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FINNEGANS WAKE

RIO/Avant-Prog • Belgium


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Finnegans Wake biography
The band started in 1993 with my meeting with Alain Lemaître. He had just started a studio in his basement and we decided to give it a try... Then, as things were improving, I called my old friend Jean-Louis Aucremanne, with which I had played jazz duets in the 80s. We shared the same prog references (Canterbury, HENRY COW, VDGG) and there was the opportunity to start a "prog band"... Richard Redcrossed came later as we needed a lyricist and afterwards a vocalist. Here are the bios of the founding members:

1. Jean-Louis Aucremanne is a pianist, rather jazz / contempory music oriented. He studied jazz harmony in various jazz clinics in Belgium. FINNEGANS WAKE is the only band he's been member of. His references are Martial Solal, Siegfried Kessler and Bill Evans.

2. Alain Lemaître played bass in various funk and "chanson française" bands in Belgium. When FW started, he had never listened to any progressive band and didn't know anything about the existence of such a music. His prime reference is Jaco Pastorius.

3. Richard Redcrossed sang in various new wave bands in the beginning of the 80s. He was quite influenced by The STRANGLERS and has also a crooner touch that he's devolving in new projects in Belgium, under the name Richard Belgium. As a lyricist, he developed a kind of twisted surrealistic approach that can be found in the "Wenceslas" pieces.

4. Henry Krutzen studied percussion, saxophone and harmony in various schools and jazz clinics in Belgium. He also plays harmonica, recorder, piano, keyboards and some ethnic instruments (reita, balafon, ken...). He took part of many musical projects: jazz, new wave, heavy metal, experimental, world music and progressive Rock. Since 1993, he is working on three different projects:
a) FINNEGANS WAKE is a progressive rock band whose main influences go from CARAVAN, UNIVERS ZERO» and HENRY COW to today bands such as U TOTEM or UZ JSME DOMA. There are four members in the band: Richard Redcrossed (lyrics, vocals), Jean-Louis Aucremanne (piano and keyboards), Alain Lemaître (bass and keyboards) and Henry Krutzen (vocals, piano, keyboards, saxophone, recorder, ken and shanai). In 2003, Alexandre Moura-Barros (guitars) joined the band as Jean-Louis Aucremanne left. So now it is a Belgo-Brazilian band!
b) Under the name Henry Krutzen comes more intimate and personal stuff: piano pieces, songs, «new music» or experimental material.
c) "Xeno" is a prog / electronic music project.
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PicturesPictures
Import
Gazul/Musea 2001
Audio CD$18.05
$14.99 (used)
The Bird And The Sky AboveThe Bird And The Sky Above
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Fazzul Music
Audio CD$19.99
BlueBlue
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Altrock
Audio CD$29.99
GreenGreen
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Dark Matter Distribution 2006
Audio CD$29.99
Pictures by FINNEGANS WAKE [Music CD]Pictures by FINNEGANS WAKE [Music CD]
Gazul/Musea
Audio CD$37.60
YellowYellow
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Dark Matter Distribution 2006
Audio CD$22.16
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FINNEGANS WAKE discography


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FINNEGANS WAKE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.79 | 9 ratings
Yellow
1994
3.83 | 10 ratings
Green
1996
4.09 | 14 ratings
Pictures
2001
4.16 | 13 ratings
4th
2004
4.04 | 17 ratings
Blue
2008
3.10 | 12 ratings
The Bird And The Sky Above
2010
3.00 | 6 ratings
Red
2011

FINNEGANS WAKE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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FINNEGANS WAKE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Bird And The Sky Above by FINNEGANS WAKE album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.10 | 12 ratings

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The Bird And The Sky Above
Finnegans Wake RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

2 stars Well, with the previous two albums, Krutzen & Co had managed their own specific sound and done quality albums, so everything looked good for the following album that was still recorded in Brazil, where the band had relocated. But alas, the group fell apart with only Henri remaining as original member, and TBatSA is released on yet another label (the fifth in six albums), this time the Brazilian Fazzul. But the real surprise is the complete change of musical scope. Gone is the attractive chamber prog of Blue and 4th, and in comes this free-form improvs - at least it sounds like it to these ears, although a musicologist would probably find some composed passages.

