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Fractale - Live Suranné CD (album) cover





3.66 | 40 ratings

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Symphonic Team
3 stars Jazz Fusion in Outer Space

Fractale's "Live Suranne" is a very accomplished musical concert experience that focuses on an extreme jazz fusion style merged with spacey effects. It was recorded in 2008 at Zčbre de Belleville, Paris. The line up of the band is impressive in itself with virtuoso musicians that have a dynamic sound. Julian Julien, the key founder for the group, is a revelation on alto sax, Jon Lopez de Vicuna plays Electrified baryton sax, Vivien Philippot is on tenor sax, and together they generate a mesmirising quirky psych prog sound. The sax and violence of the jazz dominates throughout the concert and reminded me of fractured versions of early Van der Graaf Generator's Banton, and Mahavishnu Orchestra in places. On the trumpets are Patrice Cazeneuve and Jennifer Quillet who create a storm of brass atmospherics. There are some innovative sounds made on the Electrified Tuba from Lorenz Steinmueller and it is all capped off by some outstanding percussion from Benjamin Vairon.

The concert has a unique soundscape from beginning to end, the ruptured rhythms are brutally shattered across spacey Hawkwind like effects. At track three I was impressed with this spaceyness, it tends to build as the concert progresses. Some straight forward jazziness is really treated with a heavy hand as the trumpets blast out polyrhythmic notes, similar to Soft Machine. Staccato jabs of sax are intense, and especially the drumming metrical patterns that form anti-rhythmical shapes. The dark textures of the duel saxophones is as good as I have heard and as weird as Gong in places.

It is difficult music to get into at times due to the high emphasis of splintered cadence but it is compelling music nonetheless. I would like to hear a whole album rather than an EP, and perhaps some more structured music rather than improvisation. Soft Machine is not a band I can get into but I think Fractale have more to offer as far as the music is concerned. I am not a massive fan of this style of improvisational music, it is okay as a diversion from structured music, but I can appreciate the ferociously original approach, similar to Mahavishnu Orchestra or Gong. This one will definitely please the Zeuhl prog connoisseur and it is a delight to hear a different form of jazz played with passion and totally out of the box.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 3/5 |


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