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Nemo - Si, Partie II - L'Homme Idéal CD (album) cover



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erik neuteboom
4 stars In 2003 I received French progrock formation Nemo their second album entitled Présages as a promo while working for the Dutch progrock paper Background Magazine. I didn't know Nemo but it was 'love at first hearing', I was blown away by their dynamic and often exciting prog! Meanwhile they have produced a live CD (Immersion Publique - Live 2005) and this is already their fifth studio effort. I have to admit that I was a bit shocked while listening to their new album for the first time: to me it sounded as if the music was going into too many directions and that I needed at least a 'third ear'. But how often good prog needs a few turns and indeed, during my third listening session I got into their album. I even conclude that this new album is another captivating step into the development of the very distinctive 'Nemo progrock sound'.

You can experience this on the 10 compositions, every song is a musical adventure but you have to be up to huge variety (scouting the borders between jazz, symphonic, metal and classical), lots of complex structures and a slightly theatrical undertone in the French vocals. From the first track Nemo succeeds to make impression delivering awesome work on guitar (fiery runs, propulsive riffs) and keyboards (from fluent piano play and spectacular synthesizer flights to wonderful violin-Mellotron waves). The interplay between all musicians is amazing and the rhythm-section sounds very dynamic and adventurous. In fact all tracks flow into each other but the climates are different: a captivating blend of funky bass, jazzy Fender Rhodes electric piano and heavy guitar with a howling solo in L'homme Idéal (1), a compelling contrast between the orchestral keyboards and the wah-wah drenched guitar work in Reflets, spectacular guitar and keyboards and suddenly a Fender Rhodes piano intermezzo like Riders On The Storm (The Doors) in Décadanse, a wonderful blend of psychedelic organ (Farfisa-like sound) and fiery guitar in the propulsive Une Question De Temps, a flashy synthesizer solo and swinging piano in the fluent L'homme Idéal (2) and stunning interplay in the strongly build-up Les Visages Du Monde.

If you are up to adventurous prog in the true meaning of the word 'progressive', this new Nemo album will delight you!

Report this review (#107245)
Posted Friday, January 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars This was a tough one for me. As usual it took a few listens to get a real feel for the music. The album is intended to be a single continuous piece, in 10 parts. On that score, I don't think it does very well as to me it sounds like separate songs segued together, rather than a continuous piece of music. But that really doesn't matter as the music is good. There is quite a bit of variety on this album, as Erik notes in his review, more than on previous Nemo albums.

The fact that it is part 2 of a two album concept in obvious from the beginning as we here the end of the last track from the previous CD fade in where it had faded out on that album. From there the music goes to the background as we here talking in what sounds like a bar. After a half minute or so of this, the excellent opening track blasts in. In fact, this odd way of beginning the album is the only real weak spot, in light of the fact that every other Nemo album starts with a powerful opening track. This one gets a bit diluted by the need to join it to the previous album. Still, this isn't a big problem if you keep in mind that this is part two of a concept and they wanted to maintain a sense of continuity between the albums (which this does, but still makes for an odd beginning to an album).

In spite of what I said earlier about it sounding like separate songs, I find that no track really stands out above the others like on previous Nemo albums. In this case though, that is a good thing as all the tracks are of high quality, even by Nemo standards (which is saying something). Aside from the beginning, and my feeling that there is a kind of artificial attempt to bind the album into one piece of music when it doesn't really sound like one, this is another great Nemo album. Because of those reservations, however, I can't really call it a masterpiece (though perhaps listening to the previous album and this one back to back will yield the true masterpiece?.........I'll have to try that soon). So a 3.5 for this, rounding down to a 3 for the archives. I would also add that newcomers should start with a different album, this being part two of a concept in may not seem quite as cohesive as other Nemo albums. But if you already like this band and you don't have this yet, you need to get it right away.

