Exposé Online banner

Jean-Pascal Boffo — Nomades
(Musea FGBG 4100.AR, 1994, CD)

by Dan Casey, 1994-08-01:

Nomades Cover art Some will recall J.P. Boffo as one of the original members of Troll and naturally expect (or perhaps hope for) a strong zeuhl influence on this effort. Well, you certainly won't find it here. Which is not to say the album is devoid of the zeuhl tradition, but it is only alluded to briefly in a couple of places. However, Nomades is still a success in many regards. The emphasis here is exclusively in the jazz realm, with ethnic and Middle Eastern melodies as the focus for each of the album's ten cuts. Boffo milks his Stratocaster for everything it's worth, using classic clean tones for rhythm and soaring lead tones for melodies and solos. In fact, some of his soloing is so classy and tasteful that one wonders why he doesn't do it more often within the well-defined framework of his finely-honed compositional chops. Boffo's understanding of the importance of melody is refreshing, and the whole album is very professional, to say the least. On the down side, some of the occasional sequenced lines are rather cold and mechanical. More importantly, the album focuses too tightly on a single style, which without offering enough variety to the listener will certainly limit the shelf life. It should also be re-emphasized that the music here only touches on the progressive realm (it's much more a jazz album than anything else) but because of Boffo's background it is likely to be endearing to a lot of prog fans.

by Peter Thelen, 1994-08-01:

The master of surprises is back. Apparently this was to be his fifth album, but work on a fourth album became too expensive and time consuming, so it was temporarily placed on the back burner — so in the ten years since the demise of his original group Troll, he has released four albums which bear little or no resemblance to one another. Nomades is no exception, I would have been hard pressed to identify it as a Boffo album had I not known before playing it. The basic music here occupies an unlikely area between world-jazz and lite-instrumental rock, possibly somewhere along the Windham Hill axis, with a profusion of Arabic and North-African influences. Boffo's guitar lacings are eloquent and fluid, as might be expected, yet on some of the tracks the guitar doesn't assert itself and gets lost in a sea of dreamy orchestrations or sax wanderings. The finest moments on Nomades are those when Boffo's guitar is firmly in control, with strong melodies provided by the violin of Florence Dionisio and/or the soprano sax of Gerard Delesse, tied to earth by the strong percussive anchorings of Hervé Rouyer. When Rouyer and Boffo ease up and yield too much to the sax and synths, the music starts to stray off into new-age territory. Finally, I am often tempted to compare this with Bag's Soudain l'éleéhant, yet Nomades only achieves that kind of driving force in its most powerful moments; still, the best material on this disc (the title track, "Turbulence," "Opprande," "Snake's Dance," "Levana") shines easily through its weaknesses.

by Rob Walker, 1994-08-01:

The long-awaited fourth solo album from French guitarist Jean-Pascal Boffo is in many ways a fusion of the various styles he explored on his first three albums. Nomades is a musical journey through a strange and mysterious aural landscape, full of eastern influences. Ethnic percussion, modal scales, and prominent use of the violin and soprano saxophone help to create a beautifully exotic atmosphere which serves as a foundation to showcase Boffo's considerable talent and versatility. The CD opens and closes with short pieces featuring classical guitar stylings reminiscent of Ralph Towner. Boffo's electric guitar skills emerge in the intervening eight songs, which alternately feature his soaring guitar melodies and his elegant background work, allowing the violin and sax ample spotlight as well. The overall sound is at times similar to Oregon or the Paul Winter Consort, but much more energetic and driving. For a guitarist's solo album, Boffo displays admirable restraint, only stepping forward when the music requires it. He has a keen sense of musical texture, and this CD is as much a testament to Boffo's creativity as a composer as anything else. The songs provide vivid musical depictions of various eastern themes, hinted at in titles like "Caravane," "Snake's Dance," "Turbulences," and "Arabesques." Usually an undesireable element in progressive music, the repetitive rhythms and percussion are here a critical part of the overall atmosphere. The product of all of this is a haunting yet beautiful musical portrait. For those who have looked forward to this album’s release for years, Nomades will most certainly prove more than worth the wait.

Filed under: New releases , Issue 4 , 1994 releases

Related artist(s): Jean Pascal Boffo

More info

Latest news

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more

2020-05-06
Florian Schneider RIP – Florian Schneider, one of the founders of the pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk, has died at the age of 73. Co-founder Ralf Hütter announced that his bandmate had passed away from cancer after a brief illness. » Read more

2020-04-23
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Marillion - Misplaced Childhood – [Regarding the 1998 reissue] Marillion's opus Misplaced Childhood is about as perfect a specimen of the neo-progressive genre as you'll find. I am no adherent of this often-maligned and...  (1999) » Read more

Änglagård - Epilog – The long-awaited sequel to the classic Hybris has brought with it a lot of hype, curiosity, and questions. Epilog clearly squelches any rumors of a sophomore slump, and has answered all doubters with...  (1995) » Read more

Brainticket - Alchemic Universe – Alchemic Universe is more or less the work of Joel Vandroogenbroeck (recording under the name of “Mystery Hologram A-U-rchestra”), with some spoken vocals by Carole Muriel. The text, by...  (2003) » Read more

XII Alfonso - The Lost Frontier – It's unclear from the booklet notes what actually constitutes the band proper, but it seems to be centered around two brothers François and Philippe Claerhout, on keyboard programming and...  (1997) » Read more

Ziff - Sanctuary – This is the second time out for this German neo-progressive four-piece, operating in a similar territory as their debut Stories from a couple years ago. At the heart of their sound is a dense wall of...  (1997) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues