French TV's newest CD, A Ghastly State Of Affairs is their 15th in their long history. It is also their first album not to be self-released. Headed up by charter member bassist/composer Mike Sary, he is joined again by guitarist Kasumi Yoneda (also from the Japanese band TEE), keyboardist Patrick Strawser (best known for his work in the 90's band Volare), and now by the original drummer from FTV's first three abums, Fenner Castner. The new album displays their ingenious knack for tricky arrangements, blazing solos, surprising left-turns, and their ability to tell a well-crafted yarn musically without words. Blending elements of progressive rock, fusion, cartoon music, and Rock-in-Opposition, the music of his group can be simultaneously hilarious and highly challenging, making it one of the most original American prog rock outfits and also one of the longest lived, having created numerous albums, toured Europe and the US a few times, and played many festivals.
The group began its life back in 1983 when the group recorded their first album. From that point on, French TV would live on by Sary plus what musicians he would recruit, and who would add to the name of the band a number for each album released ("French TV 3," "French TV 4," etc.), a way to underline its constant state of flux.
The band's current trajectory roughly began four albums ago with their 2016 release "Ambassadors Of Good Health And Clean Living", when Mike was joined by guitarist Katsumi Yoneda. Pat Strawser signed up with their following CD, "Operation: MOCKINGBIRD" and brought more of a "clarity" to Mike's slightly-less-than-coherent arrangements, as well as bringing in his own pieces (encouraged by the band!).
Now, 40 years later, they are still here and better than ever! Mike Sary stubbornly refuses to give up and continues to drag the band into the next millennium.
Recommmended if you like: Happy The Man, National Health, Bruford, Brand X, Planeta Imaginario.
released November 17, 2023
Mike Sary : bass, loops, samples
Katsumi Yoneda : guitars
Patrick Strawser : keyboards
Fenner Castner : drums
Kenji Imai : flute
Warren Dale : saxes
Ludo Fabre : violin
supported by 21 fans who also own “A Ghastly State of Affairs”
Music rarely makes perfect (non)sense to me during the first couple of spins of a previously unheard album, but for some reason a new French TV release never fails to click with me straight away. AOFABU is no exception. It's an utter delight to hear the band in top form yet again, delivering their quirky and deliciously warped view of musical reality, as if heard in a particularly demented dream. Almost too good to be true, AOFABU is FAB in capital letters (and then some). Ajopuu
supported by 19 fans who also own “A Ghastly State of Affairs”
I heard the track ‘you’ and bought the cd 9 seconds later, just totally blown away by it. Love the soundscape and proggy flourishes. It’s a fantastic listen, give it a try and give in to the music. frogkin