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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Fantastic Merlins - Look Around (Innova Recordings, 2007) ***

Two years after their first live EP, the Fantastic Merlins now released a full CD (which is the EP plus a few additional tracks). The band consists of Nathan Hanson on tenor saxophone, Jacqueline Ferrier-Ultan on cello, Brian Roessler on bass and Federico Ughi on drums. The music they bring is "mood" music, especially because of the determining voice of the cello, with often calm and long phrases, very cinematic, yet free and improvized at the same time. Some of the tracks are a little more uptempo, such as "Lenny" or "I Was Behind The Couch All The Time". Tracks like "It Would Seem", start as pure improv with some punky rhythmic part thrown in, and bring a little more variation to the record. But that's probably its greatest weakness. Their approach is quite interesting, yet musically insufficiently substantial to fill the whole album and the more uptempo variation disrupts the coherence of their unique chamber-like style. Still, quite an interesting endeavour. With a little less willingness to please and a little more focus, their approach and vision holds a great promise.

Listen to
Look Around
I Was Behind The Couch All The Time
A very Small Animal
Runoff Water.

Buy from eMusic or iTunes.


Brian Roessler said...

Thanks for listening and thinking about our music - and thanks for the great blog. Looking forward to all your future writing.


Brian Roessler