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Memoriance - Et Après CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.87 | 48 ratings

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4 stars Memoriance is a late arrival in my collection, showing again that there are still many glistening prog nuggets out there if you look hard enough and never tire from discovery. French prog has quite a history, pioneering bands such as Ange, Mona Lisa, Atoll, Pulsar and in a different universe altogether, Magma have all shaped the progressive pantheon of timeless classics. There is a vast second tier of lesser known bands that have been heavily influenced by the above. Groups such Acanthe, Artcane, Skryvania, Arachnoid, Pentacle,Tai Phong, Oniris, Alpha Ralpha, Angipatch, Clearlight, Carpe Diem, Neo, Orion, Eclat, Shylock, Synopsis and Versailles have released fantastic recordings that still stand the test of time. These releases have small audiences and recognition is rare but truth is they are scintillating windows into the depth of influence among French musicians for the theatrical drama that progressive rock provides.

This thrilling album is a suave adventure that basks in swooning voices by all members of the group and symphonic tendencies that reveal a duo of strident and acidic guitar, a pummeling bass and frenetic drums, amid tingling piano and sweeping strings (maybe the celebrated Elka string machine? ) , played by Jean-Francois Perier. "Je ne Sais Plus" is a terrific slice of vintage French prog, sounding perhaps a tad out-dated but only because the production is real and not layered to death by countless add-ons. In fact, it has an almost live tinge that plays into my hands and ears.

Michel Aze plays a blunt and versatile bass, leading the charge on "La Grange Memoriance", and has the rest chasing behind with apparent glee, well-ensconced within a Floydian groove that has voluptuous jazzy overtones, rekindling fond memories of Atoll more than any other example. At times dark and ominous, the arrangement is fueled by pipe organ-like sorrow, the dual guitar display really shines brightly with spirited talent. Misty and ethereal, the smooth vocals instill a delicious torpor, embalming the instrumentalists into a daze from which there is little redemption, just inspiration. Didier Busson shows some amazing dexterity, being a hectic drummer who is unafraid from propelling the bass riff beyond the obvious parameters.

The 10 and a half minute title track provides another chapter in Memoriance's delicate craft, a circular bass pattern traversed by some screeching guitar excursions that hint towards a more Latin feel, culminating into a monster jam that veers into psychedelia and ultimately into space-rock. Relentlessly absurd, highly technical with tons of twists, turns and somersaults, this is a truly unique experience, certainly busier than either Floyd or Hawkwind, more like a mix of Ange and Focus III-era Focus. The voice gets theatrical, a mocking diatribe of greed, avarice and violence. And indifference to it all!

The finale "Tracsir" is more playful, a shorter thingy carved wildly by the grotesque bass behemoth and featuring a dual rock guitar display that harkens back to classic Wishbone Ash territory. Rabid, pressing and frenzied, this is perhaps the rockiest side to the band yet, a wonderful expression of entertainment that stands the test of time. This might just be one of the finest French prog obscurities, many are listed above, but there is an undeniable urgency and mania that really is quite shocking, very attractively so! A thoroughly first rate opus that deserves its place in any collection.

4.5 who cares

tszirmay | 4/5 |


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