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Present - Le Poisón Qui Rend Fou CD (album) cover

LE POISÓN QUI REND FOU

Present

RIO/Avant-Prog


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Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
4 stars Review edited in 2014 in the light of the then-recent reissues Present's second album is a bit more of the same than its debut: dark, sombre, macabre, and sinister and one can say gothic in a way (although I have never seen Goth-heads present at their concerts ;-). The group comes back with a slightly changed line-up: Ferdinand Philippot is now handling the bass duties, but the change is minor. The artwork is plainly sinister but with a touch of romantic inspiration and fits the music quite well.

Starting of with an epic 15 min+ first part of the title track, featuring an operatic-voiced guest vocalist, Present plunges again on a metronomic groove with the two pianos helping out a great deal and a lengthy trip is undertaken through the insane meanders of Trigaux's mind. A shorter Ersatz is reminiscent of Belew era-Crimson, and definitely more upbeat and almost joyful compared to the habitual stuff. The almost 10 min second part of the title track (on the second side of the vinyl), is the logical follow-up to its debut, but is totally instrumental. The closing 9 min Samana (Rochette-penned) is not much different but not quite as dense and might be a little clumsy in its middle section, but it remains in the mould.

If Triska's bonus live tracks could fit on the back of the album, Poison's bonus tracks (presented on a second disc) are from an entire set part of a concert given in France in early 82 with Genet still in the group. For the occasion, the band was augmented with a female singer Marie-Anne Polaris. The set proposes a slightly extended version the two epics from their debut album, but also two tracks from the still-upcoming album, which are still work in progress ? even if Ersatz is double the length of the studio album. The real bonus/gift is the yet-unreleased Chaos Hermétique, which AFAIK was never released on a studio album. It is a slow piece that feels more like an improvisation than a composition, even if the ideas were probably laid down beforehand.

Another bonus is two short filmed B&W footage of the band in concert, but you'll have to install QuickTime on your computer to view them. Interesting viewing really, even if the band is rather static. The expanded booklet shows a bunch of photos (most likely all from the same shoot) where they goof around with WW1 gas masks inside industrial wastelands galleries and in the adjoining nature. Also, you'll get to read Aymeric Leroy's second part of the band's first-era history and the remastering was handled by the great Udi Kooran.

Not any easier than the debut album, and just as difficult to recommend, these first two albums are uncanny oeuvres that must be heard by every proghead, but most likely, if they do not like adventurous and partially un-melodic prog, repulsion or rejection will be an understandable reaction. But if the proghead should persevere with present, soon the full merits of the music will come rewardingly. Both albums came on a 2 on 1 Cd, which was probably the safest bet you could make, as acquiring both albums separately would not have brought much more, until of course the recent reissues with plenty of bonus came around in '13 ? was it a coincidence?? This would be the last album from them for over 12 years, when Trigaux will start playing with his son then reform Present.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#27666)
Posted Wednesday, August 04, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Le Poison Qui Rend Fou by Present is a fine RIO album. It sounds very much like Univers Zero. However, it's groovier and jazzier than UZ, but it's still dark and obscure music. It has guitars and syntheziers instead of the accoustic instruments that UZ use. The music is quite technical, and as it seems these guys certainly know to play their instruments and record fine RIO albums. In addition, this album is much better than their newer album that is called Certitudes since it's darker, less boring and more interesting than this album. I'll finnish this review by saying that this album by Present is a fine RIO album, and I suggest you obtain it if you are in favour of the previous album by the band, other RIO bands such as Univers Zero, Volapuk, Zypressen etc and dark music in general.

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Send comments to Dan Yaron (BETA) | Report this review (#54265)
Posted Tuesday, November 01, 2005 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 4.5 stars. This is similar in "sound" to their first album, with the same lineup except for a different bassist. This does have more variety on it and there is a female vocalist ( Marie-Anne Polaris) featured on the first track. I do prefer the debut but both are excellent records. I would highly recommend getting these both on a 2 on 1 cd that is out now.

"Le Poison Qui Rend Fou,Part 1 : Ram Ram Va Faire "Pif Paf" opens with a tortured guitar melody that seems to be telling us to run like hell. It is eventually replaced by a fast paced piano and drums melody. The female vocals come in giving this a Zeuhl flavour.The vocals stop as a piano note is hit and the dark angular guitar melody returns grinding away. The soundscape 5 minutes in is great as drums have joined in, and the guitar melodies continue. A change arrives after 8 minutes as some good piano melodies lead the way, eventually the sound stops with slowly played piano taking over. A powerful sound joins the piano including some raw guitar sounds that come and go.This is fantastic ! The tempo speeds up to end the song. "Ersatz" features these cool intricate sounds that come and go throughout the 5 minutes. Denis shines on this one.

"Le Poison Qui Rend Fou, Part 2 : Didi, Dans A Chambre !" has an almost circus like melody to it. The guitar is prominant, and is dark as usual as it grinds away. The drumming and piano work are outstanding, and the bass comes in later with some throbbing lines of it's own. This would be great to see live. Impressive track. "Samana" was composed by pianist Alain Rochette and has a Jazz flavour to it. This is evident a minute in with the piano and light drums.Then it changes 2 1/2 minutes in as the song stops and piano melodies take control. Then a dark mood clouds the soundscape that is slow moving at this point. Piano is still prominant though. Marching style drums come in, as the pace starts to pick up with piano leading the way. Drums and piano are so intricate. Solemn guitar ends it. Interesting that it would be 13 years before PRESENT would return in band form to give us another album.

