Jean-Paul Prat — Masal
(Musea FGBG 4155.AR, 1982/1995, CD)
by Henry Schneider, 1996-12-31:
Masal is another lost classic of French progressive music resurrected by Musea. This is strong gutsy music with a statement to make much in the style of Magma, Heldon, and King Crimson. The original 1983 album only contained the 42 minute title track, a highly colored tour de force comprised of drums, piano, and vocals by Jean-Paul Prat as well as a brass section, flutes, three guitar players, and three keyboardists. In addition to the title track Musea added 30 minutes of bonus tracks recorded in 1985 and 1990. This music is a must especially for fans of the above mentioned bands.
by Peter Thelen, 1996-08-01:
A most welcome reissue. Drummer and bandleader Prat had worked with his band Masal from the early 70s, yet their first and only release was this two-sided 42 minute instrumental opus from nearly a decade later, by which time the band (after numerous stops and starts and personnel changes) had grown to a fourteen-piece ensemble of drums, piano, synths, bass, three guitars, two saxes, flute, trumpet, trombone, French horn, and percussion. The composition (by Prat) is a symphonic masterpiece that combines the fluid delicacy of Mike Oldfield, the grand symphonics of Clearlight, the rhythmic power and intensity of the zeuhl school, and the classical angularity of Art Zoyd. Going through numerous short sections of three to five minutes each, each linked together seamlessly, the musicians paint a magnificent vision that is rarely equaled in the world of progressive rock. The closest near approximation might be Clearlight's Symphony, yet Masal's approach is more instrumentally varied and conceptually balanced. The original piece was divided at the mid-point (to accommodate the LP medium), but for the CD reissue the two sides have been rejoined as they were originally recorded.
But this is only half the story. How often is it that a CD comes out with bonus tracks that are every bit as good as the original material they augment? In fact that is the case with this reissue: an entire album's worth of solid material recorded after Masal, but never before released, has been added to the round out the CD – four tracks ranging from three minutes to sixteen bring the playing time of the disc right up to the limit of the medium. Most noteworthy is the nine-minute "Maran Atha-Selah," recorded with a six-piece lineup in 1985, and the closer – a wordless vocal piece in six-part harmony, recorded in 1990 with a very positive and uplifting spiritual vibe, not far from some of the recent work by Minimum Vital. If there is only one reissue you buy this year, by all means this should positively be it!
Related artist(s): Jean-Paul Prat
New Aristocrats Live Album on the Way – No foolin'! These supreme musicians toured Europe early in 2020, just before touring ceased to be a thing musicians could do, and there were some hot performances captured. On May 7, some of these will be releases as Freeze! Live in Europe 2020. » Read more
Jewlia Eisenberg RIP – The sad news has come out that Jewlia Eisenberg has died. As a founding member of Charming Hostess, Eisenberg changed the face of music, bringing together Balkan klezmer, American folk, and experimental rock in a distinctive blend that garnered much praise. » Read more
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more
Banco del Mutuo Soccorso - Live & Papagayo Club 1972 – Unlike the recently released PFM shows (Impressioni Vent'Anni Dopo and Bobo Club 2000), these two CDs are distinctly different sets, one from very late 1970, the other from 1972. The Mellow CD from... (1995) » Read more