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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Morglbl

Toons Tunes From The Past

Review by Gary Hill

This set is made up of two older (long out of print) albums from this French outfit. Disc one is The Morglbl Trio which was originally released in 1997 and disc two is Bienvenue à Mörglbl Land from two years later. This is some killer music that’s still as fresh today and when originally released.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Disc 1: The Morglbl Trio!!
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This rises with a mysterious ominous tone. An angelic female voice enters in non-lyrical ways and does not remove the mystery (rather it intensifies it) but it does add new layers and textures. They build gradually with this motif and after a time percussion can be heard way down in the mix. This is just a short introductory piece.
The Tale of Thibault
They power out with a metallic fury on this and begin a series of changes and alterations. It moves towards more fusion-like sounds at times, but the crunch is ever present and bubbles up here and there. This is quite a powerful and dynamic instrumental. There is some frantic powerhouse guitar soloing on this cut.
Streets and Traps
As the crunchy fusion continues parts of this remind me of It Bites. It drops down to a mellower section later, but then fires out into some pure fusion. This is another that has some instrumental screaming in store for the listener.
Inside Power
There isn’t a lot of crunch on this and I’d think of it as more along the lines of Steve Vai or Joe Satriani. 
Il Bello di Notte
This is an acoustic showing that has definite Latin leanings – in keeping with the title.  And, yes, I know it's Italian not Spanish. It's still a romance (as in based on Latin) language.
Les Mécanismes du Temps
This starts with a short spoken word thing – a man sings in the backdrop and then we get some conversation in French. The group launches out from there into a killer fusion jam. It’s got plenty of melodic moments, but they also crunch this out into metallic territory at times. 
Travels
The fusion motifs that make this up are far mellower and more melodic. This is another that at times could be compared to Satriani, but Di Meola and even Pat Metheny might come to mind, too.  They include some sedate and intricate passages.
Mexico
Only twenty one seconds in length, it’s just a processed spoken word thing.
Lieutenant Colombin
There’s a funky edge to this as it enters. They move it into more metallic territory, too. At times the feels a bit like modern King Crimson to me. It’s a powerhouse with many different moods and tones. This is one of the most diverse and dynamic cuts on show here. It’s a case of “if you don’t like where it is, just wait.”
Strictement Confidentiel
This begins extremely mellow and melodic. They bring it up after a time, but this never rises to anything near metallic territory. It’s another that makes me think of Satriani. 
Monishkolio
Only seventeen seconds long, this is a little piece of a sped up voice. 
The Principles of Life
Here we have another screaming fusion journey. It’s another killer, but does include some mellower motifs here and there including a little space bit. There’s also some serious funk on this, but some real metallic crunch, too. 
Friends
This is a much mellower musical journey. It still sits well within the realms of fusion, but it’s quite melodic and sedate. There’s some extremely tasty acoustic guitar soloing on this.
Disc 2: Bienvenue à Mörglbl Land
Bienvenue à Mörglbl Land
Here is a bit of playful weirdness. 
Scipangnoleg et Bombola
They fire out into some smoking fusion. This gets quite crunchy at times, but is close to the sounds of Joe Satriani and Steve Vai. There are a couple little Latin sections in the midst of this, but when they fire back out it’s even more powerful. 
Pekno-Tekno Boy
Here we get an incredibly fast paced and helter skelter kind of cut that’s just plain all over the place. It’s got some more purely prog sections, but also some portions that are quite crunch laden. There are some odd vocal sections and some powerhouse instrumental ones. This is a unique and very potent piece of music.
L' Âge de l'Éveil (À Geneviève et Roger)
This one is based on mellower, acoustic guitar modes. It’s very fusion in nature and quite intriguing. It might remind one of Al Di Meola or Pat Metheny. 
Le Fantôme de Savoie
They start this with something that feels like it’s pulled from an old French movie. From there they pound out into a hard-edged fusion romp. There’s a bit of a funky element to the rhythm section and the guitar sounds move between Crimsonian territory and more metallic. There are more of those strange vocal bits in this. It also gets into some Crimson-like weirdness at times. There is some French speaking followed by music right out of a French café to end it. 
Ben...Voilà!
This begins dark and heavy. It’s not metallic at this point, but they shift it quickly towards a weird metal sort of movement and we get some non-lyrical vocals. From there, though, this transforms into funky fusion. It’s quite a dynamic cut and covers some great musical ground. 
Derrière Les Sourires
Here we have a pretty acoustic based instrumental journey through the land of fusion. 
Cléopatatras
They fire out with a crunchier fusion sound here. There are sections that definitely flirt with heavy metal. It gets pretty intense and works between metallic neo-prog and fusion. There are some funky bits on this here and there. A drum solo closes this out. 
Scouskymegnum
One part Jimi Hendrix and one part fusion, this is a metallic stomper with an oft funky bass-line. It drops back to a mellower motif later and then they take it even further down for some vocals (in French). From there we get a cool section where guitar and scat vocals are paired while the bass dances in the background. They fire back out into metallic territory from there. As it moves into more pure fusion sounds the rhythm section gets extremely funky. 
Conversations d'Alcôve
Mellow fusion motifs along the lines of Satriani and Metheny make up this number. It’s melodic, but there is some crunch to the guitar nonetheless. There’s a tasty atmospheric keyboard dominated segment that ends this. 
Jouons un Peu
And now for something completely different. A bit that sounds like it’s from a movie starts this. Then a bluegrass (yes, you read that right) jam on acoustic guitar takes it while a voice that sounds like someone with their nose pinched throws lines over the top. After a while this goes away and the sounds of people in a club with distant piano takes it to its close. 
Toons Tunes (Bonus Track)
It’s amazing to me that this is a bonus track because it’s my favorite on the entire set. A funky bass line starts this and some crunchy guitar fires out after a time. This is quite King Crimson-like. It drops later to a mysterious sounding atmospheric section. When it powers back up this is even more like modern King Crimson, but they take it into some Satriani-like territory after that. Then we spiral out into some weirdness. From there a frantic neo-prog riff takes us into Dream Theater-like territory. Then it falls way down to some seriously dramatic and rather textural motifs. 
Nounours a Disparu (Bonus Track)
A classic fusion sound leads this one off and they start building from there. It drops back to a stuttering segment that’s dominated by the rhythm section. Then a fusion guitar solos over the top of this. It works out into some weirder territory after a while, but it’s still based on this same rhythmic structure. Then around the three minute mark that rhythmic element ends and they take it into some Crimsonian space.
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