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Forgas Band Phenomena

Canterbury-influenced jazz-rock fusion outfit Forgas Band Phenomena are led by Parisian multi-instrumentalist/composer Patrick Forgas, who recorded and released his first album, Cocktail, in 1977. The album featured Forgas on drums, keyboards, guitar, bass, and more, along with seven other musicians -- including future Magma keyboardist Jean-Pierre Fouquey and Zao violinist Patrick Tilleman. (Originally issued on the Gratte-Ciel label, Cocktail was reissued with bonus tracks by Musea in 2008.) Forgas formed a touring band shortly after Cocktail's initial release, but the group broke up after only a few gigs and he largely retreated from music for the next ten years, although he continued writing and even took a stab at success in the mainstream pop world. In the late '80s, however, Forgas signed a recording contract that led to the release of 1990's L'Oeil! on Musea; the album included -- in addition to Forgas on synthesizers, vocals, and rhythm programming -- Fouquey, Tilleman, and guitarist Laurent Roubach from Cocktail as well as Gong's Didier Malherbe on EWI (electronic wind instrument). Forgas returned with Art d'Echo in 1993 (again on Musea), an album featuring support from his most diverse instrumental lineup to date -- including reeds, flute, and brass -- and on one track returning the leader to the drummer's chair for the first time since Cocktail.

Henceforth, two notable changes would occur in Forgas' musical career (with the exception of his 2002 new age-styled solo effort Synchronicité, an album featuring only his synthesizers and programming): he would play drums exclusively, and would record and perform as the leader of Forgas Band Phenomena, in contrast to the appellation "Forgas." The first two Forgas Band Phenomena albums appeared in the late '90s on the Cosmos Music label: 1997's Roue Libre (including Gong vibraphonist Mireille Bauer) and 1999's Extra-Lucide. After taking a break at the beginning of the new millennium (and after a complete change in the group's lineup aside from Forgas himself), Forgas Band Phenomena re-emerged on the Cuneiform label with 2005's Soleil 12. The band would continue on Cuneiform with 2009's L'Axe du Fou and 2012's Acte V, the latter a CD/DVD set including a live video recorded at the 2010 NEARfest in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The band on both L'Axe du Fou and Acte V consisted of Forgas on drums along with Benjamin Violet on guitar, Igor Brover on keyboards, Kengo Mochizuki on bass, Karolina Mlodecka on violin, Sébastien Trognon on saxophones and flute, and Dimitri Alexaline on trumpet and flügelhorn. ~ Dave Lynch, Rovi
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