Cast — Mosaïque
(Musea FGBG 4647.AR, 2006, 2CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2007-03-01
I’ll admit to a certain amount of suspicion of artists who seem overly prolific. It’s not that I believe they’ve made a deal with Beelzebub, I just worry that they can’t keep up a level of quality when they focus on volume. So seeing a double CD from Cast after so many other releases – I get concerned. Maybe I should have more faith. Not that this is an hour and three-quarters of flawless brilliance: there are a few stumbles, but they’re minor, and the high points are quite good. Overall, it’s pretty much what we expect from Cast. Good, solidly played modern progressive rock, mostly instrumental, heavy on the keyboards, with a big sound and impeccable production. There are a few new elements this time out. The first that stands out is the clarinet, which lends an unusual flavor, especially in the middle of a prog workout like “Azteca Imperial,” where it sounds like a refugee from Mardi Gras thrown in from another album entirely. But that’s the kind of thing that, jarring as it is, I suspect might grow on me and eventually seem normal, or at least an integral part of that piece. Other times when the clarinet appears, it lends a jazzy, gypsy or Middle Eastern flavor, things I don’t recall hearing from Cast before. The flute (and even sax) that shows up elsewhere seems more at home. Cast has been through some personnel changes over the years, and this time out, there are so many people involved I don’t even know who’s in the band and who is a guest. There are four different vocalists, three guitarists, two bassists, two drummers, and two percussionists on the various tracks; only Alfonso Vidales on keys and Pepe Torres on wind instruments appear on all tracks. That’s not a complaint, just an observation. This is a fine example of 21st Century Progressive Rock.
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more