Exclusive Raja — Off the Map
(MP 3012.AR, 1993, CD)
by Henry Schneider, Published 1994-05-01
Off the Map is the debut release by a new French band on Musea's Musea Parallele series. Picture if you will a musical blend of Robert Fripp, Richard Pinhas, Alain Markusfeld, and Camel and you might come close to envisioning the music of Exclusive Raja. Make no mistake, Exclusive Raja is not a derivative band, they learned from these masters of the trade and created a new music. Their vocalist has a smooth mellow voice like Camel's Andy Latimer. The truly outstanding songs are "Dock 134" with its melodic Fripp/Markusfeld guitar licks, 9/8 that builds in intensity like King Crimson's "Larks' Tongues in Aspic," and "Brooklyn 1" with William S. Burroughs samples, Frippertronics, and Markusfeld guitar runs. They even throw in a cover version of the Smiths' "Nowhere Fast"! sounding like early 70s acoustic country rock. Off the Map is music for the discriminating listener that may take a few spins before you can appreciate the results. After all there is a disclaimer on the front that states "to be listened to without any restriction – grunge and noise won't exceed 12% of the content." I guess that is why Musea chose to release it on their Parallele series.
Related artist(s): Exclusive Raja
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