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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

ROBERT FOX: Phoenix Rising (2019)

Updated: Jul 29, 2019

“Phoenix Rising is in the tradition of Robert Fox's good albums; soft beats, load of orchestrations, Elvish voices and piano, lot of piano”

1 Dream State (10:30)

2 Paris Rain (7:28)

3 Lana's Theme (4:58)

4 Waiting for the Horizon (8:24)

5 Star Crossed (7:10)

6 Lady of Light (6:04)

7 Phoenix Rising (11:51)

(CD/DDL 56:45) (FR)

(Soft, orchestral and melodious EM)

Being a lover of Robert Fox's music, I heard his 18th opus, I just don't know how many times since the day 1 that I put it in my streamer. I was enveloped by the sweetness and impulses of passion that surround this immensely poetic work, to the greatness of the progressive New Age albums by Vangelis. New Age! Indeed, because everything here is composed as a scriptwriter working hard to come for a thrill, a sigh and even a tear of his scenario. PHOENIX RISING is in the tradition of Robert Fox's good albums. Gentle rhythms, sometimes flirting with a stroboscopic impulse of the sequencer, molded in sober drums, orchestral arrangements, violin layers and a piano. A good piano and its dark and nostalgic melodies are the musical columns of the 7 tracks that never stay in the same place.

A swarm of chimes tries to get us out of sleep while the piano does the opposite. Industrial chimes, as a big clock in the open air, make a duel to this sad piano, which jangles its uncertain notes in a tumult of clatter. Dream State is coiling around our eardrums with a soft melancholic melody that now rests on sober percussions. A cloud of mist, hiding some whispers, and symphonic cymbal effects escort the path of a more symphonic down-tempo than electronic, even if the presence of the sequencer weaves a stroboscopic thread that moves back and forth like an electric caress. A delicate staccato movement structures a kind of gallop in foggy plains, leading Dream State towards a passage of ambiences for weeping violins, testifying to the many changes in the titles of PHOENIX RISING. It's under the rain that Paris Rain also proposes a down-tempo led by sober percussions too and the harmonic riffs of an acoustic guitar. The staccato is light and moves slowly under the thunder and clouds of violins that also surround the Paris sky. There are children playing in this rain, as well as a street musician playing accordion. The setting does really Paris under the rain. Lana's Theme presents the beautiful artificial voice of Lana who whispers these heavenly purrs that blend into the dreams of a synthesizer in saxophone mode. The piano is always present and hammers its notes with a Vangelis fingering. Moreover, the different sound effects, including rattling sounds like fragments of tails of rattlesnakes, add this totally disconnected vision so dear to the Greek musician. Waiting for the Horizon is a title that sways between electronic soft rock and Lana's operettas, in an end-of-the-world setting that seems to be inspired, at least for the gas explosions, of Blade Runner. Flirting with a Code Indigo approach, the second phase offers a bouncy electronic rhythm with a good synth solo that loses its tune in the chants of Lana.

Star Crossed is a purely an electronic track. A light rock for a general public that evolves in phases, after the few explosions that mark its path. Its introduction proposes a good melody, always harmonized by the piano, with a staccato in the background which is modulated by a sequencer. The structure evolves through a livelier phase, a more symphonic one and finally a more progressive exploration. Lady of Light is an answer to Lana's Theme but offers much more intense and poignant passages. A tic-tac makes resonate its suite of metallic clanging while inviting a bewitching bank of clouds filled of melancholy. A seraphic voice sample leaves the depths of the void to whisper the sweet humming that we heard from Lana's Theme. Robert Fox puts the package to complete PHOENIX RISING. The title-track changes skin some 150 seconds after its first tick to become half-slow. With just enough energy to flirt with a down-tempo. The rhythm hosts a series of riffs that give as much weight as Lara gives passion with her sleepy voice. The piano remains the main axis of the melody with its fluid notes that run on a sober pattern of electronic percussion and explosions of riffs. The arrangements are up to the signature of David Wright, who did the mastering on this album, and lead us to an ambient shift after the 4th minute point. Lana is singing louder with the very agile tsiit-tsiit of the fake cymbals. Subsequently, Phoenix Rising explodes into a heavy rock that no doubt shows that PHOENIX RISING was designed in embers, ashes and pain. Another ambient passage is followed by a slightly livelier structure before Phoenix Rising ends its hike in the ashes of its structure. Another very nice Robert Fox album. What more can be said!

Sylvain Lupari (July 10th, 2019) *****

Available at AD Music web shop

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