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Nº 6



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4 stars Belgian quintet PRESENT are a very original progressive rock band with members from many original bands such as UNIVERS ZERO, U TOTEM, 5 UU'S, THINKING PLAGUE, to mention a few. They have gained a lot of positive reviews in the progressive scene, with all right! They have released a numerous of albums through the years, and No6 is their latest. All songs except one are instrumental. PRESENT's music is dark, complex, dissonant and intriguing somewhere between Classical Rock, Rock in Opposition and Classical music. They are like a mixture of ANEKDOTEN, BOUD DEUN, KING CRIMSON, MAGMA, SIMON STEENSLAND, THINKING PLAGUE, UNIVERS ZERO and VON ZAMLA, although you can't label them that easily. If you're into dark and complex music and would like to discover some new ground, check this out. Highly recommended!
Report this review (#27671)
Posted Tuesday, February 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars A few changes compared to their previous returning albums, most noticeably Daniel Denis and Alain Rochette gone, finding suitable replacements in Dave Kerman and Pierre Chevalier. Roger Trigaux is also taking a bit of a backseat because of his declining health; he is taking on the role of musical director and composer only playing guitar on one track. Ex-bassist Guy Segers has now moved up a step into being their manager. This album was recorded in Israel, but mixed in Belgium, but more significantly, it was not released by Cuneiform but by Carbon 7 , a small but adventurous Belgian label also handling Aka Moon, amongst other.

Even if most members are now quite young, Present shows that this rejuvenation process is not harming their musical directions, on the contrary. Dave Kerman is a very worthy successor to Daniel Denis and is now the spine of the group and also brings a slight touch of humour in the band with their impressive (and oppressive) 17-min The Limping Little Girl, where he keeps intervening with the now-famous line "Didn't You Hear What Your Mother Said?" which is clearly pun on their early classic Poison Qui Rend Fou. Children's rhymes and other oddities are present throughout the track.

Le Rodeur is the only moment on the album where Roger Trigaux is to be heard. The next killer track is Ceux D'en Bas, which clearly makes reference to Univers Zero's Ceux Du Dehors, and you'd better hang on to your sanity as the ride proposed is a roughie and a toughie. This almost 6-part 20-min suite depicts the fine line between dreams and nightmares and is one of the most astounding compositions Trigaux has ever written, although for some reason it is not performed in concert. The only sung-track (Le Cauchemard Yo in the CD'eB suite) still reminding you (a bit) of Magma and the finale is certainly Dantesque with the throbbing bass battling the mellotrons (Chevallier has yet to master this last instrument, though) in a blood-curdling chaos. After those two monster tracks, the last Sworlf has problems getting much a notice, but still manages some interest, mostly because it is very slow paced and very gothic while staying reflective, reminding me of Shub-Niggurath.

This album compared to the previous Certitudes is quite a step upwards as they leave their slight Zeuhl twist totally behind, and heads in adventurous (but by no-means groundbreaking) gothic RIO style, as the new group is out to make their own sound. Certainly a very-much needed album to all complex music fans, this is not easily accessible. But all of Present's fans should find their thrills in this oeuvre.

Report this review (#27673)
Posted Wednesday, August 4, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Add another half star for innovation. Imagine King Crimson's 'Fracture' as interpreted by a classical chamber orchestra in session with a highly professional rockband, all musicians playing loud, fast and aggressive and you might just be just on your way to understanding the sound of Present on this album. It's a relentless wall of hammering pianos, jigsaw- guitars and drilling bass lines coupled with intricate rhythm patterns and 12tone-like melody lines. What you get in the end is probably the most interesting, rewarding and ultimately unforgettable listening experience in recent years, at least if you are interested in Progressive Music progression and desparate to hear something other than luke-warm-ups of another Yes, Genesis etc... tune.
Report this review (#27674)
Posted Friday, October 1, 2004 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars My favourite PRESENT album right here. The album is called "No.6" and there is no song when you get to track 6, just seconds of silence. We have 3 Americans and 3 Belgiums making up the band on this release, and it's cool that Dave Kerman from 5UU'S and THINKING PLAGUE is playing drums on this one. Roger Trigaux the former guitarist for UNIVERS ZERO and the leader of this band composed and arranged the songs, but leaves the guitar work to his son Reginald except for one song. This band really seems like a "Rock" version of UNIVERS ZERO to my ears. Two long suites dominate the album with a short 2 minute song in between, plus the final track on the record which is 8 1/2 minutes in length.

The first suite is divided into 4 parts and is called "The Limping Little Girl". "Part 1" opens with a little girl singing before you can hear an adult say "Didn't you hear what your mother said !" this is repeated a few times in the first part and at the end of the second part. More importantly the music on this 4 part suite is nothing short of incredible. It's like a charged up version of UNIVERS ZERO. The piano, cello, drumming and guitar are all outstanding. The guitar is quite impressive, but it all sounds amazing ! "Le Rodeur" is an experimental 2 minute song of strange guitar sounds and weird vocals.

The second suite is called "Ceax D'en Bas" and is divided into six parts. While the guitar had a prominant role on the first suite it's the piano who holds that position on this second suite. There is some good bass on "Part 1" while guitar does shine on "Part 4". It's "Part 6" though that steals the show. Great bass, guitar, and piano, as they all stand out beautifully. This is incredible ! There is even some mellotron on this song. It becomes so intense late and check out the bass ! The final track "Sworlf" has another full sounding melody with marching style drums. It calms down with mournful cello with piano and drums.

This album just blows me away.

Report this review (#142165)
Posted Thursday, October 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars If the real mark of great progressive rock is a marriage of the intelligent and the visceral then this album exactly delivers to that brief and I cannot recommend it highly enough....The mood is dark, the music rhythmically complex, the group performance tight and virtuosic, the production, arrangements and recording brilliantly clear and satisfying, the harmonic language deliciously angular and dissonant, and the whole album violently energetic from beginning to end. In many ways the music is close to classical/systems music in terms of the precision of its execution and the rigorousness of its composition, i.e. Steve Reich, Louis Andriessen, Steve Martland, Michael Gordon... but this music has much more energy, punch and darkness.... it is also great fun in a hardcore kind of way. I really would give this 6 stars if I could.... what a brilliant achievement! Every album by this band has so much to recommend it... if you like dark, angular, well constructed music such as post ' 72 King Crimson, Magma, and especially Art Zoyd and Univers Zero, then every album by 'Present' is ESSENTIAL listening.
Report this review (#237005)
Posted Thursday, September 3, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Present offer up the first fruits from their legendary 1999 sessions in Israel (the remainder of which formed the nucleus of High Infidelity) on No. 6, which offers a furiously energetic take on the Present-Univers Zero style of spooky RIO. Previously, the most frenetic example of this house style I could point to would probably have been the opening track on Univers Zero's Ceux du Dehors, but Roger Trigaux and company make that cut seem positively tepid with the furious playing they offer up here. A major artistic breakthrough, with Present finally coming into its own distinctive identity and definitively emerging from the shadow of Univers Zero.
Report this review (#1598702)
Posted Thursday, August 18, 2016 | Review Permalink

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