following album Art D'Echo.

Strangely enough (or maybe not;-) after a second album, Forgas' career will come to another stop and he will give another kick-start by starting his Forgas Phenomena Band around the millennium, this band still playing nowadays. Best avoided if you ask me, this was probably not helping Musea's plight to survive, L'Oeuil being one of their worse release. Avoid at all cost, really!!!

 Cocktail by FORGAS, PATRICK album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.46 | 14 ratings

Patrick Forgas Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars Multi-instrumentalist Patrick Forgas developed a strange kind of psychedelic jazz-rock blending with latter 70's fusion, even more so for the second part of the 70's. While Forgas wrote and composed all of the music and he played roughly half the instruments on this album, it does not sound like a dodgy basement record with only him playing on it. I wouldn't call this album a group effort either, but the playing is tight and does not allow for indulgence. With a rather bland cartoon-like artwork (the back cover is much more fun and better fit for an artwork), this album was recorded in the spring and summer of 77, and released in the fall on the small Gratte-Ciel (sky-scrapper) record label, but as far as I know, this has never seen a Cd reissue, which is not the case for other albums of his. If you can imagine later Traffic mixed with some Jean-Luc Ponty, you might just have good idea of what awaits you on Coktail.

The first side of the vinyl is comprised of mostly very short tracks, with two notable exceptions, that brought a very varied atmosphere, generally light, funky and humorous, but none are actually really interesting either, as they seem to be serving as fillers. Only the longer Monks and Rhume De Foin (hay fever), the first with its almost 5 minutes seem to bring more depth, with a great groove underlined a superb bass line, with divine flute, sax and violin interplay. The second (and A-side closer) is a more reflective piece sounding like Traffic around the John Barleycorn Must Die album.

The B-side is taken-up by the lengthy (18-min+) My Trip, which actually is a fitting title, because this is one hell of a ride. If the first side was entirely instrumental, this track holds some vocals, which are not very strong though, resembling the usual French symphonic rock singing in the 70's. Again there is some particularly exciting violin playing (Tilleman plays on most of the better tracks of the album) very reminiscent of Ponty's then-contemporary albums, some dynamite sax (here Bruce Grant instead of Debricon on the flipside)

While Forgas might have appeared as an original and zany character in life, the music fails to represent this fully. For some reasons, as much as it is loaded with all the trumps, the album is a bit of a miss, but not far from a hit either. Hardly essential but still much worth a spin on your turntable.

 Synchronicité by FORGAS, PATRICK album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.96 | 4 ratings

Patrick Forgas Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by lucas
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Patrick Forgas is a french composer well known for his work within the Forgas Phenoma Band. At the time he played with this band, the music was jazz-rock oriented. But with this first solo effort, the music is rather ambient-oriented with links towards Tangerine Dream and Vangelis. Apart from an obvious influence of the great "ambient" artists, this album pays also a tribute to the minimalists such as Philip Glass. Despite the minimalism influence, the sounds are varied (you can hear at times saxophone samplers, violin-like, harp-like, vibraphone-like and xylophone-like sounds, all "synthetic" because played on keyboards) and the percussion adds a jazzy feeling to the music. Overall, the music here is very smooth and it sounds like nothing else released to date. I think this is one of the most intriguing and beautiful ambient album released in years. If you want a good ambient album with discreet jazzy percussion, check out "Synchronicité" and you will be amazed by the beauty of the music Patrick Forgas composed.
Thanks to Lucas for the artist addition. and to ProgLucky for the last updates

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