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Hypno5e - Alba - Les ombres errantes CD (album) cover



Experimental/Post Metal

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4 stars Hypno5e is an experimental/post metal band from Montpellier, France, established in 2003. Their music is considered to be all-in-one with the visual arts, because the band's personnel are also professionals in the film industry. Their idea is to combine sound and space imagination, give it an abstract meaning, and make music technical and Deep emotions come together, and albums are mostly concept albums. The theme is the interpretation of life. During the band's performance, video and movies are often projected to show the power of image and music. Since 2007, four albums have been released. This year's new "Alba - Les Ombres Errantes" has a full 75 minutes long, which is actually a complete soundtrack for the band's guitarist. Listening to the opening song does not have any metallic taste. Instead, it is folk and psychedelic, some pf, but the English in French sounds awkward. It only shows the heavy side until the end. Because it is a film soundtrack, there will be many narrations and dialogues in the songs (returning back to French). I think this will affect musicality to a certain extent, but there is no way to do it. In addition, some of the melody of folk music, plus most of them are solo acoustic guitar, so it seems to have a small fresh flavor and exotic style, and the voice of the lead singer is also very open (reverberation use much?), In other words, some of the experimental sound effects show that they are different. I think if you remove these monologues, you can have four stars. At present, between Samsung's half and four stars, you can hear it.
Report this review (#1912413)
Posted Thursday, April 5, 2018 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Beautiful acoustic guitar-based soundtrack music inspired by (or meant to accompany?) Bolivian-born band- member Emmanuel Jessua's film, Alba - Les Ombres Errantes.

1. "Who Wakes Up From This Dream Does Not Bear My Name" (11:10) great sound, great music, diminished by the weak vocals. Reminds me a lot of a gentler, better recorded AGALLOCH. (17.5/20)

2. "Cuarto Del Alba" (7:11) several sections of film dialogue within the softer sections of music, in Bolivian Spanish and French! (13.5/15)

3. "L'ombre Érrante" (2:07) piano and synth interlude (4.5/5)

4. "Night On The Petrified Sea" (10:58) the voice of the Spanish-speaking female narrator over the first 85 second of the song make one fully aware that this album was intended as a soundtrack to a film or story. The music that follows is excellent--especially the acoustic guitar work. Even the singing is pretty good here. The song builds toward the end of the fourth minute until a slide guitar solo takes over the lead at the 4:05 mark. Vocal "ahhs" are nice as are the delicate harmony vocals in the next section. Another narration passage in the eighth minute leads into a slightly more dynamic instrumental section before almost music drops out for a different female narrator--this one in French--speaking over some very eerie, unsettling ambient music. (18/20)

5. "The Wandering Shadows" (7:33) percussions and strings open this one before the full band joins in with a gorgeous motif and vocal melody. The instrumental sections between the vocal sections are even better. The French dialogue inserted in the quiet places makes it even more interesting for the contrasts. And then singing in English in the second verse followed by another gorgeous instrumental section during the fourth minute. My favorite song on the album. (15/15)

6. "Los Heraldos Negros" (10:21) quite a dynamic and moody piece, changing pace and tones several times over the course of its ten minutes while displaying the guitarist's Spanish guitar virtuosity. Up till the seven minute mark when the spoken soundtrack joins in there is an amazingly stressful sense of the pressure or at least presence of Time pushing the song (and the listener) along. It's really difficult to explain, but it's there and it's disturbing. Amazing! My other top three song. (19/20)

7. "Ojos Azules" (3:06) gorgeous layered acoustic folk music over which multiple voices sing in equally gorgeous harmonies. Another top three song for me. (10/10)

8. "Calling" (4:08) drums, bass, and electrified dobro-sounding guitar open this one before multiple layered vocals burst in singing in English. Amazing how multiple languages are used with such facility throughout this album. (9/10)

9. "Agua" (1:59) high pitched synth drone over which echoed acoustic guitar is played. (4/5)

10. "Light Of Desert And The Shadows Inside" (15:33) Ulver-esque (26.25/30)

Total Time 74:06

I must admit, this music is gorgeous and as a film soundtrack I'm quite impressed and awed by this effort and production. I've said it before: This is the kind of purpose I feel progressive rock music has always served well.

