Jean-Pascal Boffo — Carillons
(Musea FGBG 2004, 1987, LP)
by Peter Thelen, Published 1994-10-01A most welcome reissue of one of Musea's finest releases ever, Jean-Pascal Boffo's second LP from '87. In the 70s, he was the guitarist with a Genesis inspired group called Mandragore, which later evolved into the band Troll, Troll's sound was heavily Magma influenced, similar to bands like Eskaton. Unfortunately, the only recordings they left behind were a couple of demo cassettes from the early 80s. (The later Troll LP was essentially a solo by drummer Michel Altmayer and violinist Nathalie Basset.) After the original Troll called it a day, Boffo joined up with the then-new Musea label, whose first release was his first album Jeux de Nains. This instrumental workout contains the essence of everything he had done up to that point in time — a brilliant guitar album with strong symphonic and zeuhl influences. For reference points, the soaring electric passages may at times remind of Steve Hackett, the quiet passages of Anthony Phillips, yet musically it's in an entirely different context — uniquely French, sometimes playful, sometimes foreboding, and often with benefit of lush orchestrations. The bottom end obviously comes from the zeuhl school: that throbbing pulsing bass style pioneered by Paganotti and Top are evident throughout. Aside from Boffo (guitars, bass), the lineup includes Carlos Pavicich (bass) and Denis Batis (synths). A complaint I frequently heard about the original LP release was the use of programmed drums. That has been remedied here on the CD reissue, remixed with real drums from Herve Rouyer, breathing new life into all tracks. Two Troll songs "Le Cycle du Cristal" and "Conte a Rebours" were brought forward and reworked. "A Cordes Imaginaire" is a gentle acoustic guitar piece buried in dense orchestrations, and closes the disc nicely. "Carrousel" and "Bienvenue au Pays" are catchier tunes with hard hitting guitar that define the angular side of his sound, both fusing a zeuhl bottom and some symphonics to the sound that is uniquely Boffo's. "Fête en Perspective" illustrates the playful side of his writing, while "Joyeuses Pâques" approaches with gentle acoustics, building to a firestorm of colorful electric soloing. The tracks have been reordered from the original LP release, a minor gripe which I'm sure I'll soon get over, plus a song has been added "Le Retour de Nains" which appeared on the original Enchantement compilation LP. Overall this is certainly one of the most welcome reissues of the year, and one I'd recommend highly for everyone.
Related artist(s): Jean Pascal Boffo
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
Lonely China Day - This Easily Assimilative People – I wrote about this Chinese band’s previous CD back in #36. On this latest effort, they continue their path moving away from sounds typical of rock bands and further into the esoteric realms of... (2011) » Read more