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progVisions

progVisions is a progressive rock e-zine, published in English and made by an international group of members. Our objective is to become a centre of information that contributes to the knowledge, growth and development of progressive rock.

album reviews

album review

Edhels - Saltimbanques - 2003
“As promised here is the sixth album of Edhels!”

A few months ago (March) I wrote a review about Marc Ceccotti’s latest solo album “An enigmatic wave of empathy”. At that point I promised that the sixth Edhels album was on his way. Well here it is! The previous studio album “Angel’s promise” was released by Musea in 1997. So we had to wait some time, but in that period Marc made several solo albums and a live Edhels album under the name Universal. If you don’t know the history of Edhels please read the introduction of the “An enigmatic wave … ” album or the small biography our founder wrote a few years ago for progVisions.

Edhels 2003 line-up:
Marc CeccottiJean Marc BastianelliJean Louis Suzzoni

The new album “Saltimbanques” is completely instrumental. There are eleven tracks on the album with timings between three and eleven minutes each. For me it is still unbelievable that small progressive record labels don’t have the courage to pick up the music of Edhels and release their albums with a good promotion. Maybe it will happen with this album, because it has the quality which is needed to make a proper release. For me it is frustrating to see that labels say that there are looking for progressive bands but in the end they don’t dare to release the progressive stuff and only release the neo-prog and hard-rock albums, which often all sounds the same. Of course there are some exceptions like Cuneiform Records and Periferic Records.

But let’s talk about the music itself now and give Edhels the attention it deserves.
The album is packed in a self-made cover with the painting “Le tapis volant” of Philippe Breton on the front. Marc Ceccotti not only composed, arranged, produced and recorded the album himself, but also spends some time to make a nice cover and delivers again a very nice and complete independent product.

The opening of the album with the title track “Saltimbanques” (4:07) is very strong. This is an up-tempo track with a lot of variation. To me there are some jazz and even gypsy influences. But it is typical Edhels music. Complicated rhythms, programming and impressive guitar work on top. This is the best Edhels I have ever heard. The second track “Legende III” (5:37) is more relaxed with beautiful melodic guitar and fretless bass. Edhels music has several layers. A programmed rhythm layer with the bass, the rhythm guitar layer, the keyboard layers and the solo guitar layer. For me it is amazing that however there must be a lot of programming time, it is not sounding like completely programmed music. There are always beautiful melody lines on top of the music. Only the drums like in “Schizo-Scherzo” (3:03) sounds very programmed. But the melodic guitar work is delicious. Listen for instance to the slow “Rever avec toi” (4:09). “Avignon” (Saltimbanques-suite) (3:57) is in a way connected to the title track and sounds to me like King Crimson meets Jazz fusion. “Bruxelles” (4:07) is dedicated to the memory of Roger Grojean, and has also some jazzy guitar work. “Paradoxical intentions” (5:04) opens with tasteful and atmospheric keyboard work. When this slow piece develops and there is some more rhythm, a little bit freaky guitar solo appears on top of the music. The next piece (good choice) “Nomade joke” (3:12) opens slowly with melodic guitar solo work, but in middle section there is also some more jazzy guitar work. “Eternelle” (3:33) is in fact a long guitar solo with some heavy bass/keyboard parts. Next is the short track “Siena” (2:27) which has acoustic guitar combined with a jazzy bass and electric guitar. The last composition of the album is called “Mare temporis” (11:22). In the beginning a piano melody is played on top of atmospheric keyboards. Also the acoustic guitar is again present. The melody sounds French to me. I don’t know exactly why but I have the same thing with some compositions of Serge Blenner. A kind of romantic and classical atmosphere I associate with France. Maybe it has something to do with the piano and the musical inheritance of Eric Satie. I like this piece very much; Edhels is again expanding her musical boundaries. This piece could also be placed on one of the solo albums of Marc, but in the last minutes the piece is growing into a typical Edhels piece with a delicious melodic guitar work. And the programmed rhythms are very good. Sadly the guitar solo is fading away in the end. I could listen to this for many more minutes. Your find yourself floating away on those melodic waves.

For me Edhels is back again and stronger as ever. Their music still develops on different paths into a more mature sound. It still has a lot of jazz fusion elements but you can also hear classical influences. On their “Universal” live album they experimented with vocal arrangements. But to be honest with you I like a complete instrumental Edhels more. This album “Saltimbanques” is their best effort so far. I hope the band will find a label that can give them some promotional support. If not I hope they will continue to release their music as independent releases. You get a nice cover with a disk full of great music.
The world of Edhels can be reached at http://edhelsmusics.free.fr

Douwe Fledderus - June 2003
rating - Independent Release

 

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