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Bruno Karnel - 2021 - "Las Ilusiones"

(54:48; Bruno Karnel)


TRACK LIST:                  

1. Osijek 3:38
2. Vlak! 3:22
3. Nebuleux Software 3:36
4. Rebooting Clouds 3:13
5. Victor, Victorieux 3:22
6. Medialuna 4:25
7. Fernweh 3:03
8. Chant de Nezahualcoyotl 4:26
9. Nuevo Eden 7:38
10. Calopsittes 3:22
11. Matamore 3:33
12. La Noche Se Achaplina 4:12
13. Calopsittes 3:06
14. Icnocuicatl 3:52


Bruno Karnel - vocals, instruments
Ricardo da Silva - guitars
Antonin Smirr - bass
Sonia - vocals

Prolusion. French artist Brono Karnel has a history as a solo artist that goes back at least a decade, and with at least a dozen live and studio productions to his name so far in addition to some collaborative efforts. His latest solo album is called "Las Ilusiones", and was self released in the fall of 2021.

Analysis. I was rather swayed by the music I encountered when I first came across this French artist, with the live in studio setting adding a lot of sincerity to the performances given. At times, music is at it's best in such a setting, and even more so on stage in front of a regular live audience. Such setting tends to add nerve and tension to a performance, and manage to elevate creations that may not be as striking on a studio album. Musically, Karnel continues to explore similar territories on this new studio album, with folk music elements a constant reference throughout. Mainly in a minor and supportive manner, but occasionally also as the driving element in passages as well as songs. Otherwise a gentler variety of rock music is the foundation, where the acoustic guitar and the rhythm section are the most important items besides the vocals. Keyboards and the organ makes regular appearances, and the electric guitar is used relatively carefully to add a harder vibe and depth, with quite a few songs developing towards a richer arrangement in the second half. The keyboards are used to provide floating, atmospheric textures as well as colder cosmic-tinged soundscapes, and this latter aspect is occasionally given emphasis by way of electronic effects. The material on this album doesn't stretch all that much towards progressive rock, as the majority of the songs are fairly straight forward affairs where the majority of the alterations comes by way of the arrangement in general and the addition or subtraction of elements in particular. The blend of musical styles is arguably the most progressive element present throughout, possibly with the use of cosmic effects also a detail in that context, but otherwise this is a fairly straight forward production. The most interesting song for those with a keen interest in progressive rock may be the bonus track 'Icnocuicatl', which is a more fleshed out composition in many ways in Karnel's version of the song which originally recorded by Mexican artist Lila Downs. Besides the progressive aspect of things, I note that this is a generally appealing production and a pleasant listen throughout, with only a few songs featuring some elements that didn't catch my fancy. Most of these songs were balanced out nicely with other elements I did find intriguing however, with the strengths and the weaknesses as seen from a subjective point of view cancelling each other out. While few of the songs really gave me a thrill on this occasion, this is also the kind of album I may well pull out for years to come if I fancy a generally inviting and atmospheric laden variety of what one may describe as folk rock. A good album all in all, and most likely a production that will be regarded as rather solid by many listeners.

Conclusion. Pleasant and inviting atmospheric rock with an acoustic foundation and a liberal use of folk music elements is what you'll experience if you decide to give Bruno Karnel's latest solo album "Las Ilusiones" a listen. Aside from some cosmic effects appearing here and there the songs are fairly straight forward in nature, and strikes me as the kind of music that should have a fairly broad appeal, with listeners outside of a progressive rock oriented crowd as the likely main audience. Those with a general interest in folk rock and with a particular interest in a French variety of the style should find this album to be quite the rewarding listen, at least in my opinion.

Progmessor: September 2021
The Rating Room

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Bruno Karnel


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