Jean-Paul Prat — Masal
(Musea FGBG 4155.AR, 1982/1995, CD)
by Peter Thelen, 1996-08-01:
A most welcome reissue. Drummer and bandleader Prat had worked with his band Masal from the early 70s, yet their first and only release was this two-sided 42 minute instrumental opus from nearly a decade later, by which time the band (after numerous stops and starts and personnel changes) had grown to a fourteen-piece ensemble of drums, piano, synths, bass, three guitars, two saxes, flute, trumpet, trombone, French horn, and percussion. The composition (by Prat) is a symphonic masterpiece that combines the fluid delicacy of Mike Oldfield, the grand symphonics of Clearlight, the rhythmic power and intensity of the zeuhl school, and the classical angularity of Art Zoyd. Going through numerous short sections of three to five minutes each, each linked together seamlessly, the musicians paint a magnificent vision that is rarely equaled in the world of progressive rock. The closest near approximation might be Clearlight's Symphony, yet Masal's approach is more instrumentally varied and conceptually balanced. The original piece was divided at the mid-point (to accommodate the LP medium), but for the CD reissue the two sides have been rejoined as they were originally recorded.
But this is only half the story. How often is it that a CD comes out with bonus tracks that are every bit as good as the original material they augment? In fact that is the case with this reissue: an entire album's worth of solid material recorded after Masal, but never before released, has been added to the round out the CD – four tracks ranging from three minutes to sixteen bring the playing time of the disc right up to the limit of the medium. Most noteworthy is the nine-minute "Maran Atha-Selah," recorded with a six-piece lineup in 1985, and the closer – a wordless vocal piece in six-part harmony, recorded in 1990 with a very positive and uplifting spiritual vibe, not far from some of the recent work by Minimum Vital. If there is only one reissue you buy this year, by all means this should positively be it!
by Henry Schneider, 1996-12-31:
Masal is another lost classic of French progressive music resurrected by Musea. This is strong gutsy music with a statement to make much in the style of Magma, Heldon, and King Crimson. The original 1983 album only contained the 42 minute title track, a highly colored tour de force comprised of drums, piano, and vocals by Jean-Paul Prat as well as a brass section, flutes, three guitar players, and three keyboardists. In addition to the title track Musea added 30 minutes of bonus tracks recorded in 1985 and 1990. This music is a must especially for fans of the above mentioned bands.
Related artist(s): Jean-Paul Prat
Glenn Branca RIP – Experimental guitarist and composer Glenn Branca has died at the age of 69. He was known for compositions featuring large ensembles of guitars, and for the use of feedback. He founded his band Theoretical Girls in the mid-70s as an art-punk answer to what he saw as the increasing commercialization of punk music. His compositions were highly influential, with such figures as David Bowie, Thurston Moore, and John Lurie among his fans. » Read more
OBEY Convention XI Set for May 24-28 in Halifax – As the 2018 festival season rapidly approaches, we’d like you to be aware of a real treasure of diverse and creative music that’s going to take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next month. The OBEY Convention is on its 11th outing, and features a wide range of artists from around the world. From avant-industrial noise to experimental takes on Classical Chinese music, from chamber jazz to doom metal, from ambient soundscapes to Canadian First Nations drumming, you’d be hard pressed to find a festival with more variety in sound anywhere in the world. » Read more
Close to the Rain Festival in Bergen Announces Lineup – Now in its second year, the Close to the Rain Festival of progressive music is scheduled to take place in Bergen, Norway, on June 7 - 9. They've got an amazing slate of bands lined up, including such powerhouses as Anekdoten, Major Parkinson, Arabs in Aspic, Tusmørke, and many more. » Read more
Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington and Oregon. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more
Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more
Darryl Way's Wolf - Canis Lupus, Saturation Point & Night Music – The 70s continue to be a repository of stimulating music that new and old labels don’t stop digging out. Well, this is not all gold that glitters, but several forgotten works resurface, coming... (2009) » Read more
Shine (Buckethead, Bill Laswell, Shin Terai) - Heaven and Hell – Given the list of participants in this recording (Buckethead, Bill Laswell, and Shin Terai with Nicky Skopelitis, Bernie Worrell and Robert Musso), several possibilities come to mind. It could be a... (2004) » Read more