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Laurent Thibault - Mais On Ne Peut Pas RÍver Tout Le Temps CD (album) cover

MAIS ON NE PEUT PAS R VER TOUT LE TEMPS

Laurent Thibault

 

Zeuhl

4.37 | 66 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars Despite experimenting with multiple types of instruments growing up, LAURENT THIBAULT picked up the bass as his primary instrument and played in a multitude of cover bands in the 60s as well as as a few originals such as the Zorgones. After that band imploded he met none other than Christian Vander in his native France and succeeded in becoming the very first bass player of Magma. Although he was one of the original members he soon parted ways at least as a band member and took the role of producer instead putting the studio magic touches on Magma's "Kobaia" debut, Vander's solo "Tristan et Yseult" as well as "Attack." While he managed to get involved in the production world with a huge impressive list of well known artists all throughout the 70s and 80s, THIBAULT left only this sole album in his wake of as his own original material under his own moniker where he not only engaged in production and mixing but handled the bass, guitar and some of the vocals as well.

MAIS ON PEUT PAS R…VER TOUT LE TEMPS (But One Can't Dream All The Time) may be a short little blip on THIBAULT's lengthy and diverse resume consisting of only four tracks that barely clock over the thirty minute mark, but what he left behind as his sole album is somewhat of a testament to all his musical influences with none other than fellow countrymen Magma themselves providing some of the primary inspiration. Yes, MAIS ON PEUT... is chock full of zeuhl-istic rhythms enriched with fretless bass, tom fueled percussion and heavenly siren vocals from none other than Hatfield & The North's own Amanda Parsons ( as well as Lisa Bois and Le Muezzin Mystťrieux) but most of all this album is chock full of surprises with a roller coaster of changes that keep each track with a distinct flavor and occupying its own niche in the sonic jungle sprawled about in its short playing time.

The mainly instrumental music itself is a construct inspired by the paintings of Douanier Rousseau and as every bit as rich and diverse as Rosseau's cover art depicts. While vocals are heard by no less than seven individuals on the album, they are implemented as an extension of the melodies and therefore used as instruments and wordless (minus the short spoken narration towards the end). While paintings may have provided the inspiration behind MAIN ON PEUT... it is the percussive framework of Transit Express drummer Dominique Bouvier that provides the musical backbone around which the entire album was constructed. Bouvier in fact recorded the entire album's percussive parts completely alone and all the other instruments and vocalizations were added afterwards and were deftly woven around the percussive spine.

While the zeuhl tag can immediately bring the pomp and awe of hypnotic Teutonic marches to mind, THIBAULT delivers one of the most placidly serene examples in the entire progressive rock subgenere utilizing ample doses of folky violin, arpeggiated acoustic guitar and ethereal vocals styles with only a very few spoken word sections. The conscious decision to eschew the overweening assembly of keyboard parts ensures that MAIS ON PEUT PAS R…VER TOUT LE TEMPS exudes an earthly organic and comfortably warm touch as it touches upon Canterbury infused jazzy touches, Arabic vocal phrasing and contemporary folk touches. A total of thirteen guests includes a few members from Magma who ensure the zeuhl rhythmic drive never gets buried too deep beneath the parade of instrumentation that only occasional goes fully electric with heavy distortion on the guitars all for the sake of the contrasting crescendoes.

MAIS ON PEUT PAS R…VER TOUT LE TEMPS is both hypnotic and seductive as it provides the nice warm and atmospheric touches to reel the listener in fairly quickly and then ratchets up the tension ever so gradually with the mellower tracks incrementally ceding into the climactic final stages of the title track. In addition to the lush verdant sonic pastures upon which the musicians graze and regurgitate in glee, THIBAULT busts out his best production skills with a well balanced and mixed assortment of musical instruments and disparate accoutrements such as flame throwers, rockets, machine guns and mad cantarices. This is also an example of how horrible an album sounds on YouTube as opposed to the actual album as i have been listening to the actual album but comparing notes as i write this. By all means, get the real thing as the internet version is woefully compressed and monotonic in comparison. Unfortunately for the prog loving world, THIBAULT to date has never released another musical gem under his own moniker but has continued in the production world, but this is not one to be missed for those who can't get enough of those bubbly addictive zeuhl rhythmic fixes in a free form psychedelic jazz folk way.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |

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