Get this crazy baby off my head!


Forgas Band Phenomena

Forgas Band Phenomena - Extra-Lucide - 1999 - Cosmos

"While Soleil 12 (Cuneiform, 2005) was the first album from French drummer/composer Patrick Forgas’ Forgas Band Phenomena to receive international distribution, the group had in fact already released two records in the late 1990s on France’s Cosmos Music label. Sadly, Roue Libre is out of print; but the group’s sophomore effort, Extra-Lucide, is still available and bears revisiting, if for no other reason than providing a different perspective on the nearly twenty-minute “Pieuvre à la Pluie” that can also be found on Soleil 12. Forgas has been active since the 1970s, originally travelling the same musical circles as Magma and Zao. But while he shares a similar penchant for progressive music, his vision has always been more closely aligned with the British Canterbury scene and bands like Soft Machine and Hatfield and the North. While it’s a challenge to define exactly what the Canterbury scene represents, it is possible to define it as an improvisational cousin to jazz, but with its own distinctive harmonic sensibility. And while complex long-form composition is not foreign to American improvisers like Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays, there has always been a more inherently detailed structural approach to the Canterbury scene and, consequently, to Forgas, who has been called “The French answer to the Canterbury scene”. This pre-Soleil 12 incarnation of Forgas Band Phenomena was a pared-down quintet that shared much in common with guitarist Phil Miller’s post-Hatfield band In Cahoots. Bassist Juan-Sebastien Jiminez is a considerably more virtuosic player than Kengo Mochizuki of Soleil 12, closely mirroring In Cahoots bassist Fred T. Baker’s intriguing mix of groove and linear acumen. And Forgas’ approach to constant shifts in tempo and irregular meters echoes Pip Pyle - a longtime Miller collaborator and bandleader in his own right. But equally, Extra-Lucide avoids the more idiosyncratic devices typical of Miller’s work. While guitarist Mathias Desmier shares a similarly overdriven solo voice, he’s a more direct player than Miller, who leans to more acroamatic lines. Keyboardist Gilles Pausanias’ electric piano work bears comparison to Hatfield’s Dave Stewart - including a certain wryness of phrasing - but his voicings don’t possess the same instant recognition factor as Stewart's. Perhaps it’s unfair to assess Forgas strictly by comparison. While the progressive music scene is experiencing something of a renaissance thanks to the internet drawing together a small but devoted international fan base, few groups demonstrate the kind of individuality and innovation that the aforementioned 1970s bands did. Forgas Band Phenomena may have clear roots in the Canterbury aesthetic, but it’s also one of the few bands to carry it forward into the 21st Century. Forgas’ episodic compositions retain the kind of thematic foundation prevalent in the Canterbury scene, while the group’s players—strong soloists all—manage to avoid the chops-laden and self-indulgent bombast of the American version of fusion. Despite its inherent complexities, Extra-Lucide has terrific crossover appeal. This cerebral music holds interest to be sure, but never at the expense of memorable melodies and demanding yet appealing rhythms". © John Kelman © http://forgasbp.online.fr/

Veteran composer and drummer Patrick Forgas who founded this French instrumental band has been called "The French answer to the Canterbury scene”, and he is still leading Forgas Band Phenomena. Patrick, had previously recorded “Cocktail” in 1977, which featured an all-star line-up of Magma and Zao members and contained the 18-minute suite “My Trip”, very typically in the vein of some of the Canterbury band’s long but well developed jazz-rock pieces. Patrick had played keyboards and drum-machines, besides singing, on L'Oeil (1990) and Art D'Echo (1993). On this album, Forgas Band Phenomena continue in the Canterbury mode playing very good original modern progressive jazz fusion inspired by bands like Gong, Soft Machine, Matching Mole and others but with more melodic leanings. Check out the band’s great “L'axe du Fou” album [All tracks @ 320 Kbps: File size = 104 Mb]


1. Extra-Lucide (7:07)
2. Rebirth (5:27)
3. Pieuvre à la Pluie (19:26)
4. Annie Réglisse (8:38)
5. Villa Carmen (4:58)

All tracks composed by Patrick Forgas


Mathias Desmier - Guitar
Juan-Sebastien Jiminez - Bass
Gilles Pausanias - Synthesizers, Electric Piano
Mireille Bauer - Vibraphone, Marimba
Patrick Forgas - Drums
Denis Guivarch - Saxophone


