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Travelling - Voici la nuit tombée CD (album) cover



Canterbury Scene

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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars The last of the releases on the ultra-rare and now very collectible Futura Red label, this group's sole album as leader's Yves Hasselman dominating it from start to end. This does not mean that drummer Gremillot and bassist Gouré are inexistent, far from it, as they support him quite aptly. Hasselman has a long history of recording with the greatest singers in La Chanson Française and is still active today.

Un-like most KB-lead trio, Travelling does not even attempt to sound or even make the slightest attempt at ELP, preferring a much more pleasant sound rather Canterbury- esque. In this regard, we might think of another trio with a three-letter name: Egg, but Travelling is more than that also, as they sing in French. But the use of a Fuzz- organ and the jazz-inflicted piano playing (sometimes resembling Keith Tippet's style but much more melodic) cannot help but bring you to the verdict that this French music trio is definitely looking across La Manche (The Channel) at the first mid-size city in Kent. The first side of the vinyl is dominated by the sidelong title track and is a pure joy to hear with Hasselman's voice somewhat not that far away from Wyatt and constant time-changes contrasting with the numerous switches from the Hammond to the piano.

Flamenco, the first track on the second side is not Spanish-tinged but somehow is a brilliant Kent adaptation with a Wyatt-like scatting reminding you of Andalusia with Nelson not just stopping at Trafalgar. Passo with its ever-present piano and Soleil with its fuzzed-out Hammond are textbook case of how a KB trio can sound other than an Emerson-clone band, both superb. Tout Compte Fait (all considered) is a reflective piece where Hasselman joins both the keyboards in solo. While Shema is a slight return to the title track with Haqsselman scatting again to our purest of delight.

While not essential to the average proghead, this might just indispensable to the Canterbury nuthead, so it plainly deserves its fourth star, but this is the type of album most would want to have simply because of the class of Hasselman.

Report this review (#73637)
Posted Friday, March 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
4 stars I am not really into Canterbury and jazzrock but while listening to this album I got more and more and impressed, especially the keyboardplay is amazing, he is a virtuosic who also plays with emotion! In the title track he manages to let his Hammond organ deliver all the excellent sounds that it hosts, this is at the level of Keith Emerson and also the jazzy piano play is great. The overdubs on piano and organ create a captivating sound, this is supported by a very dynamic rhythm-section. The other four songs (between 3 and 4 minutes) contain a bit melancholic French vocals and lots of interestin work on the piano and (fuzzed) organ. An overwhelming CD that should be checked out by the aficionados of this category!
Report this review (#78532)
Posted Wednesday, May 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars TRAVELLING were a trio from France who released only one album(1973). The organ and piano dominates their sound that is without question Canterbury flavoured. SOFT MACHINE had to be an influence on these guys as the vocal style and fuzz organ certainly bring them to mind. This band does have it's own sound though and I love it. The side long opening track is one of the best songs that i've heard in a while. What a pleasure to listen to. Pure joy indeed.

"Voici La Nuit Tombee" is an 18 minute ride that I have taken over and over again this past week. It opens with cymbals and bass before the organ quickly joins the fray, and it sounds fantastic. A full sound before a minute that includes piano, fuzz organ, bass and drums. Organ and piano then create a piece of heaven before the vocals come in. The light drums, organ and vocals are other worldly. Did I mention I love this song ? Piano joins in. Vocals stop as fuzz organ returns. I could listen to this all day. Vocals are back after 6 minutes. The fuzz organ comes and goes. The piano takes the lead with bass and light drums 8 minutes in. This section is very jazzy. A spacey, experimental, eerie passage arrives before 10 1/2 minutes that changes 2 minutes later as an uptempo organ, light drums and bass melody arrives. Fuzz organ after 14 minutes. A change a minute later as piano again takes the lead. Vocals are back 17 minutes in. Amazing song !

"Flamenco" features more bass, drums and piano. The vocal melodies a minute in are outstanding and a nice touch. Perhaps a nod to Mr.Wyatt. Some fuzz bass after that with organ. Piano starts to take over.This song blends into the next one "Passo". The uptempo piano melodies continue but bass and drums help out here. This song then blends into "Soleil" as piano melodies continue to dominate. Before 2 minutes we get some fuzz organ joining the piano melodies. "Tout Compte Fait" opens with slower paced piano as the organ provides a nice background. This song blends into the final track "Shema".This sounds better than the previous song because bass, light drums and vocal melodies are added.

This is another French band that has impressed me to pieces. I had heard about them on the ProgEars site and am so thankful I did. A must have for Jazz and Canterbury fans.

