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Shob

Solide

Review by Gary Hill

This is the second disc from this outfit that I've reviewed. The brand of fusion is potent and intriguing. While the group shares a name with its bass player and leader, don't expect this to be a bass showcase. Don't get me wrong, the bass work is exceptional - and that's coming from a fellow bassist. It's just that it's always there to serve the music and not the other way around. This disc never feels redundant and doesn't overstay its welcome. If you like great instrumental fusion (one song has vocals), give this a try. I don't expect that you'll be disappointed. I should note that we've landed this under prog mainly because that's where we usually put fusion, but this is only marginally progressive rock beyond that connection. That said, isn't it a matter of degrees? Add more jazz and jazz prog becomes fusion, really.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Hostile
Powerhouse drumming leads this thing out of the gate. Organ joins, then the rest of the group. They take things out into a killer fusion jam that has some definite funk in the mix. The cut has some cool shifts and changes as we're taken along this ride. There is a cool synthesizer solo that emerges for a bit before we're taken out into a melodic, fusion bit that gives way to a more dramatic one.
Primal Fear
This pounds in with a rather metallic insistence. The emphasis alters a bit as keyboard sounds come over the top. Some killer funky bass joins after a time as the number works more toward pure fusion territory. Some horns add some magic and flavor. This thing is quite dynamic, really making it through a lot of different themes and sounds.
Vertige
More killer fusion, the bass work stands out here (as you'd expect), but so does the guitar and more. This makes me think of something Bruford (the group led by the drummer of the same name) might have done in some ways. This is energetic, dynamic and so tasty. I really dig the organ soloing later in the piece.
Mémoire
Not a huge change, this is another solid slab of fusion. There is funk bass, some retro keyboard sounds and a lot more. It has a great energetic groove and is just so cool.
La Brèche
I really dig the funk meets more mainstream jazz vibe on this number. This thing is pure class. While it's not a major departure, there is enough change here to make this feel like some real variety. I love the breakdown section later. The bass is purely on fire. The jazz jam that follows is equally impressive, but with a focus on other instruments. The whole ensemble is at the top of their game here. The short jam at the end is among the most potent musical passages of the disc, and this is one of the best cuts here.
Solide
There are vocals on this cut (Célia Marissal). The tune has a great funky texture. The vocals bring a real change, but the music itself does this, too. This thing is all class. I suppose that's the reason it was made the title track. It is a highlight. As always, I love the bass work on this, but the killer guitar solo is slow moving, but expressive and impressive. The synthesizer jamming is so cool, too. There is a great bass solo at the end.
Turbo Zülü
They launch out into another fusion powerhouse jam at the start of this number. They bring the funk and the cool in major quantities on this one. This gets really intense and has some killer guitar work. This really gets intense.
What Now?
I dig the percussion that starts this cut. The bass rises up, bringing the funk, from there. The other instruments kick in, and we're off onto another classy musical journey. The short saxophone solo on this thing is positively magic. The piece gets very powerful as it winds along this road.
Totem
This is a big change. It has some scratching and sound-loops bringing a modern urban texture. I suppose you could almost equate it to "Rockit" by Herbie Hancock. This rocks out quite well and brings some variety. That said, it's a bit weird, but tastefully so. There is a powerhouse guitar solo later in the track. This is quite a ride, moving through a lot of different sections and styles. There is some more pure jazz stuff in the latter portions of the composition.
Cure
The bass starts this with a killer funky jam. Drums join first, followed by the other instruments. This fusion number is a powerhouse that's a lot of fun. I love the guitar work on this.
Dr. Gros Zozo
The funk is all over this killer fusion jam. It's energetic and has a great groove. This has a little scream built into it twice. The second time is when the song abruptly ends.
 
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