Album review: FRACTAL SEXTET


Alchemy Records [Release date 16.09.22]

It would be easy to dismiss Fractal Sextet as a muso-based-up-their-own-backside combo.  In fact the press release might have you believe that.  But no. Muso – yes – but damned accessible with it.

The whole album is totally compulsive and is essentially progressive jazz fusion.  The modus operandus is great groove with repeated motifs, requisite amount of urgency, and fine musicianship.

Swiss mainman Stephan Thelen has collaborated with the likes of Kronos Quartet but together with his sparring partner Jon Durant he has melded a work of great infectiousness.  Colin Edwin (sometime bassist with Porcupine Tree) injects the wonderfully fluid rhythm with drummer Yogev Gabay and percussionist Andi Pupato.

‘Fractal 5.7′ is a great taster, a hypnotic groove with Fabio Anile’s lovely keyboard textures dancing around Durant’s guitar.  At times soundling like Marillion at their instrumental  best.  At other times even Mike Oldfield gets a look-in and ‘Planet Nine’ recalls a rather harder version of the John Williams fronted Sky.  Remember them?

On ‘Mise En Abyme’ there is a showcase for Thielen’s delayed guitar (inspiring the band’s name) which is like David Gilmour on steroids.

The pieces here have been developed from previous offerings including ‘Crossings’ (2021) which featured Thelen and Durant and demonstrate that it is possible to have an organic feel from disparate file sharing in socially challenged times.

Truly great stuff. *****

Review by David Randall

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