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Catherine Ribeiro & Alpes

Psychedelic/Space Rock

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Catherine Ribeiro  & Alpes Paix album cover
4.12 | 50 ratings | 8 reviews | 36% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Roc Alpin (3:02)
2. Jusqu'à Ce Que la Foce de T'Aimer Me Manque (2:56)
3. Paix (15:37)
4. Un Jour... la Mort (24:33)

Total Time 46:15

Line-up / Musicians

- Catherine Ribeiro / vocals
- Patrice Moullet / acoustic guitar, lyre
- Patrice Lemoine / organ
- Jean-Sébastien Lemoine / percussion, bass

- Michel Santangelli / drums (1)

Releases information

Artwork: Jean-Pierre Leloir (photo)

LP Philips ‎- 6325 019 (1972, France)
LP Philipo ‎- Rib-001 (2016, France)

CD Mantra ‎- MANTRA 078 (1993, France)

Thanks to oliverstoned for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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CATHERINE RIBEIRO & ALPES Paix ratings distribution

(50 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(36%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
Good, but non-essential (10%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by oliverstoned
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Considered as their most progressive output, the 1972 "Paix" album (released in 1974) features two excellent long pieces, the 15mn eponym track "Paix" and the 24mn "Un jour. la Mort". The beginning of the "Paix" piece reminds of german prog thanks to a dark acid introduction with cosmic keyboards and a haunting bass. There's an impressive organ part sounding like Canterburyan trafficked organ sound. Then comes the lyrics declaimed by Catherine Ribeiro which gain progressively in intensity. The breathtaking "Un Mort" is even better with very intense lyrics related to death, multi-layered keyboard and guitar soundscapes over pulsing percussions. One of the most original records from the 70's French underground.
Review by Sean Trane
4 stars CR&A's third album (fourth if you count the 2Bis album) is probably the best acclaimed by connoisseurs and deservedly so! Their hippy psych rock filled with revolutionary ideals in their lyrics works wonders in this case as it will in the next few albums, but back in 72, there was still a lot of peoplethat actually believe it was all still possible, something the 73 oil crisis will crush (at least in the old world and around the globe, bar the US). The quintet has again suffered some line-up shuffle and besides guitarist/composer Mouillet, percussionist, drummer Santangelli and keyboard Lemoine, appears Jean-Sébastien, brother of Patrice on bass guitar. With only four tracks and a very pastoral artwork cover

Starting with the wordless a cappella Roc Alpin, the album is off to a rather short &and unrepresentative upbeat track, that presents a slight folk feel. Much more impressive is the equally short (both around the 3-mins track) Jusqu'à Ce Que La Force, which shows all the usual CR&A dramatics over a Tony Banks organ line. Ribeiro's vocals are again very powerful, maybe recorded a tad too low, but her French singing shouldn't be a problem for anyone having the basis of the language. This minimum French is of course mandatory to understand Catherine's usually very strong lyrics, often selling revolution as if the obvious alternative; her sometimes arresting images in her lyrics are very powerful and add much to the group's flavour. Indeed the lengthy (15-mins+) title track starts on an extended instrumental intro (and equally long outro), showing the musical quartet being very good at their respective tricks, but its constantly crescendoing prog chords only add that much weight once Catherine starts bellowing her "peace" messages: "peace to our bellies, tanks for academics garbage" or "peace to our degenerate generations".

The flipside's sidelong suite, Un Jour. La Mort, is another fabulous journey into Alpes' universe: slow organ grindings with spacey electric guitar whinings taking their sweet times to develop, but once the bass gets along, Ribeiro's death-throes scat vocals are taking you on the other side of life, the whole thing dying down around the 7,5 mins mark, until Ribeiro's singing is now taking an almost liturgical tone (especially over the organ), until she becomes seductive and enticing, even when using colourful rebellious and thoughtful revolutionary lyrics. Interrupted by a strident musical raga-like interlude sprinkled with dissonant piano, enchanting acoustic guitar strums, Catherine comes back eructing death, claiming she's not a real lesbian (too bad for her. She's missing out, I am one ;o)), the same happening a little later than Catherine promising to make you a kid as the track slowly retires in a mish mash or her rantings and other antics mixed with strong organ.

