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4 stars ESTHESIS is this group inspired at the start by PINK FLOYD, SUPERTRAMP, AIRBAG, ANATHEMA or PORCUPINE TREE. Well there I was warned of the evolution that the group wanted to take, jazzy, bluesy, cinematic, alternative, electro and genesis in the background to help us perceive the musical sensations. We start on a progressive fusion between MASSIVE ATTACK and THE GATHERING. An intimate music to dive into a universe of sounds, one of those where technique gives way to emotion, introspection, positive melancholy; in short, a fusional album with the addition of brass for an art-rock universe.

"Amber" mid-tempo at the start, heavy synth riff on a jazzy sound to set the mood; languorous and hypnotic title at the same time, it sets the atmosphere, the ideal crystalline piano notes, South American with the spleen guitar à la THE GATHERING, especially during the progressive explosion; Baptiste already has a nice hit during the solo, in short in line with their 1st with a groovy frame. "Place Your Bets" follows and demonstrates the basic Floydian musical evolution coupled with bluesy nonchalance amplified by Marc's held bass; the bluffing mid- course sax between these two strong rhythms and the choirs. A final synth solo to show that there is more than the guitar in musical life, soft and tortured; flowing title like a MASSIVE ATTACK album. "Skimming Stones" on a note of the 'Bal des Laze' with a slow crescendo, on a languorous chiaroscuro climate, whistling behind, melancholy or doubtful air, it is according to you; the violin is very depressive and brings dignity, wisdom and introspection as such. We are far from looking for the solo, we have entered the music of the group. "Wandering Cloud" you are on the runway; air between jazz and repetitive rhythm & blues just in the chorus; it's soft, singular and it raises questions about the direction of the group; Mathilde brings a discreet vocal just before this rise? yes THE GATHERING in softer way then this trumpet associated with the choirs creates a diversion; musical amazement there with yet another whistle as a rhythmic instrument; shudder reminding me here of the concert where they offered it in preview.

"Vertigo" tumbles led by Marc and supported by melismas by Aurélien; latent progressive air there, Arnaud raises the sauce for a dithyrambic crescendo, without any particular classification; it's ESTHESIS and it's bewitching, the Ian CRICHTON-like spurting solo helped by brass can hit the basic progosity, personally I still see Aurélien's swaying fingers on this piece, in short conquered. Especially by these last notes à la 'Riders On The Storm'. "57th Street" takes us off to Manhattan; I recognize the 12th street dog! Jazzy atmosphere with the piano and 'Riders' again. The always languorous bluesy voice rises on a semi Andalusian declination, dark tempo and unhealthy hard riff showing teeth, strange what music can make us do. Title progressive in the background, intimate and evolving, pure musical creation, art-rock, there I think a friend will be happy to read this. Welcome chorus on attention siren declination; the final part wants to be more metal, the rhythm is amplified while keeping an ethereal atmosphere; cinematic break increasing the dark side, abrupt end for the replay?. "Through My Lens" cutscene, when I say this is the year for; sax, piano for film noir atmosphere, detective smoke, doubt as to the search for the motive, that's it I go into the music again and again; good musical research there is, melting jazzy influence there is, tormented break with crystalline keyboards then tortured there is also, a bit on a DEEP PURPLE solo, it explodes dully, it becomes enjoyable from the 3'10''; guitar solo à la GILMOUR and harder. Aurélien takes up the rhythm with his voice and his breath, a harmonica now coming to assist the sax which is running out of steam.

ESTHESIS has evolved; jazzy prog rock, cinematic, rhythm & blues, art rock with the aesthetic connotation made to give the opportunity to fully feel each note, each tune, each sensitive and raw title. Dark music with an intimate climate created to vibrate in this anesthetized world, that's what I think at the end of this disconcerting feeling album. Well an album that slaps you as you listen, that's it. Hurry up to throw yourself in, the 3rd is already in the making. ESTHESIS makes ESTHESIS so listen up.

Report this review (#2788390)
Posted Tuesday, September 6, 2022 | Review Permalink
5 stars Review #14

An incredibly ingenious album.

A little while ago, I became aware of the album "Watching Worlds Collide" due to a conspicuously large number of positive reviews. This is the second album of the French progressive rock project led by the talented multi- instrumentalist Aurélien Goude. I would like to share my excitement about this music with all of you today. Let's start first with the most striking feature: Progressive rock meets jazz.

"Esthesis" features complex song structures embedded in very tasteful jazz harmonies. These, in turn, repeatedly counter with rocky, metallic and even film-musical parts. My goodness, what ingenious symbiosis, which by no means simply mixes everything wildly, but quite deliberately combines and merges. Aurélien Goude creates very strong moods, takes his time to let the music unfold within a song and always acts in a focused way, letting any musical elements (such as saxophone, trumpet, violin and even bajos played by guest musicians) show their full effect.

Also the other musicians of the band, Baptiste Desmares on lead guitar, Marc Anguill on bass and Arnaud Nicolau on drums, do a great job of balancing the songs on a high rhythmic as well as melodic level. Probably the best decision in the lineup lies in the choice of guest vocalist Mathilde Collet. She sets her accents at exactly the right moments and her timbre also fits the basic mood of the album perfectly.

Songs like "Place Your Bets", "Wandering Cloud" and especially the long track "57th Street" (what an incredible track!) contain so many ideas, twists and surprises, so that you are still amazed after several runs through what you get to hear. This is not least due to the transparent and powerful production.

I don't know any band that combines two demanding genres so skillfully and elegantly, always with the claim to maintain the tension in the listener from beginning to end. I was completely electrified after the first listen. "Esthesis" won the Prog Magazine Reader's Poll in the "BEST UNSIGNED BAND" category in December 2020. Personally, I think the band should win the "ALBUM OF THE YEAR" category this year. A masterpiece that needs to get much more attention....

Report this review (#2854460)
Posted Friday, November 25, 2022 | Review Permalink

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