What a wonderful surprise it was for me to find the website of Edhels founder Marc Ceccotti on the web. After losing contact I thought Edhels was too progressive and lost the battle in the music business. But Marc is still going strong and made some solo albums and a live album with Edhels I wasn’t aware of. But I am going to fast now. Edhels is a band from Monaco who made four albums on the French Musea label. A lot of the elder progfans must remember albums like “Oriental Christmas”, “Still dream” and “Astro Logical”. After that Marc Ceccoti made an instrumental solo album called M.A.S.C. which was released on Mellow records. In the year 1997 Edhels was back on Musea with the album “Angel’s promise”.
At this point I lost contact with the band. But I am very happy to tell you that Ceccotti is now releasing albums as an independent artist while he is still searching for that record label who understands the intelligent music he and his comrades are making. To be honest those releases are packed in nice self-made covers. Each of them is a beautiful product. Under the name “Universal” Edhels made a live album on which vocals and rhythms has an important role. While we are waiting for the new Edhels studio album which will be again an instrumental one, I will review the latest of the two solo albums I didn’t mentioned so far. In 1999 “The dream side – Project No 1” was released. The album I will review is called “An enigmatic wave of empathy” and includes 12 tracks from the year 2001.
First of all let me tell you that this is an album with 64 minutes of instrumental music you maybe would describe like instrumental soundscapes based on guitar and keyboard melodies. But Marc is also programming bass and drum sounds. The best thing is that it is intriguing music which often moves in slow waves but you will never get bored, because the music has a lot of turns and rhythm changes. I find it very interesting to listen for instance to one of the longer tracks “An enigmatic wave of empathy” (8:10). With instrumental music it is very difficult to keep the attention of the listener all the time. And Marc has the ability to do this. In “Waiting for you” (5:16) the instrumentation sounds like a classical theme with on top those beautiful guitar melodies all Edhels fans will love. Marc has a unique style and plays often very melodic solo parts on guitar. As you maybe already have noticed I will not describe the tracks one by one. Let it still be a musical discovery for the fans who will buy the album. Most of the tracks are between 4 and 6 minutes. Another example is a track called “The time thief” (5:18). The orchestral synths sounds and programming of the opening are followed by a guitar solo which suddenly stops in an abrupt manner to introduce keyboard strings which are sounding very classical to me. Sometimes the synthesizer and programming reminds me of the French composer Serge Blenner who is also a master in programming classical influenced themes. In the end the guitar is back again and all those rhythm changes keeps the track interesting. In “Crystal mass” (4:30) the played guitar solo reminds me more of the work of Robert Fripp. But in the second part the guitar also have some jazzy influences and can’t be compared to Fripp at all. Most of the time the guitar soundscapes sounds like his own band Edhels. Also I would like to mention the last long track “Flying with Geronimo” (7:22) which has some great melodies. So my conclusion is that Marc Ceccotti has still a unique sound. But the more you listen to it the more variety you will discover.
I like the emotional and melodic guitar parts of this album very much. It keeps me wondering how the new Edhels album will sound like. One thing is sure, it will sound different like the previous ones because Marc Ceccotti is a man who makes progressive music and will never make the same album twice. His music is always on the move and developing. But there is something like a musical footprint which keeps me intrigued when I listen to his music. It is a shame that record companies are not willing to take some risks nowadays to release adventurous and progressive albums like this. Not everybody will like this type of music but if you like Edhels you will enjoy this effort of Marc also. And people who are adventurous enough to explore the music of Robert Fripp, Serge Blenner or Kit Watkins could also enjoy Marc Ceccotti’s soundscapes. But don’t compare those artists; I only mention them because the atmosphere of the compositions somehow reminded me of them.