Rather hard not to agree with many that Paix is one of CR&A's major achievements, Paix is indeed the perfect entry point to those seeking to enter this amazing French psychedelia. You'll have understood that CR&A is not for everyone, but if you love unusual music and smile at the thought of saying "WTF is this music???", no doubt that CR&A will take a few spins per year in the next few decades in your life.

Review by DamoXt7942
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams
4 stars A delightful French folk? No, not at all!

Let me say please don't be deceived by the first poppy French pop-rock Roc Alpin - Alpine Rock. Ah, sorry, of course this is a very smart and fine song, with Catherine's masculine husky and overwhelming voices and rhythmical French poppy sounds. Consider this is exactly a wonderful French Rock song. And furthermore, in the next ballad Jusqu'a Ce Que La Force De T'aimer Me Manque, with a flamenco guitar solo, Catherine's voices can get more flexible, more passionate, and more melancholic. Cannot help crying in her graceful but exploding chorus, let's try this ACID FOLK!

However, naturally, the real gems in this album should be the last two long songs - especially, the last track Un Jour... La Mort, with three independent parts in it, has absolutely all of their musical essence; quiet, smooth, (and a bit boring) opening... Catherine's mysteriously hoarse but palmy, fruity vibrations with heavy riffs of a bass solo... ethnic percussive sounds with her aggressive French singin'... and based on a fantastic electric guitar solo, impressing avalanche of pleasant voices and psychedelic keyboard & guitar sounds... even her shouts and cries can be comfortable for us, what a beautiful ending scene!

The title track Paix is another gem. spacey percussion is particularly impressive. Repetitive and fragrant riffs by a fancy keyboard solo and a simple (and sometimes eccentrically heavy) guitar one can remind us French progressive folk with some danceable and sensual texture. But the basis of this song is "Rock" I wanna say.

Oh, anyway, finally let me say - Roc Alpin can be very fit for my daily jog. :-)

Review by Dobermensch
5 stars Here we have the usual awful clash of dress sense on the sleeve complete with ropey photograph. Thankfully, I'm here to rate the music. Ribeiro still looks pretty hot though eh? What a jawline!

'Paix' gets off to a surprisingly jaunty start complete with 'La-la-la-la-la' vocals on 'Roc Alpin' with Ribeiro sounding like she's throwing daisies up in the air in a sunny forest. It's unrepresentative of what's to follow though.

Track two is more like I was expecting. Acoustic in nature with lots of weird effects pushed through the instruments along with the usual astounding baritone vocals of Catherine Ribeiro. The title track is the highlight. Fifteen minutes of near perfect music. Somewhat doom laden and pretty heavy in atmosphere.

Thankfully I can't speak much French - (apart from 'Le chien mange de pomme') and I'm led to believe that this might help matters, as there's supposedly a fair bit of Socialism in a Communist kind of way involved in the band's beliefs.

The last track 'Un Jour... La Mort' takes up a mighty 24 minutes. This has that 'jenais se quois' that all Ribeiro and Alpes albums retain - even after nearly 40 years. Indescribably beautiful.

There's a lot of bongos present on this album and apart from the first track there's no drum kit at all, which gives things a strange folky groove. Hypnotic and psychedelic are the two words I'd use to sum 'Paix' up with.

The best female vocalist ever? Well, she's better than Lisa Gerard, Kate Bush and Diamanda Galas. So quite probably. Excellent

