FORGAS BAND PHENOMENA — Acte V album cover Album · 2012 · Fusion Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Sean Trane
As its title indicates, this is FBP's fifth album, and it comes with a sweet little treat in the form of a DVD live At Nearfest in '10. Still with the same septet line-up, this album is a logical musical continuity of L'Axe Du Fou and should disappoint absolutely no-one that knows anything of the band. We're dealing with a typically 90's & 00's gentle, yet complex, instrumental and progressive fusion, still all written by their leader and drummer Patrick Forgas. Through a rather delicate and strange conceptualization, this album represent the five acts of theatre dramaturge Raymond Russell's last play called Poussières De Soleil (I'd have preferred that for an album title) or something to that effect, despite the album's six tracks. The album's front artwork is a bit dull and messy (too much text), and Id rather have seen the more Hypgnosis-like artwork of the inner booklet getting the nod. The opening Corps Et Ames start rather slow, but soon goes rougher and wilder, with Violet's crunchy guitars in the forefront, before leaving the spotlight to Mlodecka's violin solo, and returning like a burning sun. Violet's fiery guitar attacks right out from the start Loin D'Issy (a "far away" play on word on a Paris suburb), but this leaves the other to shine for much longer. The lengthy George V track starts out rather softly, but goes wild in is second quarter, before resting softly by the halfway mark on Mlodecka's gentle violin (JL Ponty-like) and the song gently speeds and crescendos but doesn't really climax towards its end. One might have thought that the Ultraviolet track's title might have been a hint to their guitarist's glory, but he doesn't get the spotlight UV or IR until the middle section, but even then it won't become a sunstroke. While the following Feu Sacré certainly sees a lot of violin, the closing album-lengthiest Midi-Minuit recapitulates everything said on their fifth album, and could just be the ideal (and best-ever) musical résumé of the band's works so far.

As for the DVD, it's the full set played at the legendary festival and it features two then- unrecorded tracks from the present studio album - recorded nine months later and released over 18 months after the festival - including the opening Ultraviolet and the shorter Feu Sacré. From the previous then-fresh off-the-press album, we find the Axe Du Fou title track and the excellent Double Sens, while the rest of the set is from their Soleil 12 album or earlier. As always in a festival, the audience is largely made up of an eclectic crowd that's mainly present for Group X, Band Y or Orchestra Z, so the polite crowd reception is not always representative of the band's capacity to ignite a dedicated crowd. One can indeed fear that the mainly-symphonic crowds of the festival might have appreciated only moderately FBP's instrumental gentle modern fusion, and that by the end of the 70-mins set, they might've had their fill of it. In either case, I found the FBP's set a bit subdued (I'd seen them before, and that was wilder) and a bit too even, lacking big moments and emotions. The crowd culture maybe and the long transatlantic distance as well, but the set's Eclipse finale indeed managed to shake off the slow torpor that had set in.

Anyway, this is another impeccable Cuneiform release, on that comes with an outstanding bonus, that's become the label's specialty - see Miriodor's Cd+DVD, or the 70's UK fusion combined releases (Surman, Soft Mahine) of the last few years. To be honest, if you're to investigate FBP's work, Acte V has become the indisputable entry point, and if you're a confirmed fan, there is no way you ould possibly pass up to this one
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