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Eliphasz - Le Royaume des Poussieres CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.84 | 13 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
4 stars Yet another "band" that is basically a vehicle for an individual to develop musical concepts orthogonal to those of an artists's main gig, EliphasZ (note the uppercase Z) is the project of one Francois Vachon, and he spells out his preferences quite clearly in music and song. The magically named "Le Royaume Des Poussieres" ("The Kingdom of Dust") represents the first fruit of his evening labours, and, I certainly hope, not the last.

A visit to the EliphasZ facebook page provides a glimpse into Francois' own "likes" in the world of prog, with the least surprising names being MIKE OLDFIELD, to whom the consistently entertaining 20-minute opener is largely dedicated, and PINK FLOYD. The most egregious omissions would appear to be RENAISSANCE, from whom several snippets ("Kiev" and "Kindness at the End" seem clearly referenced) and the ALAN PARSONS PROJECT, who might want to have a glance around for the recurring theme of "Tales of Mystery and Imagination" to see if it has escaped its vault, albeit only for about 20 flagrant, and I must add, blissful seconds. The opening notes of "Les Lieux de Memoire" could be mistaken for one of PHIDEAUX' collaborations. Apart from the pedigree of these influences, for the most part the crisp arrangements, lovely melodies, enthusiastic musicianship, and vocals of Jacinthe Poulin, especially commingled with those of Mr Vachon, affiliate to establish a vibrant new force in our preferred genre.

The disk emulates a 1980s OLDFIELD album in structure, with the opus consuming one "side", and the remainder dedicated to more conventional song material, but this is less pop-oriented than what OLDFIELD was into at that time. It is more akin to Quebecois folk of the 1970s but with enough bursts of crunching organ and heavy guitars to conquer the more rock focused listener. The epic is more reminiscent of "Tubular Bells/Ommadawn" than of, say "Five Miles Out", blended with some CAMEL circa "Ice", all spooned over an infectious rhythm that I can't quite place. Maddening, but, really, I should just recline and enjoy, and so should you.

"Le Royaume de Poussiere" possesses the qualities many of us look for in a modern prog album, and is pretty much a joy from start to finish. Perhaps it is too accessible for some, and might not take enough chances to earn highest accolades, but, once the spirits of Francois Vachon's forefathers are properly respected, I would not be surprised to see EliphasZ join prog royalty before they return to dust.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |


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