ROBERT FOX: Short Stories (2011)
Updated: Jan 11
“Robert Fox's universe rests essentially on his harmonic approaches and at this level Short Stories is candy for the ears”
1 Arabian Nights 7:22
2 Lady in the Lake 6:44
3 Soldier Blue 6:45
4 Prescription for Murder 6:47
5 Khan 7:09
6 Rifles of Senora Carrar 4:33
7 Gypsy 6:28
8 Icarus 9:36
9 The Velvet Hour 8:01
10 Homeward 6:30
(CD/DDL 74:00) (V.F.)
(New Age, Tribal, Cinematographic)
Following in the footsteps of his theatrical work Adonai, released in 2008, Robert Fox continues to sail on the reefs of cinematographic music imbued with strong poignant and dramatic currents. SHORT STORIES is a collection of 10 stories translated into music that have crossed the ages and especially the myths and legends of English folklore. Stories of war and peace where the poetry of an Arab world is linked to latent rhythms which end up exploding with all the intensity of tribal and orchestral arrangements which ennoble their depth. Faithful to his immensely lyrical approaches, he weaves a wonderful melodic universe where the piano, the acoustic guitar and the synth lines sing with thin angelic voices from the Middle East, structured within his synth, on structures reminiscent of the influences of Vangelis.
Chapter 1: Arabian Nights reflects an atmosphere of serenity that crisscrosses these chapters of sometimes violent stories. A sweet angelic voice molded in the melancholy dreams of the Middle East chants on synth lines which float in lunar drifts. Poetic, the tone announces a serious event with this scent of sadness which represses its sobs above the rolls of symphonic timpani drums. Arabian Nights then falls into the air with a sweet sensual melody that waddles silently on the movement of the percussions while ignoring the regular heaviness of the drum rolls. Little by little, Robert Fox expands the arsenal of his influences with fine piano notes which cement the whole melodic and melancholic approach of SHORT STORIES and which draw Arabian Nights into the twilight of its nostalgic poetry. We cannot silence this link with the influences of Vangelis that breathe throughout the album. Lady in the Lake affixes a unique signature with Arabian synth breezes that get lost in the chords of a solitary guitar and a very beautiful celestial voice. Soldier Blue marries a sequential movement à la Chariots of Fire which, with the drum rolls, shapes a soft ascending rhythm, a bit like a dreamlike Bolero which goes while losing a little of its intensity in an ambient and very ethereal finale where the breezes of a celestial voice envelops the tears of trumpets that weep in scattered rolls of symphonic drums. This contemplative voice nourishes and amplifies the Arabian ambiences of Robert Fox's 15th solo album. She initiates the floating introduction of Prescription for Murder which is a beautiful ode for a repentant assassin with a nice piano which slides its dark notes on the blades of a synth's iridescent breathes. The piano and the voice unite their melancholies to weave a very nice meditative prayer which gradually embraces a more melodious portion of a rhythm which marries an abstract ticking of a timeless clock that a mermaid of sands' voice carries in her poignant breaths.
The Arabian synth breezes that introduce Khan remind me of the immense sadness that we find on Pie Jesu from Sarah Brightman. If the introduction is floating, the rhythm wakes up with a soft tribal approach sung by nice acoustic guitar chords. Ambivalent, the rhythm seeks refuge in an ambient structure fed by a synth which abandons its harmonies to breathe harsher breaths that dot the concerns of SHORT STORIES' chapters. Rifles of Senora Carrar and Gypsy offer two Greco/Persian tribal melodies. If Rifles of Senora Carrar is more theatrical, Gypsy is more oneiric. It is a delicate serenade which sings with its fine, sharp voice on a soft absent rhythm where the percussion strikes crack like whips in the wake of the seraphic voices. Icarus is a long ballad that weeps the tears of a synth that stacks its lines in a controlling wall of sounds. Sighs of violins, flute breaths and Afghan voices fill this captivating melody which strolls on scattered Tablas percussions as well as the rolls of bass drums which add an orchestral dimension to this jewel of SHORT STORIES. We are just recovering when the sighs of violins in The Velvet Hour come to caress our ears with another good ballad for desert wanderers. Chapter 10: Homeward ends the SHORT STORIES musical book with a more lively ballad. Even if its introduction is written with a silk feather and sung with a Syrian voice, the rhythm ends up pointing delicately on a structure that has nothing to envy to the melancholy and orchestral works of Vangelis.
The universe of Robert Fox is primarily based on its harmonious approaches and at this level SHORT STORIES is candy for the ears. It is an extremely melodious work that its cinematographic vision envelops in an astonishing dramatic and moving aura. The voices? That's not much of a problem, although sometimes one swims in the eclectic mysticism of Enigma. Always in the right tone, they blend nicely with this backdrop of the 1001 Nights where assassins and poets dance for the unification of their antipodes.
Sylvain Lupari (August 9th, 2012) *****
Available at AD Music