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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Synthesis, France

Synthesis - s/t. 1971 Fabulous.

While on the topic of horn rock bands from the AC, let's cover another of his submissions. The AC states: "French horn rock with strong prog/psych leanings. Not to be confused with the later French Synthesis, this is a completely different group. Interesting, in that not too many French bands picked up this particular style, despite its popularity at the time (T.N.T.H. is the only other one that immediately comes to mind). Cool fuzz guitar and gruff vocals. Gets kind of freaky at times!"

Oddly enough, about the only other French horn rock band that leaps to mind is Magma at their absolute very beginning, and their offshoot group Univeria Zekt. Obviously, it's a real stretch to call either of them horn rock bands (and if so, at the very jazz end of the spectrum) but the influence was there before the Zeuhl style had fully developed.

As the AC says, this one is more squarely in the traditional horn rock genre, similar to many of the US/UK bands of the era. I'd say Synthesis tracks closest to classic early Chicago, and that's a good thing in the CDRWL book. With song titles like 'Dilemma of My Life', 'Walkin' In the Hell', 'Insanity', 'My Obsession', and the 3 part closer 'Symphony for a Stranger', I think it's safe to assume that Synthesis weren't aiming for the bubblegum hit parade. The songwriting is top notch, the horn charts are exhilarating, the guitar is fuzz laden / psychedelic, and the energy level is high. And the album gets freakier as it goes, and I've said this a few times before, that's always a hallmark of a great album. As if they said, "Oh screw it, no one will buy this, so let's just GO FOR IT!". Yea, baby.

I really dig this one. A few more listens could bump it even higher.

Priority: 2

1 comment:

Tristan Stefan said...

A shockingly good one-off album, I checked into the history of all the musicians on discogs, & the only recognizable (to me) name is Jean-Luc Vignaud, who did a progressive jazz masterwork called "Triptyque Orchestra" I posted on our blog.