In either case, whether written or improvised, The Bird is very much a departure from the usual FW soundscapes. The album consist of of a single piece (the title track), divided in six parts depicting the landscapes of our flying friends. FW was often borderline dissonant in their previous album, but here they might be better described as rarely-sonant, if you get my drift. Indeed while the album starts out (with the Soft Dreaming first part) slow enough to describe an early dawn with Johnson's flute, Henri's piano is directly dissonant, but this is composed music, no doubt even if the trumpet and sax go wildly weird, bouncing around in your room. The second instalment called First Flight is collaboration between Henri and Onofre (who takes over the piano) and sounds even more dissonant. The silde trumpet (?) and the sax are singing out the birdsongs over un-rhythmic percussions. More of the same for the Onofre-penned Walking On The Ground and the following Stealing On The picnic Table, where the group is joined by Strauss' bass sax (I suppose a cross between the baritone sax and the bassoon). As you can imagine, Dark Clouds is much wilder and noiusy as our flying superhero defies and survives the demented forces of nature.

I'm not exactly sure why Krutzen made this album a FW one, instead of a solo album?.. because TBatSA doesn't remotely sound close to anything the group had released so far, despite always having a dissonant facet. Approach with much caution, and I'd even advise to avoid itif you're not that friendly with freer forms of music.

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 The Bird And The Sky Above by FINNEGANS WAKE album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.10 | 12 ratings

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The Bird And The Sky Above
Finnegans Wake RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Open your mind and let this music take you into their realm!

Is what I would suggest if you happen to listen to this album, because its sounds and colors lead you to another place, it speaks for itself.

Finnegans Wake are a Belgian band which started back in 1993, and so far they have released six albums, being the one I am reviewing their newest effort. During those years, they suffered a sensible lost when Jean-Louis Aucremanne left the band. However despite some changes they continued composing and releasing albums, they have really succeeded.

This album called "The Bird and the Sky Above" has been just released this 2010, though it was recorded in 2009 in Brazil, where Henry Krutzen (who can be named as the ban's leader) lives; and part of it recorded in Switzerland, because there is a new member of the band, new here but a veteran within the progressive realm, Markus Stauss, who adds his bass sax to this new Finnegans Wake album.

So the album is divided in 6 great compositions, all of them make one song (The Bird and the Sky Above) but each part has its own name. The album lasts 44 minutes, so relax, make yourself comfortable and enjoy the music.

Part 1: Still Dreaming A flute appears over there and it is continually sounding, but every now and then there are some other noises that help the song creating a very "nature" sound, I mean you little by little are attracted and swallowed by the music, which leads you to another world. In this first composition, you can also appreciate some piano, a sax, percussion and a trumpet, the instruments are having a chat, it all of a sudden turns into a heavier conversation, but then it slows down and finishes very tranquil.

Part 2: First Flight You may think you are still on part one when a drum appears and turns to the second part. The sound is practically the same but now you can imagine things, you can take the songs titles and create a vision of a bird which was first dreaming but now it is awake and about to fly, you can see that it is trying to fly but maybe there is something that it wants to do before spreading its wings, I don't know, every person can create its own story. The music is beautiful, the instruments used here are practically the same, but there are moments where you listen to them and every single note transmits you something.

Part 3: Walking on the Ground Then like a split second, the music stops and drums make the pass to the third part. This is the shortest song and it is basically led by percussions, there are some strange noises but drums are what really move this track. A very nice short piece.