Review by Warthur
4 stars What if Hawkwind or Gong went folk, with Nico on lead vocals? Perhaps they would have ended up with a sound a bit like the one exhibited by Catherine Ribeiro's backing group Alpes on this release. Sputtering hazily between psychedelic space rock vistas and hippy folk chants and songs, this bizarre release combines adventurous musical experimentation with capable and diverse vocals on the part of Catherine herself, which have a resonance and a boldness to them matched by very few. There aren't many groups who can count themselves as having a truly unique sound, but Alpes might just be one of them.
Review by Guldbamsen
4 stars I'm prolonging my stay in France for the next couple of reviews (and of course for the fragrant opium cheeses) this fabulously outrageous album called Paix came out in 1972, and believe you me when I say that it's formed in the hands of a group you've never heard the likes of in your life. With the progressive folk scene frolicking in all kinds of constellations - the vibe coming out of Germany felt particularly hippiyish - let's all get together and sit on the lawn, while a good deal of the music coming from the British isles suddenly had changed - fast becoming more introvert and "ugly" in its expression - epitomized by the likes of Comus, Jan Dukes de Grey and Tea & Symphony. Catherine Ribeirou belongs to these mad cats, and with her band Alpes - formerly known as 2+bis - the music coming out of your speakers when you hopefully decide to take the plunge - sounds like a haunted and slow motion catatonic version of Edith Piaf eroding through the music like pouring acid of sand.

The entire album revolves around simple, yet obnoxiously brilliant guitar patterns that chuff along like a decisively more edgy acoustic Keith Richards. Even the finger play is spot on! Hurling in a sea of mist - the psychedelic and often luminous fizzing organs snake effortlessly underneath, above and right in front of the guitar - creating an image of a wild frenzied kid haphazardly in circles with a guitar on his back - swooping about the stoic submersible rugs of furry glistening sound being hurled your way from those organs.

The focal point of everything here is the terrorising vocals of Ribeirou. Man, I'll tell you - sometimes she sounds like an androgynous Gestapo interrogator with big booming demonic obsessions darting out of her like fountains of beautiful darkness. These are the sort of vocals that echo Edith Piaf standing on top a skyscraper summoning a dangerous and desperately edgy vibe.

The first track Roc Alpin immediately gives you the impression that you're going to hear a folk rock album with somewhat strange fittings glued onto various other musical surfaces you didn't catch the first time around - but then again the first time you hear this record, it'll stop you dead in your tracks - just because the vocals appear in the room like small splintered knives.

This is however not how it all starts. Paix begins like a proper album and serves to you perhaps not the most accessible tune, but at least it sorta rocks. Feels something like a being led through a green faerie wonderland with a large and merry sailor's wife going LALAAAAAHHLAALAAHHH LALAAAAH!!! Then the organs turn up and the moods get twirling murky and soaring. Small guitar figurines leads it gently to the door as it doses off into silence.

Then an extremely French ballad comes in the form of laid back guitar strumming, and the most raging vibrato I've ever heard applied to a female rock performer. Short and very French piece - sending you along Parisienne Walkways straight onwards into the sadness of the gutter. Melancholic sweetness haunts this tune from start to finish.

At this point, you've pretty much accepted that you've acquired a progressive avantguarde cabaret album, but then something funny happens - the mood changes for the more airy and porous, and I could swear we were suddenly somewhere along the ridges of NEU! - and finally the pieces fall together, when the odd electronic string instrument called the percuphone emerges and starts emulating the well familiar two stroke rhythm of a sequencer. Additionally the music veers into dark hedges and demented yet most befitting organ runs mimic the sort of free association you'd hear from a guy like Ray Manzerak when he played live gigs with The Doors. Right there and then Ribeiro steps in and speaks out on behalf of the mad country and focuses the spotlight on all the fabulous midnight lurkers of everyday life - sporting distinct left field convictions. The track goes back and forth between these two outer extremes - feeding off the powerful back swing it gets from either side of the fence - and then slowly coming to a halt with the electronics fading smoothly out, and you get the sense that the upcoming storm is awaiting brewing round the bend. She then sings out in the most angelic voice, and the skies rip apart like new born butterflies. This is effectively only a percuphone, a light decor of atmospheric guitar riff raff, some keys and vocals, but with this title piece it feels as if the world is on the verge of becoming a speaker and everything around turns alive with sound. It's a real trip man! Ford I love this thing.

The final piece instigates with a Cluster like elegance - like a feather caught on the up-draft - refusing to land anywhere. It's as insubstantial as it is pretty - and moreover, the soothing lapping watery music from the previous track now comes to the fore and you effectively get lured out into the slippery end, where everything seems like it's melting. When Ribeiro returns to song, all of the locked away emotions seep right through under the crackling of her menacing soaring vocal lines. Oh yes, there's buckets of beauty in here as well. The final bewildering whisper/effervescent rodeo flute always sends me off chasing mice in my skull. This is like having an alluring and terrifying conversation with the incarnation of Medusa's ancient bloodline...

