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Visible Wind - Narcissus goes to the Moon  CD (album) cover

NARCISSUS GOES TO THE MOON

Visible Wind

 

Neo-Prog

3.73 | 49 ratings

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The Prognaut
Prog Reviewer
5 stars What's the first thing that pops into your mind when you take a look at this CD from an unknown band to you which cover is a primitive drawing that describes a peculiar out of space character dressed up in this red jumpsuit holding a laser gun? Yeah, I might have thought the same as you. That's exactly the kind of reactive emotion VISIBLE WIND gets to set inside your eardrums and through every single fiber your body has got. This was my preliminary encounter with the Canadian threesome and I have to remark it was outstandingly surprising. The Quebec natives conveniently compass everything, just everything, in this fourth album; and I'm about to tell you why of my perception.

VISIBLE WIND was originally formed back in 1983 by talented multi-instrumentalist Stephen GEYSENS and prominent drummer Luc HÉBERT, who later on, in 1988 to be more accurate; will have between their line-up one of the all times greatest bassist Louis ROY, and guitar player, Philippe WOOLGAR. That year, the band released their Prime Opera "Catharsis", with Bernard OUELLETTE on vocals, who will be replaced by GEYSENS in 1991 taking over the microphone on the band's second production "A Moment Beyond Time". After all the constant ups and downs any band goes through once in a while or several times in life, they vertiginously reached to the pinnacle of their career with "Narcissus Goes to the Moon" in 1996. Perfection is strategically contemplated by this album from a peculiar point of view; it is transitional because the band explored complex pathways regarding the musical innovation by implementing few melodic didgeridoo preludes, sweet flute passages mostly all over the production and mind-blowing mellotron and organ arrangements to some of the compositions; it is exceptional because it kept the French-Canadian purity that sealed and distinguished their previous works; and it is challenging because it surpassed the limits of the "conceptual album" terminology. "Narcissus Goes to the Moon" is the ultimate consideration that tells symphonic progressive rock from what it's not, and I'm not just talking about what VISIBLE WIND achieved during the nineties, but up to present days where bands like THE FLOWER KINGS and SPOCK's BEARD could be more like the Canadian band, and hopefully, get to learn a thing or two that could come in quite handy to innovate the quality of their work instead of relying on worn-out formulas.

Throughout strong, exquisite vocal passages, Stephen GEYSENS describes us meticulously the landscaping of the entire recording, helped out time to time by his captivating skills on keyboards and by rhythmic guitar interludes; especially in pieces such as "Xenophobia" where he reaches such a John WETTON-like voice powerfulness that played along with the crunchy guitar strings, gives you gooseflesh immediately. The song is intrepidly taken away to the point where almost silent acoustic guitars break in "Intravenus" to help you catch your breath -momentarily- over the excitement with French lyrics (the only piece sung in French actually), and calm, compassed drum beats. The song leads on almost for over 11 minutes, expecting you to believe there's nothing more spectacular to come. But there is.

After the impact irremediably received in "Fuzzy Concept" with the dialogue between the schmaltzy flute and the devouring guitar, and the quietness experienced throughout portentous didgeridoo performing in "By the River"; the travel across "Narcissus Goes to the Moon" continues almost endlessly shocking. "Lunar Doubts" is the perfect excuse to consider the album as enigmatic at this point due the keyboards striking by GEYSENS himself and the impacting drumming by Luc HÉBERT; but believe me, the song to come, which is "Join my Soul"; will make you feel completely blown away and captivated with the connection between soft female back vocals provided by Dominique DOUCET and interposing guitars all along flute intromissions.

I could carry on describing the rest of the record to you, but that would kind of take the mystery away and you won't get to discover what's to come ever. I just recommend extreme carefulness when lending ears and mind to parts 10 to 12 from this album (particularly to the over 20 minutes suite "The Awakening", divided in VII revealing episodes), that far beyond being entirely enjoyable, they are mystical and surprising. Under the release of Musea Records you will find a bonus track, "Strange Days"; which is as great as the rest of this magnificent album by this severely underrated Quebecois band. Definitely a must to intrepid and restless proggers seeking out for new emotions and satisfactions. Five starts, no question about it.

The Prognaut | 5/5 |

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