Paga Group — Gnosis
(BLCD 013, 1993, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 1994-05-01Paga today is: Bernard Paganotti, former monster-zeuhl bassist with Magma and Weidorje, Klaus Blasquiz, former Magma lead vocalist on all their best albums, Bertrand Lajudie on keyboards, and new members Francois Laizeau on drums, who played with Magma, Offering and Yochk'o Seffer in the 80s, and Eric Seva on soprano and tenor saxes and EWI. So one would expect a lineup with such a pedigree to be pumping out intense, throbbing zeuhl-fusion, right? Like the two previous Paga albums, right? Wrong. In fact it may disappoint some who are expecting some continuity from previous albums, but in fact this album is very different - and even took me by surprise, having heard some live tapes from less than a year before this release. The band has deliberately taken a big step in a jazzier direction. That said, and notwithstanding a more commercial lite-version of their classic "Urantia" that opens the album, the music here is quite good, and in fact may be the best Paga yet; overall the sound is more subtle, yet on close listen one can detect all the fire of Paga past, Paganotti's ever riffing bass, Laizeau's crafty touch on the drums. The keyboards are toned down a bit to make room for the saxes, and due to the jazzier feel of the music, Klaus' voice sounds quite a bit softer than I've heard it before, which tends to translate into more accessible on the vocal tracks (of which there are three). Yet under the smooth surface, all the power and energy are still there, waiting to be heard. Most notable are the tracks "Caravan," "Zigzag," and the eleven-minute Lajudie penned "Jazzobizz." This is an album that takes a few listens to be understood and appreciated; unlike Haunted, it won't jump out of the speakers and grab you by the jugular, but it does make for some compelling listening... after ten-plus times through I'm still discovering new things I haven't heard before.
Related artist(s): Bernard Paganotti
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more
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