body{ text-shadow: 0px 0px 4px rgba(150, 150, 150, 1); }

11 Feb 2017

Edition Spéciale "Horizon Digital “ 1978 France Prog Fuzion,Jazz Rock

 Edition Spéciale  "Horizon Digital “ 1978  France Prog Fuzion,Jazz Rock

 Their third album was rather like ALIQUANTE, only more of it. Ann Ballester's singing voice gained in confidence, making this quite pleasing to listen to as she sings on three of the album's six tunes (I don't know if I'd quite consider the chanting on "Confluence" "singing" exactly). She's replaced her old ARP Omni (glorified string-synth) with an Oberheim polyphonic, allowing for an expanded palette of synthesizer tones. The Weather Report comparison creeps ever closer.
An extended guest-appearance by Gong's Mireille Bauer on marimba, vibes and other percussion really make this album soar. Really, one of the better fusion items from France, and highly recommended. I was disappointed to see two tracks from this tacked onto the end of Muséa's ALIQUANTE CD, a practice that practically screams out, "We have no intention of reissuing this in its entirety." A grave pity, as it's clearly their finest Progbear ...........

After the almost awesome Aliquante, ES came back the following year with a fairly different album, one that would be recorded in Chateau D'Hérouville and recorded by Laurent Thibault (see his section elsewhere in PA), with a very different line-up. Only the Lorenzini-Ballester couple remains with Gouillard on drums, bassist Turquenne passing through Magma (little wonder) and being replaced by Grillot and the group brings in ex-Gong Mireille Bauer (vibes & perc) as a sort-of guest on the way to Catherine Ribeiro & Alpes. It's my guess many progheads will prefer this present album over Aliquante, and no doubt the gatefold artwork will work subliminally for Horizon Digital, but you should trust (blindly) me on this one, go for Aliquante
One of the differences you will hear is a more Zappa-esque feel to HD, due to Mireille Bauer's vibraphones, this as noticeable on the fast tracks (Aurore) than on the slower moments (intro of Camara), giving a more Mother-esque feeling than a Gong-ian tone. Another difference is the much greater presence (and more intrusive) of Ballester's Steely Dan-esque vocals laced with weaker second-rate Zeuhlian influences. So overall the ES formula is returning to a sung popier format, Ballester's synths choices not being as successful as previously, and the group is even closing the album with a needless blues track.

If on the strictly vinyl album comparison point, Aliquante is a much better album than HD, once you get to the Cd reissues, Musea actually renders things more difficult, by adding five bonus tracks that were supposed to be ES's fourth album and recorded in 80. While remaining musically roughly in line with their third album, the group was now only a duo consisting of Lorenzini and Ballester plus guests, and by that time, they had been caught by a lot trends of the times, and tried to be much more song- oriented (as in commercially-oriented songs) with Ballester's voice returning to the fore, but the back up she got made the whole thing sound like Steely Dan and this time not just vocally, but musically as well. Actually the five tracks of the fourth unreleased album make a rather nice accompaniment to Horizon Digital's eight, but you will find a degradation of quality and inspiration, the pop thing being furthered even flirting with a reggaeish funk. Better first start with Aliquante and if that pleases you enough to find more about them, come to this one (and its successor as bonus) and then move to the debut if you're still Sean Trane ............

Line-up / Musicians
- Marius "Mimi" Lorenzini / guitar, keyboards, vocals
- Ann Ballester / keyboards, vocals
- Mireille Bauer / vibraphone, marimba, percussion
- Francois Grillot / bass (1 - 6)
- Alain Gouillard / drums (1 - 6)

- Thierry Tamain / Fender Rhodes, clavinet (7 - 11)
- Emmanuel Binet / bass (7 - 11)
- Frank Raholison / drums (7 - 11)
- Fernand "Titi" Pena / vocals (7 - 11)

Songs / Tracks Listing
1. Aurore (5:42)
2. Camara (9:25)
3. Ma Vie Dégénère (2:58)
4. Daisy (7:04)
5. Jungle's Jingle (6:32)
6. Confluence (4:46) 

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..