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Mahl Dynasty: Borderline (CD, 71:20); NMA 002 This band labels itself as “structured Neo-fusion”. Guy LeBlanc is tons of playful keys and drums. He creates, arranges, and performs each of 15 songs on a KORG M1. Alain Paluck drums on 13 songs and Richard Lafontaine guest drums on the other tracks. Songs timeout from 2:32 to 7:13. LeBlanc gives peppy, jazzy, light-hearted, upbeat keyboard jams. Jazz is emphasized but in a pop, bee bop, jivin’ kinda funked-up flow. The keys are voiced in that Pee Wee Herman’s Playhouse soundtrack style. A cartoonish element is unavoidable. Ren and Stimpy get down. My teenage daughter monikers such as “Weather Channel” music. Maybe so. LeBlanc’s liner notes detail themes ranging from Bugs Bunny to the Loch Ness monster as inspiration. The nearest comparison of Mahl Dynasty would be Kristian Schultze’s, (not Klaus Schulze), “Metronomics”. LeBlanc’s music complex but repetitively so and the KORG’s synth sax and brass voices are overtly pseudo. If this music was interpreted with real sax or brass, a decent guitarist, and a funky bassist assisting LeBlanc et al, Mahl Dynasty might escape the canned sound. Near fusion would instead draw closer to real fusion. -- John W. Patterson
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