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TRACK LIST: 1. Marble Corridors 8:00 2. Seaside Terrace 5:41 3. Carved Grottos-1 6:45 4. Locrian Power Plant 6:46 5. Deserted Facility 8:14 6. Carved Grottos-2 8:57 7. Mystery Woods 7:50 SOLO PILOT: Yves Potin – all instruments
Prolusion. JAZZCOMPUTER.ORG is the artist moniker used by French composer and multi-instrumentalist Yves Potin. Since 2006 he has issued a steady stream of full length records where his aim is to produce material incorporating details from progressive rock and jazz with the floating dynamics of ambient instrumental music. "Places" from 2011 is his most recent studio outing, while "The Best of" compilation is his own selected favorites from earlier releases.
Analysis. One of the questions I ask myself from time to time is the reason behind the name of an artist. Bands obviously need to have a name, but for individual artists to issue material under an artist name rather than their own I do wonder just why this particular name was chosen on occasion. In this case the name is JAZZCOMPUTER.ORG, the latter part referencing the artist website, and the former, at least to some extent, describes the music, but perhaps not quite as informative as one might surmise. Dedicated jazz and fusion aficionados will most likely find "Places" to be a production lacking in interesting features. At least if they get the same initial associations to the artist name as I got. There are jazz-oriented features here, but their role is overshadowed by the main stylistic expression, which is electronic-meets-ambient music. At best Yves Potin crafts stunningly beautiful landscapes, with rich arrays of fluctuating textures and electronic percussion details of a kind I tend to describe as sparkling, fluttering light-toned sounds of a similar kind used as sound effects in movies for stardust and subtle magical displays. A mostly constant feature is dark, subtly brooding synth undercurrent, contrasting the lighter-toned fluctuating lead motifs, with at times a rich array of mid-toned layers coming and going as the soundscape evolves. And then there's the jazz, on this production mostly limited to two appearances. Locrian Power Plant marks the first appearance of the jazz-oriented sequence, a just about 4 minute long sequence following in the middle of this composition. Bass driven, with electronic percussion backing and a light-toned, wandering keyboard solo on top, with lazy jazz guitar licks, occasionally adding a touch of refinement to the proceedings. Well made, but perhaps too smooth and slick to cater for ardent fans of jazz-fusion. Carved Grottos-2 marks the second and last occurrence of the jazz-laced repertoire on this disc, on this occasion following an elongated, detailed and very well crafted ambient soundscape. And while the fusion-based theme is placed in the second half of the composition here, the style and expression is rather similar to the previous one: slick, smooth and melodic. Subtly more energetic percussion and dual keyboard layers make this experience a more interesting one however, and with the good quality ambient opening this track is a clear highlight on the disc. Avid listeners will find quite a few details scattered elsewhere on this CD that may and possibly are of a jazz inspired origin, but it's only in the two creations described previously that the artist lives up to the artist name. "Places" is first and foremost a journey into an ambient, electronic landscape. One refined and at times venturing beyond the pleasant and soothing qualities that define many such excursions, but still very much a part of that musical universe.
Conclusion. With "Places", composer and multi-instrumentalist Yves Potin has crafted a pleasant and detailed ambient electronic album. At his best when incorporating multiple textures and motifs, and in particular when he does live up to his artist moniker Jazzcomputer, but by and large, this is a CD that will have its main audience amongst those who enjoy smooth, electronic ambient material, in particular if they don't mind the occasional jazz-tinged detail added to the proceedings.
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