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Catharsis - Volume III - 32 Mars CD (album) cover

VOLUME III - 32 MARS

Catharsis

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.03 | 20 ratings

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Sagichim
4 stars Catharsis are a four piece band from France who were active in the 70's. If you look for information about the band's albums you will find quite a lot of confusion, and this is due to the fact that other labels released collaboration albums by Catharsis and various singers. In 1994 Spalax released most of their albums on CD but didn't include the collaboration albums, so the band's discography here in the archives is according to the Spalax releases. So only for your information there are two more albums by the band which should be in here as well. Although a lot of music was recorded during 71-72, the band released very short albums clocking at about 30 minutes each, on top of that some of the songs appear in different albums with alternate versions. Although this album doesn't offer a lot of new music, since two of the songs already appeared in their previous albums, this would be a great starting point for anyone interested to check them out, I think this is their best album (from the ones I've heard).

All their albums are instrumental but with the addition of frequent chanting and operatic vocals sung by the band with an additional female singer. Their main style can be considered as psychedelic prog but there's a lot more going on, they can be quite symphonic at times but there's also some krautrock kind of experimentation and all kinds of middle eastern influences too. The music is dominated by the spooky farfisa organ by Roland Bocquet, and that's the reason they are often regarded as a Pink Floyd influenced band, but aside from the organ sound the music is nothing like Floyd. Bocquet's playing has some clear classical influences, so the music has a very unique vibe to it. I can't help but think that "32 mars" sounds more like something that was released circa 68' rather than a 70's album, the sound at times has a strong Doors feeling due to the organs and drum sound, but the music is nothing like it too. It seems to me like there's two main styles when talking about psychedelic music, there's the more ambienty trippy experimentations without any actual structure, and there's the more song based psychedelic stuff, where you can follow an actual melody. Catharsis are exploring both styles, but here in this album it's the more song based kind of style, and it's the one I usually prefer.

"32 Mars" is the main piece here, 11 minutes of cool and trippy experimentations which goes from one part to the other smoothly. It starts with an exciting arabic/classical melody on top of an upbeat rhythm, beautiful keyboard work there! It then goes in another direction, a frightening atmosphere played only by piano, like something out of a Stanley Kubrick movie. When that's over it's time for some weirdness, shrieking saxophone noises on top of rolling drums rhythm and some background organs to spice things up, I can listen to this all the day long, it just works perfectly. "Masq" is a song which appeared on their debut, this version is slightly shorter but enjoyable as well. It's quite symphonic this time, it goes from one melody to the next, nothing special overall, just enjoying the melodies with beautiful vocals chanting. The debut's version contains a weird piano part which definitely adds a more progy feel to it. "Les Chevrons" was originally released in their second album titled the same. Again this one explores the spooky atmosphere with hints of a classical inspired theme. The fourth song goes back to the first and main piece and only shows the main themes without the experimentations, it's shortened to 3 minutes, totally useless.

This is a great band to discover and totally worth it if you come across a copy, not essential in any way but still very enjoyable stuff. Their next album "Illuminations" sees the band exploring more psychedelic realms without any song based themes. 3.5 stars rounded up mainly because of how I enjoy it.

Sagichim | 4/5 |

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