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Raison De Plus - Ici Est Ailleurs CD (album) cover

ICI EST AILLEURS

Raison De Plus

 

Symphonic Prog

3.71 | 10 ratings

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tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Crossover Team
4 stars It obviously helps a tad with foreign prog when one can understand the language (I was lucky to have learnt Italian, Spanish, German, Hungarian and French while still a youngster), so I can really get into the lyrical content. With French bands, this can be often a poetic maelstrom that perplexes and the passionate drama is often misconstrued as hysterical by those who "ne parle pas franšais"). Those who do understand, already have been beguiled by Ange's Christian Decamps' pen and vocal delivery that were singularly pushing the boundaries of religion, philosophy, society and morality in the glory days of early 70s prog . Raison de Plus provides another chapter in the oft fairy tale-like style that the French Prog school has gifted on our ears with creative vocal bands such as Arachnoid , Mona Lisa, Atoll, Pentacle, Pulsar, Halloween as well as recent gems Nemo, Maldoror, Aside Beside, Saens and Ex-Vagus. The pressure to craft outstanding music around these linguistic hurdles is a strong motivator, in order to keep the Prog world content. The translated titles will give the reader a concise insight into the typical themes espoused within. Each track begins with a brief narrative. The opener "Renaissance" very smartly introduces the stellar musicianship that will characterize the entire album: the magical pied-piping flute leading the way through pastoral Banksian twin keyboard flourishes, featuring happily smiling synth solos, galloping guitar interference, rumbling bass and appropriate drum propellants, delivering a very positive upbeat message. Batting second, "I should never have grown up" (I agree wholeheartedly, adulthood is not as cool as advertised), a Pentacle/Ange style number with tons of delicate flute forays, lush string backgrounds, a semi-reggae shuffle from the trio of rhythm guitar, bass 'n drums, with some feisty lead synths solos to spice up the brew. The singing is emotive, regretful and reflective. The stories and legends theme continue with "The Grey Weather King", a spirited mini-opera that navigates through somber valleys, gloomy forests and wintry snowscapes, sprinkled with acoustic guitars, sprightly electric leads with added violins and various vocalist parts. "Soul swells" is not an interlude but a 5 minute modern instrumental that explores dreamy introspection, featuring a fat lead solo, some 12 string guitars, piccolo flute (Flageolet) and zippy keys that emit a slight Celtic tinge to the mix. The masterful 6.5 minute "Another Chance" introduces an incredibly bright new hope for the future, with a kick ass guitar led theme that patrols, soars, prowls and howls, again very close to Pentacle in terms of breezy vocals and choirs, with more of that magic flute turbulence. A gentle synth mid section swells almost into a pillow of dreamy chords, recalling some instrumental Moody Blues. "The Key" is another sharp vocal less piece that aims at more biting themes, less bucolic and more bombastic with gritty guitar scratches, brooding bass and whopping keyboards. "In the City of the Disbelieving" is the longest track, nearing 9 minutes and stays well within the Decamps confines of operatic exhortations and thus very close to the 70s Ange formula, rowdy crowd noises, sudden silences, long soft moments and always that impending melodrama that suddenly explodes with utter anguish, Beyond Delirium (wink, wink). The brief "The Rumour" is a spooky mass choral extravaganza with every musician throwing in their voices ("Crazy, is he crazy?" they exhort!), again reminiscent of Christian Decamps' poetry. The "take a look back" sheen of "Buried Alive" is a theatrical piece laden with various sound effects & noises, attempting to illustrate the will for escape, trapped within the coffin of daily routine, showcasing outright "Foxtrot"-era Banksian organ blasts that torch off to some Hackettish swelling, very heavy Genesis influence here, complete with Collins style drumming . "Between Real and Imaginary" closes off this entertaining version of an adult bedtime story, an engaging dreamy promenade that butterflies through various relaxed themes, swaying with unbridled melancholia. Is this an exceptional prog masterpiece, a must-have? No, "Here is Elsewhere" is just a fine compelling recording that evokes the child in all of us, not taking life way too seriously. 4 etoiles.
tszirmay | 4/5 |

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