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Present Barbaro (Ma Non Troppo) album cover
4.27 | 150 ratings | 8 reviews | 55% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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Studio Album, released in 2009

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Vertiges (16:25)
2. A Last Drop (11:25)
3. Jack the Ripper (16:22)

Total Time 44:12

Bonus DVD-Video from 2009 Special edition:
- Live at Rock in Opposition (France) - Electric Concert (Sunday, April 15, 2007) :
1. Jack the Ripper (16:01)
2. Ceux d'en bas (Suite) (12:46)
3. Promenade au fond d'un canal (26:14)
- Live at Rock in Opposition (France) - Two Pianos and Percussion (Saturday, April 14, 2007) :
4. Souls for Sale (24:14)
5. Vertiges (17:55)
- Live at Gouveia Art Rock Festival (Portugal, April 2006) :
6. The Limping Little Girl (12:43)
7. A Last Drop (11:36)
8. Vertiges (10:24)
- Bonus Archival Videos :
9. Present C.O.D. (7:27)
10. Present 94 (8:38)
11. Delusions at Orion (17:18)
12. Present 2001 in Wurzburg (6:39)

Total Time 171:55

Line-up / Musicians

- Roger Trigaux / guitars, keyboards
- Reginald Trigaux / guitar
- Pierre Chevalier / piano, keyboards
- Matthieu Safatly / cello, keyboards
- Pierre Desassis / saxophone
- Keith Macksoud / bass
- Dave Kerman / drums & percussion

- Laurent Van Gorp / ? (DVD3)
- Ward De Vleeschhouwer / piano (DVD4,5)
- Christian Genet / bass (DVD10)
- Daniel Denis / drums (DVD10)
- Fred Becker / saxophone (DVD12)
- Dominic Ntoumos / trumpet (DVD12)

Releases information

Artwork: David Greenberger

CD+DVD Ad Hoc Records ‎- Ad Hoc 30/31 (2009, US)

Thanks to sinkadotentree for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy PRESENT Barbaro (Ma Non Troppo) Music

PRESENT Barbaro (Ma Non Troppo) ratings distribution

(150 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(55%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(31%)
Good, but non-essential (6%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)

PRESENT Barbaro (Ma Non Troppo) reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars 4.5 stars.It's been 8 long years since the last PRESENT album ("High Infidelity") so I was very anxious to get the new one. I received it about a week ago and have been giving it plenty of spins. Interesting that the core six of the lineup from "High Infidelity" are still here. Roger Trigaux and his son Reginald on guitars, Pierre Chevalier on piano and keyboards, Dave Kerman on drums and percussions, Keith Macksoud on bass, and Matthieu Safatly on cello. We also get Pierre Desassis on sax, and our own Udi Koomran is back to make sure this sounds perfect (and it does). This comes with a 3 hour DVD of live material as well. I'm going to focus on the studio album only. One of the first things I noticed is that this album has no vocals, it's an all-instrumental affair.The length of this cd is just over 44 minutes of music, which for me is really refreshing after all those 70 plus minute cds we seem to get these days. Three tracks including a cover of UNIVERS ZERO's "Jack The Ripper" from their "Heresie" album. Maybe it's just me but this new PRESENT album has more in common with their first two records then the ones inbetween.

"Vertiges" is a good example of this with the collage of sounds that fill the soundscape. It's just a joy to try to pick out all the different sounds that come and go. Some great piano then it settles with cello. Some huge bass comes and goes as well. This is great as the tempo continues to shift. Intense 6 1/2 minutes in. Sax 8 minutes in. A haunting calm before 10 minutes then it kicks back in after 11 minutes. Great section. Eerie sounds as it settles before 12 minutes. Lots of cello and abrupt outbursts. The tempo starts to pick back up before 14 minutes. Nice bass lines here with guitar. The piano that follows really impresses.

"A Last Drop" opens with piano then these prominant bass lines join in. So much going on though. Check out Kerman ! This builds to an intense climax then an eerie calm follows. A pleasant calm after 7 minutes then it kicks back in. It's building. This is amazing ! It settles once again after 8 1/2 minutes pretty much to the end. "Jack The Ripper" has this dark and haunting intro (surprise) as cello joins the sparse piano. More intense after 2 1/2 minutes as it builds. It then settles with guitar and cello 5 minutes in. It kicks back in with slicing cello and some fat bass. A dead calm 7 minutes in then strange sounds come in as it builds. So intense 10 minutes in then we get a calm. It's building again with piano this time and strange guitar sounds. Suspense until 14 1/2 minutes in. It then picks back up 15 minutes in to the end.

This has to be in my top three of favourite PRESENT albums although they all are so good.

Review by TheGazzardian
4 stars Present's latest features three extended compositions, one of which is a cover of a Univers Zero track. This album costs a pretty penny, partially because it comes packaged with a DVD of live material, and it might be hard to consider shelling over that much money for what is really just two new compositions.

