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Carpe Diem - En Regardant Passer le Temps CD (album) cover


Carpe Diem


Eclectic Prog

3.70 | 97 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

James Lee
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Before I listened to the album I wondered if the title might be a reference to Proust's "A la recherche du temps perdu"- it would make an interesting and lengthy libretto- but it's probably not the inspiration here. "Voyage of No Return" sets the tone: aggressively paced jazz-influenced prog rock with plenty of improvisational soloing. The keyboards, in particular, are fairly unique-sounding...but usually in a bad way, combining dissonant runs with very cheap-sounding tones (the 1975 equivalent of a Casio home keyboard?). The guitar parts sound great, in the classic 70s fuzz style, but the playing is unremarkable for the most part. The highlight is Claude-Marius David on the sax, but even he sounds aimless; the song doesn't conclude as much as just fade out. "Reincarnation" launches with a synthetic harpsichord sound and a thin phasing sweep that confirms the slightly unpleasant quality of the keyboads, although the melody this time is rather nice. The vocals are low-key, contributing to the bittersweet feel that allows this song to triumph over the sum of its often bland parts. The processed vocals about halfway through are interesting, pre-dating KRAFTWERK, and the guitar sometimes achieves a fuzzy soulfulness. The climax, however, is a bit labored and limp. "Jeux du Siecle" provides us with our first real comparisons, starting much like a PINK FLOYD classic ("Echoes", for instance) but when it gets going becomes more similar in composition and texture to an early GENESIS or KING CRIMSON piece. Largely enjoyable, it does suffer from the nasty keyboard sounds and some bad timing. "Publiphobe" is similar territory, with more KC influence in the rising odd-meter climax (a less heavy "Fracture" or "Lark's Tongues"). Comme-ci, comme-ca. For everything impressive on this album there is something else that weighs it down. The musical capabilities of the band are respectable, but there were moments of actual sloppy playing ("Jeux du Siecle" and "Publiophobe" have a few of these). I could understand this on a live release, but for a studio album this is a bad sign for the largely technically-focused progressive genre. The double-bass drum usage is ahead of its time (even masters Bruford and Peart weren't really doing it yet) and the drummer generally excells without resorting to exotic percussion like so many prog drummers. The band does establish a mood pretty well, especially the bittersweet sections and some of the more eerie/ suspenseful parts. The production is good but not great; the instruments are distinct and seldom overpower each other but each one seems stripped of some of its character. I was trying to decide if the vocals were mixed low or filtered to let them blend with the rest of the band when I realized that nothing blends; the mix as a whole is strangely sparse and brittle. I don't dislike the album- it leaves me with very little lasting impression at all- and the fact that it is a first album compels me to be easier on CARPE DIEM, but I do not think this will appeal to many people. One star for the impressive drumming, and one for the almost-ambitious "Reincarnation".
James Lee | 2/5 |


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