Anaïd — Four Years
(AYAA Disques JMEC1991, 1991, CD)
by Rob Walker, Published 1995-07-01
The hybrid French/English ensemble Anaïd may or may not still be in existence; this CD combines some tracks from their only LP Belladonna and selected material from before and after. The title Four Years refers to the span of time during which the material was recorded (1986-90). Consisting of a core group of Frenchmen along with a shifting cast of guest musicians, including several well-known Canterbury folks, the group presents an interesting and somewhat unique sound on the 11 tracks found on this CD. The music is jazz flavored, with a heavy sax and vibraphone presence, but has a definite zeuhl feel in the rhythms as well as the dramatic French vocals, delivered by the strong and expressive voice of Emmanuelle Lionet. Vibraphonist Jean-Max Delva is the apparent leader of the group and writes most of the material. His rhythms, and even moreso his melodies, which are usually based on altered scales, help to create an exotic atmosphere which permeates the album. The music remains relatively light, though one notable track with fuzz bass courtesy of Hugh Hopper has a heavy Magma-esque Zeuhl air to it. A few other strong tracks stand out as well, but overall the music is nothing exceptional. Indeed, the strongest point of the album as a whole is probably its unusual sound. Still, Four Years features strong vocals, a lush, exotic atmosphere, and a cast of talented musicians. So though this is far from a stand-out, must-have release, it may certainly prove of interest to some listeners.
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Cabezas de Cera and Jack o' the Clock, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more
Acoustic Festival of Britain 2017 Announces Eclectic Lineup – The Acoustic Festival of Britain has been going since 2006, and this year's event sees a number of outstanding artists on the bill. Fairport Convention, Tir na nOg, and Martin Turner are some of the artists we've covered, and there are many more, including The Men They Couldn't Hang, Howard Jones, Chantel McGregor, and many more. The festival runs June 2-4, 2017 at Uttoxeter Racecourse in Staffordshire. » Read more