Report this review (#159321)
Posted Sunday, January 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars i have to say - bit odd hearing cantbry style from france (at least for me); honestly first heard of and what a good surprise. well i certainly get sense of french air here, lets say singing style a-la- avntgarde / rio, and dynamic keyboard-driven songs. a bit from elp maybe.. also touches from a brubeck piano style or early 1900' styles from france light years. i guess this one fits my tastes and definetely anyones who would like to stop looking for something that could satisfy after a couple of spins.. heard bout a group called Jox or joxifications, also in the vein of travelling and a good one too. anyway - give it a try.
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Posted Thursday, November 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars Travelling have a sound cobbled together from the giants of the Canterbury scene, with the closest comparison being Soft Machine's Volume Two-era approach, although the music presented here is rather more sober and serious than that album. Yves Hasselmann, keyboardist and singer, is the star of the show in the sense that his performances are far and away the most prominent, though this turns out to be to the album's detriment as much as it is to its benefit. He's without doubt a talented jazz pianist, and his greater emphasis on piano as opposed to fuzzed-out organ a la Mike Ratledge begins to point the way to the group establishing a more distinctive and individual personality for themselves.

Then he ruins that by trying to sing like Robert Wyatt, and singularly failing to do so; this is most apparent when he breaks out the "Aaaaah aaaaaah aaaaaaaaaahs", trying to mimic Wyatt's much-celebrated use of his voice as a musical instrument. It's transparently clear that Hasselmann simply isn't as good a singer as Wyatt is. Travelling had plenty of potential, but they really needed to establish their own territory rather than playing constant homage to the Softs; on the Machine's home turf, they simply couldn't compete. It's a shame that they didn't seem to survive long enough to do this, but I still wouldn't recommend this album unless you are particularly keen on Soft Machine clones.

Report this review (#505410)
Posted Thursday, August 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Sometimes I wonder with these bands from the 70s if they listened to other 70s bands that would have only predated the by less then a handful of years. With this band I really hear authentic Canterbury Scene music absolutely in the vein of Egg with lovely sedated vocals.

The titular suite opens with up nicely with bass and gentle organ, everything is very promising. It's got a slight gothic pigmentation, especially when the fuzz organ breaks loose, unleashing a slow but ominous cacophony, supported by bass/piano/drums. Angular transition check. The song then gets jazzy with a smattering of piano chords in a higher register over a deep organ drain. Then one is greeted by singing au Francaise in a familiar Canterburian style. A sublime little organ solo over the same rhythm/piano chords kicks the lead away from the vocals. Singing returns for a moment to allow fuzzed out organ to take one by surprise as it howls. Different vocals come in which are quite beautiful. The distorted organ returns to play call/repeat with the singing. A stripped down interlude introduces faster bass and actual jazz piano. This fades out to ruin the song with ambient avant- garde sounds, sad. I think this part is unnecessary as the song had already gone to a chill section, what was needed was some high energy balls to the wall climaxing, not the complete evisceration of the song. Anyways after a few minutes the jazz section returns but with an organ solo, rather then piano. For a while the song goes through some fast changes of short little interludes. Finally it arrives at a piano conclusion, driven by a fast rhythmic backing. There is a tiny bit of scatting which lead to a reprisal of earlier vocal parts. Piano ends the song from here. This song loses my interest halfway through which is a shame as it's pretty good until then. The suite as a whole flows well but the quality just plummets for me after the piano drum bass section begins at around 9~ minutes.

Flamenco starts side two with piano chords plus bass plus drums plus scatting reminiscent of Robert Wyatt with a Romance language accent. Organ takes over halfway through, driving the song to its conclusion.

Side two is actually just two (maybe one) suite like side one but it's arbitrarily divided into different songs. Anyways Passo opens with fast piano arpeggios that go nonstop which is pretty good, lots of energy.

Soleil begins with piano chords and alternates between lead lines, arpeggios and block chords. It definitely is "brighter" then the Passo. (Some of Soleil is played on Organ)

Tout Compte Fait opens with wonderful piano strums and sparse but engaging bass work. The last has a somewhat definitive ending and there is some space in between Soleil and Tout Compte Fait so I don't think this song is connected to the previous three. Anyways this song is very calm peaceful music.

Shema starts where Tout Compte Fait left off and adds some drums, bass, organ drone and vocals (low in the mix deep scatting) to give the suite some meat. This track ends fading out, it's good.

Overall I find the songwriting to not be particularly great, I love the sound they were going for but the music is not outstanding enough. Solid debut, kind of a shame they didn't release 1-3 more albums to really develop into Travelling rather then a generic Canterbury Scene artist. Also there is actually not very much organ on this album rather there is ALOT of acoustic piano. Canterbury Sound Score 5/5.

Report this review (#2590932)
Posted Tuesday, August 31, 2021 | Review Permalink

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