Let me tell you that you won't feel like you wasted a cent.

The music on this album is absolutely superb. It is my first experience with the Belgian RIO scene but boy did it make me care a lot. From the first ten seconds of the opening track, "Vertiges", I was absolutely captivated and knew that my money had not gone to waste.

The sound of the album is dense, aggressive, dark, dangerous, and at times even a little frightening. This is not a band trying to win you over with catchy hooks or melodies. The music is incredibly well crafted dramatic darkness. The entire band is very talented, and the interplay between the instruments really works well.

I haven't listened to the original version of Jack The Ripper unfortunately (I've only recently begun my journey through the music of Univers Zero, starting with their most recent as well) but the version on this album is definitely an enjoyable listen. Whenever I play it, if my roommate happens to overhear, he always comments that it sounds like I am listening to "Serial Killer Music" (which I have since informed him means the band is probably doing their job right, given the subject matter).

So, musically satisfied from the CD, I moved on to the DVD, and it too was an excellent experience. My favorite clips are the three from their electric concert at RIOFest 2007. Their first track is Jack The Ripper, and it is amazing how well they are able to pull it off live. Each band member seems to get their own personality through the show too. The bassist always makes me think of what Malcolm Reynolds (from Firefly) would be like if he played bass. No idea why, maybe it's the haircut. Pierre Chevalier is like the Lex Luthor of keyboards. Bandleader Roger Trigaux is like the mad scientist of the group. (His presence conducting the last track, Proemanade... is somewhat terrifying). Drummer Dave Kerman just seems like he's having a good time, yet at the same time his skill with the instrument is apparent. And so forth.

There are also some surprising moments on the two tracks that aren't covered on the album - the ghoulish vocals of the Trigaux clan on Ceux d'en Bas really made an impression on me, as did the appearance of Laurent Van Gorp on tube at the end of Promenade... (watch the video, you'll see what I mean).

The other videos are all interesting as well - the grand piano version of Vertiges was pretty different from the album version for example, but still an interesting listen. (I do prefer the live version from the 2006 set though, I like the way it sounds with more instruments).

Ultimately - a great purchase from a great band, I mean if it weren't for the price tag, I'm pretty sure this album would have created a lot more buzz around here by now.

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars 4.5 stars really!!!

Intro: It had been a while since present had released a new studio album (Hi Indefidelity dated from the first part of the 00's), and the live album (of a 90's tour) only partly quenched our thirst for more of the same (Ma Non Troppo, if possible ;o)))) ?. And to say the least, our patience got only half-rewarded?. Only three tracks (rather long, though) for a rather short album (by today's standards), and one of them being a re-visitation of an UZ's early classic. But to make-up for that, the ReR label added a superb and much-awaited-for DVD containing almost all of the available live Present footage all era included. The two discs come in a Cd + DVD package that's become a bit Cuneiform's trademark (ReR is a close collaborator and most of Present's discography in on Feigelbaum's label) and thus making it an absolute must for fans. The modern (now) line-up is fairly much the same as it was when I'd last seen them in 04 at Studio Athanor (an evening spent first in a UZ concert played a mile away, then in the company of Guy Seghers for a gigantic amounts of laugh and chicks a-go-go >> I kid you not, at a Present concert!!!), and it's quite a joy to hear their communion in the studios, sort of an intergenerational paternal:child friendly and musical confrontation: Roger, Chevalier and Kerman "crossing blades" with Reginald, Safaty and Desassis

First the studio album: the two "new" tracks are your typical Present tracks, even if with the "new" expanded line-up, there is little possible confusion and you couldn't possibly confuse it with any other band in the world, UZ included. Even the Jack the Ripper (present ? so to speak - on UZ's Hérésie album) sounds like the typical Present tune, despite a DD compositional touch that (thankfully) couldn't be expunged and Udi Koomran's production is absolutely phenomenal, even if this is hardly an incident, given the man's usual talent. Vertiges is pure bliss, while Last Drop (the one that overflowed the teacup) drips suaveness with its classical influences. These "songs" have obviously existed for a while, since Last Drop was played live in 06 and Vertiges since 07.