A-/five stars; a minor masterpiece of folk-inspired progressive rock soundtrack music.

Report this review (#2775152)
Posted Wednesday, July 6, 2022 | Review Permalink
5 stars 'Twas after I heard the film soundtrack 'Alba - Les Ombres Errantes' (2018) by Hypno5e that I learned they have been active as a French prog metal band since 2003. It was actually their acoustic-based alter-ego, A Backwards Glance on a Travel Road, led by Emmanuel Jessua (ABGoaTR, same members as Hypno5e), that is responsible for composing this film score.

When I first heard this soundtrack thanks to a great, descriptive review by BrufordFreak here on progarchives, I was drawn in. I sat up. I leaned in. I was impressed. But I was also 'bumped.' What does that mean? It's an editor's term for feeling that something is just not right in the project's mix. In this case, the gratuitously long 74-minutes that makes up this score is often interrupted by dialogue snippets, i.e. spoken word, in Spanish and French. Both languages are beautiful in accent and cadence, but due to the fact that I do not speak/understand either of them, these elements were lost on me. Although I was discovering the great things that were happening in the instrumental music and songs, the interspersed dialogue bits were bumping me. Literally. They kept popping up at inconvenient times like speed bumps when you're driving along on a smooth road. I considered them a distraction and I almost gave up.

But then, as if struck by lightning, the producer hat on me had the idea to bring the soundtrack into my studio and just simply edit out the dialogue bits. I spent the next day meticulously pruning every second of the 11+ minutes of spoken word dialogue from the .wav files I had purchased on the band's bandcamp page, and voila, just like that, a perfect 63-minute album of incredible music was born, a direct descendant of ABGoaTR's intimate relations with my own two loving ears and editing-informed brain :).

And it was when I started to listen to my personal, homemade-edited version that I literally fell in love with it. Imagine if you took the dreamscape mood and brilliance of Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side of the Moon' and mixed it in with the emotive breakthrough creativity of Radiohead's 'Music-for-a-Film' from 'OK Computer' and then sprinkled in the intimate and gorgeous harmonies from the best Simon & Garfunkel releases; put it all in the oven and baked it to a glistening and golden perfection, in fact, I would call it something I've never called anything before: a perfect 10 type of perfection. I'm guessing that's not what Hypno5e set out to achieve when they began the daunting task of scoring the sprawling eco-scape of a film that seems to be a personal labor of love created to display the beauty of Bolivia through the memory lens of Emmanuel Jessua's adolescent experience, wherein he was raised.

So I consider it like mining a diamond in the rough, a diamond made especially valuable once the dialogue is stripped away and the music is left to stand on its own. I would be remiss if I didn't pause to provide some free yet sage Post Production advice (to no one in particular): sometimes a composer/writer can get too close to a project to see it from the end listener's point-of-view, and that's why editing is such an important part of the mix and the mastering stage. If something doesn't fit properly into a project, or worse, if you find yourself spending a lot of time trying to rationalize why something SHOULD fit into a project; hire an experienced editor. End of advice.

And now on to reviewing the music: 'Alba - Les Ombres Errantes' is a soundtrack that truly packs the power of the three above-mentioned Monolithic Music Milestones and generates its own mathematical calculation of synergy; forming a perfect 10 to the exponential power of 3. This score is a jaw-dropping timeless wonder that will move to the top of the list for anyone who will give this spectacular and brilliant emotive bundle of beauty repeated listens.

Let me predict: Its acoustic and nylon string-focused guitar performance, prowess and compositional maturity will stop you in your tracks. Its gorgeously intimate melodies and harmonies will make you feel again. Its percussive and bass accompaniment that brings and releases tension through restraint will haunt you dreams. Its ebb and flow of emotive song structures and instrumental passages will demand your repeat attention. Its whisper-across-the-pillow beauty woven into every stitch of its tapestry will touch your heart and your soul. It will draw you in. You will find yourself leaning in. And it will become something you tell your loved ones about. You will absolutely want to share it as a great discovery with your family and friends.

