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Didier Malherbe - Fluvius (with Henri Agnel, Loy Ehrlich, Shamal Ma´tra) CD (album) cover


Didier Malherbe


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.00 | 1 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars This is an album of very friendly mostly instrumental music by a four-piece headed by Gong's former flute and saxophone player Didier Malherbe, who here uses far more flute than saxophone. The album has a very gentle, airy feel; there's a lack of pretty much anything that'd define rock music such as rock drums, electric guitars and bass. There are a few electronic effects but by and large this is carried by natural instruments such as piano, percussion, and some ethnic instruments such as oud and tabla. The style is located in the vast landscapes of jazz, folk and world music, with a particularly strong Indian/middle east influence, but some western folk melodies can be found, too.

At the same time it is very typical Didier Malherbe , the scales and melodies and improvisations that he delivers are very characteristic, although he doesn't place himself in the foreground all the time and there is much space for his collaborators to show their musicality, too. "Fluvius" is a very appropriate title because there is a very flowing quality to this music. Although the tracks come in different intensities and speeds, it all feels very organic. Regarding the compositions, this is predominantly jazzy, tracks are driven and usually opened by main themes, and then it goes into improvisation, and often there's some more musical variation and exploration of the main themes. It should also be said that the musicianship on this album is very good, they're all masterful mutiinstrumentalists and it's a joy to listen to them.

Coming to the rating, this is difficult. Sometimes I think that I have two ways of rating music, one very personal and one more "objective"; the first one about how the music speaks to me intuitively, the "objective" one referring to how well it is done and how well it achieves what I think it tries to achieve. But then I don't really believe in objectivity, I mean, how can my "objective" rating not be subjective as well? Which makes me wonder whether I should really rate everything in a personal fashion, ignoring the impression that at times I believe in album is "really" better than I'd rate it intuitively. What does that even mean?

For this album I've got to say that my intuitive personal rating would be 3 stars, despite the fact that "subjectively objectively" I believe that this is really a very delightful and fine album that should be worth 4 stars at least, and there's really not much to criticise about it. Well, for me personally this is just a little bit too nice and gentle and not edgy enough, and I find my attention drifting off all too easily, but when it comes back I still realise that this is very good and enjoyable and even original music. Oh, and then on top of it there's the Progarchive rating key, which asks me really to rate the album's value for the prog rock listener. In this respect it's good, actually very good, but certainly non-essential, because it isn't rock music in the first place. At the same time I have a hard time imagining any music collection to which this isn't an excellent addition, except I wouldn't put it in the prog rock folder. Ah! It's difficult, what am I gonna do? Ultimately my feelings toward this are rather warm and positive and therefore I go for 4 just to be as nice to this music as this music is to me!

Lewian | 4/5 |


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