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Hypno5e - Alba - Les ombres errantes CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

4.55 | 29 ratings

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5 stars 'Twas after I heard the film soundtrack 'Alba - Les Ombres Errantes' (2018) by Hypno5e that I learned they have been active as a French prog metal band since 2003. It was actually their acoustic-based alter-ego, A Backwards Glance on a Travel Road, led by Emmanuel Jessua (ABGoaTR, same members as Hypno5e), that is responsible for composing this film score.

When I first heard this soundtrack thanks to a great, descriptive review by BrufordFreak here on progarchives, I was drawn in. I sat up. I leaned in. I was impressed. But I was also 'bumped.' What does that mean? It's an editor's term for feeling that something is just not right in the project's mix. In this case, the gratuitously long 74-minutes that makes up this score is often interrupted by dialogue snippets, i.e. spoken word, in Spanish and French. Both languages are beautiful in accent and cadence, but due to the fact that I do not speak/understand either of them, these elements were lost on me. Although I was discovering the great things that were happening in the instrumental music and songs, the interspersed dialogue bits were bumping me. Literally. They kept popping up at inconvenient times like speed bumps when you're driving along on a smooth road. I considered them a distraction and I almost gave up.

But then, as if struck by lightning, the producer hat on me had the idea to bring the soundtrack into my studio and just simply edit out the dialogue bits. I spent the next day meticulously pruning every second of the 11+ minutes of spoken word dialogue from the .wav files I had purchased on the band's bandcamp page, and voila, just like that, a perfect 63-minute album of incredible music was born, a direct descendant of ABGoaTR's intimate relations with my own two loving ears and editing-informed brain :).

And it was when I started to listen to my personal, homemade-edited version that I literally fell in love with it. Imagine if you took the dreamscape mood and brilliance of Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side of the Moon' and mixed it in with the emotive breakthrough creativity of Radiohead's 'Music-for-a-Film' from 'OK Computer' and then sprinkled in the intimate and gorgeous harmonies from the best Simon & Garfunkel releases; put it all in the oven and baked it to a glistening and golden perfection, in fact, I would call it something I've never called anything before: a perfect 10 type of perfection. I'm guessing that's not what Hypno5e set out to achieve when they began the daunting task of scoring the sprawling eco-scape of a film that seems to be a personal labor of love created to display the beauty of Bolivia through the memory lens of Emmanuel Jessua's adolescent experience, wherein he was raised.

So I consider it like mining a diamond in the rough, a diamond made especially valuable once the dialogue is stripped away and the music is left to stand on its own. I would be remiss if I didn't pause to provide some free yet sage Post Production advice (to no one in particular): sometimes a composer/writer can get too close to a project to see it from the end listener's point-of-view, and that's why editing is such an important part of the mix and the mastering stage. If something doesn't fit properly into a project, or worse, if you find yourself spending a lot of time trying to rationalize why something SHOULD fit into a project; hire an experienced editor. End of advice.

And now on to reviewing the music: 'Alba - Les Ombres Errantes' is a soundtrack that truly packs the power of the three above-mentioned Monolithic Music Milestones and generates its own mathematical calculation of synergy; forming a perfect 10 to the exponential power of 3. This score is a jaw-dropping timeless wonder that will move to the top of the list for anyone who will give this spectacular and brilliant emotive bundle of beauty repeated listens.

Let me predict: Its acoustic and nylon string-focused guitar performance, prowess and compositional maturity will stop you in your tracks. Its gorgeously intimate melodies and harmonies will make you feel again. Its percussive and bass accompaniment that brings and releases tension through restraint will haunt you dreams. Its ebb and flow of emotive song structures and instrumental passages will demand your repeat attention. Its whisper-across-the-pillow beauty woven into every stitch of its tapestry will touch your heart and your soul. It will draw you in. You will find yourself leaning in. And it will become something you tell your loved ones about. You will absolutely want to share it as a great discovery with your family and friends.

Brace yourself. Be ready. Get your house in order and make all of the preparations necessary to welcome 'Alba - Les Ombres Errantes,' an absolute lifetime achievement-type masterpiece by A Backwards Glance on a Travel Road led by Emmanuel Jessua, into your ears, into your heart, and into your life.

nylonstrings | 5/5 |


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