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FORGAS BAND PHENOMENA

Jazz Rock/Fusion • France


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Forgas Band Phenomena biography
Patrick Forgas was 18 years old when he first heard the music that would change his life : the second SOFT MACHINE album. He would spend the following years perfecting his drumming technique in several of the bands that flourished at the time, the early 70's. In 1975, he recorded a demo tape with Dominique Godin (keyboards and sax) and Didier Thibault (bass), but the latter, formerly of MOVING GELATINE PLATES (an excellent French band in the Canterbury vein, which recorded two acclaimed albums in 1970 and 1971), went on to form a new version of MGP, taking Godin with him, and leaving Patrick on his own.

Luckily, the tape caught the attention of the new-born Gratte-Ciel label, and in 1977 he recorded and released his first album "Cocktail", with a cast of musicians which read like a who's who of the French progressive scene, with former and future members of MAGMA - Jean-Pierre Fouquey (keyboards), then only 18 - and the MAGMA offshoot band ZAO - François Debricon (sax/flute), Patrick Tilleman (violin), and most of all the virtuoso bass player Gérard Prévost. Most of these musicians went on to become top session players. Following the uniformly positive reviews of the album in the press, Forgas formed a touring band, retaining the services of Laurent Roubach - a guitarist later famous for his guitar duo albums with Eric Boell - and Tilleman - quickly replaced by Jorge Pinchevsky of GONG fame, then Jean-Pierre Thirault, the sax player from LARD FREE and MAHJUN -, adding Eric Bono and Philippe Talet - both later in the leading French fusion band, ABUS DANGEREUX. Unfortunately, following the demise of the Gratte-Ciel label, the band had to break up after just a handful of gigs, opening for WEIDORJE and Didier Malherbe's BLOOM among others, without recording the projected second album, of which only a ten-minute medley remains.

Between 1978 and 1988, Forgas almost stopped playing music. He sold his drum kit and took on various non musical jobs. He nonetheless continued to write, with the help of a guitar or a keyboard, which led to an abortive attempt at mainstream pop success (two singles in the mid-eighties) - albeit with quite funny lyrics! Thanks to the continued healthy sales of "Cocktail" through the Muséa distribution network, Forgas was offered a contract in 1988, resulting in the 1990 "comeback" album "L'Oeil", on which Fouquey, Roubach and Tilleman from "Cocktail", and Didier Malherbe (of GONG), guested alongside Forgas on vocals, synths...
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Acte V (CD/DVD)Acte V (CD/DVD)
CUNEIFORM 2012
Audio CD$15.69
$26.20 (used)
L'Axe du Fou: Axis of MadnessL'Axe du Fou: Axis of Madness
Cuneiform 2009
Audio CD$10.06
$9.39 (used)
Soleil 12Soleil 12
Cuneiform 2005
Audio CD$9.25
$8.40 (used)
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FORGAS BAND PHENOMENA discography


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

4.30 | 12 ratings
Roue Libre
1997
3.96 | 7 ratings
Extra-Lucide
1999
4.29 | 61 ratings
L'axe du Fou
2009
3.79 | 48 ratings
Acte V
2012

FORGAS BAND PHENOMENA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.48 | 11 ratings
Soleil 12
2005

FORGAS BAND PHENOMENA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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FORGAS BAND PHENOMENA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

FORGAS BAND PHENOMENA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Acte V by FORGAS BAND PHENOMENA album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.79 | 48 ratings

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Acte V
Forgas Band Phenomena Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars French unit FORGAS BAND PHENOMENA was formed back in 1997, with drummer Patrick Forgas as the principal member. Following two initial productions in the 90's they signed to the US label Cuneiform Records in 2005 for their third studio album. "Acte V" from 2012 is the band's fifth outing, and their third on Cuneiform Records.

Forgas Band Phenomena has made a strong, coherent and high quality album with "Acte V". Instrumental progressive rock residing somewhere within the jazz-rock universe, but of a kind that will give it appeal also beyond aficionados of that particular style. Fairly challenging but accessible progressive rock, as excellently made as performed, and with a live DVD attached that adds quite a lot in the Value-for-Money department. Obviously a production that comes with a high recommendation attached.