Brace yourself. Be ready. Get your house in order and make all of the preparations necessary to welcome 'Alba - Les Ombres Errantes,' an absolute lifetime achievement-type masterpiece by A Backwards Glance on a Travel Road led by Emmanuel Jessua, into your ears, into your heart, and into your life.

Report this review (#2778586)
Posted Thursday, July 21, 2022 | Review Permalink
5 stars HYPNO5E - ALBA ? Les hombres errantes

This review makes some general observations on the album, and henceforth comments track by track.

My first observation is about something I truly admire on a band: their ability to make an album different from their usual style. "Alba" is a symphonic prog effort, sometimes pastoral, sometimes eclectic. Radically distinct from their other releases, that are experimental/post metal.

There's this good distribution and precise amount of narration and singing, most of the part in english. But you'll also get plenty of spanish and french, and they do it splendidly, as on their previous works. But this time there's no screaming or throat singing anywhere, what is occasionally done on the other albums. With great sensitivity and maturity, the instruments give space to each other and to the vocals. Therefore, you can clearly here the notes and harmonies. The mood is very good or even brilliant on all compositions. The first track begins with acoustic guitar, narrations, and what seems as a cross between theremin and citar; maybe it's generated by a combination of charango and acoustic guitar, and/or by sound engineering. An amazing sound. When vocalist starts to sing, it's in english; not so incredible. The execution has a cadence that allows the listener to follow and absorb each note. A penetrating female lament appears. 7,5/10.

Spanish vocals introduce next track. The rythym is not so absorbing and memorable, it even gets a little repetitive. But singing is very intense. A fabulous tune on acoustic guitar is performed on the middle of the song. The end of the track presents a gloomy mood with narration in french. 6,5/10.

Third track has 2min. Develops smooth and slow tunes on the piano, and what seems some slide effects on guitar. Goes very deep on my heart. 9,5/10.

Track 4 presents what seems to be a double bass, with low/strong tones. An acoustic guitar with a metallic sound dialogues to a fabulous feminine narration, in spanish. Seems to evoke painful memories. When the second acoustic guitar comes along, they undertake a stimulating rythym. Unexpected changes of harmonies and tones happens, on all instruments. Drums here have more density and accelaration. 9/10.

Next track is not so creative and amusing as the two previous, and doesn't seem to fit very well as a continuation of the album. Considering the fact that this disc has an extention of 74 min, if this track was excluded (or properly edited/summarized and included on the previous track) it would maybe work better. 6/10.

What astonishing harmonies are performed on 6th track! It's even hard to describe, but I guarantee that you'll hear many switches, without startles, of harmonies and cadences. I can also add that they use all the string acoustic instruments, and their technique is at its peak on this part of the disc. The english vocals are even better. All this together, with a melancholic narration in spanish, doesn't let me no doubts that it deserves 10.

A latin flavour is present on 7th track. A gentle harmony, and measured notes make this 3min composition a counterpoint to the introspective and melancholic tone of many previous snippets. 7,5/10.

Next track sounds kind of post-rock. Some beatiful phrases on acoustic guitar, and an evolving drumming and singing delivers a pleasant mood to this song. 8/10.

Mixing electroacoustic music with acoustic guitar, the brief 9th track presents another facet of the band's creative qualities. 8,5/10.

Last track is the longest of the album. The introduction is performed only with an acoustic guitar and vocals. It's a bit repetitive and confusing. When some layers are added with other instruments, the phrasings and harmonies get a little better. From halfway onwards, acoustic guitar and drums get repetitive again. The end of this composition looks like another track. Making it sound awkward. 6/10.

For the originality of the proposal, centralizing the compositions on acoustic guitar, and the combinations it can get with drums and vocal, I'll add 0,5 to my final note. 4.8. on a five-star scale.

Report this review (#2969395)
Posted Friday, November 24, 2023 | Review Permalink

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