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Pulsar - Pollen  CD (album) cover

POLLEN

Pulsar

 

Symphonic Prog

3.53 | 66 ratings

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stefro
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Featuring a mixture of symphonic influences and dreamy space-rock, Pulsar's slow-burning debut would mark the French outfit out as one of the few European progressive rock group's not to borrow heavily from their own country's musical heritage, instead brewing up a distinctly British-style sound strongly informed by the mid- seventies work of Pink Floyd. Released in 1975 and issued on the British Kingdom Records imprint, 'Pollen' proved to be a remarkable debut, showcasing a densely ethereal, almost mystical collage of symphonic rock and psychedelia brought about by the group's judicious use of mellotrons, synthesizers and effects-warped guitars. Although sung entirely in French, 'Pollen', like much of Pulsar's 1970's output, proves to be a surprisingly accessible record, eschewing the arty aesthetic that colours much of the decades European prog and proving very different to the jazz-and-folk inspired sounds of fellow internationally-renowned French group's Magma and Ange. As a result, Pulsar found genuine commercial success, at least until the onset of punk rock, and toured regularly throughout both Britain and Europe thanks to the impact of 'Pollen', it's similarly-themed predecessor 'Strands Of The Future' and the group's seminal 1978 release 'Halloween'. Pulsar's landmark album and one of the finest European efforts, 'Halloween' would prove the culmination of Pulsar's talents, expanding the woozy, keyboard-drenched style featured on 'Pollen' into one epic song-suite. As a result, many see both 'Pollen' and 'Strands Of The Future' as a kind of dry run for 'Halloween', and although 'Halloween' is indeed the group's key achievement there is still much to recommend on both of it's carefully-carfted predecessors. Rather unfairly, Pulsar are often tagged 'the French Pink Floyd', yet that label seems to be missing the point. Pulsar's dreamy and highly-atmospheric brand of spacey progressive rock proves a truly singular experience, featuring carefully-layered instrumental sections, plenty of dazzling effects and some remarkable vocal contributions from bassist Gilbert Gandil. It's certainly an album that demands multiple listens - especially so for non-French speakers - yet the music proves so affecting on it's own that understanding the lyrics is not a major issue. The music is strong enough to stand on it's own. Just imagine Pink Floyd jamming with Klaus Schulze and German outfit Novalis and you're halfway there. As a result, all three of Pulsar's albums upto-and-including 'Halloween' are well worth discovering for fans of lush symphonic-style progressive rock, with 'Pollen' the perfect introduction to this excellent French group. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012
stefro | 3/5 |

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