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 Extra-Lucide by FORGAS BAND PHENOMENA album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.96 | 7 ratings

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Extra-Lucide
Forgas Band Phenomena Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

4 stars The newly born band of Forgas promoted its first album through series of gigs around the Paris region, but unfortunately personel changes wasn't meant to be avoided.The recordings of the new album found only guitarist Mathias Desmier onboard from the previous core and Forgas was also surrounded by newcomers Juan Sebastian Himenez on bass, Gilles Pausanias on keyboards and Denis Guivarch on sax.''Extra-lucide'' was eventually released again on the Cosmos label at the fall of 1999.

This second album of Forgas Band Phenomena finds Forgas musically more mature and his new bandmates collaborating in a tighter way.The result is a trully enjoyable album with too many incredible moments, as the arrangements are characterized by constant shifts between richer and smoother passages in a balanced way, while there are plenty of shattering interplays, semi-loose solo deliveries and a fair amount of melody appearing in the album.The Canterbury influence is still apparent through the dreamy keyboard parts and the jazzy twists of the album, which is highlighted by the excellent work of Pausanias on synthesizers and electric piano.Saxes remain always in evidence with alternations between extended solos and more melodic interventions in a Jazz/Fusion style, while the guitars are added for good measure when needed.Forgas' drumming is again unmistakable and the whole amalgam sounds very attractive.The 19-min. long ''Pieuvre a la pluie'' is a fantastic example of varied Prog/Fusion with tremendous interplays and tons of changing textures, while ''Annie reglisse'' contains a beautiful combination of synthesizers and saxes, creating beautiful, dreamy, unmet soundscapes.These tracks are propably the picks of an otherwise very solid album.

This is some excellent Prog/Fusion, where both emotions and technique meet.One of the gems of the 90's regarding the genre, absolutely satisfying and highly recommended.

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 Acte V by FORGAS BAND PHENOMENA album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.79 | 48 ratings

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Acte V
Forgas Band Phenomena Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars As its title indicates, this is FBP's fifth album, and it comes with a sweet little treat in the form of a DVD live At Nearfest in '10. Still with the same septet line-up, this album is a logical musical continuity of L'Axe Du Fou and should disappoint absolutely no-one that knows anything of the band. We're dealing with a typically 90's & 00's gentle, yet complex, instrumental and progressive fusion, still all written by their leader and drummer Patrick Forgas. Through a rather delicate and strange conceptualization, this album represent the five acts of theatre dramaturge Raymond Russell's last play called Poussières De Soleil (I'd have preferred that for an album title) or something to that effect, despite the album's six tracks. The album's front artwork is a bit dull and messy (too much text), and Id rather have seen the more Hypgnosis-like artwork of the inner booklet getting the nod.

The opening Corps Et Ames start rather slow, but soon goes rougher and wilder, with Violet's crunchy guitars in the forefront, before leaving the spotlight to Mlodecka's violin solo, and returning like a burning sun. Violet's fiery guitar attacks right out from the start Loin D'Issy (a "far away" play on word on a Paris suburb), but this leaves the other to shine for much longer. The lengthy George V track starts out rather softly, but goes wild in is second quarter, before resting softly by the halfway mark on Mlodecka's gentle violin (JL Ponty-like) and the song gently speeds and crescendos but doesn't really climax towards its end. One might have thought that the Ultraviolet track's title might have been a hint to their guitarist's glory, but he doesn't get the spotlight UV or IR until the middle section, but even then it won't become a sunstroke. While the following Feu Sacré certainly sees a lot of violin, the closing album-lengthiest Midi-Minuit recapitulates everything said on their fifth album, and could just be the ideal (and best-ever) musical résumé of the band's works so far.

As for the DVD, it's the full set played at the legendary festival and it features two then- unrecorded tracks from the present studio album - recorded nine months later and released over 18 months after the festival - including the opening Ultraviolet and the shorter Feu Sacré. From the previous then-fresh off-the-press album, we find the Axe Du Fou title track and the excellent Double Sens, while the rest of the set is from their Soleil 12 album or earlier. As always in a festival, the audience is largely made up of an eclectic crowd that's mainly present for Group X, Band Y or Orchestra Z, so the polite crowd reception is not always representative of the band's capacity to ignite a dedicated crowd. One can indeed fear that the mainly-symphonic crowds of the festival might have appreciated only moderately FBP's instrumental gentle modern fusion, and that by the end of the 70-mins set, they might've had their fill of it. In either case, I found the FBP's set a bit subdued (I'd seen them before, and that was wilder) and a bit too even, lacking big moments and emotions. The crowd culture maybe and the long transatlantic distance as well, but the set's Eclipse finale indeed managed to shake off the slow torpor that had set in.