Part 4: Stealing on the Picnic Table Since the very beginning of this part you will notice a different atmosphere, some sax and trumpet that will bring the RIO term to your mind immediately. Here you can remember your previous story of the bird and continue with your thoughts; the title of the part is the key because based on that, you can manage to reproduce that imaginative story that is being told in your mind. I love how the music can share several colors and textures, and also bring to your mind different feelings, it happens because of its constant changes, it sounds soft, calm and relaxing, but all of a sudden a dramatic mood change appears, the instruments are played faster and louder, but then again they calm down, however this piece ends with a dark atmosphere.

Part 5: Dark Clouds Fly bird, fly as fast as you can! It is what I imagine here due to the tremendous start of this song, it is like a thunder passing when you don't expect it. This fifth part is the longest one with more than 13 minutes of exquisite, weird and challenging music. This same song can also be divided in parts and I would say it would perfectly fit in a short film; the role of the bird and its actions has transformed the musicians, so they are part of the story and what they play is just a resemblance of what they are seeing. You can notice that when a nervous piano starts playing, or when the saxophone produce some thoughtful or reflective sounds, or even when a gentle flute is blowing in the wind, amazing. Then, around 10:40 the music stops and seconds later soft piano notes along with that gentle flute appears, seems that the storm (if it was one) finished and the bird is preparing to something new.

Part 6: Infinite Background The last part of the album and its story, again, let your imagination run and create your own world, and invent the life of that bird who wants to fly and live easy, exploring the world and even exploring itself. In this song there is a strong percussion base, which is also accompanied by piano notes that appear here and there, but also you can appreciate a saxophone sound in different phases, I mean it sounds a bit heavier or stronger, even darker, but then it is the other way around, soft, tranquil and colorful. The last seconds are like an ellipsis, the story may continue.

As you noticed, this album is magical and I feel lucky to have it and appreciate it, though I don't really think it could be considered a progressive rock masterpiece, what it created on me is something special that not any album shares, so my final rating is 4 stars (4.5). Listen to it, I really recommend it.

Enjoy it!

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 Blue by FINNEGANS WAKE album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.04 | 17 ratings

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Blue
Finnegans Wake RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I feel like i've been reviewing a lot of 2 and 3 star albums of late so this is a pleasure to review something of this quality and sophistication. FINNEGANS WAKE originated in Belgium and while I haven't heard their earlier recordings I understand there is a strong Canterbury / Jazz flavour to them. This particular album has none of that really but fits perfectly in the Chamber Music school of music. UNIVERS ZERO would be a good reference, in fact Guy Segers from that band plays bass on the final track. Also on the same song Reginald Trigaux from PRESENT guests on guitar. The only negative for me are the female operatic vocals that appear on a few tracks, but thankfully there's not a lot of them. They do suit the music though I must admit.

"Honfleur La Jolie" opens with piano playing slowly as gentle guitar joins in. A full sound before 2 minutes then violin joins in. It settles again before kicking back in more powerful than ever. Nice. Violin is back before 5 minutes. "Die Geste Von Kreuzlingen" features those operatic female vocals early on with piano. It's dark as sounds come and go. Piano is back. Love the angular guitar. "Mida" opens with slicing violin as dark piano melodies and drums join in. The guitar is great after a minute. An intricate Chamber music soundscape takes over. Violin and drums change that 4 minutes in followed by horns. Guitar, violin and drums lead the rest of the way. "Luftspiel" is classical sounding with those operatic vocals.

"Blue" is led by violins early as aboe and bass help out. Organ follows along with percussion. This sounds so good after 2 1/2 minutes. A fuller sound arrives before 4 1/2 minutes. Great tune. "Ents And Things" is led by piano, drums and bass early .A nice dark sound with lots of bottom end is the result. It picks up. Guitar after 1 1/2 minutes. Aboe before 2 1/2 minutes as it settles right down. It picks up again with piano leading then turns heavy before 4 minutes. "Magical Cave" is one of my favourites. Piano, flute, horns, violin and aboe all come and go. Very intricate. Heavy guitar comes and goes as the sound builds. "The Battle Of Novgorod" is lead by piano, violin and drums to start. The tempo keeps shifting on this one. "Vulnavia" is dark and eerie to begin with. Vocals join in along with the odd metered drumming. Dissonant horns too.Amazing ! It brightens somewhat then turns dark again before 3 1/2 minutes to end it. "Agakuk" has a distinct UNIVERS ZERO flavour to it. I like the keyboards and the pulsating rhythm. Segers is prominant on bass. Trigaux comes in later. Just a great sounding track.

