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Bondage Fruit - Bondage Fruit VI CD (album) cover

BONDAGE FRUIT VI

Bondage Fruit

 

Zeuhl

4.16 | 31 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After the musical zenith accomplished in their third effort "Récit", Bondage Fruit apparently felt prepared to explore their taste for sonic eclecticism with fervor and gusto. In fact, their "IV" and "VI" albums are somewhat distant from their usual Zeuhl motifs and find them digging deep into fusion and jazz-rock realms, while retaining much of the tension one has to expect from any avant-prog outfit. Of both aforesaid albums, "Bondage Fruit VI" is my personal favorite - succeeding the very dark "Skin" album (a solid return to Zeuhl waters combined with post-rock and minimalistic atmospheres), this album brings an avid sense of colorfulness that only musicians with great minds and great hearts can achieve. 'Three Voices' opens up the album with vibraphone drops that candidly emulate the dew of spring: gradually, soft guitar chords and violin textures settle in joining forces with bass bumps and additional percussions (softly as well). Even though you can sense a certain tension in the air, the overall mood is one of warmth. From the 3 minute mark onward, the musical landscape builds a powerful display of lyrical atmospheres, ultimately leading to a Mahavishnu-meets-Weather Report-style jam. For a bunch of minutes, it is virtuoso guitarist Natsuki who leads the way for the whole band, until the 10 ˝ minute brings a moment of controlled decrease. This is when violinist Yuji finds room to rise as the main protagonist, as he becomes the man in charge of leading the momentum. For the track's last 3 minutes, the ensemble returns to the initial dew drop, this time featuring the acoustic guitar. A great opener this is, indeed. 'Rath' kicks off with a bass solo whose virtuosic free form chord sequence gives way to a heavily ethnic motif: the resulting jam that combines Far Eastern, Arabic and African ambiences brings back memories of early 70s Hancock. The guitar states lines and phrases of dosed energy while the violin indulges in its lovely, free playfulness. At some point, a percussive frenzy gets in and starts a sort of trance that culminates in an exotic celebration. The ethereal mood is powerfully led by the triangulation of bass, acoustic guitar and hand drum. 'Locomotive' is the next in line, assuming the position of enhancing the previous piece's ambience and taking it to a more bizarre level. The rhythmic cadence mixes African grooves and Delta blues dynamics (the latter element being reinforced by the dominating presence of the slide guitar). Meanwhile, the tonal percussion interventions seem more focused on Modernistic chamber - its intrusions, while not being overbearing, they certainly are relevant to the track's build-up. 'Dear Gazelle' steers a bit away from the (sort of) mystic nuances delivered in tracks 2 and 3, focusing more on celebratory moods. The sense of extroversion is electrifying and sophisticated - with the featured role of the acoustic guitar and the position of the electric guitar on a more subtle role, the most dominant places in the mix are filled by the violin and the percussions. 'The Train' brings back some of the old blues jive that had been introduced in 'Locomotive', but this time the meditative feel is more pronounced. The dreamy languidness portrayed by the instruments states a sensation that it is a never ending dream that's going on. The slow pace does not hide the elegant tension elaborated by the band. Also dreamy and slow-paced, yet devoid of tension, is 'Something Green', where the marriage of acoustic guitar and vibraphone creates a solid core for the piece's overall eerie mood. The last track is entitled 'I/O', and it is a rara avis within the album's Framework. Its combination of jazz, country and beat psychedelia brings a "joie de vivre" feel that serves as an optimistic ending. All in all, this album is a robust expression of Bondage Fruit exorcising their multiple sonic factors under a different light.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |

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