Shylock — Île de Fièvre
(Musea FGBG 4177.AR, 1978/1997, CD)
by Dan Casey, 1997-02-01:
Finally, this reissue has arrived. Rumors of Musea releasing this French symphonic masterpiece can be traced back to as early as 1992. When Shylock's first, Giarlogues, was reissued a few years back by Musea it seemed their second, Île de Fièvre, would not be far behind. But, who cares, it is finally here, hallelujah! From the opening Elka strains of the title track to last spacey moments of the epic "Laocksetal," this four-piece band maneuvers through some tricky symphonic territory and does so always with precision, ambition, and masterful craftsmanship. Finer examples of symphonic prog-rock from this era cannot be found. The 13-minute title opus is worth the price of the disc itself, with its fluent Minimoog lines by Didier Lustig and soaring guitar leads from Frédéric L'Épée (currently of Philharmonie). The shorter middle pieces between the monster bookends are more abstract and ambiguous pieces, but they certainly showcase the band's maturity and giftedness at sculpting various moods. As a bonus, Musea have appended the original CBS album with one bonus track, of (much) lesser sonic quality, but musically every bit as exciting, and representing the band in the last stages of its brief existence. All French, all instrumental, and all outstanding. If there is only one reissue you purchase this year, this should definitely be the one. Enjoy!
by Henry Schneider, 1997-12-31:
Recording their second album in 1978, Île de Fièvre, Shylock finished their musical career with a tour de force. The six tracks from the original LP are a collection of superbly crafted symphonic rock combining influences from Rick Wakeman, Genesis, Gentle Giant, King Crimson, Zappa, and Heldon. Musea also included a seventh bonus track recorded a year after the album, just as the band was breaking up. This track, "Le Fernier," does not have the sonic clarity of the rest of the album and Shylock’s performance is subdued in comparison. As usual, Musea provides extensive liner notes covering Shylock’s history from Gialorgues to the band split in 1979. An excellent release that closes out the chapter on one of France’s finest bands of the 70s.
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