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D'APRÈS LE HORLA DE MAUPASSANT

The Box

Crossover Prog


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The Box D'Après Le Horla De Maupassant album cover
4.18 | 48 ratings | 7 reviews | 26% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 2009

Songs / Tracks Listing


1. Ouverture (6:15)
2. Incubus (9:14)
3. L'Eau, Le Lait, Le Vin (6:30)
4. Mont Saint Michel (10:57)
5. Le Chat Noir (2:12)
6. Un Impénétrable Mystère (6:49)
7. À Bougival (5:07)
8. Sous Hypnose (7:01)
9. J'ai Vu (8:47)
10. Super 61 (3:44)

Total Time 66:30

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians


- François «Ace» Bruneau / Guitars
- Martin Lapierre / Drums
- Isabelle Lemay / Vocals
- Guillaume Marchand / Keyboards
- Jean-Marc Pisapia / Vocals, Keyboards
- Daniel Volji / Bass

Releases information

CD Les Disques Passeport (PAS-CD-1228) Canada (November 11th 2009)

Thanks to Tubthumper for the addition
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THE BOX D'Après Le Horla De Maupassant ratings distribution


4.18
(48 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(26%)
26%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(43%)
43%
Good, but non-essential (13%)
13%
Collectors/fans only (19%)
19%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

THE BOX D'Après Le Horla De Maupassant reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Gooner
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Talk about a late bloomer. I'll get my noble statement out of the way right off the bat. This 2009 album _D'Apres Le Horla De Maupassant_ by The Box, IMHO, is a prime contender for the best prog.rock album of the decade(2000-2009). Yes...and I've heard a lot of them (since I host a radio programme). On par with anything from Porcupine Tree, the newly reformed Van Der Graaf Generator and the popular Nemo. One word to describe this millenium masterpiece is _sprawling_. Another would be _moody_.

Elements of Yes, Van Der Graaf Generator, King Crimson, Barclay James Harvest, quartet- era Genesis, Talk Talk, Brian Wilson, Bark Psychosis, Nemo, Ange, Steve Morse-era Deep Purple. All the aforementioned are tossed together into the unique world of Jean-Marc Pisapia's THE BOX. This sounds like THE BOX and no one else. The aforementioned are simply inspiration. Quebec prog.rock such as Morse Code and Pollen may also be an inspiration, but that's for Jean-Marc Pisapia to know, and for you or I to find out.

The intro of the album might remind you of the ethereal space intro of ELP's Tarkus. When this ensemble breaks out instrumentally, it's a cross between Genesis, Van Der Graaf Generator and modern Deep Purple. When the guitarist solos, he sounds not unlike Steve Morse at his crying best. The heavy parts do not approach prog.metal, but hard rock prog.. Very unlike Porcupine Tree where they appear to be hanging out with Opeth a little too much (which I find somewhat irritating). In short, the instrumental parts sound like Van Der Graaf Generator recruiting Don Airey and Steve Morse while getting Tim Friese-Green(of Talk Talk) to make sense of it all.

Mel Collins/Jaxon-like sax appears slightly on one track(Incubus). There's a wonderful reoccuring sinister sounding keyboard riff that just sends you like a mellotron would. Back-up vocals are very pastoral and angelic(like a mixture of Barclay James Harvest/Brian Wilson/Porcupine Tree). All lyrics and vocals in French, but Jean-Marc Pisapia's delivery is very enjoyable in a borderline baritone/tenor. _Chat Noir_ reminds me of the instrumental piece by Curved Air called PARIS BY NIGHT. _Inpenetrable Mystere_ has a that unique The Box droaning keyboard sound from their very first self-titled album. If that's not all, in comes the Latin(yes, LATIN chant!). _Sans Hypnose_ has a Captain Beyond groove with Kerry Minnear(Gentle Giant)-like keyboards, although the solo is very Tony Kaye(Yes, Badger). _J'ai Vu_ is reminiscent of Zeppelin II meets Talk Talk(wow!). Nice reverbed piano. This album could be a great companion to Marillion's BRAVE(turn the lights out and turn it up). The only track that harkens back to The Box's early pop.prog is the closer _Super 61_. Not quite prog., but not quite New Wave either. A track that French band AIR would be proud of. It sounds like AIR meets Matthew Fisher of Procol Harum and Jobim(brazillian beat) and Bacharach. Pure magic!

This album is not likely to make Jean-Marc Pisapia a rich man, but it may make him a hired gun in prog.rock for production values alone. Truly groundbreaking. 5 solid stars.

