The Belgian quartet Quantum Fantay has always been a bit in the shadow of their space rock heroes Ozric Tentacles. The band members have no secrets from their listeners that they have been influenced by this legendary ensemble. I got my first impression of Quantum Fantay during a live performance in Heerlen (The Netherlands) where the band opened for Unitopia. In my opinion, this wasn't the ideal combination of bands, but Quantum Fantay did a great job. About two or three weeks later I got the chance to see a gig of two of the world's best space rock bands. Quantum Fantay opened the evening and Ozric Tentacles, the band that served as a model for them, had a hard job to outclass the performance of the Belgians.
How does this live presentation reflect on the latest album Bridges Of Kukuriku? I think they're still making progress. On every new album I notice improvement and as far as I'm concerned, Quantum Fantay have left Ozric Tentacles behind concerning the innovation and song writing process. Since they are reduced to a quartet, the sound of the flute is done by the keyboards. Now the focus has shifted towards the tremendous guitar lines and the adventurous play on the keyboards. Listen to Shiver Moments with powerful guitar, splendid drumming and spacey keyboards. This truly forms a bridge between the space rock and the progressive rock basics. Both Kukuriku part 1 and part 2 have a hypnotizing keyboard basis. Keyboardist Pete Mush produces many mysterious sounds, which are kind of a trademark of the band. Meanwhile, the humming bass of Jaro and the powerful drums of Bartolini lay down a solid base for the guitaristic escapades of Dario Frodo. Counter Clockwise shows an almost jazz rock or fusion kind of guitar playing over the spacey base of the keyboards. When they pick up speed it's impossible just to sit down and listen; you just have to move or jump around and let the music get into you. Close your eyes and Quantum Fantay will take you to another dimension. For me the highlight is Portable Forest with a Jean Michel Jarre opening that turns into a very danceable and powerful song and once more the fusion elements pass by. This combined with the virtuosity of the musicians just made me think of only one word: chapeau..!
With Bridges Of Kukuriku, Quantum Fantay have built a bridge between progressive rock and space rock, their natural habitat. The music will dig into your brain and I'm pretty sure you won't be sitting still for long while listening to this album. This is music made to be played on a live stage. Quantum Fantay would fit perfectly in a new kind of festival: the Progressive Space Dance Valley. I will certainly be there!
**** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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