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Carpe Diem - En regardant passer le temps CD (album) cover

EN REGARDANT PASSER LE TEMPS

Carpe Diem

 

Eclectic Prog

3.74 | 115 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Having got acquainted with Carpe Diem through their sophomore (and final) release "Cueille le Tour", it was a very pleasant surprise to find out that this band already had a mature musical voice of its own as it is revealed in the repertoire of "En Regardant Passer le Temps", the debut album. There is a predominant lyricism refurbished through some spacey vibes here and there, plus a gentle use of jazz- oriented cadences within an overall symphonic scheme. On thing that caught my attention especially was the presence of rough instrumental travels in many places, energetic in a clearly psychedelic fashion. This is something that is coincidental with the dominant mood in Pulsar's first two albums as well as Asia Minor's debut release - going even a bit further back in time, you can also notice traces from King Crimson's "Islands" and "Lizard". No doubt that David's efforts (mainly on soprano sax, but also flute) are the most notorious in the recurrent dialogues between lead guitar, wind and keyboards; by no means it is my purpose to overlook Abbenanti's tasteful solos or Trucchi's ability to build up phrases and orchestrations (somewhat Bardens-influenced). The solid rhythmic foundation of Berge and Faraut, meanwhile, states a perfect balance between the pulsation of art-rock and jazz-inspired dynamics, very pertinent in order to sustain the melodic developments in each turn. The shortest piece, 'Réincarnation', opens up the album on a very Gong-meets.-early Soft Machine note. It is so exciting that one can only regret that the fade-out arrives before the 4 minute mark, but the good thing is that this sort of colorfulness is well elaborated in the next three tracks. 'Jeux du Siècle' is a 13- minute suite that kicks off very pastoral, featuring a playful flute flowing over the eerie synth layers. Once we get to minute 2, the full ensemble states a rich musical travel elaborated with controlled pomposity. At minute 6, a cosmic section settles in very powerfully, which eventually serves to pave the way for the climax that fills the track's last two minutes. As impressive as this first half of the album is, I must prefer the second half. "Voyage du Non-Retour" brings similar moods and textures to those from the previous track, but in my humble opinion, the integration between the various motifs is better accomplished - I also feel that its somewhat rougher approach helps to spice things up consistently. And finally, we get to the album's undisputed gem, 'Publiphobe', which emerges a storm of melody and harmony craftily sustained on a whirlwind-like bass guitars sequence and lovely jazzy drum patterns. All spaces are filled in this track, yet the band cleverly avoids saturation and ornament excess. The melancholic aura displayed in the sung interlude receives much of its drive from the exciting instrumental that preceded it: here, there is an evident tension beneath the surface, relieved by the controlled dialogues between sax and guitar that take place in the moments when the band's sound gets tighter. The playful opening motif returns for the effective coda. This sort of excellent closure is what this excellent album deserves, no less. Generally speaking, "En Regardant Passer le Temps" does not match the magical finesse soon to be delivered in "Cueille le Tour", but it sure surpasses in terms of energy and musical development. Both albums are clear indicators of the sort of progressive genius achieved by Carpe Diem, a band for the most demanding symphonic rock fan.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |

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