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(51:05: Arnaud Bukwald)
Released in 2016, this was the fourth album from keyboard player Bukwald, and the first to be titled ‘La Marmite Cosmique’ although there have been three more since then. Although this album is available through Musea, I would much rather have expected this to be a Cuneiform release as there are times when it fits that label absolutely perfectly. Given the French title I did check on Google to see if “marmite” was something different to horrible black stuff which comes in jars with yellow lids, and was pleasantly surprised to see it means a cooking pot, so we have here ‘The Cosmic Pot’, and that is a really good title for this jazz-based album which musically is all over the place and consequently a really interesting piece of work. While there are times when we are heavily into late Seventies lunge jazz there are others where the music is so heavily ELP that one wonders why they never released the material. In “Fairy Tales” we moved between ELP and Wakeman with ease, and at times we are treated to the sound of birdsong, at others full on early Genesis with swathes of Mellotrons or it could be someone walking through deep snow or just the crackling of a fire. One quickly realises that Bukwald is working with a myriad of ideas and sounds at his disposal and has managed to master all of them. This isn’t someone attempting to create music which has come before in the style of yet another copyist, but instead is bringing together elements from lots of bands linking them all together in a true melting pot. This is an album which most definitely takes time to get inside and appreciate the full beauty – don’t just play it once and then wonder what all the fuss is about. This is complex, layered, bringing together influences from the jazz and progressive fields, mixing them with folk and film scores and then moving between orchestral and big bands elements to something that is far more simplistic. Now I have heard this I am certainly intrigued to understand what the others sound like this in this series, certainly something to investigate further.
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