on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2019 27 Jan

Fred Soul-La Comedie des Silences

von: Brian Whistler Filed under: Blog | TB | Comments off



I stumbled across this 2016 gem through a Tidal search recently, and was surprised to find out about a very talented artist working in the World Jazz field who I’ve never heard of. Fred Soul grew up in France and was drawn to both classical and world music. He is both a pianist and percussionist. He doesn’t seem to have a great many recordings, but even if he only had one, La Comedie des Silences should’ve been enough to put him on the map. It is an unassuming one of a kind little miracle of recording, blending jazz, western classical elements, Brazilian jazz, middle eastern and African influences into a completely coherent artistic statement.

There are a number of talented vocalists representing the above cultures. The music often plays with one cultural reference, then another, sometimes combining the two. One piece is pure Brazilian, then halfway through takes a detour through north Africa. There are side trips to the Middle East as well. Somehow, due to Soul’s exquisite musical tastes and compositional prowess, it all works beautifully.

Vietnamese French guitarist Nguyen Le also guests on a few tracks, bringing a distinctly southeast Asian vibe. This is Le at his most gentle and subtle, employing volume pedal, delays, whammy bar and other simple guitar tricks to transform his instrument into a Danbau, at other times a delicate, floating butterfly of sound.

This is also a very beautiful, attractive recording. It’s one of those all enveloping mixes, where every instrument seems to have it own place, in which the soundstage is so detailed and balanced it almost feels like a 3D aural experience.

The writing is deep and developed – the arrangements, lush piano and cello, layered percussion guitar and gorgeous voices in call and response makes this a sensual and soulful listen. Yet with all that’s going on, the music is surprisingly uncluttered, cushioned in a luscious atmosphere of space.

Les Comedie des Silences is dense in musical nutrients yet immediately accessible – delightful ear candy for body, mind and soul. Highly recommended.


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