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Catharsis - Volume IV - Illuminations CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.54 | 27 ratings

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3 stars This was released as the fourth album by psychedelic French band Catharsis and it adds more to the confusion surrounding their albums. Chronologically it's probably their second album, the line up is also the same as their debut, like a lot of their material being recorded in 1971 this was too. The album was actually released in 1972 without an album title, along with two more albums and then again in 1975 as Vol.4 Illuminations to set things straight. In regards of album length this is still very short like all of their albums, only 28 minutes of music. Musically speaking it is closer to their first album and a little bit different than what came after it, The music drowns in 60's psychedelia mostly acoustic, quiet and dark, very trippy and psychedelic unlike 32 Mars and Les Chevrons albums which are louder and more upbeat yet still maintaining a very psychedelic atmosphere. I do love the fact that it's unique and compared to other works by the band the concept here is natural and very much welcomed. I think the biggest reference here is Pink Floyd's early period especially Atom Heart Mother's main suite with its quiet female vocal part, it seems Catharsis drew a lot of inspiration from that part because it is scattered all over the album. You could also sense the experimentation spirit of Ummagumma at some places.

At first it might seem like there's nothing going on but actually there's more under the surface, it's mainly about the atmosphere and ideas rather than technical playing. The album presents all sorts of psychedelic experimentations, there are 9 songs, 8 of them ranging between 2 to 3+ minutes. Some of them in spite of having a good idea remains a bit undeveloped and so misses the point. One of the highlights are the beautiful female vocal chants by Charlotte Boutillier, they play a big role here, drums are used very sparsely and if so only with bass drums and cymbals, there's a bigger use of percussions, so that adds to album being quiet.

The album begins really well with the first three tracks being the best, a wonderful trippy and dreamy atmosphere is built with the sound dominated by ethereal organ chords, keys, percussions and all sorts of weird sounds. Boutillier almost operatic vocal chants adds a lot of character and adds to the mysterious textures propelled by Roland Bocquet's almost classical farfisa organ and piano playing. Another reference would be their french neighbors Wapassou, maybe some Bo Hansson or the Italian band Pierrot Lunaire due to the vocals and weirdness. There's a good flow and balance between the songs adding also some acoustic moments played with acoustic guitars like the closing 6 minutes track which sounds more effective.

So overall this is a good album but still a product of its time, there's nothing new or ground breaking about it just more of the same hippie experimentations of the time, I'm guessing die hard fans of the genre will appreciate this even more than I do. 3 stars.

Sagichim | 3/5 |


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