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(the album's tracklist will be added here soon)
Line-up: (the line-up will be added here soon)
Not the most mind-blowing of the latest releases of the Musea company at the end of the year, but one of the very good category. Generally, Musea started with Boffo of all people, and this is already the 8th studio album of a musician, who's become world renowned a long time ago practically equal to Steve Hackett, Anthony Phillips and another few performers, whose all but exceptionally solo career lives up to a band creation in terms of quality of the material. In fact, the quality of composing and performing of all with no exception albums of Jean-Pascal matches that of the Titans of Solo, yet their main quality is a constant search for new forms, which made each new album of his a pleasant surprise for his numerous fans. From Classic Art Rock the leading Solo Pilot of France takes a sudden step in direction of Symphonic Jazz Fusion, then amazes with a work totally consisting of most various 'musics' of the Orient, etc. However, unlike the majority of the other established Solo Pilots - likes of Jeremy, Fonya, Chance, Bill Laswell, and others, Boffo works with a powerful cast of performers, so that his albums have a sound inherent in normal bands. With the so called "Truly Acoustic Progressive" (the most famous example - Steve Hackett's "Momentum" of 1988, whereas Ian Anderson's "The Secret Language of Birds" Is hardly more than a half-acoustic album, and that conditionally, since it has a characteristic band sound on the whole) has practically nothing to do (though, his 'separate' acoustic guitar pieces are always wonderful). Likewise, his last opus "Parfum d'Etoiles" belongs to the few full-blooded solo-efforts, while the movement of solo Acoustic Progressive as a whole attained a mass character in the last years, actually. Having nothing against it, I have always preferred a rich sound of a band. Again, keeping in mind the rich stylistic diversity within the discography (in my view, more than a positive factor - absence of stagnation) each Boffo's album, taken separately, does deserve a note of 4+, at the very least. A significant part of the ProGduction of this wonderful Frenchman is fully instrumental albums. There are vocal tracks in "Parfum d'Etoiles", but first, they are only 4 in number (and almost 49 minutes of the album's time are instrumentals). Secondly, the songs are in themselves of high quality, and the singer knows the tricks of her trade (one song is sung in English, and her manner of singing reminds in places of Sally Oldfield in Hackett's album "Voyage of the Acolyte"). And third, thanks to the remarkable producing, the vocal tracks are largely dispersed among the instrumentals, like vocal islands in an instrumental sea. And while Boffo's talent as a composer is evident everywhere (starting with his debut album), as a unique performer and above all as a guitarist, it is in instrumental pieces that he has a space worthy of his genious. I can't decide for the best instrumental track - all of them with no exception strike the imagination with surprisingly savoury themes and diverse, at times simply magical arrangements. Many of the experienced fans of our "progressive psychological niche" remember well, that the majority of the genre's best works, along with 'progressiveness' as such, carried in themselves a kind of magic. I recall now unique, mysterious, very 'soulful' synth solo of Manfred Mann circa 1973-1978, and something of the kind I hear now in some passages of Boffo. It's difficult to put this magic of sound into words, but that's it, which many, many, even "terrifically" progressive modern bands lack these days.
VM. February 2, 2001
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