Anyway, this is another impeccable Cuneiform release, on that comes with an outstanding bonus, that's become the label's specialty - see Miriodor's Cd+DVD, or the 70's UK fusion combined releases (Surman, Soft Mahine) of the last few years. To be honest, if you're to investigate FBP's work, Acte V has become the indisputable entry point, and if you're a confirmed fan, there is no way you ould possibly pass up to this one.

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 L'axe du Fou by FORGAS BAND PHENOMENA album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.29 | 61 ratings

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L'axe du Fou
Forgas Band Phenomena Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Atavachron
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Relentless jazz-rock from drummer Patrick Forgas and a crack team of six getting right down to business on this follow up to 2005's Soliel 12 and maintaining the fire for nearly sixty minutes. Axis of Madness indeed, and the four-cut Cuneiform release has the kind of hungry intensity usually heard on great debuts only to wane from that point on. Here the ensemble have hit a very satisfying stride as they feed off of Forgas' new material, Karolina Mlodecka's spirited violin on top leading with Benjamin Violet's high-octane guitar, Igor Brover's ivories quietly echoing the violin/guitar interplay, and the weighty rhythms of Forgas and bassist Kengo Mochizuki.

'La Clef' burns as it introduces each member and their strengths, a perfect opener, Dimitri Alexaline and Sebastien Trognon spinning their brass throughout the bends, twists, turns and recesses of Patrick Forgas' work. The longest piece at 16 minutes, 'L'Axe du Fou' [the title] is more varied; quieter at times with space to build slowly and with some traditional fusion on hand. Forgas appears to have been influenced by the RIO movement but brings a refined and deliberate jazz sensibility to his music that helps the project to sound like more than just some rebellious Europeans getting weird. Closer to Mahavishnu in their prime or early National Health. 'Double-Sens' is spidery as it builds its ever-growing web, rocking, funking...just jammin', man, and always from a group with their eyes on the ball, unwilling to let the fine music slip into cacophony. The mark of a superior band of players.

Finishing the set is airy 'La 13eme Lune', the violin returning to center stage interspersed with flute and trumpet lines. I'd think fans of anyone from Phil Miller to Bill Bruford would quite like this release. It'll be interesting to see where they take it from here. World-class stuff and one of the best jazzrock releases of 2009. Maybe the best.

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 L'axe du Fou by FORGAS BAND PHENOMENA album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.29 | 61 ratings

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L'axe du Fou
Forgas Band Phenomena Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by gr8dane

5 stars Have had this album for several months now,and it is now clear that it is nothing short of brilliant. Is it a 5* album?Definately closer than four,but 4 and3/4 if I could rate it that. There is not more, that I can add that has not already been said,so this is more of a jump on the band wagon thing. Everybody here gets plenty of space to shine ,and all equally excellent.The funny thing is that Forgas gets the least room really.His drumming though is always there keeping everything in place.His style is excellent in a smooth,casual way, but is never over the top.Outstanding drummer you are Monsieur Forgas. After the 4 songs ,things get a little samey though,but it is minor.Also wish that the guitar player had a few more solos,since it is a crispy crunchy catchy sound and beefs up the tunes with his presence. Folks,an album that I am very happy to have purchased,and sits neatly there in the top 5 of albums I have got over the last year or so. There are samples on his web page I believe,or facebook or such thing.

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 L'axe du Fou by FORGAS BAND PHENOMENA album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.29 | 61 ratings

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L'axe du Fou
Forgas Band Phenomena Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by fuxi
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This album seems a considerable step forward when compared to the band's previous release, the live album SOLEIL 12. There are two main reasons: (1) the tunes are more likable; (2) the soloists seem far more inspired.

