Fonya - Sunset cliffs - 2000
Talking of Fonya means talking about Chris Fournier, an American multi-instrumentalist that is already part of the story of progressive movement thanks to an amazing career that includes several albums of an electronic-progressive style such as the great "Perfect Cosmological Principle". Now, with the millennium change, Chris does not only bring us a new album in which, as usual, he takes care of all the instruments, mixes, production, etc., but he also dares to put texts to his music and sing. An authentic artisan's work.
Unfortunately, this time we should say that people have to do what they do best, given that the first impression in "Sunset Cliffs" is that Chris is not the appropriate vocalist to sing his songs. In fact, the vocal melodies are not very really well written and they continue in an almost faithful way the instrumental melodies ("Without a clue" (3:18), to give a realistic example). Ending up with the vocal parts an evident and almost the only failure of this album -, these have been very eclipsed in the final mixture, being overshadowed by the music.
The curious part about it is that Chris has not lost his instrumental quality at all. In "Sunset Cliffs" there are some very good instrumental moments that will make the delights of all keyboard fans ("Incredibly high" (6:28)), well structured themes ("The light breaks through" (8:03), "Sunset cliffs" or "Witness to nothing" (5:11), with spectacular works on guitars). Chris' music is still taking influences from electronic sources, elements from Krautrock, Floydian reminiscences and a touch of Tangerine Dream. As a good ending, we have a totally instrumental track -the best, no doubt about it, of the CD full of spacy sounds and sharp guitars ("As out orbit decays" (5:05)).
I am certain that Chris Fournier is quite concerned with the repercussion and the answer and given by critics and public to these different works. My opinion-advice-reflection would be the following one: why making a vocal album when the quality of its instrumental work doesn't have a negative point?. Chris has proved that he knows how to make things far better than that, and I hope that he will not be discouraged and that he will prepare a great instrumental album for 2001.