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Talisma: Chromium

Following up on their critically acclaimed 2003 release Corpus, Canada's progressive fusion ensemble Talisma return with Chromium, another blistering set of instrumental and majestic rock songs. On the twelve tracks, which run the gamut from frenetic and complex prog-rock, to groove laden fusion, and atmospheric Mellotron drenched soundscapes, Talisma's approach is to create a huge wall of sound, which the trio do quite admirably. Bassist Donald Fleurent is a highly skilled player, and his gymnastic and nimble lines and waves of synth patches are all over this CD. Guitarist Martin Vanier adds in plenty of sinewy and intricate riffs & solos, in many cases weaving complex lines around Fleurent's bass melodies. The two make for a formidable duo, and of course are backed up by the powerhouse drumming of Mark Di Claudio.

There are so many highlights here, like the Zappa influenced quirkiness of the title track, or the ethnic flavored jazz-rock of "Qwhat". There's some nice classical flavored prog on "Dementia" complete with Mellotron washes and Steve Hackett inspired guitar work, which instantly brings to mind vintage Genesis. Fans of Planet X will love the heavy fusion grooves on "Leviosa", a complex and challenging workout that features plenty of muscular bass lines from Fleurent, waves of Mellotron, and acrobatic drum fills from Di Claudio. Images of King Crimson pop up on "Inversion", a jangly piece with Fleurent doing his best Tony Levin impression on his fretless bass and Vanier adding in plenty of Fripp/Belew styled guitar tones. A similar style from the band can be heard on "Hindi", a bouncy and complex ditty that sees the trio locked into a tight groove yet branching out in all sorts of directions.

This is one hell of an instrumental fusion CD, and my only complaint is that I wished it was a little longer. All three musicians are excellent players, and bassist Fleurent is simply a monster. With catchy melodies and stunning chops, Chromium is a must own for any lover of instrumental progressive rock.

Track listing
1. Qwhat
2. Dementia
3. Leviosa
4. Chromium
5. Nebuleuse
6. Nuclide
7. Inversion
8. Mobius
9. Tribajigue
10. Cumulus
11. Hindi
12. Double

Added: September 7th 2005
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Unicorn Digital
Hits: 3341
Language: english

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Talisma: Chromium
Posted by Murat Batmaz, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-09-07 14:35:02
My Score:

I haven't heard Talisma's first album Corpus, but their new one Chromium has certainly lived up to the hype I read about their debut. A great instrumental band from Canada, Talisma is mainly led by Donald Fleurent who is not only the backbone of most of the songs, but he also produced the album and dominates almost the entire record with his fluid bass playing (and what an amazing playing at that!) using 4, 6, 7, and 12 string bass guitars. The music is very bass driven, often lending itself to jazz and fusion soundscapes. However, as a whole, Chromium is a progressive rock album with various overtones, including touches of funk, ethno-jazz, classical, and Latin.

Twelve tracks span 42 minutes of music which kicks off with ethnic percussion work, great analog synths, powerful bass and instantly leads into a jazz break with sweeped arpeggios aplenty and more slap bass craze. I am truly impressed with the level of playing on this album, as each three musician has excelled in their instruments. Intense interplay between drums, bass, and guitars receives washes of Mellotron sounds and slowly segues into acoustic guitars on "Dementia" while the next track "Leviosa" is the diametric opposite of this song. Beginning with a Middle Eastern tone that is gone before you can place it, the trio delves into an insanely technical passage with exquisite drum fills functioning in a King Crimson meets Zappa-like context. Fleurent weaves quirky bass lines around Martin Vanier's exceptional guitar synths on "Nuclide" amidst a sea of dissonant notes playing in the background. The bass guitar sounds almost like Mr Bungle or perhaps any other avant garde project of Mike Patton, that is very funky playing.

"Nebuleuse" is the soft synth break of the album, filled with symphonic elements, while the band explores some more acoustic driven songs backed up by thick shades of Mellotron through and through. The band finishes off with "Double", a Johann Sebastian Bach composition adapted for Fleurent's 7-string bass. Talisma is a very impressive instrumental trio in the field of prog rock that should appeal to many fans of the genre.

Talisma: Chromium
Posted by Yves Dubé, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-09-06 12:39:34
My Score:

Uhhh....what he said....

I have to agree with Pete here (no, I literally do, it's part of the deal) and fully endorse Talisma's latest offering. "Chromium" is almost everything the debut was. In some cases it's more. The opening Qwhat clocks in at 6:16 and finally gives us a taste of what the band can write when they decide to go full-tilt instead of just teasing us as was sometimes the case on their debut disc "Corpus". The band once agains serves up a plethora of styles, from fusion, to symph, to RIO inspired numbers. The musicianship is once again top-notch and the musical ideas seem fresh and envigorated. My only sore spot on this disc is the absence of the "scat" vocals of Nathalie Renault, which gave the band a jazzier facet on their debut disc. However, this little nitpick on my behalf does not take away from what is arguably one of the best releases from 2005. The band's style and approach should reach a wide audience. I have no idea what the band's live situation is like, but if they can play a few gigs and hone their live chops, I'd love to see them included in a certain prestigious festival (cough,cough,Nearfest,cough,cough).

One of my favorites from what is starting to become a very,very good year for progressive releases. Fans of hard-edged fusion a la Djam Karet should find something to sink their teeth into with this one. Kudos to Unicorn Digital which is silently signing respectable artists and releasing some top-notch progressive music.

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