" it is very easy to get lost in the overwhelming neo-baroque beauty "
As I read the back of a newly received album, I started muttering to myself, “Please let this be a classical record.” Delirious from the flu, I had been guilt ridden for two weeks waiting for my symptoms to clear up, pushing this album review aside. What I didn’t expect was the medicine I needed in musical form. Most reviews are challenging in that one never wants to criticize too much, and yet one can never be too easy going, it only hurts the artist. Having a severe cold for the first week and adding a fever the next, I write this review from another place entirely, a mental space where time is abstract and all I desire is rest, solitude and healing. These circumstances are why Marc Béziat’s music on Consolation was truly a sort of god send. In a haze of helpful medications, I first put on this album expecting that my patience would not be able to handle it. I had every intention of drifting off to sleep if possible, having been racked by night after night of illness induced insomnia. But, Oh! Contraire, for the album became the theme of my road to recovery. That week was already a classical music odyssey by some twist of fate. When I’m this under the weather, I don’t listen to my normal repertoire of loud crashing rock alternative, but instead listen to books on tape and classical music collections. The likes of Mozart, Pachelbel, Bach and even a little Massenet had already been filling the house for days, even into night to ease troubled tossing and turning. Then one afternoon I put on Marc Béziat unbeknownst to my girlfriend who was just in the next room relaxing in the bath. After a pretty lil’ prelude and the second song, Edge of the Lake of Melody, I hear a resounding “What is this song?!” coming from the other room. “That’s so beautiful!” She exclaimed. “Turn up the volume so I can hear, too.” I did, and went to her and asked “Do you know who this is?” She is far more schooled in classical style then myself, having been a trumpet player and vocal musician with some music history under her belt, so I wanted to see what she thought. “Is this… Handel?” I laughed and told her to guess again. Then she realized that it wasn’t a true orchestra, and guessed “Koji Kondo?” Koji is a famous Japanese composer most noted for his work on the Legend of Zelda series. “Nope!” I exclaimed, “Believe it or not, this is my latest review, Marc Béziat.” She was shocked. We decided that neither of us had heard any classical music on this level in recent years, save for this new resurgence in digital media for the sake of epic storylines in role playing games. Unlike movie scores (which are mostly tasteless due to timing music to action sequences and the whatnot) video game scores of this caliber can last over the course of a 100+ hour game. Pioneers like Kondo and Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy) have brought classical music to millions by combining their love of the old with new technology. Marc Béziat’s music could easily fit in with such epic composers. It is easy to sit back and imagine a vagabond hero, traveling on their way. Consolation has a great feel that blends square edge of ominous synthesized orchestral sound with acoustic piano. The unique sound gives a taste of the 16-bit age, pleasantly filling my mind with virtual memories past. Yet, it is very difficult to discern by the untrained ear. This is such fantastic composition and recording that it is very easy to get lost in the overwhelming neo-baroque beauty. So, what is there to criticize? Just this: Béziat deserves a full orchestra and choir! The album sounds spectacular already; it would be well received on any soundtrack in its current form. Even so, it is the difference between greatness and excellence. I cannot name a single artist working in classical music to date who deserves this chance more. A symphony would bring a new depth to the work, expressing beyond what a keyboard sound card is capable of. A mixed madrigal choir could take the robotic oohs and aahs and turn them into a powerful vocal arrangement that may not even require real words, it’s that enthralling. So, I sequester you, the reader; pick up Consolation and mix it into the middle of your classical play list during your next sophisticated cocktail party and see who notices. The guessing game might just surprise you as it did me. Marc Béziat’s record has found a permanent home in my collection with some of the greatest composers of all time. Simply put, it is serene and pleasant music for any occasion be it focused work or relaxation and rest. My only regret is procrastinating and not listening to Consolation sooner.