Exposé Online banner

Masal — Viens des Quatre Vents
(Musea PSS0003/1, 2014, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2014-11-01

Viens des Quatre Vents Cover artBack in the mid-80s, French composer and bandleader Jean-Paul Prat released a sprawling album-length piece “Masal” (split into two parts due to the limitations of the LP medium), meticulously arranged with multiple pianos, two flutes, two saxes, trombone, trumpet, French horn, bass, three guitars, drums (played by Prat himself), percussion, and voice. The piece was an almost indescribable mix of jazz, chamber, orchestral, and rock, with hints of folk and zeuhl; truly there was nothing else like it, existing pretty much in its own universe. And it seemed that was all there was; Prat made his statement and exited from the music business. Although Masal found its way to a CD reissue, nothing else would be heard from Prat for another 25 years, when out of the blue in 2009 a new album (now billed as Masal) called Galgal would appear. In recent years Prat has released a couple solo albums, but the album at hand, Viens des Quatre Vents is the true follow up to Galgal. Now Jean-Paul plays piano throughout, and bass on one cut, his son Jean Prat is the band’s drummer, and the lineup is rounded out by sax, guitar, and various bassists on the remaining tracks. While the more stripped-down roster of musicians can’t deliver the complex orchestral arrangements from years gone by, the five compositions included here, and their complex and spirited angular piano-based arrangements are unmistakably Prat’s work. The pieces are always moving and changing, shifting gears constantly with flashes of color and cosmic brilliance, like navigating the twists and turns of a raging river, the frenzied pace never really lets up. Some semblance of familiarity will only come after numerous listens, which is the way it should be anyway. A lot to enjoy here.

Filed under: New releases, 2014 releases

Related artist(s): Jean-Paul Prat

Latest news

2020-11-20
25 Views of Worthing Finally Gets Released – A while ago, we wrote about the discovery of a "long lost" Canterbury-style gem by a band called 25 Views of Worthing. And now we're pleased to find out that Wind Waker Records has released their music on an LP. » Read more

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

2020-09-05
Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

The Decemberists - The Hazards of Love – With each successive release, The Decemberists seem to get more proggy. Their brand of folk-oriented rock owes more to Jethro Tull and Strawbs than the Byrds and CSNY. Leader Colin Meloy’s stories...  (2010) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues