Morglbl is fronted by French guitarist, Christophe Godin. Christophe is known for blending a variety of styles, including heavy metal, jazz fusion, funk and blues into his music and “Jazz for the Deaf” is no exception.
I hadn’t come across Christophe Godin’s music before so I had no idea what to expect from this album. Needless to say around two minutes into the opening track I realised this is another guitar virtuoso instrumental album. Those of you who’ve read previous album reviews on Guitar Jar would know that I’m slowly converting over to instrumental guitar laden albums after being excited both by recent releases from John5 and Kiko Loureiro, but will “Jazz for the Deaf” excite me as much as the previous reviews?
The album opens with what seems to be a 1940’s style jazz band. Needless to say, I was almost ready to hit the eject button but was saved by the fact that the music quickly morphed into some very impressive electric guitar playing backed by equally impressive bass and drums.
Christophe Godin’s playing is very melodic. It’s amazing how he even comes up with some of the lead lines! The early stage of the album has a jazzy feel from all the instruments. Track 2, “22 Oz” features some very nice wah wah lead lines with hints of Hendrix/Frusciante & some very fast pentatonic runs.
Track 3, “Borderline” is fantastic as I was really impressed with how the band are thinking “outside of the box” somewhat with their playing and there’s some nice guitar effects used. Again, Christophe’s playing is sublime and what’s impressive is that although some of the lead lines are fairly quick, he doesn’t come across as someone who is showboating, he really seems to play for the song.
“Stoner de Brest” (see the video at the end of the review) features an unexpected twist: The intro and guitar hook wouldn’t be out of place on an early Sabbath album. The twist comes half way through the song, breaking down to a melodic chord structure of volume swells, then often dipping back to the Sabbath-esque hook. “The Bleach Boy” features the a few harmonic pinches here and there and “Jazz for Deaf People” breaks the mould again by blending some heavy sounding guitars with chilled grooves.
Around three quarters of the way through the album, my ears where getting a bit tired and I thought that the best of the album had passed – until the song “Point d’Org” kicked in. This song perked me up instantly as it features a great mix of groove, rock, melody, funk and breakdowns. The bass is brilliant on this track and is my favourite song on the album.
The intro to “Untold Stories” reminds me of the Beastie Boys instrumental jazz/funk record “The In Sound from Way Out!” but evolves into a huge rock sound – and like the rest of this album, the song doesn’t stay there, it changes back to clean/chorus drenched arpeggios and a chilled groove.
This one of the most interesting albums I’ve listened to in a long time. The genre is very difficult to describe as it’s very eclectic, but if I had to summarise the style of music I’d label this album as “Instrumental Progressive Jazz Rock” – progressive being the key word. If you don’t like songs chopping and changing tempo, style and feel – this album isn’t for you.
The production of this record is great, with the guitar being focussed heavily in the mid-range and the bass and drums sound very “live”, of which I’m a huge fan.
Despite being a guitar-led instrumental album, the man of the match for me goes to drummer Aurelien Ouzoulias. From start to finish his drumming is outstanding and he provides a very solid and interesting foundation.
I’m not sure if I could handle listening to the album in its entirety often though. For me, it’s the sort of album that’s great when your MP3 player shuffles to a track: it’s a pleasant surprise that leaves you wanting the player to shuffle back to the album again soon.
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