B.A.G. — Soudain, l'Éléphant
(Musea FGBG 4079.AR, 1993, CD)
by Peter Thelen, 1994-05-01:This French instrumental five piece of guitars, bass, keys, winds and drums plays music in a somewhat jazzy vein, yet with a rock flair and a multitude of influences ranging from world jazz and Arabic themes to folk stylings and new-age. The result is a very soothing yet energized music falling somewhere between early Ozrics, Joaquin Lievano, and Material's Hallucination Engine, perhaps with flashes of influence from Pat Metheny, Alain Markusfeld, and others. Primal exotic percussion abounds in almost every tune, as well as heavy and moody atmospherics, didjeridu samples, bagpipes, and other interesting wind-synth textures. One can't help being captivated by the variety and refinement of the compositions and arrangements as the band works their way through the album's eleven tracks, mostly in the four-to-five minute range. Yet the music here is not overly complex or busy on the nerves, instead being more laid-back and melodically oriented. All in all, this is an outstanding album by what seems to be one of France's most promising new bands, an album that grows on the listener, slowly revealing itself with each repeated exposure.
by Henry Schneider, 1994-12-31:
baG, a French band, was Musea’s foray into world music. baG traveled extensively in the 80s and 90s listening to and influenced by Asian, Arabian, South American, African, and French folk music. Their debut CD Soudain l’Éléphant is an ethno-folk-progressive amalgam of finely crafted and recorded music. The opening song "Suerte" is a slick new-age piece along the lines of Weather Report without falling to the excess of Kenny G. The music significantly improves after "Suerte" alternating between bucolic guitar pieces evoking Pat Metheny and jazz fusion in the style of Chick Corea. Highlights of this album are the Arabic influenced "Udaï," the slow moving and eerie "Little Desert Hotel," and the King Crimson experimental stylings of "Le Chat Noir." Soudain l’Éléphant is another excellent Musea release and sure to please a wide audience. One little glitch in the packaging is a handwritten poem printed in reverse on the inside cover of the CD booklet. By scanning and inverting the page I was able to decipher most of the writing:
Comme un éléphant son ivoire,
J'ai en bouche un bien précieux.
Pourpre mort!.. J'achète ma gloire
Au prix des mots mélodieux.
An elephant has his ivory
So I have in my mouth precious goods.
Purple death!...I buy my glory
At the price of melodious words.
This poem is undoubtedly an explanation of the album title. baG is a band to watch.
Related artist(s): B.A.G.
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more