Report this review (#117158)
Posted Monday, April 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir? Said Lady Marmelade to the « Ideal Man », the second act of the Si (If) concept dealing with the greedy human condition. As this CD kicks off, we are witnesses to a spirited discussion in a bar between two guys in French, who argue about the benefits and consequences of a cloned DNA future where the grass is green, eyes are blue and hair is blond. Punch in some data and presto: perfectly ordered and expertly manufactured babies. Obviously, if you don't speak the language, you kind of miss the point of the concept which decries the surreal world of scientific sex. Pity, really, because the opening chapter, Si Partie 1 was a smoking monument of highly intricate, multi-mood progressive pyrotechnics with devastating guitars, rippling piano, sweeping keys, buzzing bass and deft drumming. Again, the menu has not been changed, as guitarist extraordinaire JP Louveton displays unusual mastery both of technique, feeling and tone, laying down some blistering runs on his fret board, certainly more aggressive and biting than the usual Hackettists that populated the genre, while relying on the always inventive interplay between the various keys, swinging from jazz to symphonic, forcefully bolstered by a creative rhythm section that understands fully its role as a most solid foundation. From the first spin through, the line-up plays way beyond expectations, delivering some eyebrow raising lush progressive that can only elicit a smile and a definite thumbs up. The contrasts between the softer passages and the sudden explosions are really what make this band so devastatingly interesting. While all the tracks represent a totality that needs no analytical division, there are some standout cuts such as the anti-racist lumbering steamroller "Même Peau, Même Destin", the bass funky, e-piano jazzy "L'Homme Idéal", the languid epic 10 minute Floydian romp "Reflets", to name a few. My fellow reviewers agree that Nemo should be considered from now on as a solid and reliable representative of the new prog movement. Along with Taal, Maldoror, Seven Reizh and a few others, Nemo seems to regularly and consistently provide some first rate intricate offerings that deserve not only praise but even reverence. Now where is this musical submarine going next? Only the Capitaine knows . 5 submarines
Report this review (#144290)
Posted Saturday, October 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars The second part of the Si concept on genetic engineering on humans, this is a worthy albeit slightly inferior follow up to the first part. One thing it certainly isn't is a clone of its predecessor. Made up of ten acts, the album is supposed to flow as if it were one piece. This is achieved in part with good links between many of the tracks, although there is no mistaking it for one long track. The individual tracks are all very well written and the musicianship is as excellent as ever, but some of the songs become slightly repetitive after a few listens. All in all, this makes for a less engaging listen, although it doesn't stop the album from being an enjoyable trip. For those who are unfamiliar with NEMO, I would recommend Si Partie I as a better place to start, but this is also a worthy addition to the collection of any fan of modern prog.
Report this review (#163333)
Posted Thursday, March 6, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars So. After releasing perhaps the finest album of all time, where do you go? The answer is l'homme ideal, a single song 56 minutes in length. Si part ii finds Nemo on terrific form, and I would say that this album is, whilst not their greatest to date, certainly their most varied (going from heavy prog to space rock to funk to symphonic prog in the course of four songs, for instance). The whole album is based on a small set of themes and their transformations, and it is the breadth of material that Nemo extract from these themes that is the most impressive quality of it. Compare how themes are treated in Les enfants rois and Les visages du monde. There's a world of difference. Themes are often, brilliantly played over one another, e.g. at the stunning conclusion of l'homme ideal (1). Several of the inner sections are great songs in their own right, but most of them require the rest of the work to make sense. Si part ii really needs to be treated as a single piece. Much like Si part i, this album brims with emotion. The end solo of Les visages du monde is probably the most emotionally charged moment in the whole Nemo catalogue outside of the song Si. Reflets and Une question du prix are also strongly emotional, and this tendency, combined with a (linked) very strong emphasis on melody, is why Nemo sound so different from normal symphonic prog. Simply stunning.
Report this review (#193808)
Posted Monday, December 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars NEMO represents the conglomeration of everything I enjoy about music. They are adventurous without being unlistenably avant-garde, talented without being presumptious, and put out catchy melodies without being simple.

This record was the my second from NEMO, (after hearing SI PARTIE I I simply had to explore their entire catalogue), and to me seems their best and perhaps most representative. Here, they digest a multide of styles to creat their music: funky jazz, symphonic grandeur, and hard-edged rock. While the bridging of such disparrate styles can often result in a disjointed or unpleasantly eclectic sound, NEMO manages to blend everything together exquisitely. The result is a treat for the ears and more. Orgasmique as they say in French.

Even such a glowing review cannot do this album justice - the interplay between keyboards and guitar is utterly fantastic and the jazzy rhythm section is simply too good not to enjoy. Frankly, its a futile effort to name highlights. The songs gel so well together that each listen seems to draw attention to a different track. The record is dynamic like that.

