For Absent Friends — Square One
(Musea FGBG 4681.AR, 2006, CD)
by Pam Thompson, Published 2008-10-01
If you like more rock with your progressive, this is the album for you. Dutch band For Absent Friends’ eighth album is 45 minutes of solidly played (dare I say it?) neo-progressive that is elegantly basic, with very clean production where everything is heard in every track. Songs build and fade, with a compositional maturity that keeps the music balanced. Nothing flashy jumps out here, just tightly played songs with intense vocals by Hans Van Lint, beautiful negative spaces, and beefy-yet-subtle guitar by Edwin Roes. Ron Mozer’s piano and vintage keyboard sounds fit well here, and don’t sound dated. while Edwin Wernke’s drumming is tasty, from tribal-flavored grooves to proggy fills, and René Bacchus’ bass is solid on the bottom end. Of interest is “Billy,” written by Ange, which features Christian Décamps on vocals — if you’re going to do a cover song this is a good way to do it. It makes an interesting contrast to the rest of the album, as the style is much more involved and features a tasty sax solo. Placing it as the last track on the CD was a good move, as it is distinctly different from the rest of the band’s material. An album that gets better with repeated listenings.
Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more
10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more
Bill Bruford Ventures into Uncharted Territory – Drum master Bill Bruford, veteran of some of the most creative bands in history (King Crimson, Yes, Genese, etc.), is sharing some of what he's learned about being a drummer and a musician in his new book, Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer, out on University of Michigan Press. » Read more