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
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more
Steve Roach - Destination Beyond, Afterlight, Immersion: Four – Steve Roach released these three CDs as an individually numbered boxed set or as separate items. As with any minimalist music, you are not on the fence: as you either love it or loathe it. All three... (2010) » Read more