Patrick Forgas was 18 years old when he first heard the music that would change his life : the second SOFT MACHINE album. He would spend the following years perfecting his drumming technique in several of the bands that flourished at the time, the early 70's. In 1975, he recorded a demo tape with Dominique Godin (keyboards and sax) and Didier Thibault (bass), but the latter, formerly of MOVING GELATINE PLATES (an excellent French band in the Canterbury vein, which recorded two acclaimed albums in 1970 and 1971), went on to form a new version of MGP, taking Godin with him, and leaving Patrick on his own. Luckily, the tape caught the attention of the new-born Gratte-Ciel label, and in 1977 he recorded and released his first album "Cocktail", with a cast of musicians which read like a who's who of the French progressive scene, with former and future members of MAGMA - Jean-Pierre Fouquey (keyboards), then only 18 - and the MAGMA offshoot band ZAO - François Debricon (sax/flute), Patrick Tilleman (violin), and most of all the virtuoso bass player Gérard Prévost. Most of these musicians went on to become top session players. Following the uniformly positive reviews of the album in the press, Forgas formed a touring band, retaining the services of Laurent Roubach - a guitarist later famous for his guitar duo albums with Eric Boell - and Tilleman - quickly replaced by Jorge Pinchevsky of GONG fame, then Jean-Pierre Thirault, the sax player from LARD FREE and MAHJUN -, adding Eric Bono and Philippe Talet - both later in the leading French fusion band, ABUS DANGEREUX. Unfortunately, following the demise of the Gratte-Ciel label, the band had to break up after just a handful of gigs, opening for WEIDORJE and Didier Malherbe's BLOOM among others, without recording the projected second album, of which only a ten-minute medley remains. Between 1978 and 1988, Forgas almost stopped playing music. He sold his drum kit and took on various non musical jobs. He nonetheless continued to write, with the help of a guitar or a keyboard, which led to an abortive attempt at mainstream pop success (two singles in the mid-eighties) - albeit with quite funny lyrics! Thanks to the continued healthy sales of "Cocktail" through the Muséa distribution network, Forgas was offered a contract in 1988, resulting in the 1990 "comeback" album "L'Oeil", on which Fouquey, Roubach and Tilleman from "Cocktail", and Didier Malherbe (of GONG), guested alongside Forgas on vocals, synths and programming. Following encouragement from various magazines and musicians (among whom none other than his old inspirator Robert Wyatt), Forgas started work on a third album, "Art D'Echo", inspired by the French surrealist movement of the 1920's, and writer André Breton in particular. Once again, he hired the talents of several guests, this time including old cohorts Debricon and Thirault, as well as new friends. Although it was recorded in the same "amateur" conditions, in Forgas' very small music room (so small, actually, that no more than two musicians can be inside at the same time!), the sound quality was much better. And a special track, "Poltergeist", marked Forgas's first drum playing in years. The idea of forming a new live band rapidly followed, and the next three years were spent looking for the suitable musicians and rehearsing a new repertoire, centered on two epic compositions, "Rumeurs" (later retitled "Roue Libre" and "Sérum De Vérité"). A shorter track, "Déclic", was added in time for the recording sessions in March 1997. "Roue Libre" was released on Cosmos Music in December 1997, and was promoted by a series of gigs in and around Paris. Following more personnel changes, FORGAS BAND PHENOMENA went back into the studio in January 1999 to record the follow-up, "Extra-Lucide", which was released in December 1999. The band then went on a long hiatus, re-emerging stronger than ever in 2004 and releasing the live CD "Soleil 12" on Cuneiform Records the following year. It consisted for a large part of re-worked version of the two suites originally intended for the 1978 album, "Coup De Théâtre" and a new version of "Pieuvre A La Pluie", plus two recent compositions, "Soleil 12" and "Eclipse". Patrick went on to compose material for a new CD in 2005-06, which after the obligatory road-testing was recorded in the summer of 2008, just before the band embarked on a memorable trip to South Korea. "L'Axe Du Fou" is slated for release in January 2009, again on Cuneiform. – By & © Rodrigo Alburez and edited by Snow Dog Prog Archives, All rights reserved © http://www.progarchives.com/artist.asp?id=1538

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