I must admit, when I first started playing L'AXE DU FOU, my heart sank. I thought: "Oh no, yet another post-Canterbury album where one unexciting, repetitive rock riff merges into the next (and into the one after that, and the one after that) without too much going on in the way of excitement... Haven't we heard too much of THAT on all the mediocre Gong albums Pierre Moerlen released after ESPRESSO II?"

But my spirits immediately revived when I realised that, this time, Forgas's riffs are rather good, really! His players, too, may not have the stature of Allan Holdsworth or Kenny Wheeler but they give it all they've got. Each single solo makes your heart melt, the wide VARIETY of solos (shared out among saxes, flute, trumpet, guitar, violin and keyboards) keeps listeners on their toes, call-and-response passages within the brass section are remarkably lively, and the album makes you feel better as it goes on. It's old-fashioned jazz-rock, but there's not a whiff of the elevator to it; it really and truly lifts your spirit!

Perhaps the main reason for the band's success is the fact that (acoustic) violinist Karolina Mlodecka operates as the main soloist. Her playing is so sensitive and refined I got a little jolt of pleasure every time she came on.

Yep, since Forgas is a Moerlen-inspired drummer, L'AXE DU FOU actually reminded me (again and again) of all the best passages on classic Gong albums like ESPRESSO II and SHAMAHL. I can't think of any higher praise. I sincerely hope Forgas will keep this incarnation of "Phenomena" together and treat us to many other life-enhancing releases.

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 L'axe du Fou by FORGAS BAND PHENOMENA album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.29 | 61 ratings

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L'axe du Fou
Forgas Band Phenomena Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by JLocke
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Forgas Band Phenomena is a pretty interesting case in modern progressive music. Not just because Axis Of Madness is the first studio album in nearly ten years to be offered up under that title, but also because (if the amount of ratings and reviews are any indication) hardly anybody here seems to know who the hell they are. Hopefully my review will excite a few people into trying them out. Let me start out by saying that every track on this release is a gem, and it has no weak point. Tough to swallow? Read on . . .

After my first time listening to the entirety of the record, I had a sort of afterglow about me. I knew I had just listened to something very remarkable and beautiful, but I don't think you'll ever be able to realize for yourself just how special of a recording this is until you experience it for yourself. Patrick Forgas, drummer and composer extraordinaire, has brought together an elite group of musicians to create one of the finest instrumental works I have ever laid ears on.

All of the instruments featured on the record have their own role to play, and there is very little overlap. I think perhaps the album's biggest strength is the large amount of instruments against the very small amount of repetition. If you hear a new riff enter the scene, chances are you won't be hearing it again unless it's intentionally done as a recurring theme within the track. This happens once or twice perhaps, but never over long periods of time, and frankly I'm fine with that. It ensures that the music continues to press forward without lingering. The sense of pacing and flow never leaves the music despite this, and it's achieved with such grace and seemingly little effort that as a songwriter it makes me very jealous of Forgas' obviously fantastic abilities as a composer. Never a repetitive moment, yet it still feels accurate and together. I never felt like the music was veering off into left field despite the vast amount of ground each tracks manages to cover.

Something this band is impeccably good at is allowing each instrument their space. In a lineup with so many different instruments present, that is not easy to do. But they somehow pull it off time and again. Never does the music feel crowded, but always does it feel heartfelt and fresh. There is such a risk for the compositions to get carried away with themselves here, yet they simply don't. Everything is as it should be, and the perfect balance is always maintained. Very impressive, especially in current times when instrument-heavy music always seems to lead to senseless wankery and boring guitar solos. Most of the leads are handled by everything but the familiar six-stringed instrument, which is a breath of fresh air as far as I am concerned. Benjamin Violet is no slouch by any means, but his role in the band isn't to outshine everybody else. He takes more of a rhythmic role and when he does in fact solo, it's always very atmospheric and tasteful-- a concept plenty of modern guitarists seem to have no knowledge of.

What this amounts to is basically one of the most beautiful complete records I've ever heard, certainly when it comes to instrumental music. I cannot even begin to describe the way in which this moves me. If you haven't picked up this album yet, you have no idea what a wonderful experience you are depriving yourself of. You may have simply never heard of this music before. If you haven't, there are two things I have to say: 1) Shame on you, and 2) Remain in the dark no longer and pick yourself up a copy of this brilliant, brilliant album.

