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D Project


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erik neuteboom
4 stars


The man behind this musical project is Canadian guitarist/keyboardplayer/singer Stéphane Desbiens, a very prolific and creative person: on his 11th he started to play guitar and when he was 20 he had already a lot of experience, he joined the bands Rose Nocturne and later progrock band Sense, in 1996 he released his first solo album entitles Desbienes Acoustic, he was technician, studio musician, guitar teacher and even played in an Irish folk band, what a stunning curriculum vitae!

This year (2008) The D Project has released the CD entitled The Sagarmatha Dilemma, Stéphane founded a band with musicians, from drums to Chapman stick and violin and even known guest musicians like singer Stu Nicholson (Galahad) and keyboardplayer Derek Sherinan (of Dream Theater fame, plays on one track. During the first part of this album I quickly got the idea that Stéphane had put his love for Pink Floyd very obviously into his music because of the Floydian inspired guitarwork in the alternating and compelling compositions Closer To My Soul / Closer To Heaven (The Wall atmosphere and a strong accellaration with organ and fiery guitar, then joined by a swirling violin) and The Red Mountain (beautiful part with classical guitar runs). But soon I discovered that The D Project is more than a kind of modern sounding Pink Floyd, the other five songs deliver lots of variety, subtle musical ideas and strong breaks: a mid-tempo with violin-Mellotron and powerful guitar in the titletrack, a bombastic eruption with choir- Mellotron and a break with a propulsive guitar in the captivating and varied Even If I Was Wrong, a jazzrock climate with lots of dynamics and a spectacular interlude with Al DiMeola/John McLaughlin-like, dazzling guitar runs in the fluent Radio Sherpa and a musical adventure in the short but exciting final piece I'm Coming Down (I Shall Go Back), from a part with a dreamy violin and subtle guitarwork to a bass solo on the Chapman stick and a compelling and bombastic end with raw and fat guitar riffs, I love it!

This is the kind of album that grows and grows because of the variety, from neo-prog (Thin Air) to the aforementioned jazzrock, symphonic rock and progressive melodic rock, especially the progheads who love powerful guitarplay will be pleased with this strong album!

Report this review (#177345)
Posted Saturday, July 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars An interesting concept to this album about a man who is going through very difficult circumstances and decides to climb this mountain feeling he has nothing to lose. So we go on this journey both physical and emotional with our subject. When he reaches the top he realizes that he wants to live again and so declares "I'm coming down". Some interesting guests on this one like John Green from SINGULARITY, Brett Kull from ECHOLYN, Derek Sherinian from DREAM THEATER and Stu Nicholson from GALAHAD.

"Closer To My Soul / Closer To Heaven" opens with this Far East atmosphere before an explosion of sound arrives before a minute with Gilmour-like guitar. It settles quickly though as vocals and guitar start to lead the way. A calm with lots of atmosphere again 6 minutes in before kicking back in a minute later. The song ends as it began. "The Sagarmatha Dilemma" opens with some pleasant guitar as Stu comes in vocally. Nice. I really like his vocals. This is contrasted with a heavier more uptempo section with Stephane's passionate vocals. Love the guitar solo after 3 minutes. "The Red Mountain" is the longest track at almost 11 minutes. Gentle piano to open as fragile vocals come in. It kicks into a higher gear after 2 1/2 minutes.It turns very spacey 5 minutes in. A nice section with vocals follows. Violin before 7 1/2 minutes followed by a fabulous guitar solo. Some female vocal melodies before it turns FLOYD-like to end it.

"Thin Air" has this heavy guitar riff that sounds just like Page doing "Misty Mountain Hop" but slower. Piano arrives when it calms down after 2 minutes. The contrast continues. Some spoken word samples to end it. "Even If I Was Wrong" is mellow early. Guitar after 2 minues as the tempo picks up. Heavy guitar before 3 minutes and some sampled mellotron. "Radio Sherpa" is where Sherinian does his speed of light keyboard work. Pounding drums follow. Vocal samples come and go. I like the chapman stick 2 1/2 minutes in. All I have to do is think chapman stick and Sean Malone comes to mind. "I'm Coming Down (I Shall Go Back)" opens with gentle guitar and vocals. They both get fuller and more passionate. Violin after 2 1/2 minutes. It's heavier and darker 4 1/2 minutes in. That Far East atmosphere ends the album.

