AQ&F - 2nd Life

(CD 2023, 63:40, Feed To Fast Music)

The tracks:
  1- 2nd Life Part 1 : Awakening(10:38)
  2- Any 2.0(7:29)
  3- Yuki(6:27)
  4- 2nd Life Part 2 : Journey(12:11)
  5- No Soy Breton(4:58)
  6- Ekinox 2.0(5:23)
  7- 2nd Life Part 3 : Inner Demons(8:07)
  8- 2nd Life Part 4 : Hindsight's(8:22)

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Arnaud Quevedo is back and he has returned with his extremely talented “friends” to once again serenade, astound and challenge us with a new collection titled 2nd Life. This new album was recorded in April 2023. The 2nd Life tracks are brand new compositions while the other 4 are old songs which have been rearranged.

Quevedo provides guitar and vocals and is joined by Anthony Raynal on drums, Noé Russeil on bass & backing vocals, Marin Michelat on keyboards, Eva Tribolles on double bass and backing vocals, Lucille Mille on flute, Julien Gomila on saxophones and Eloïse Baleynaud on lead vocals

The track Yuki features some brilliant yet hypnotic guitar work in the vein of Robert Fripp (King Crimson) with jazz stylings from Tribolles and Mille bringing to mind Keith Tippett's Centipede combined with the Discipline-era King Crimson.

The 2nd Life suite challenges the listener with a wonderfully woven web of music and vocals that takes you in so many different and varied directions. Some of the changes and timings are purposely “uncomfortable” and are executed perfectly. The rhythm section of Raynal and Russeil literally hold these tracks together as the lead instruments, at times, head off in what seems like a thousand different paths.

Throughout the album the vocal stylings of Baleynaud are amazing - conveying the lyrics while becoming another instrument within musical arrangements.

While this album may not be everyone's cup of tea, listeners who love to be challenged and fans of prog-adjacent jazz will find much to love here..... Another incredible effort by AQ&F which once again proves just how immensely talented these folks are!

****+ David Carswell

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