161

Fonya: Upper Level Open Space

By

Sign in to view read count
Fonya’s Upper Level Open Space is the sixth release from an extremely talented composer and performer named Chris Fournier, a performer who not only composed and arranged all the tracks on the release but also plays every single note of sound on the CD as well. The artist’s style adroitly combines the best qualities of both new age and symphonic rock, focusing on the former’s trance-like sounds and the latter’s emotional aggressiveness with fantastic results. One minute you’ll be “zoning out” to a tasty dose of ambient keyboard passages, and the next minute you’ll find yourself snapped to attention by some prog rock guitar that amazingly doesn’t sound out of place amidst the new-agey digital backdrops. After you’ve finished listening through Upper Level Open Space it becomes clear that Fournier is not another “one man band” with delusions of grandeur; in fact Fournier moves from instrument to instrument with mindblowing skill and mastery.

Upper Level Open Space will consistently impress listeners from the wailing guitars of the opening cut “Stardaze at the Summit” to the beautiful closing passages of “Mountain of God.” Fournier shows his ability to rapidly shift gears by going from the inspiring guitar-heavy “Guadalupe from Sierra Diablo” to the Eastern-tinged rhythms of “Alpine Aquarium,” a track makes great use of stylish samples and textured percussion. Speaking of percussion, I didn’t see drums listed in the instruments played so I’m assuming that all the drums on the CD are programmed. If this is indeed the case, Upper Level Open Space contains some of the most convincing electronic drum tracks I’ve ever heard – while there are some spots where it’s obvious that the drums are programmed, there are also spots on the CD where I simply cannot tell.

Perhaps the highlight of the release is the opening cut “Stardaze at the Summit” which opens with some very pleasing acoustic guitar work, but gradually piles layers upon layers of emotional keyboard and electric guitar riffs until the track reaches critical mass at the 9 minute mark and slowly fades out into wind effects. “Stardaze” truly is a showcase for Fournier’s musical prowess, showing remarkable ability on both keyboards and guitars without feeling the need to show-off, rightfully giving the songs themselves priority over self-indulgence. The only track on the CD that is sub par is the quite repetitive (and far too lengthy) “Infinite Visions,” which sort of gets stuck in a sonic rut half-way through and never truly recovers. However, other than that temporary “bump in the road,” Upper Level Open Space is smooth sailing all the way to the closing track.

It’s not often that a one-man show comes along that can both play their instruments with both skill and subtlety, and it is even more rare when that artist can also compose and arrange with the same ability. Chris Fornier (Fonya) is one of these rare animals, and his Upper Level Open Space is definitely worthy to be on your musical short list. An excellent release from an incredible talented musician – one I hope to hear much more from in the future.


Track Listing: 1. Stardaze at the Summit (9:40), 2. 14,000 Feet (3:43), 3. Infinite Visions (6:55), 4. Guadalupe from Sierra Diablo (5:56), 5. Alpine Aquarium (4:21), 6. Sundog (8:07), 7. Acadia (6:37), 8. Enchanted Rock (5:26), 9. Mountain of God (10:41)

Personnel: Chris Fournier: All Instruments

| Record Label: RedShift | Style: Fusion/Progressive Rock


Shop

More Articles

Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read The Invariant CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Once Upon A Time In Portugal" CD/LP/Track Review Once Upon A Time In Portugal
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 30, 2016
Read "New Jazz Standards, Volume 2" CD/LP/Track Review New Jazz Standards, Volume 2
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 8, 2017
Read "Blue Monday" CD/LP/Track Review Blue Monday
by James Nadal
Published: March 20, 2016
Read "Unstatic" CD/LP/Track Review Unstatic
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 11, 2016
Read "Our Second Set" CD/LP/Track Review Our Second Set
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 23, 2016
Read "Rising Colossus" CD/LP/Track Review Rising Colossus
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 28, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!