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Pascal Comelade - September Song CD (album) cover


Pascal Comelade


Progressive Electronic

4.00 | 2 ratings

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4 stars Pascal Comelade is one of those musicians that you hear about, that you want to check out, and then for some reason, you never do. He is placed in the progressive electronic category, and that is basically now he started out. But since 1975, when he released his first album, he has since become more acoustic while becoming more experimental and art-ish. He comes from France, but has lived in several countries throughout Europe, and his music is affected by these different countries. His music is made up of whatever instrument that he wants, including toy instruments. He has worked with a lot of different artists on many of his albums, which he has released a good number of. A lot of what he does are strange covers of songs that are both popular and obscure.

In 2000, he released this short album (more like an EP) of covers named after the lead track "September Song". He even uses a very special guest, a name most progressive lovers will recognize to sing the title track. Robert Wyatt donates his vocals to Comelade's version of "September Song". The song is simple and whimsical, with simple organ and accordion accompaniment with Wyatt's vulnerable vocals. A xylophone-like instrument follows the melody as Wyatt sings. A song that typically drips of want and yearning turns into a more reflective, yet lighthearted sound, but still reflects the simplicity of it all. The last part of the track turns to a repeat of the melody done by a trumpet with the bass synth providing the foundation before returning to vocals before ending.

This simplicity continues with and instrumental rendition of Robert Wyatt's "Signed Curtain" played with a regular piano and a multi-tracked toy piano. "Come Prima" consists of many toy instruments backed by synth and piano, and retains the nostaligic European sound with some accordion thown in. It gets stranger as it goes on, with some kooky instrumentation that utilizes tonal squeaky toys and mandolins among other things. "The Sheik of Araby" has an organ providing a reggae-like beat as more toy piano's and such lead the melody, later joined by a squeaky, slightly off tune, toy flute. It's quite nice how the toys tend to be just a tad out of tune with each other, which only proves they are real toys and not effects.

"24 Mila Bacci" uses xylophone and harmonica backed by piano, with some other interesting items to play this famous Italian song. The song is quite off kilter on purpose, as the different cheap instruments contrast with each other. "Knocking on Heaven's Door" covers the famous Bob Dylan song, the melody played by some twangy child's instrument. This short 20 minute outing ends with "L'Italiano", the melody played by a Moog and automatic, hopping percussion that gives it the Italian lilt. It's quite a charming little ditty.

This music is all in fun, but it is quite a treat to hear it all done by such unconventional means, mostly, in this case, by every conceivable toy instrument, or something similarly cheap, but done with such precision and careful orchestration. It's all quite a bit of fun, sure, but it is also quite innovative and brilliant, and even though it is mostly simple, if you break all of the sounds down, it is also quite complex. Even the purposeful dissonance that exists between the instruments works to make it all whimsically charming. The only thing that is flat out synthesized is the backgrounds that support these real-faux instruments. This is definitely different, yet quite appealing, and most everyone will enjoy this short little album of kooky, yet brilliant covers.

TCat | 4/5 |


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