Easily 4 stars.

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 The Bird And The Sky Above by FINNEGANS WAKE album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.10 | 12 ratings

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The Bird And The Sky Above
Finnegans Wake RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Music By Mail

4 stars The new and 6th album by Finnegans Wake will undoubtedly surprise many! If the previous albums were characterized by an increasing complexity in writing arrangements, the new one will be found at the opposite end: free and contemplating! I am anyway firmly convinced that there still is a continuity in Henry Krutzen's work and it will be found in Brazil, where he currently lives when not in Belgium. The connection with Brazil already started with the 4th album, where quite a few musicians from this country were part of the line-up. Flutist Alexandre Johnson was one of them, that is also present here and provides us with an extra link from "4th" to "The Bird And The Sky Above". If the title isn't enough a cue, then yes, the new album is populated by many birds! Jazzman Eric Dolphy was fascinated by birds and wanted to reproduce their singing through his playing. Kreutzen is obviously more concerned by their attitude and ways of moving, flying. If at times a percussion may emulate the sound of a pecker, the entire record is focusing on birds moves. Birds are free in their nature and so are the musicians in the studio, giving us an incredible free playing sustained by arhythmical moves, atonal phrasings, a fantastic display of dynamics, breath and space, reflective moments and other more agitated with piano clusters. All this seems anyway to be tightly and magically controlled, we're not talking systematical freaky blowing in a wild free jazz sense. Even Swiss saxophonist Markus Stauss seems to restrain himself in his interventions on bass sax (if you know him from his other projects like Spaltklang or Ulterior Lux, you will notice the difference!). No, it seems like we can hear, feel the depth of a forest (Brazilian tropical influence?), the air, the sky and .... the musicians are literally functioning like birds, individually or collectively! There is a lot of place for the peaceful flute playing of Johnson, the trumpet slides of Antônio de Pádua and various outbursts, springs, hops and flights by all the other players. As I said first, I'm pretty sure that some of the band's fans will be shocked by this and even maybe derouted! This album may be a side spring in Finnegans Wake's discography - I will not hesitate to give it 4 stars though - but it presents a fresh and outrageously ambitious challenge in the apparently very simple nature of bird's life. Open your ears and wings and you will be rewarded with a very unusual and strong experience. Enter the world of birds! Forget the tags like chamber prog, RIO or whatever stamp you expect to associate the band to: instead, hear them fly .... now, all around you ..... with you!

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 Pictures by FINNEGANS WAKE album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.09 | 14 ratings

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Pictures
Finnegans Wake RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars Third album, the first on Musea (instead of Mellow, so far) and an unchanged line-up but an extended guest list for a largely similar sound, Pictures (refreshing album title) is recorded and auto-produced during the winter 00 & 01 in Brussels Their sound remains a wide spectrum, ranging from classical chamber music to dissonant free form to hard rocking with a loud electric guitar (courtesy of Jacques Collin) and sometimes outstanding drums ( from guest Michel Morvan), both generally reminiscent of Crimson.

