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Pulsar - Halloween CD (album) cover

HALLOWEEN

Pulsar

 

Symphonic Prog

3.98 | 158 ratings

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VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Review Nš 42

Pulsar is a French symphonic progressive rock band formed in the early of the 70's in Lyon, France. Almost forty years ago, Pulsar was acclaimed as one of the best French progressive rock bands, among others such as Ange, Atoll and Magma. They began their successful musical career with their debut studio album 'Pollen' released in 1975. But, their second studio album 'The Strands Of The Future' released in 1976, launched Pulsar into the big scene of the French progressive rock music. However, it was only with their third studio album 'Halloween' released in 1977, that they achieved the stardom and the really acclaimed world success. With 'Halloween', Pulsar left the French geographic space and achieved the status of a great progressive world's band. The success of the album was such that 'Halloween' became even known in some circles as one of the best symphonic progressive albums of all time.

The band's name Pulsar was derived from the dark sun in outer space, which can be found only by the sound waves that it emits. Pulsars are rotating neutron stars, and how they're very dense the pulses are very regular. The electromagnetic radiation can only be observed when the beam of emission is pointing towards the Earth, and is responsible for the pulsed appearance of emission. This regular effect is called the lighthouse effect.

The line up of the band on 'Halloween' is Gilbert Gandil (lead vocals and guitars), Jacques Roman (mellotron, keyboards and synthesizers), Roland Richard (acoustic piano, flute, clarinet and strings), Victor Bosh (drums and percussion) and Michel Masson (bass guitar). Masson is an old friend of the band and has replaced Philippe Roman (vocals and bass) who participated on their debut album Pollen, and left the band in 1976 for health reasons.

'Halloween' is a conceptual symphonic studio album with only one theme, with the same name of the album. It's divided into two side long parts, 'Halloween Part I' and 'Halloween Part II'. Each part is also divided into several songs. On the first part, the 'Halloween Part I', there are four songs: 'Halloween Song', 'Tired Answers', 'Colours Of Childhood' and 'Sorrow In My Dreams'. On the second part, the 'Halloween Part II', there are five songs: 'Lone Fantasy', 'Dawn Over Darkness', 'Misty Garden Of Passion', 'Fear Of Frost' and 'Time'. On this third musical work of the group, this is the first time that all the lyrics on the album are sung in English.

'Halloween' tells us a kind of an imaginary journey of a little girl to the country of sad dolls. This ambiguous, esoteric, cruel and entirely surrealistic story, relates the conversation between the little girl and an undefined person or thing. The lyrics were written in common by all the musicians, but were inspired on a strange story written by their drummer Bosh, some time before. The lyrics were written in French by all the musicians and translated into English by an English teacher, friend of them. Probably, he is Fran'ois Artaud, the same college professor who translated 'Puzzle/Omen' on 'Pollen'. Musically, the research for the write of all the musical pieces was also done by all the musicians. Despite all the musicians love different kinds of music, it's particularly evident the influence on this album, of the romanticism of the Gustav Mahler's music and the atmospheric ambiguous and indolent of the Luchino Visconti's film 'Death In Venice', directed in 1971, which was based on the novel of the same name of Thomas Mann.

Pulsar toured throughout Europe to present on live, 'Halloween'. In 1978, the group performed in two night concerts in my country, Portugal, where 15.000 people saw the two live shows that will last forever in their memory. It was the final evidence of their successful musical career and their potential as a big world's band. I had the privilege of being one of those 15.000 people who assisted to one of those two live concerts in Cascais, a place near to Lisbon.

Conclusion: Probably, Pulsar is my French favourite band of the 70's, and 'Halloween' is probably also my favourite French album of the 70's. This is a perfect work which combines musical success with the celebration of a grandiose symphonic music and a technical achievement with perfect recording and full of nuances of a mixture of dark and warm colours. 'Halloween' is a fetishist cult album where the beauty and the perfection give to it the timelessness and the longevity which are the prerogatives of the truly masterpieces' works. Pulsar's 'Halloween' is undoubtedly one of the major's progressive albums of the second half of the 70's, as well as their previous album 'The Strands Of The Future'. 'Halloween', is simply a touchingly, beautiful and emotional symphonic progressive rock album, and is one of the essential musical pieces from the French rock scene of the 70's. Both, 'Halloween' and 'The Strands Of The Future' are two truly classics of the dark symphonic progressive rock albums, and are among the best releases that came out of France in the 70's. Definitely, they're two personal favourites of mine and deserve to be better known.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 5/5 |

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