|Henry Schneider||18-April-2001||Off The Map|
Exclusive Raja - "Off The Map" (Musea MP 3012.AR, 1993, CD)
Off the Map is the debut release by a new French band on Musea's Musea Parallele series. Picture if you will a musical blend of Robert Fripp, Richard Pinhas, Alain Markusfeld, and Camel, and you might come close to envisioning the music of Exclusive Raja. Make no mistake, Exclusive Raja is not a derivative band, they learned from these masters of the trade and created a new music. Their vocalist has a smooth mellow voice like Camel's Andy Latimer. The truly outstanding songs are "Dock 134" with its melodic Fripp/Markusfeld guitar licks, "9/8" that builds in intensity like King Crimson's "Lark's Tongues in Aspic," and "Brooklyn 1" with William S. Burroughs samples, Frippertronics, and Markusfeld guitar runs. They even throw in a cover version of the Smith's "Nowhere Fast!" sounding like early 70s acoustic country rock. Off the Map is music for the discriminating listener that may take a few spins before you can appreciate the results. After all there is a disclaimer on the front that states "to be listened to without any restriction - grunge and noise won't exceed 12% of the content." I guess that is why Musea chose to release it on their Parallele series.
(Originally published in Exposť #3, p.10)
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