This album is very very very highly recommended to fans from all walks of prog, as one of those modern bands that is just too good to pass up. An excellent starting point to this incredible band or a worthy continuation (and by all means feel free to pick this one up before its prequel). This is a record I plan to enjoy for a long, long time.

An enthusiastic 5 stars.

Report this review (#203824)
Posted Friday, February 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars After the biggest discovery of the year for me - Barbares by Nemo, I began to explore this magnificent french band from Haute Loire and I find out, that the newest album is the best one in my opinion. The other thing I discover is almost every next album is better than the previous one, which means constant significant progress for the band.

What about Si Partie II - L'Homme Idéal? Probably the second best after the masterpiece one - Barbares! Of course, there aren't weak moment and the album is so pleasant for listening. It begins with rocking pieces like the first two songs - Introduction a la difference and Les enfants rois. The first one begins from the end of the last song of Si Partie I. Very originally... Même peau, même destin comes down the album with ballad feeling. It's time for jazz-oriented lovers after that with L'homme idéal (1) - probably one of the best songs on the album. The longest track on the album is melancholy piece of work, which characterize Nemo very well as a band. The slow temo continues with Décadanse and Une question de prix.

Here is the moment to share with the listeners, that this album is not full of tempo shifts like the next one. I say this exactly when we reach the most progressive song of the album with so tempo shifts. This is Une question de temps. The previous motif is coming back at the end of the song and at the beginning of L'homme idéal (2). The right choice is that the main motif is extract of, I repeat, the best song of the album - L'homme idéal (perfect moment with greef and mysteriousness)! The album ends again in this way with Les visages du monde!

If you are wondering, whether to begin the trip of Nemo, I have to say don't, if you don't like the variety of subgenres and some mixtures between jazz-oriented music with funk elements and heavy prog/prog metal harder pieces; but for all serious, complex, passionate or devoted prog fans I say: you need it! Si Partie II - L'Homme Idéal has no problems with 4 stars. I would say surely full 4 stars.

Report this review (#204061)
Posted Monday, February 23, 2009 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars After I reviewed "Si Partie I" I started listening to this album right away with the intention of reviewing it, but after a couple of listens I ended up putting it aside because I was having trouble getting into it. Nothing has changed after 6 more listens.They've toned things down on this one, not as much of that metal edge as on the last two, and the music just seems more straight forward to me. It's still good but in my opinion not great like the last two studio albums.

"Introduction A La Differnce" builds quickly then settles. Suddenly it's like we're at this party, I guess this is all part of the concept.The song kicks back in heavier than before then settles again with piano.Vocals for the first time after 4 1/2 minutes. Some nice guitar too. "Les Enfants Rois" is an uptempo track with vocals. Lots of synths too. Not a fan though. "Meme Peau, Meme Destin" has some great atmosphere to open, this is more like it. Guitar and cymbals come in. It kicks in around 2 minutes. I like the tone of the guitar here. It settles when vocals arrive. Drums, guitar and synths lead the way before 7 minutes. A fuller sound late as it blends into "L'homme Ideal I", nice bass and piano early, in fact lots of intricate sounds seem to come and go here. Vocals before 2 minutes. A very enjoyable track and one of my favs.

It blends into "Reflects" where it calms down quickly. It's darker as well and the vocals are almost spoken a minute in. Some guest female vocals join in. A nice heavy sound 4 1/2 minutes in. The guitar is outstanding after 6 minutes. "Decadanse" is heavy early but then we get lots of piano melodies the rest of the way. "Une Question De Prix" is led by piano and drums early, very laid back. Vocals come in. A calm 3 minutes in as reserved vocals and piano take over. A fuller sound late. "Une Question De tempes" is better, I like when the drums and organ come in. They sound great as it builds. Clapping 4 minutes in with guitar. "L'homme Ideal II" has that very enjoyable melody like part I. These two parts are a delight to say the least. "Les Visages Du Monde" opens with synths as vocals and drums come in. Guitar and piano follow. Some nice guitar late.

Good album but not nearly as dynamic as the last two.

Report this review (#220467)
Posted Tuesday, June 9, 2009 | Review Permalink

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