Right from the first second, you know there is only a choice from two groups in the world, both Belgians: either UZ or FW. It won't be long before you stop hesitating as the music changes too much for it to be UZ's. , but Downtown's 11 minutes is an impressive charabia of music styles and genres. The five-movements almost 17-mins self-titled suite is about five painters, so obviously five interacting atmospheres, one of them having a very Magma-esque scat vocals and there is an absolutely mesmerizing funky bass/trumpet passage that should leave Miles speechless. The musicians of FW are all about progressing without reneging their past. Indeed besides the Wenceslas character being revived for the third time in three albums (this time in a 17-mins three-piece thing,) the group has some kind of weird Terry Riley-like minimalism in the 7-mins Illimited as a middle section, the second being the most verbose FW piece ever. Overall, this second major axis of the album is a bit of a miss and it is not the small finale outro that will change it.

Typically in the line of previous albums, Pictures is generally better produced than the first two Mellow albums, although I understand that Musea did not intervene anymore than Mellow had. Starting extremely strong, but seemingly running out of steam in the second part, Pictures is still a rather strong album and fits perfectly well in FW's discography.

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 Blue by FINNEGANS WAKE album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.04 | 17 ratings

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Blue
Finnegans Wake RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars Fifth album from this now Belgo-Brazilian (the group has relocated there) and the third exploring a colour after Yellow and Green, but there is no trace of the man Alexandre Mourras-Barros, that overtook the group by storm with his arrival in the double 4th album, eventually inciting the group to move to Brazil. So what happened to this guitarist that had even contributed to the songwriting? Why is he absent here, replaced by a pianist (of Brazilian persuasion), whom BTW is also co-writing half the tracks on this album? With a slightly tribal blue artwork, hence the title, this album was released in the fall of 08 on the AltrOck label. Another pleasant surprise is the album's excellent production, a novelty for the band ever since their 4th, as the first three were really poor in that department

Musically, this album is not really much different than the previous double album and its vast array of chamber music, but next to Green and Yellow, the contrasts will be striking as the music was near jazz- rock with a Canterbury twist, but Blue is firmly in chamber prog with a Zeuhl twist. But comparing from Pictures and 4th, you would be hard pressed to find an aspect of the band that would have changed due to the band's relocation in Brazil, but the progression is really there and they've grown a Zeuhl affinity. If the group remains a Belgian duo (Krutzen & Lemaitre) with a (different) Brazilian, the new-coming pianist Marcitio Onatre, there are still some very notable Belgian prog stars, such ex-X-L S Pierre Vervloesem and Present's Reginald Trigaux and Guy Seghers either helping out or playing in the "bonus track" Agakuk. Another strange quirk is that the texts are sung in German on an operatic tone and signed Xocil A. Schultz.

After a lengthy languid piano entrance Honfleur finally starts on violin and organ, before returning to the piano and the track to start a second time, his time with a metallic guitar. Ever heard Metallica's guitar mixed with RIO-like Chamber prog??? Well in 4th and now in Blue, you can, and I would've never thought they'd fit so well. The following Die Geste is definitely more RIO with hard German female operatic voice mixed with really cold early-UZ-like music. Somehow until it gets electric (and warmer), Art Bears wasn't far away. The following Mida presents more of the same without vocals, this time including the metallic guitar and a Zeuhl twist. Very ambitious stuff. Luftspiel marks the return of the German opera vocals.The next two tracks, Blue and Things are both instrumental (and to be truthful, it's better this way) and are bot developing the new Zeuhl thing that has appeared in FW's music of late. Clearly by Magical Cave, the album has turned schizophrenic with the sung tracks clearly heading towards operatic complex chamber prog and gentler instrumental, mopre intent on fusion. .

Aside from the laughable (or at least amusing) notion of the bonus track available on a brand new album, that never was published without it, Blue is another typical Finnegans Wake albulm, although it might have a tad more Zeuhl influence, but this is not just due to the Present-infected Agakuk bonus track, it's pretty well all over the place, savantly mixed with the usual avant-garde RIO that was always theirs.

Once the disc stops spinning and the laser shuts off, there isn't a shadow of a doubt you've just listened to one of the most essential album of the year in the "complex prog category, and it is again little wonder it is a Belgian, as so many dozens of these ever since Univers Zero and Cos started.