Next come the DVD: the main attraction of this double-disc set, and also produced by the mega-fine Udi, even if he had to deal with the original sound quality of the historical footages. Starting oiut with the RIO 2007 set (Trigaux is one of the co-organizers), comprising of only three tracks, all of them from the old days, including UZ's Ripper, the classic Ceux D'En Bas (from their N°6) and the ultra-classic Promenade Au Fond d'Un Canal, the latter having an outstanding self-destructing finale, when some human beast dressed as a wild Scot/Pict savage ala Braveheart comes in the forefront and starts hitting binary-ly a metal bar with a hammer as the band's crescendos until they reach the point of no return when Roger destroys his guitar on the stage and on his keyboard, while Kerman is chaining his skin and the whole group goes bezerk. A sure way to get a standing ovation, which they'll get. The second part is the next day's acoustic concert involving two pianos (Chevalier and De Vleeshouwer) and tons of percussions, including two and a half drum sets (Kerman and as a surprise appearance Daniel Denis, while Roger bangs as he can ion a partial set) and other hitting instruments (I think they're seven on stage at one point), the whole thing on some visual effects (in the type UZ had developed for their Implosion tour in 04), thus giving an awesome unique experience concert to the first Carmeaux RIO festival. Just as much a treat as the next day's normal set, probably a tad more enjoyable due to its unique one-shot-only nature . more stuff on the DVD: the previous year, Present had participated to the Portuguese festival in Gouveia and had given a solid, but "normal" set (given the usual festival set length), providing a fairly different set than Carmeaux's (but filmed in 4/3 format), including the classic Limping Girl (again from N°6). Further down (and a bit accessorily), we get some excerpts of the Trigaux father and son COD (side-) project on two electric guitars. Another treat is the outdoors Carmeaux' prior-to-RIO festival's 94 edition excerpt, where Present played (with Daniel on drums), while other tidbits date from Wurzburg's 01 festival and an Orion appearance.

Conclusion: If you're anywhere close to a RIO-Zeuhl-Avant-prog fan, this double- disc package is an absolute must (in good part due to the DVD, but not just that) and one to treasure away, much the same way you would, once Daniel and Steve agree to release the much-awaited UZ future DVD to come (hint, hint, guys ;-)))). But let's leave the wishful thinking to the fantasy realm and head back to the Present reality. Definitely not a cheap artefact, but it's definitely worth the investment and it might even be adequate as best possible introduction to a newbie to Present's musical realm.

Review by Warthur
4 stars I wasn't impressed by Present's comeback album Certitudes, which I thought fell far short of their first two great studio albums, but Barbaro has convinced me that I really need to take take another look at the albums that followed Certitudes, because there's some great stuff on here. Even if you set aside the fantastic DVD that comes with this set and is stuffed full of juicy live performances from the band, the CD comes with two great chamber rock spookfests as well as a fine performance of Jack the Ripper, one of Roger Trigaux' Univers Zero-era compositions which had pride of place on their classic Heresie. On the whole, because of the inclusion of this cover version I am inclined to consider this a DVD set which happens to have an EP attached, but the whole package is good enough to make me want to explore latter-day Present a bit more.
Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Impeccably performed and recorded compositions that are both intricate and complex in a way that is more similar to modern classical music than progressive rock music (like Änglagård, Kotebel, All Traps on Earth, Yugen, and, of course, Univers Zero) the music contained here is remarkably engaging despite the angular rhythms and chromatic scales used. Still, there is enough of a lack of "grooves" and melodic "hooks" that I would have trouble recommending this for casual listening (less so for "A Last Drop" as there are some basic elements of groove and melodic hook throughout this one). I understand that "casual listening" has never been a signature of progressive rock, so perhaps I should lighten up my judgment, I just don't find myself interested in returning to this music (whereas I am so inclined with the works of the above-mentioned bands). Thus my lower than average rating for this album: it's based on accessibility and popularity over longevity

1. "Vertiges" (16:38) filled with a lot of nuanced and fast changing motifs, this is truly a masterpiece of composition and performance without being memorable or very likable; I appreciate it's brilliance without ever wanting to return to it. (26/30)

2. "A Last Drop" (11:26) the most engaging composition on the album due to its "groove" and melodic "hooks." And yet, it is long... (18/20)

3. "Jack The Ripper" (16:41) One of the more captivating musical renderings of the legend of and mood created by the White Hall murderer (especially the "slasher" work of the viola and electric guitar). But, is musical representationalism enough to merit high marks? Is this "perfection" of songwriting? (27/30)

Can an album be a masterpiece of modern Avant garde/RIO music without being a masterpiece of progressive rock? If it's possible, this is one of the albums one would use to make your case.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Barbaro got my attention on the list of 'TOP 100 Little Known But Highly Rated Studio Albums of All Time''. I did not hesitate to get the album since I am really interested in rock in opposition and Belgian progressive music at the same time. Musicianship limits was really pushed hard in this al ... (read more)

Report this review (#300681) | Posted by omardiyejon | Monday, September 27, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Six stars. Best music of all time. This is the definition of 21st century progressive music. Summary: unequalled compositions and musicianship. After an intensive listen to Barbaro (ma non troppo), Close to the Edge or Thick as a Brick seems to have the musical appeal of a nursery rhyme or "t ... (read more)

Report this review (#271908) | Posted by spleenache | Sunday, March 14, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Present is one of those bands that just keeps getting better with each release. They've released some amazing stuff since their comeback with Certitudes (if we don't count the C. O. D. Performance) and each release bested its predecessor. The last studio album came in 2001, so expectations were nat ... (read more)

Report this review (#250035) | Posted by maribor | Wednesday, November 11, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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