UNIVERS ZERO also had a 13 year break between albums in their career.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#150254)
Posted Sunday, November 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
Bj-1
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Following their uncompromising and psychotic debut album, the similary styled "Le Poison Qui Rend Fou" isn't something to joke about either. This time around, Roger Trigaux' songwriting tends to be more diverse and less minimalist sounding, keeping the hypnotic and gloomy moods present on Triskaidekaphobie only with a slightly less demanding approach. Other than that, the line-up remains the same with the exception of bassist Christian Genet (who left the band to join Univers Zero as a full- time member) and got replaced by Ferdinand Philippoi. Among fans, this one seems to be the most appreciated Present album, probably because it's slightly rounder around the edges and displays more melodic songs than before. This album is still dark, scary and of course astonishingly complex from first to last minute and presents some of the most complex works within the post-RIO movement. The centerpiece title track is splitted up in two parts, each being equally as challenging and disturbing musically. This track takes up most of this album's duration and stands out as the strongest track here. Stylistically similar to the material on Triskaidekaphobie, with complex instrumentation and soaring guitar playing from Trigaux and dissonant, pounding notes from the keyboards. The first part of the song features the relatively unknown vocalist Marie-Anne Pollaris who sings some really impressive vocal lines along with the arrangements for a minute. A nice contrast from the band's rather macabre music otherwise. This stands out as one of Present's best tracks in their catalogue.

Ersatz is a calmer tune with a very spooky vibe to it and tricky, whispering percussions from Daniel Denis. This is one of the more fun tracks to listen to here, as it's more upbeat than the rest of the album. It's the most accessible track on here, yet it's quite challenging to listen to. Samana is the only track written by Alain Rochette here and follows similar formula as Trigaux' material, although being more diverse overall, with more focus on dynamics but still with the dark and sinister mood. An excellent song I must say and a worthy finale for this album. The musicianship is as always excellent, with Daniel Denis' drumming being the most impressive. His playing is beyond unique, and he provides incredibly creative and precise drumming, even when the music is at it's most complex. Bassist Ferdinand Philippoi's performance isn't as notable as Christian Genet's brilliant performance on Triskaidekaphobie but still manages to back up the music excellently throughout. Trigaux and Rochette, handling the main melodies, both does some fantastic interplay between the guitar and keyboards and due to all this excellent and complicated instrumentation from the whole band, this albums, like it's predecessor, sounds very dense but organized at the same time. Although it's just slightly weaker then their debut I would still rate this album 5 stars, simply because both albums are essential to any RIO/Avant-Prog fan, In my opinion. No weak spots here, just pure manic and dark brilliance to be checked out by any fan of Univers Zero, Art Zoyd, Shub Niggurath and so on!

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Send comments to Bj-1 (BETA) | Report this review (#168312)
Posted Monday, April 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Present is one of the alltime greatest RIO bands and their albums is always interesting listenings. This, their second album, is no exception from this rule.

Present's debut album was a claustrophobic experience. On the follow up album, the soundscape is more open and some alien elements is being introduced into the sound. Mostly, more traditional jazz and Canterbury scene jazz. Gilgamesh springs to mind several places. So do Picchio Dal Pozzo. But there is still no doubts that this is a Present album. The opening up of the soundscape has given the sound a lot of fresh air and the music is really breathing like a red rose on a summer's day. The final track Samana is a good example of an organic song based on both jazz and RIO.

The main components of this album is the twenty five minutes long title track. It is interluded with the rather sinister Ersatz. But the title track has a lot of zeuhl and RIO parts in it and is a superb song. The zeuhl vocals phrasings done by Marie-Anne Pollaris falls in fertile ground in my home. The sinister distorted electric guitars and the piano used as a bass is the main ingredients on this track though. This is a great track. Erzats too is a great track and I have already mentioned Samana.

In short, this is a great RIO album which also may appeal to the mainstream too. Maybe.

4 stars

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Send comments to toroddfuglesteg (BETA) | Report this review (#298334)
Posted Friday, September 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Creeping out five years after Present's debut and with Daniel Denis of Univers Zero guesting on drums, the second album of Roger Trigaux's horror chamber rock project is much the same as the first - to the point where I defy anyone who doesn't know the track listings of the respective albums well to listen to the (great value) Cuneiform two-for-one issue of this album with Triskadekaphobie and guess where the one album ends and the next begins. The album is notable for featuring a fine vocal performance Marie-Anne Pollaris on part 1 of the title track, but otherwise continues in much the same vein as its predecessor. Fans of Univers Zero will enjoy it even if they do know more or less what to expect.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#581461)
Posted Sunday, December 04, 2011 | Review Permalink
Sinusoid
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars If Present's debut album was a fresh spin on an already established band, LE POISON is almost the exact same statement five years later. So fans of the first can easily jump into the second with all of the intensity, macabre, darkness, etc. they love. There is the (horrible) inclusion of operatic vocals in the first part of the title epic, but it doesn't change the fact that LE POISON is still very piano/drum-driven RIO. Somehow the excitement from TRISKAIDEKAPHOBIE vanished here, almost as if LE POISON acts as a ''business as usual'' kind of album.

It would be very interesting to hear LE POISON if there was some horns floating over the music a la Univers Zero. But I'm not going to try to sour grapes for much longer. It's quite good RIO music, but a bit redundant if you've heard the debut.

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Send comments to Sinusoid (BETA) | Report this review (#751173)
Posted Wednesday, May 09, 2012 | Review Permalink

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