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Benoit Widemann biography
Benoit WIDEMANN is best known to progressive rock fans for his keyboard work with MAGMA in the 1970's and 1980's. He also has had a fine career on his own playing jazz and fusion. In addition to appearing on an album with violinist Didier LOCKWOOD, he has also released albums with his own fusion group.

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Stress !Stress !
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3.22 | 8 ratings
3.82 | 11 ratings
3.95 | 3 ratings
3.40 | 5 ratings

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 Fusion by WIDEMANN, BENOIT album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.95 | 3 ratings

Benoit Widemann Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars So we get the founding member of MAGMA on drums, Christian Vander of course along with three former MAGMA members. Benoit Widemann on Fender Rhodes, Minimoog, electronics and synths, Jannick Top on bass and Didier Lockwood on violin all playing Jazz Fusion as the title of this album suggests. All four were involved in composing the music which is all instrumental. The thing I was most looking forward to with this release was hearing Vander play in the Jazz/ Fusion style. Yes MAGMA has that jazzy touch given Vander was such a huge John Coltrane fan and you just need to hear their debut especially to acknowledge that but this is straight up Fusion for the most part and he does play differently. Not as adventerous or as impressive as his work with his own band but man I love his intricate style here. I will be using the word "intricate" a lot when describing his drumming.

The album cover makes me laugh for some reason, it was everybody wear what you want for the photo shoot today(haha). I also have to say Top plays differently too although he uses some fuzz on that last track and briefly plays in the Zeuhl style. We get started with the mammoth 24 minute "GHK Go To Miles" which opens with experimental sounds from Widemann that sort of pulse with atmosphere in between. This goes on quietly for a minute then it kicks in with synths, drums, electric piano and bass. Lots of intricate sounds here with violin over top. Check out Vander though with those punchy and precise beats. I'm so into this sound.

Some jazzy bass after 4 1/2 minutes then after 5 minutes it's drums, electric piano and bass only then the synths return after 5 1/2 minutes, again check out Vander! I like the Fender Rhodes after 8 1/2 minutes then it settles at 9 1/2 minutes with pretty much synths and drums before it picks up again. Interesting sound 14 1/2 minutes with those cascading sounds followed by a calm after 15 minutes as bass and atmosphere take over. Drums will eventually join in quietly and it's quite peaceful here. The synths are back after 19 minutes. We're rocking out now after 21 minutes with violin, drums, bass and synths. Oh my! It ends like it began. What a song!

"Overdrive" opens with a car revving it's engine then it takes off as this funky rhythm kicks in with synths over top. Violin replaces the synths around a minute. I like this. The tempo picks up before 2 minutes but then settles back quickly. Synths replace the violin after 3 minutes to the end.

"767 ZX6" has this relaxed sound of bass, electric piano and drums as the violin comes in over top in a laid back manner. It kicks in to an uptempo groove after 1 1/2 minutes. Lots of energy here. The violin stops after 3 1/2 minutes as minimoog replaces it and the bass and drums continue. The bass is jazzy then the song ends as it began.

"Relief" is spacey to begin with as Fender Rhodes, a beat then bass joins in. Very mellow. I'm reminded of Zeuhl with the electric piano after a minute. The drums become more prominent 2 minutes in and the bass is growly too. It's still relaxed as the violin comes in briefly. It kicks in after 2 1/2 minutes. Love that fuzzed out bass. And it's so freaking good after 4 minutes. Check out Vander! It settles right down 5 minutes with those spacey synths and Fender Rhodes as the sound from the intro returns. It does pick back up and yes that drumming is so good, so intricate and punchy. Violin late then synths end it.

Easily 4 stars and one I'm going to enjoy for a long time I hope. One of my favs as well for 1981, although not in my top ten.

 Stress by WIDEMANN, BENOIT album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.22 | 8 ratings

Benoit Widemann Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Benoit Widemann was the keyboardist of Magma between mid- to late-70's.Among his duties with the Zeuhl monster band, he also found time to write some material of his own and recorded his debut for the small but legendary Ballon Noir label, entitled ''Stress!'', in 1977.He was helped by several other Magma members like keyboardists Patrick Gauthier (also of Heldon fame) and Jean-Pierre Fouquey, drummer Cl'ment Bailly (former of Nemo) and bassist Guy Delacroix.We find also contributions by guitarist Patrick Tison and singers Emmanuelle Parrenin and Hugues de Courson.The album was recorded during the summer of 77' at Studio Acousti in Paris.

''Stress!'' is a much-keyboard-driven album of different dramatic soundscapes and what more reasonable with three keyboardists on the roster.It is a great proof of Widemann's diverse talent and composing skills with the tracks ranging from Space Fusion to Funk and from energetic Jazz-Rock to Electronic Prog.While ''Baleze'' opens with some fiery and powerful Funk/Fusion beat, it is followed by the hypnotic ''Herbes sol'', full of electronic ambiences and led by Widemann's grand piano.The eponymous short instrumental has a lovely Canterbury edge in it with great electric piano throughout and on ''Le camp du Drap d'Or'' it is time for Delacroix'es star to shine, deep funky bass lines all the way supporting the Fusion-esque synthensizers.''Demi-final'' is just an outro based on sound effects, totally needless.The flipside opens with ''Quaternaire'', fantastic Fusion with complex bass lines and Canterbury-styled synths blended with funky vibes, definitely the album's highlight, performed under series of great solos.''Spirale'' is so close to Avant Music with Widemann's haunting piano and the obscure synths creating a grandiose atmosphere.The addition of the rhythm section along with some background mellotron and guitars make it even more bombastic and powerful, another great composition by Widemann.''Fete au septi'me plan - Sacrifice'' has also an obscure atmosphere created by the atmospheric background synths and the distorted guitar lines to close as a pure cosmic Electronic piece of music.The pair of ''Final'' tracks at the end are Jazz/Ambient-based numbers, much driven by Widemann's piano, an attempt by the keyboardist to close the album in a smooth way.

I categorize this album as one of the best releases ever to come out by a Magma member, though its style is rather unclassifiable.Yet this a trully progressive release of versatile instrumental musicianship, that deserves some exposure.Strongly recommended, propably even more for fans of dynamic Fusion stylings...3.5 stars.

Thanks to evolver for the artist addition.

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