I've loved this thing the past 15 years, and it never ceases to amaze me just how wild and out there this album really is, and that's with the simplest of instrumentation conceivable. Sometimes less is more. So true. So very true 4.5 stars.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars This sounds like a cross between Acid Folk and Psychedelic music, there's very much a hippyish vibe here especially on the first two tracks. The highlights though are the final two songs that clock in at over 15 1/2 minutes and 24 1/2 minutes respectively. Man Catherine is a beautiful woman, just a unique and gorgeous face while her voice is strong and deep.

"Roc Alpin" opens with guitar, bass and drums as vocal melodies come and go. An upbeat tune with keyboard-like sounds that come and go. This one's fairly straightforward and there's a 60' vibe with the vocals. "Jusqu'a Ce Que La Force De T'aimer Me Manque" opens with strummed guitar and vocals as the organ floats in. Keyboard-like sounds come and go too. Vocal melodies follow then back to vocals. The Psych/ Folk flavour to this one is strong. "Paix" has a sparse beginning with percussion-like sounds and atmosphere. The organ becomes more prominent then it's fuzzed out before 4 minutes. Nice! Catherine starts to speak before 6 minutes as the guitar melodies come and go while the bass, drums and organ continue. This is trippy yet her words seem serious. She starts to get more theatrical before 10 minutes and the music also turns more powerful. Love the fuzzed out organ that returns. Some almost avant sounding guitar around 11 1/2 minutes. Vocal melodies are back at 13 minutes. A psychedelic beauty right there, almost perfect and my favourite song on here.

"Un Jour... La Mort" is spacey with trippy guitar sounds to start. Vocal melodies and a change in sound after 4 minutes as bass and strummed guitar help out as well. Love the organ-like sounds after 5 minutes and also a minute after that. Vocals arrive just before 7 1/2 minutes and there's lots of depth instrumentally as she sings so beautifully. She starts to sing with more passion at 8 1/2 minutes. The vocals then stop as the music winds down until there's silence after 10 1/2 minutes. Then it kicks in with percussion, vocals, organ and more. Intense and determined is the sound here. Suddenly they seem to jam as the vocals stop. Organ and drums stand out here. The vocals are almost drugged-out sounding around 15 minutes, then she sings normally and man this all sounds so amazing. Silence before 18 1/2 minutes then solo picked guitar takes over. Strummed guitar and vocals follow. Bass and organ also join in. Some deranged vocal yells come and go over the last few minutes.

This is such an enjoyable album and it's often adventerous both vocally and instrumentally. A solid 4 stars and well worth tracking down.

Review by friso
4 stars Chanson, folk, symphonic rock in the vein of early Pink Floyd, a hint at Canterbury and arousing political poetry; this album is a truly original record in the classic progressive rock era. Catherine Ribeiro can sing beautifully, but will often to choose to almost 'primal scream' her way through the most intense moments! The gives the album a real sense of authenticity, which is often missing in smaller prog groups of the seventies.

The two shorter tracks in the beginning of the album are highlights, especially the melodic and fierce symphonic folksong 'Jusqu'' Ce Que la Foce de T'Aimer Me Manque'. The album continues to deliver two long symphonic pieces in which the band combines spacey atmospheres, spoken word (or rather political arousal) and gothic vocals. The power lies in the minimalist approach of the group, which creates a warm symphonic bath. Almost like a cleansing ritual for the mind. The music excites by keeping a few musical themes relevant by constantly raising the stakes. Perhaps Ribeiro & Alpes are so flexible because of the few instruments they use; often you'll only hear an organ, a bass guitar and a hand drum. Perhaps a bit like Robert Wyatt's Rock Bottom.

The recording of this album is good as long as you listen to it in a room with speakers. This is partly because of the sound and partly because of the ritualistic feel of the music. I don't know whom to recommend this music to, but I myself became quite attached to this record and its predecessor 'Ame Debout'.

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