French TV — #7 The Case Against Art
(Pretentious Dinosaur CD006, 2002, CD)
by Mike McLatchey, Published 2002-04-01
You have to hand it to Mike Sary and Co., every French TV seems an improvement on the last, a feat impressive considering the strength of 1999's The Violence of Amateurs. Album number seven is here with five long pieces of music and guests including Trap's Warren Dale, guitarist Shawn Persinger, and vocalist Cliff Fortney. All three are present on the album's middle piece, a cover of Happy the Man's "Partly the State." While this rates among my least favorites of that band's songs, the rendition here is a vast improvement over the one on Beginnings, capitalizing on the broad and tasteful strengths of French TV's current line up. The music certainly evinces a number of RIO and Canterbury influences, but Sary's integration of these over the years into his own vision has resulted in an idiosyncratic blend that is practically recognizable now. It's not just the complexity and dynamics, which are abundant throughout, but it's also the quirky humor and oddball time changes that do more than deliver good music, they also deliver it with a casual panache often missing in the dead-serious world of progressive rock. Another of the album's strengths is its wonderful dynamics, a chromatic range from the full-tilt and rocking to the soft and introspective, all enhanced by the tasteful and instrumentally eclectic guest appearances. For fans of the intricate, humorous, and left field, The Case Against Art is likely to leave one with an unsolvable paradox, as this makes a rather damn good case for art. This is clever, tasteful music the fan of avant-rock should make a priority purchase.
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
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more
Joel Vandroogenbroeck RIP – Word has reached us of the death of Joel Vandroogenbroeck, best known as one of the founders of Brainticket, He also recorded electronic music under a variety of names. He was born August 25th, 1938 in Brussels, Belgium and died December 23, 2019 in Arlesheim, Switzerland, aged 81. » Read more