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Aranis - Roqueforte CD (album) cover





3.98 | 70 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars Aranis's fourth album is a bit of a return to their first two album's foundations, creating a typical chamber prog that is in the purest Belgiam tradition, stuck somewhere between Julverne, Cro-Magnon and Louise Avenue's happiness on one side, and Univers Zero, Present and Art Zoyd's (French, I know) darkness on the other end of the spectrum. But if the first two albums had a joyous, almost frivolous side, and the very/fairly different Songs From Mirage, which explored a more melancholic facet of theirs with an added trio of chorus women; Roqueforte is definitely in the more sombre realm, no doubt in part due to Pierre Chevalier (piano) and Dave Kerman (drums & percs), both Present alumni and appearing as guests throughout the album. It should also be noted that some line-up changes occurred just after SFM, and pianist Axelle Kennes and violinist "meisje" (name escapes me at present time) are absent from here.

The 12 tracks, ranging from 1 to almost 13 minutes, are presenting a palette of red moods (the artwork) that range from near-orange (the lighter tracks) to dark brownish (the heavier ones). Recorded in the early spring '10 in Antwerp and finalized in Liege later that summer on the Homerecords label, RF is surprisingly licensed/referenced as 2009, so go figure.

It's only a guess, but the album's name is a play on words on the French cheese Roquefort, made fairly close to Carmeaux, the site of the RIO festival that Aranis played in mid-September 09. Opening on the Roque track and closing on the Forte track, the inner contents of the album is a typical instrumental chamber rock that sometimes nears the Tango realm, where Marjolein Cools' accordion plays an important, but not definitive, role; but it's an important trump card in Vanvinkenroye's compositions. If I spoke of the sombre moods of RF, it is still quite far from Present and UZ dark and almost sinister moods. Sometimes I wonder if Joris didn't use an electric bass guitar, rather than his usual contrabass (Tissim)

Clocking just under one hour - including the afterthought PS (post-scriptum most likely, not part socialiste) that acts as an announced hidden track last 1 minute after a 1 minute silence break, RF is well in the Aranis-line of its usual creations after a slight deviation of the previous SFM. And it should please all chamber rock fans and Avant/RIO heads.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |


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