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Marc Ceccotti - 2008 - "Still at Large"

(62:26, ‘Marc Ceccotti’)


TRACK LIST:                                 

1.  Odysseus is Awake 4:04
2.  Hell is Empty & the Devils are All Here 4:22
3.  Zehava's Dream 4:18
4.  Still at Large 4:49
5.  Infinite 4:18
6.  Beta Brain Wave 4:08
7.  Floe's Tears 3:13
8.  Souvenir from Elsewhere 3:33
9.  Loridan Jam 4:31
10. Somewhere on the Danube 6:52
11. Mirage 3:32
12. Acrobat-Ballerina 2:36
13. Horse of Troy 3:40
14. Rogueish Fantasy 2:26
15. Hat Struts & Frets 2:48
16. It Was a Pleasure to Meet You 3:16


Marc Ceccotti – guitars, bass; keyboards; programming

Prolusion. French multi-instrumentalist Marc CECCOTTI has a long career in the world of music, starting out by forming the band Edhels in the first half of the '80s. He recorded a number of albums with various versions of that band and, in addition, Ceccotti started making solo albums in the 1990's. "Still at Large" was released in 2007, and is his sixth solo album.

Analysis. "Still at Large" consists of 16 instrumental tracks, all of them exploring a rather similar musical landscape. Relatively simple programmed drums takes care of most of the rhythmical aspects of the tunes; layers of synths are one key element to the compositions, acoustic as well as clean electric guitar licks another, and dreamy, atmospheric guitar solos the last central element. In addition, some guitar riffs are inserted at times as well, and on some tracks dark, brooding atmospheres are added to the soundscapes. These elements are mixed together in three slightly different kinds of songs, roughly speaking. One set of pieces is highly melodic in nature, with an emphasis on moods and atmospheres and leanings towards symphonic rock as well as ambient music: calm, mellow and lush compositions. The second style explored seems to be more of an evolved form of the first type, with slightly more complex guitar playing and rhythms with a distinct jazz edge to them mixed in with the synth layers. And the third variation of tunes on this album comes across as compositions from the next stage of evolvement: some pieces with jazz tendencies and others more like the first set of tunes, but on these specific songs the level of complexity has increased markedly – sometimes in compositional structure alone and other times in performance as well. The extra element added is dissonance, sometimes with layers of sounds contrasting with each other and at other times with different melodic explorations confronting each other to create dissonances – resulting in segments with cacaphonic tendencies at their most elaborate. The compositional structure is pretty similar on all the tunes on the album, and the nature of that one may ultimately be the decisive factor in whether or not someone will choose to purchase this release. The approach used throughout is one seemingly inspired by minimalist music; a set number of musical themes, in this case one minimum and three maximum, are repeated. Some themes come with no apparent changes at all, and others reveal slight changes to them. On a few tunes the themes themselves are loosely defined, and the repetition is instead focused on one or more distinct details in that particular part. Personally I found this structure of the album to be its main weakness. The melodies are nice and pleasant most times, but there is a limit to how many times I can listen to a segment repeated before it starts to get boring, even if it is well made. For me this album ultimately comes across as bland and anonymous, due to this lack of variation within the songs themselves.

Conclusion. Fans of melodic instrumental music with symphonic and jazz leanings, performed within the framework of a minimalist-inspired compositional structure, should be the perfect buyers for this music. Fans of symphonic rock in general might want to spend a few minutes to check out this stuff though.

OMB: July 8, 2008
The Rating Room

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Marc Ceccotti


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