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Progrock: Forgas Band Phenomena, French TV, Machine and the Synergetic Nuts

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FORGAS BAND PHENOMENA: Soliel 12 (CD on Cuneiform Records)

This release from 2005 features 71 minutes of effervescent music recorded live at Le Triton, Les Lilas, France, on March 15, 2005.

Forgas Band Phenomena is: Patrick Forgas on drums, Sylvian Ducloux on guitar, Igor Brover on keyboards, Kengo Mochizuki on bass, Frederic Norel on violin, Stanislas De Nussac and Denis Guivarc'h on saxophones, and Sylvian Gontard on trumpet and flugelhorn.

Pleasant horns usher the audience into the sunlight for an ambrosial journey of heartfelt melodies executed with loving vigor. Saxophones and trumpet and flugelhorns conspire to generate a jovial horn section whose voices are uplifting and invigorating.

Enter the drums: demonstrative with their complex and constantly evolving rhythms. These tempos propel the music with comfortable zest, describing peaks and sweeps that constitute a thrilling ride amidst the rest of the instruments.

Delicate guitarwork wanders through the music, injecting slippery riffs whose flavor remains submerged, blending with the sonic flow.

Cheerful keyboards produce celebratory chords that will make even a curmudgeon smile with their bouncy appeal and sweeping cadence.

Energetic violin provides passionate embellishment to the peppy music, elevating the audience to windswept altitudes populated by crisply clean clouds. Adopting a modern style, the violin cavorts with enthusiastic abandon through the enticing heights.

Basslines rumble with sneaky presence, lurking amid the mix and supporting everything with ample stability.

While devoid of any old-school carnival demeanor, these compositions certainly evoke the breathtaking joy of partaking of amusement park rides, with heart-wrenching lifts and wind-in-your-face thrills. This vivacity is scrupulously seasoned with intellectual sentiments for those who wish to remain stationary while listening to the music (although they will find it somewhat difficult to avoid becoming carried away by the band's jaunty creativity).

The tunes consist of four tracks: two of them around 9 minutes long, one 18 minutes long, and one 35 minutes long, affording the band a full range of durations to explore the riffs and harmonies generated by their jocular intentions.

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FRENCH TV: This Is What We Do (CD on Pretentious Dinosaur Records )

This release from 2005 features 52 minutes of delightful progrock.

French TV is: Chris Smith, Warren Dale, Mike Sary, Jeff Gard, and Paolo Botta.

Fuzz-boxed guitars indulge in frenetic riffs that dive into complex percussive structures while sweeping keyboards provide a pastoral foundation for horns and woodwinds to flourish with unexpected verve. Rumbling basslines hide within the mix, generating sturdy cohesion and oily alliances between each engaging moment.

With light and airy flute passages lurking right around the corner from dazzling drum explosions, a constant level of the unexpected is maintained throughout this music. Yet a unifying dedication exists that cements it all together with satisfying results.

The riffs are slippery and slide around with playful abandon, moving from gritty Soft Machine clouds to a hyperactive Zappa frivolity to pensive jazz introspections to more lighthearted outbursts of National Health passion. The melodies are passed around between the instruments like favorite books, granting each performer the opportunity to tinker and experiment before handing off to the next stage of variation. The five songs on this release average 10 minutes each, affording each melody to fully develop, allowing the performers freedom to explore all possible variations.

Highly recommended for those searching for exciting tuneage.

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MACHINE AND THE SYNERGETIC NUTS: Leap Second Neutral (CD on Cuneiform Records)

This release from 2005 features 54 minutes of zealous music.

Machine and the Synergetic Nuts is: Mahi-mahi on saxophones, Sudoh Toshiaki on percussion, Suzuki Hiroyuki on bass, and Iwata Noriya on keyboards, with Matsue Jun on guitar on a few tracks, and Takahashi Yuko on additional percussion for two tracks.

A distinct intensity permeates this tuneage, as the instruments produce a tightly unified sound that sears with engaging urgency.

Keyboards generate a host of surging riffs that sway and cascade with insistent delivery. The periodic presence of classical piano lends a sobering touch to the overall locomotion, while savory prog-style organ sweeps provide a tasty counterpoint for the music's relentless fervor.

Percussion is quite dominant too, with high velocity rhythms creating complex propulsion that is often quite exhausting. Here, though, the sense of urgency is tempered with synergy as the beats seek to enhance instead of drive the music.

Saxophones contribute to the fervor with outcries that scrape the ceiling and reverberate with jovial resonance. The horns provide the airborne frenzy with a touch of humanity.

The bass thumps with extreme puissance, grounding the soaring tuneage with geological foundations that refuse to allow anyone to stand still amid the frantic music.

The infrequent guitar is slick and persnickety, delivering notes that bend back on themselves and injecting a hoppity flair to the heaving songs.

These tracks average between 5 and 8 minutes long, compressing the band's ardor with succinct purpose. The compositions are tight and emphatic, but still evoke a dreaminess that fits nicely buried in the general intensity.

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