Just as Pink Floyd, Yes and King Crimson paved the way for forward-thinking music back in the day, Bands such as Forgas Band Phenomena are doing the same in modern times. It is a true shame that my article will only bring this album's review count up to four so far. On a site that houses such a rich variety of creative music, why is it I only see the same handful of bands being recognized in the majority of reviews I read? That tradition needs to halt, as far as I am concerned. Nothing is wrong with favoring the giants of this musical attitude we call 'prog', but to be completely oblivious of such works as this is not much short of a sin. Past artists you may know such as Mahavishnu Orchestra or Jean-Luc Ponty have a few things in common with this group, so if you like them, you should find something to love in this recording. However, make no mistake; just because there are similarities doesn't mean Forgas Band Phenomena lacks originality. On the contrary, this is some of the most original music you'll be likely to hear all year. Just know that they have more in common musically with Maneige than, say, Genesis.

Any serious music enthusiast should not be without this album in her collection, I sincerely mean that. Two five-star reviews in a row for me? Hey, when this brilliant of music is involved, you'd better believe it. Another rousing masterpiece that rivals anything else, in any genre, anywhere. I dare you to listen to this work and not adore it.

Sweet journeys.

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 L'axe du Fou by FORGAS BAND PHENOMENA album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.29 | 61 ratings

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L'axe du Fou
Forgas Band Phenomena Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 4.5 stars. This is much better than the live FORGAS BAND PHENOMENA album ("Soleil 12") I just reviewed. All the issues that I had with that album have pretty much been addressed here. The violin is much better and the songs are more dynamic. Forgas on drums and Trognon on sax and flute are the veterens here while the other five members are young virtuosos.

"La Clef" opens with keys, bass, horns and some excellent drum work. Violin before a minute followed by horns as they continue to share the spotlight. Guitar with violin after 6 minutes as bass and drums support. Violin and horns follow taking turns soloing.The violin is outstanding. Incredible track. "L'axe Du Fou" opens with piano, bass and drums. Guitar and horns join in. Flute follows then violin. Love the guitar before 2 minutes. Check out the violin, horns and guitar 4 minutes in ! Ripping guitar before 7 minutes. It lightens and settles a minute later. I like the rhythm section after 11 minutes as violin and horns come and go. A good rhythm also before 16 minutes with guitar. Fanatastic tune.

"Double-Sens" opens with some atmosphere with keys as violin comes in. Drums and bass 1 1/2 minutes in with horns over top. Nice. Drums and bass standout 3 1/2 minutes in as horns come and go. It settles with violin after 5 minutes. Horns 6 minutes in then the violin returns. More intense and dissonant after 7 1/2 minutes. Beautiful section after 9 1/2 minutes with keys, bass and drums.The guitar lights it up 11 minutes in. Possibly the best track on here. "La 13eme Lune" has a good beat with keys and guitar. Violin joins in then horns. Flute before 2 minutes. Violin is back. The guitar before 4 minutes sounds great. Violin solo then horns 5 minutes in. Guitar 7 1/2 minutes in to end it.

Highly recommended album. This might get 5 stars from me down the road it's so good.

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 Soleil 12 by FORGAS BAND PHENOMENA album cover Live, 2005
3.48 | 11 ratings

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Soleil 12
Forgas Band Phenomena Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

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.

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 L'axe du Fou by FORGAS BAND PHENOMENA album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.29 | 61 ratings

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L'axe du Fou
Forgas Band Phenomena Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars Listened to this album's music I hardly believed my ears: how come such excellent Canterbury sound was recorded and released in year 2009? So much time is gone from brave Canterbury era...

Excellent melodies, soft and very tasteful sound (something what associates with best RPI works for me).Just four long compositions. Very warm music, full of violin, drums and horns. All these sounds as it never was this terrible cheese time, 80-s,90-s, 00- . I thought that this great art when music could be sweet, melodic, warm, pleasant, colourful - without being cheese and commercial- is gone long ago without traces.

This album confirms, that miracles are possible. Just they are extremely rare and you must try harder just to find one.

One of the best albums from 2009, very recommended for Canterbury, jazz-rock, RPI fans and for everyone hungry for beautiful instrumental music.

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