Machiavel — Machiavel
(EMI 7891622, 1976/1993, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 1994-05-01
Here, finally, is the long awaited reissue of the first album by this renowned Belgian symphonic-rock band, who would go on to release two more excellent albums (Jester, Mechanical Moonbeams) before a rapid slide to a very commercial sound. At the time of the first album, Machiavel was a four piece of guitars, keys, bass and drums – with drummer Marc Ysaye handling lead vocals (full-time vocalist Mario Guccio had not yet joined the band). The sound is keyboard dominated (keys provided by Albert Letecheur, who also had a hand in writing most of the tracks on the album proper), a style very lush and atmospheric, strongly influenced by the Genesis school, and possibly some Supertramp as well, but more moody and a bit more classically oriented, original enough to not elicit constant comparison to other bands of the time (but a few bands who were to come along later – most notably Taurus, and more recently Differences – seem to have been strongly influenced by the sound of early Machiavel).
The guitars, acoustic and electric, are handled capably by Jack Roskam, and generally not prominent until solo time. Bassist Roland De Greef adds a nice cello solo on one track. The compositions vary from longer tracks in the eight-minute-plus range, lengthy story pieces with plenty of changes, to a couple shorter tracks with a more song-like structure, and one minute-and-a-half guitar track penned by Roskam. Ysaye's voice is tempered, suited perfectly for this music, not too out-front, yet powerful enough to handle the emotional peaks within some of the longer tracks. The three CD bonus tracks are all shorter pieces in the three minute range from two years earlier, and bear some resemblance to the rest of the album, mostly due to Ysaye's voice. In all this is a good reissue worth seeking out.
Related artist(s): Machiavel
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more