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Christian Boule (France) - 1979 / 2002 - "Non-Fiction"
(44 min, "Musea")


*****+
Tracklist:
1. Non-Fiction 4:08
2. Chance 4:19
3. Psychedelik 4:24 (inst.)
4. Magic Fanfare 5:02
5. L. I. F. E. 3:51
6. Glissander Aquarian 4:03 (inst.)
7. Viva da New Sound 8:47
8. Synthetic Lover* 4:51 (inst.)
9. City Clone* 4:54 

All music written & produced by Christian Boule. 
All lyrics by Yvonne Garnier,
except 5: by Jean-Michel Reusser. 
Tracks 8 & 9 are the instrumental pieces.

Line-up (tracks 1-7):

Christian Boule -electric & semi-acoustic guitars;
keyboards; vocals 
Jacky Bouladoux - drums & percussion
Patrice Conjas - bass guitar
Andy Slatin - lead vocals
Jean-Philippe Rykiel - keyboards
Jean-Pierre Thirault - saxophone

Guest musicians:

Gerard Amsellem - saxophone (on 4)
Yves Lannes - keyboard (on 7)
Xavier Baulleret - guitar (7)
Geraldine Andre - vocalize (7)
With:
A few guest male and female back vocalists
from different countries (7)

Line-up (track 8):

Christian Boule (ex-Gong & Steve Hillage)
- electric & acoustic guitars
Tim Blake (ex-Gong & Steve Hillage) - keyboards
Charlie Doll - drums
Diane Kone - bass guitar

Line-up (track 9):

Christian Boule - synthesizers;
acoustic & electric guitars; bass 
& drum programming; voice
Geraldine Andre (?) - voice

Tracks 8 & 9 were composed and performed in 1999.

Tracks 1-7 were recorded & mixed in 1979 by 
Philippe Omnes at "Studio Davout", Paris.

Tracks 8-9 were recorded & mixed in 1999 by
Diane Kone at "Studio Comet Hotel", Paris.

Prologue. Christian Boule is well known for being 'the staff' guitarist for Gong during their 1978 tour and with Steve Hillage - on his double LP "Live Herald" of 1979. Also, Christian worked with Clearlight's Cyrille Verdeaux and Tim Blake, who was the keyboard player for the same Gong and Steve Hillage, and also for Hawkwind. "Non-Fiction" is the first solo album by Christian. Before I begin describing "Non-Fiction", I'd like to mention that the details concerning the line -up of this album and the duration of compositions that are featured on it are here and there erroneous in the booklet of this CD. I have inserted all the essential amendments into them (see above).

The Album. Originally, "Non-Fiction" was released through Polydor, which, as most of you know, was the biggest sub-label of PolyGram Inc. More than a dozen of years ago I had this album on cassette and liked it very much. First, it needs to be said that both of the newly composed tracks, Synthetic Lover and City Clone (8 & 9: for details see above), overall, suit the predominant stylistics of this album, which, certainly, is nothing else but Classic Space Rock. However, it would be pointless to draw parallels between the music that is presented on "Non-Fiction" and that on the Space Rock albums by Gong, Steve Hillage, Clearlight, and Hawkwind, as Christian tried to avoid the influence of his friends and colleagues with all his might. Only the parts of vocal on two out of the five songs on the album remind me of those on Gong's famous trilogy of Radio Gnome. As for the wonderful Space Rock jams that are featured on most of the tracks on this album, they're, in my view, more diverse and, often, way faster than those by any of the aforementioned bands, which becomes clear already at the first listen to "Non-Fiction". So, these are the compositions that are about a real Classic Space Rock: Non-Fiction, Chance, Psychedelik, Glissander Aquarian, Viva da New Sound, and Synthetic Lover (1, 2, 3, 6, 7, & 8). All of them feature from one to three of the long, diverse and powerful, Space Rock jams. However, three of them, Psychedelic, Glissander Aquarian, and Synthetic Lover (3, 6, & 8), all of which are the instrumental pieces, are almost entirely filled with classic Space Rock arrangements. (Of course, the elements of Symphonic Art-Rock and Prog-Metal are quite typical constituents of this sub-genre of Progressive Rock.) Despite the fact that City Clone (9) is, overall, in the vein of the other instrumental pieces on the album, its stylistics can hardly be defined differently than Electronic Space Rock. Most of all, it's because of the presence of a drum machine instead of a real drummer on it. Both of the remaining songs, Magic Fanfare and L. I. F. E. (4 & 5), are excellent by all means, though they're almost completely out of the album's predominant style. The music that is featured on the first of them represents Classic Symphonic Art-Rock, which, however, sounds much in the vein of Tango and Waltz, while the lead vocal of a remarkable female singer Andy Slatin has a slight folksy feel to it. The song, which was (wrongly) titled as kind of a counterpart of R. I. P., L. I. F. E., is about Classic Symphonic Art-Rock with dramatic vocals. Nevertheless, a few of Space Rock's elements are present on both of the remaining songs as well. While I very much like almost all of the tracks on this CD (City Clone is the only piece here that I like not that much), my favorites remain Psychedelik (3), Glissander Aquarian (6), and especially the album's title track (1) and Viva da New Sound (7). One of the new tracks, Synthetic Lover (8), is also an excellent piece. By the way, unlike most of the solo albums by Steve Hillage, Christian Boule's electric guitar is not the main focus, but rather, one of the five main soloing instruments on "Non-Fiction" (see line-up). In other words, this album has a very rich and dense sound.

Summary. "Non-Fiction", which is one of the most noticeable albums created within the framework of Classic Space Rock, which, in its turn, is one of the most important sub-genres of Prog, comes highly recommended to the traditionally classic Prog-heads in general. Along with Gong's "You", "Fish Rising" by Steve Hillage, Clearlight's "Forever Blowing Bubbles", and "Levitation" by Hawkwind, to name a few, Christian Boule's debut is in my Top-20 of those Space Rock albums that were released in the 1970s.

VM. September 2, 2002


Related Links:

Christian Boule's web site: http://comet.free.fr/

"Musea Records" - web site & online store: http://www.musearecords.com/


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