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Priam - Diffraction CD (album) cover

DIFFRACTION

Priam

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.01 | 18 ratings

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tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Crossover Team
5 stars Another Prog original that goes unrecognized .Priam (a name straight out of Greek mythology, king of Troy) is a talented French prog band that has a banquet load of tasty entrees to offer on this their sophomore effort. Led by the unbelievable Chris Casagrande on guitar and synths, Priam surprises the unaware listener with a heady elixir of ultra modern flavorings while still in complete reverence to progressive fusion in the recent King Crimson/DFA/ Holdsworth mould. Intense and loopy, quite dissonant and stop/start like rush-hour Paris traffic, the sonic chefs (keyboardist Laurent Lacombe-Colomb, twisted bassist Bertrand Hulin-Bertaud and the oddly monikered Emma M. on pulsating drums) forage aggressively into hyper-complicated runs that defy logic but resolutely anchored in bliss. The whopping title track, all 14+ minutes of unparalleled gymnastics has the headphones spinning, a classic hard-ass riff introducing a shiny ambient mid-section heralded by some nimble drumming and a few reptilian synthesizer solos that are to die for. The contemporary guitar sortie ain't too shabby either, obviously inspired by the brilliant axe pioneer Allan Holdsworth with winks at Richard Pinhas of Heldon legend. Guitar scholars will need to hear this combination. "Congruatic Blvd" is a funky avenue, bustling with urban energy, adding sublime atonal sax forays to highlight the stiletto fashions, shuffling crowds and the blazing neon lights. A careening bass keeps this municipal lunacy in check, almost entering Gong-Shamal territory but harder in demeanor. A gigantic 6 minute traffic light that is green all the way! Another shining megalith is next, the nearly 13 minute "Granito Rosa del Oeste", a deathly leap into overt experimentation, where cubic synths vie for the Rubik completion, displaying a wide array of sounds and speeds, suddenly exploding into a monster jam, a bass rampaging mercilessly like some insane virus and some mammoth guitar sailings, breakneck or sustain, oblique and yet linear. Casagrande really gets to jump up on the altar, bending notes that would make John MacLaughlin smile, erecting a lengthy launch pad of wicked licks and devilish solos that even nod at Carlos Santana. Creative pools of ambient shadings keep the pulse beating, percussives keenly handled (or should I say fingered) to maintain the energy, showing that Emma can really teamwork together with guest David Beaufour. Amazing piece of music. You want to see what confidence can do, then how about another huge sucker in "Sensitiviris", a 10 minute lunge into prog's kitchen? A heady vintage of current effects, synths bubbling like freshly uncorked Veuve Cliquot champagne, ready for some upcoming tryst, groping hungrily for the pleasure regions ("Erogenous zones I love you!") and boldly caressing the instruments of ecstasy. A hypnotic volley of guitar solos creeps into the mix, a still smirking bass orchestrating the pathos and a slew of obtuse themes (some soft, others hard, always unforeseen) that slither into dense sonic cross currents where the Casagrande axe can flicker brightly. Highlight reel stuff. "Stella" is not about Belgian beer or Christian Vander's wife but rather a short aural pond of more percussives, a brooding interlude that veers into a "In Jerusalem " like feel, Gregorian chants from the University of Toulouse that is completely surprising within such a hard-jazz context. More gentle bells wave this adieu. "In Pace" certainly starts out peaceful and meandering, slowly morphing into some insane wailings from the assorted vocalists, the bizarre, tribal and primitive colliding with 21st century technology, hinting almost at Deep Forest territory. The superb drumming again is to be applauded heartily. Bassist Hulin-Bertaud's composition is next, the blooming "Lakeside 7.30am", a contemplative bobbin of relaxed threads, where synths, guitars and drums weave a majestic tapestry, surely another highlight to this unique jewel, one of those tracks that one can listen to all day , yawnless. "Feel D-Fract" is the glorious finale, a sibilant brew that is every bit as wandering as vintage Tangerine Dream but infused with Gallic inspiration and heavenly arrangements (more Choir). Languorous and euphoric, this bubbles along lustily, then suddenly stops dead. Probably the most modern artwork adorns this precious addition to my collection, this needs to be heard by those still searching for Nirvana. You know who you are .(No not the Cobain band). 5 easily bent waves
tszirmay | 5/5 |

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