Echoes August CD of the Month: Chris Bocast and MJCatalin’s Stratagem

fbea51c88da09369db8d0210.L._SL500_AA240_ American guitarist Chris Bocast teams with Romanian electronic artist MJCatalin in meeting of ambient and progressive music

You can hear an audio version of this blog with Chris Bocast & MJCatalin’s music here.

Chris Bocast was all set to be a rockin’ guitarist.  He played with rock groups in San Francisco and toured as a member of The Mission U.K. in the 1980s.  He nearly broke through with a new wave band called Tokyo Vogue that you could’ve slotted between Duran Duran and A Flock of Seagulls visually and musically.

Chris Bocast has changed his hairstyle and definitely changed his music since then. After Tokyo Vogue went out of vogue, Chris began making ambient music.  In the 1990s he played in an ambient duo called Temporary Temple and released a song called “Strandlooper” on the From Here To Tranquility Volume 3 collection.  In 2003 he put out a beatless CD of shimmering guitar and keyboard spaces called Through the Airlock.  But for his new CD, he wanted to up the groove factor, so he had a virtual collaboration with Romanian drummer and electronic artist Cătălin Pîntea, a.k.a. MJCatalin.

Through the Airlock Chris Bocast: I had posted some music on  He heard it and contacted me and I listened to his stuff and I was going, “This is the drumming approach that I have been looking for ages, where it’s, you know heavy emphasis on electronics, freely embracing effects and textures,” and so I said, “Well, you know let’s try something.”  And the first thing we did was actually on Stratagem.

The two artists never met face-to-face, but you’d never know that from the ensemble feel of Stratagem.   It’s a CD of expansive compositions, shifting through dramatic movements and dynamic electro-orchestral builds.   There’s a progressive rock element that you can hear in the Steve Hackett and Genesis derived cadences of “To Cross the Sea of Clouds.”

Stratagem has another meaning for Chris Bocast.  Toward the end of recording, he suffered a hand injury that put him out of guitar playing commission for a while.

Chris Bocast: That happened when the album was about 90% done fortunately, but there was one solo, when I was getting my hand back, kind of a real out there kind of a solo at the end where I was just like, “I am back!”  You know.  I went for a kind of abstract WEEEOOOOOO kind of stuff and and as it turned out that was like one of my favorite songs off the record [“Caelestis Caravel.”]

Stratagem, by Chris Bocast and MJCatalin is the August CD of the Month on Echoes and I’ll be featuring it on Monday’s show.  You can read a full review here. This has been an Echo Location, Soundings for New Music.

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))


  1 comment for “Echoes August CD of the Month: Chris Bocast and MJCatalin’s Stratagem

  1. Nice to see Chris’s music get wide recognition. Chris is a musician of great depth, talent and taste. To see such a harmonious collaboration with the Romanian Catalin work so well shows that the world of music has no borders. Kudos for recommending this CD.

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