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 Blue by FINNEGANS WAKE album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.04 | 17 ratings

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Blue
Finnegans Wake RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by avestin
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Not only Blue. The music here has many colours

I've known about Finnegan's Wake for a while and have heard several tracks of theirs but have yet to hear a full album, despite being quite curious to do so. Blue follows 3 previous albums of which I heard good opinions and read favourable reviews and so I was happy to have the chance to review this newest release by this Belgian ensemble now residing in Brazil. This 4 musicians core is enhanced by a large lineup of guest musicians, among then many Brazilian musicians and also two names who will be more familiar: Guy Segers and Reginald Trigaux.

I must say that if this is representative of their discography then I have been missing out not bothering picking up their releases earlier. Intense is a word that only begins to describe the edgy sounding chamber-rock being played here. The various instruments sit very well with each other; the crunchy aggressive electric guitars, metal-like at times (played by three different musicians on the various tracks it appears on) with the sometimes delicate, sometimes edgy sounding violin, the calmer flute and the heavy thumping of the piano and bass. The songs feature a mix between a classical sounding side, a softer peaceful acoustic aspect and a more abrasive and crude electric facet of the band music. The mix between the two is well balanced and very well done and played. One can find elements from Univers Zero and Present alongside even some Zeuhlish elements (listen to the bass line on Mida and the rhythm and overall mood in that track as well as some female chanting vocals on other tracks such as Luftspiel).

While it is not particularly inaccessible (well, depending on your listening background), it does require several listening "sessions" to digest all of the tracks on here and the various musical ideas presented in each one and the way they're developed. It was lovely from first listen, but once I really got to know the album, it became a very rewarding listening experience. The way they mix the electric and acoustic is particularly well done and their melodies are beautiful, complex and catchy; exactly the way I love it.

This is another fine release from the Altr0ck label and I will certainly now go and get the previous releases of Finnegan's Wake.

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 4th by FINNEGANS WAKE album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.16 | 13 ratings

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4th
Finnegans Wake RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars Finnegans Wake's fourth album is a textbook example of the definition of chamber rock ( or as I call it chamber prog) and is one of the most enduring example of the newer wave of such Belgian bands. Their first albums were somewhat a bit between Canterbury and Avant prog or Univers Zero , fusing rock rythms with serious music. By this fouth album, gone are the rather clumsy Canterbury influences and sloppy production jobs and we are really dealing with a prime example of rock music interacting with classical chamber music. This gives us the listener some ravishing and orgiastic moments but also (rarely) some more awkward uneases (but really nothing to be afraid about), but on the whole a very enjoyable album.

This double album will ke you a while to digest everything on it ( I certainly have not by the time of writing this review) , the influences ranging from contemporary classicalflute playing on rock drumming leading into frenetic high energy rock to going back to calm pastoral string quintet chamber orchestral music. Awesome job!! But this is an acquired taste but there are moments when you can hear that my buddy Henry Krutzen an his music ex-partner Aucremanne (but present as a guest) have also listened to the more adventurous Steve Hackett Oeuvre and sometimes Crimsonian guitars make an appaerance over a Satriani solo(Tapoica Com Pimemta closing off disc 1). The music stays mostly melodic and if dissonances there are, they are not frequent. The jazz influences are still there but really not as frequently as on their previous albums.

If you are inclined towards classical music (other than the huge symphonic orchestras) and enjoy the better known Univers Zero, this may just be your album of the year.

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 Green by FINNEGANS WAKE album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.83 | 10 ratings

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Green
Finnegans Wake RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars Roughly two years after Yellow, FW comes back with a second album also sporting a colour on its sleeve and title: Green. With a sub-marine artwork, the album was again released on the Italian Mellow label, but you can sense that Moroni is not willing to invest as much as the back of the CD and the disc itself have B&W illustrations rather than coloured ones. Although the central trio remained together, the guitarist changed and among the guest can we find the returning Ruymen on violin, but on the whole, the musical direction remains similar to Yellow, even if it's clear the guys are definitely better with each other.

