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Memoriance - Et Après CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.87 | 48 ratings

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4 stars This is a band I known absolutely nothing about, but I picked up this reissue from the Japanese label Tachika, which I’m not even sure is a legitimate label. No matter, this is a pretty darn good record, and a decent example of the peculiar blend of slightly psychedelic guitar and symphonic arrangements of other French bands like Ange and Pentacle (two other bands I know very little about beyond the occasional sample track).

There is a great deal of repetitive piano work setting the mood for most of the tracks here, along with spacey background vocals and brooding guitar that must have been at least a little influenced by Pink Floyd. The first three tracks are all in the ten minute range, pleasant and rather fast-moving without being overpowering. Besides they keyboards the instrumentation here is pretty sparse and restrained, making these guys one of the few symphonic bands who managed to put together a solid sound with the use of string, woodwind, or horn arrangements. There are at least two guitars and a bass, several keyboard layers and drums. That’s about it.

The guitar work here cannot escape heavy comparisons to Dave Gilmour, especially on the second track “La Grange Memoriance”. The few lyrics are in French (no surprise there), but for the most part the songs are made up of extended instrumental passages that seem to flow along in some predetermined and definitive pattern, but one which is not all that discernible to the casual listener.

It’s always tough to attach context or meaning to instrumental works, especially when little is known of the musicians who play them. In these guy’s case I wouldn’t call that a downside though, as the songs here are all engaging and full of interesting keyboards and rich, fat guitars. In some places the music seems to border into art-film soundtrack territory, especially on the second track. The title song on the other hand moves closer to a funky jazz sound, with copious dissonant guitar chords and some strident keyboards to give it a slightly edgy feel.

For the closing song “Tracsir” the guitarists shift to a more inflected sound and away from the moody Floydian vibe, almost picking in many places. This is a shorter work, but that isn’t really apparent as the numerous tempo shifts make this sound a lot longer and more developed than it probably is. The rolling drums and fadeaway ending are a rather abrupt and unfulfilling end to the album, which I would have liked to have gone on much longer.

Like I said, I know very little about these guys other than what I have read on the web, but it’s really too bad they didn’t hang around long enough to put together more work, and possibly to explore their sounds by branching out into more complex fusion sounds, as the lineup seems to be more suited to that than to the psychedelic-meets-symphonic blend they seems to be experimenting with here.

I’m hoping to come across some other works of theirs some time to see if their sound improved on subsequent recordings, but if this one is any indication, I’m thinking their other couple of recordings are just as interesting. Not sure if they fall into the three or four star category, could go either way. But I’m in a pretty good mood and it’s the weekend, so let’s err on the side of generous and call it four. A pretty darn good addition to any symphonic (or even psychedelic) fan’s collection.


ClemofNazareth | 4/5 |


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