Tough one to rate because there is so much that I like including the concept, but I have to admit that it loses my attention quite a bit as well. So 3.5 stars.

Report this review (#191980)
Posted Friday, December 5, 2008 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars This is an intriguing album by Stephane Desbien's D Project. While primarily rooted in modern symphonic prog, like Spock's Beard or The Flower Kings, there are very strong references to Pink Floyd (and Roger Waters' solo albums). I also get wisps of Genesis, and even some Supertramp.

Closer To My Soul / Closer To Heaven begins with Floydish keyboards with a Gilmour-toned guitar, and stays there until the song builds up to more technical prog, and some truly excellent playing.

The Supertramp sound comes in with The Red Mountain, which sounds like a classic Rick Davies piece.

More Floyd influence can be heard on the final two track, where Desbien begins to sound like Waters' on vocals.

Despite the obvious influences, this is a unique and original band, that deserves much more notice from the prog world.

Report this review (#787014)
Posted Friday, July 13, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars The D Project was founded by Stephane Desbiens around 2004 the leader of canadian band Sense. Helped by brothers Gosselin - Mathieu on bass (who is also member in Sense and aswell Red Sand) and Jean on drums. There are are also some well known and respected invited guests on this second offer named The Sagarmatha Dilemma - like Derek Sherinian , Stu Nicholson from Galahad, Brett Kull from Echolyn and john from Singularity. The album was released in 2008 and is a quite fine and intriguing piece of music. Lots of atmosphere on this labum, the music is something between symphonic prog with neo prog elements thrown in but aswell sme Floydian passages are to be found the perfect example is the opening killer tune Closer To My Soul / Closer To Heaven - maybe the best tune of the album. The palying is excellent, the vocal parts aswell more then ok with fascinating moments Stephane Desbiens really knew to make a quite powerful release from start to finish. The title track The Sagarmatha Dilemma and Closer To My Soul / Closer To Heaven might be the best from here, some really intresting arrangements here and pleasent vocals sometimes I considered them as a moder Pink Floyd. Easy 4 stars from me, intresting music for sure, definetly I will check more of their albums because I've heared only good thing about this band who just release a brand new album. recommended.

Report this review (#1175261)
Posted Thursday, May 15, 2014 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars For the second album of his project Stephane Desbiens secured a more stable line-up with Mathieu Gosselin on bass and Jean Gosselin on drums.''The Sagarmatha dilemma'' deals with the Himalayian experience and features the lyrics of the band's producer Francis Foy.It was released in 2008 on Ozeta with yet another impressive list of guest musicians such as Stu Nicholson from Galahad on vocals, Echolyn's Brett Kull on guitar solo, Derek Sherinian on keyboards and John Green of Singularity on vocals and guitar.

This was another versatile offering by The D Project, swirling around vintage symphonic keyboards, edgy and technical guitar work, emotional electric solos and great vocals, expressed both via sensitive and more powerful chords.There is some nice, personal refining on the music of the old Prog giants, they sound at moments like symphonic PINK FLOYD or modern KING CRIMSON with dashes of Mellotron over electrified atmospheres, but their music is extremely fresh and rewarding.They kind of remind me of British act ALSO EDEN or even post-2000 GALAHAD, basing their style on long arrangements full of elaborare melodies, sudden changes in climates and more upbeat tunes, where the retro aura is often covering the modern technology.The first half of the album is more 70's-inspired, Mellotrons come and go, organ is apparent, the music is full of electroacoustic shifts and the intense atmosphere of the music of PINK FLOYD is welcome.Extended pieces with instrumental variety and some great ideas.Second half appears to be a bit more modern-sounding with rougher vocals and harder electric guitars in polished but more straight songs, featuring though technical instrumental lines and a light dose of vintage keyboards over the mascular synths, where PINK FLOYD are still the prime mover and echoes of YES, KANSAS and MARILLION are also in the background.

Great album.A nice collection of concept-linked pieces with imaginative, rich and extremely atmospheric musicianship, which doesn't lack virtuosic and complex ideas.Highly recommened.

Report this review (#1204426)
Posted Thursday, July 3, 2014 | Review Permalink

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