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Eclat / Eclat De Vers - Volume 3 CD (album) cover

VOLUME 3

Eclat / Eclat De Vers

 

Symphonic Prog

3.47 | 20 ratings

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tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Eclat is one of those bands that stay hidden behind a wall of silence and too few prog adventurists get to witness what started out with a debut "Eclat de Vers", a refreshing symphonic prog in the classic French school of dramatic, almost theatrical poetry within the same rails as Ange, Mona Lisa et co?, a second chapter (foxily titled "Volume II") that goes even further despite ugly cover artwork and this "Volume III" that flies straight into jazzier Mediterranean realms with strong hints of return to Forever or Italy's superb DFA. Too bad because one "can scarcely believe all the pleasures inside"- quote from Strawbs- Out in the Cold !The leadership of Alain Chiarazzo is front and center, waving a magical 6 string arsenal that winks at all the greats (a lot of Akkerman as well as Zappa, Fripp, Hillage, Hackett, Holdsworth, Lifeson and DiMeola) and yet has a personal fire that is undisputable and worthy of wider recognition. The man is brilliant and yet unknown. Zut alors! He plays on the left channel while on the right; second guitarist Michel Isnard holds sway. "Elka" is rumbling instrumental powerhouse opener, very playful with solid playing (great bass rolls in the hands of Philippe Troisi and fanatic drumming from Fabrice diMondo) and a sublime guitar incursion, the first of many splendoured electric wailings on the disc. The superlative piano work is highly vivid; Thierry Massť has obviously learned his jazzy chops from people like David Sancious, Barry Miles (early DiMeola) or Allan Zavod (Ponty) and it shows. Stellar ivory tickling! "La Machine" is a bit more fittingly robotic; a slithering guitar exercise that flutters immeasurably, some sweet shredding that oozes class. "Le Grand Passant" portrays a more technical slant (that unmistakable RTF feel), an arrangement that graces more breathing space, giving the soloists a podium to shine and they do! The bass work again is Olympic, shuttling the groove ever stronger and ever higher, waltzing with the clever piano jangles and synth wisps. "La Madeleine" offers up amazing vocals, full of unfettered passion and pain that entwines the traditional French sympho prog style (that we all know and love) with some sensational guitar and breezy synths interplay, showing restraint as these guys have already proven that they can blaze with fiery fury. "Lovania" maintains the elegant and ornate Romantic style, brooding playing that aromatically hints at compatriots Minimum Vital , the medieval/Breton tinge obvious and pleasant , indebted to the time-honored tradition of chansons de geste (Wikipedia: The chansons de geste, Old French for "songs of heroic deeds or lineages", are the epic poems that appear at the dawn of French literature.) Things get really intense with the epic "Sequoia", giving the not too shabby himself Isnard the room to roam eloquently (right channel) , using both electric and acoustic guitars while permitting some more intelligent work from Massť's lovely keys, a jazzy nearly 10 minute tour de force that remains impressive and compelling like a California Redwood forest. A stellar classic piece that needs an appreciative audience, darn it! "Nostalgia" is exactly that, a redolent sliver of nostalgia, fueled by a bar room piano sway that blows smoke in your eyes, the empty whiskey bottle as lone companion. Two minutes of subtle respite. "Mare Nostrum" (the Latin name for the Mediterranean Sea) is a welcome return to the speedy eloquence of classic jazz-rock that winks directly at DiMeola's "Race With The Devil On Spanish Highway" as mentioned on our site by my esteemed colleague Erik Neuteboom. The pace is brisk, evocative of running along the rocky beaches of Provence , aromas of rosemary and lavender in the air. The synth whistles like some St-Tropez beach guard on the prowl. My favorite track remains the closer, "Non Nobis" a medieval Latin sung in glorious fashion, highly hypnotic choir work that recalls the past glories of Charlemagne or Roland , musically close to Vital Duo or Malicorne, I admit being a sucker for this monastery style stuff!

This is a wondrous album that deserves a modicum of respect and it's severely lacking by the paucity of reviews. The sheer quality of the musicianship alone is to die for, let alone the shining material that constantly stretches the boundaries of convention and formula. Is that not the essence of prog? 4.5 shards of class

tszirmay | 4/5 |

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