Starting on the Lemaitre-penned Boleral, the album has to wait the superb Krutzen-penned Italics track to really take off. And we're again gliding into this mix of chamber rock with RIO and twists of Canterburian-jazz-rock and it's almost unmistakably a typical Belgian record. Vocally Henri shares with Celine Thooft the vocals allowing for more weirdness, especially on the Queen Wenceslas, obviously the companion piece to the track o the debut album. Elsewhere, Celine's raspy and deep vocals give a different flavour to Torquemada's Dream, and probably make this nightmarish track the album's highlight with a lengthy guitar solo over organ layers first, than uncontrollably sliding to the lugubrious. The joint Aucremanne/Krutzen-penned Dragon suite is another highlight, although I wouldn't bother with the different subsections. The closing Mountains and Clouds takes on an ethnic African feel, especially once the vocals get in stride (courtesy of Celine), but it's not a typical FW track either. .

There is one BIG surprise in this album, a cover from Peter Hammill's Squid track, where Henri loves to do Jaxon's sax in his version and we are plunged into a light Graaf-esque ambiance, the arrangements being somewhat important. Technically all around a better album than Yellow, Green is a very enjoyable album, and is quite accessible for most progheads although I wouldn't use it as mating music. This would prove FW's last album on Mellow, as could be expected by the small hints and most likely like of sufficient sales, but Green is definitely one of the 90's best album from Belgium. If you hesitate between colours, this one gets the green light.

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 Yellow by FINNEGANS WAKE album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.79 | 9 ratings

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Yellow
Finnegans Wake RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars Having met Henry Krutzen a few times since he made an incredible sax solo on Anekdoten's first concert in Brussels (Le Sud in June 95) during the encore (it was a KC number) , and having listened to his solo albums (starting as soon as 79 with Silences), I can tell you that he is a man of vision. In the mid-90's, he started his own is group, taking the name from an Irish novel and released on the Italian Mellow label, the album Yellow, graced with a yellow modern artwork where you can guess knights and horses. Inside the booklet, every song gets its own painted artwork and lyrics printed

Musically FW is a strange mix of jazz-rock with some RIO chamber rock. The group is mostly a trio with Aucremanne on keyboards, Lemaitre on bass and drums (and programmed percussions), Krutzen on almost everything else (including sax and cello) and vocals except for the guitars, handled by Ouchinsky, but there are many other guests including Wendy Ruyman on violin.

Opening on the 9-mins highly dramatic Chamber Music with strident guitars and slow martial beat and Krutzen reading James Joyce's lyrics Chamber Music, making it a fantastic entrance into FW's musical world. The 6-mins Wooden Horse is definitely ogling towards RIO pastures, on bass motif (clearly Lemaitre's "maitre à penser" is Pastorius) and violin and Henri's bizarre singing on even more bizarre lyrics of Richard Redcrossed. These two "things" only get weirder in the short King Wenceslas, and sometimes you'd think of some of the early Hackett strange vocals with a slight Richard Sinclair and Robert Wyatt feel. The album's centrepiece 11-mins+ El Cid, very much an organ-driven tune, followed by a short piano interlude (For Joelle), before Aucremanne's Last Poem starts again on strident dirty guitars and Krutzen eructing his vocals. The closing Standards To You is probably the catchiest and most conventional "song" on the album, but the constantly crescendoing track ends up with a searing guitar solo to close things up.

However, on this debut what strikes me the most is the production: not that it is poor quality (recording is fine) but rather the lack of it - or more exactly the lack of means. This album could've gotten easily a better rating if someone had done a real job of it. For the rest, the music is what can be expected from a typical Belgian band doing music between RIO and Canterbury. Worth a spin for the amateur of the genre.

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