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Bayon - Bayon CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.10 | 12 ratings

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3 stars One could be excused for noting ragged demographic parallels between East Germany's BAYON and France's TAI PHONG. Both involved a national from the base country and at least one Asian member to potentially impart far eastern predilections to the mix, with Cambodian group member Sonny Thet, and guest Sam Ay Neou joining Christoph Theusner on the group's first album but not, as it turns out, their first recordings. But while TAI PHONG played conventional symphonic prog with limited absorption of overt Vietnamese influence, BAYON, at least here, is characterized by generally mellow prog folk with electrified psychedelic passages.

At times Eastern aspects can be discerned but I would not recommend the album on that basis. While it's hard to compare them to many contemporaries, at the same time their sound is not as distinguished as one might hope, tending to float by unnoticed a little too often. Still, tracks like "Cello Suite" reveal a predilection for chamber music, and the largely unadorned "Meer Und Himel" and "Sommerlied" compare favorably to the Basque boom of the time - for example -ITOIZ - as well as very early RUNRIG and even the mellower work of the Welsh BRAN. "Cherie" sports fine flute from Theusner and bolstered rhythms, suggestive of some Brazilian prog and mainstream rock of the day.

The vocals are not a strength but they do help offset the instrumental suite which turns out to be the direction they took with their most enduring work in the theme music realm. This particular closer is not as noteworthy as those which came before and would follow, being more amorphous and less pointed in its approach, but is still a worthwhile listen.

As has been noted by reviewers under "First Recordings", the role of language and politics of the time cannot be underestimated, so I cannot pretend this is a comprehensive and balanced review (like all my others!) but BAYON's debut might work better if you are familiar with both and worship at the temple of that most delicate of progressive sub genres.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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