Mike McLatchey 17-September-2002 Black Sun

Claude Léveillée's Black Sun won't get a lot of points from my end for the science fiction concept, but fortunately the album's instrumental charms outweigh the infrequent vocal snippets throughout, and one is not consistently reminded of the subject matter. Léveillée is an extremely accomplished Canadian musician having a large discography that traces back to the early 60s, and at an approximate count, this looks like his 18th album. Having not heard any of the others, I am at a loss to say how relevant they are to this site, but surely the title in question is, being a work strongly influenced by progressive and symphonic rock music. Evidently this is a ballet of some sort, although my French is too rusty to provide more information, and like many progressive artists who work with the form, I'm always at a loss to imagine how such a thing would be choreographed. Anyway, I digress. Musically this is symphonic music with lots of electronics, and while one might want to pin the "one man band" tag on this as a detraction, it really does come off as a cohesive and balanced work. It's hard to describe such a music as it falls generally on the progressive rock side, while containing a stronger electronic element than usual, but Léveillée's vision at least includes a fair instrumental palate with some good guitar and flute work. I suspect this is one of those albums that grows with many listens, as every time I pull it out it sounds just a bit better. It's hard to say if it will every grow to a distinct work in my mind, however, especially considering there was much better music in this vein from the era. But it's a work of art nonetheless and surely makes me curious about the other 25 or so albums in his catalog. After all this was not a musician who was part of a symphonic rock tradition, but a musician who chose to spend some time in the genre nonetheless.

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