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Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Errors and Omissions Team
4 stars So new album and already stained by controversy over two previous reviews. I'm pleased, but not so much. This is typical, better-average (feel free to add " " chars) French speaking prog rock (I'm still unable to differ French and Canada, anyone willing to help me what's the difference in music they make ?). Full of calm parts (even silence from time to time), longer compositions, not necessarily melodic, but also not ugly music. Original ? I say yes, but it lacks this "interesting" element.

4(-), because less would be unfair (in contrast to my other ratings) and more is undeserved by my opinion. And you know what, I understand gooner and if Mr. Sonix Explorer wouldn't insult (yeah, it's insult by standarts of my and this site), I would understand his point of view too.

My heart & mind lies here, in this state. To be honest, I'm not so moved, I heard far better records this year, but this is not a cat-as-trophe (hehe).

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Review by TheGazzardian
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The Box hail from Quebec, Canada. They were, apparently, more of a pop outfit in the '80s, but reformed in the '00s and released two albums that were closer to progressive rock, of which this is the second, and my first experience with them.

The opener, "Ouverture", starts off quiet, before it introduces a spacy section with distant "na na na na"s. Then the guitars and drums make a quick intro, before it changes again into what sounds, to my untrained ear, like an accordion. Ultimately, the song is about a simple theme, but the way that it is presented is quite excellent.

The second track, "Incubus", is built on atmosphere, but there is one instrument that makes a strong impact on me here - and that is the bass guitar. It makes its presence known, and even though I wouldn't call it a lead instrument, it does not hide in the background either. It makes its presence known throughout. The vocals are french, so for the non-french, the lyrics may not make much sense. Fortunately, the music is so good and the vocals work so well within it, that they enhance the sound regardless. The song builds up until the end, where horns have joined in and give the atmosphere some additional edge.

The strong bass work continues with "L'eau, Le Lait, Le Vin" (which, if my french is not too rusty, translates into "the water, the mlik, the wine"). The transition between the two songs is actually rather seamless. Like in the first track, The Box demonstrate their ability to craft a great musical piece around simpler ideas. Keyboards provide the texture for the first half of the song, but it's a punchy guitar riff and the vocals that carry the second half, aided by a good keyboard solo and some excellent drumming.

Mont Saint Michel continues the trend of combining atmosphere with great, catchy music, with an atmospheric first half that builds into a very, very catchy second half. The album continues to demonstrate, song after song, that The Box are masters of both atmosphere and writing catchy music. I would like to stress once more that the music is the strong point here, and not understanding the vocals does not make them sound in any way worse. (Although, from what I understand, the lyrical content of the album is also quite good - maybe it's time to learn french?)

The album ends on "Super 61", which is a bit more toned down than the rest of the album. I am not quite sure what "Super 61" is, but it is sung in English, in female vocals that do not exist anywhere else in the album, making me curious about their inclusion here.

Overall, a great album that is a delight to hear. There is not a weak track on the album. Stronger tracks include: "Souse Hypnose", "L'eau, Le Lait, Le Vin", "Incubus", "Super 61", "Mont St. Michel" and "Un impenetrable Mystere" (over half the album!). Highly recommended.

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Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team
4 stars What a magnificent album to sneak out of Québec! Too bad it's taken 18 months to climb into ProgArchives' ranks and garner a little of its much deserved attention.

1. "The Overture" (9/10) is everything a prog song should be: using unusual folk instruments, shifting back and forth from delicate to power, changing tempos, complicated vocal harmonies, awesomely clear lead vocals (in their own native language!)

2. "Incubus" (10/10) sucks you into its web with the first strands of its foundational alternating guitar arpeggios and deep, full-front bass notes. What a simple but captivating and fluid lead! Then you're hit upside the head with the spoken voice of the amazing Jean-Marc Pisapia. He's got one of those voices that commands attention--no, worship! The journey this song takes one into--like a ride through the countryside in an opened-up convertible sports car--only we're driving behind the old Iron Curtain, say, in 1969 in Czechoslovakia. Joy ride, open air but ever on edge, ever hypervigilent. An amazing song with absolutely refreshing music and vocals, tempo and mood shifts, outstanding composition and musicianship. Prog music does not get better than this! EVER! Arabian musical influences sneak in at the 5:45 mark.

3. "L'eau, le lait, le vin . . . " (7/10) Lacks a little melody hook-line (perhaps the French lyrics are intended to be the true focus of this part of the song) before a sudden shift from light, whispery to heavy LED ZEPPELIN "In Through the Out Door" drumming at the 3:15 mark takes one by surprise--followed by a Canterbury sounding organ (Wurlitzer?) at the 4:30 mark. Fades out with street accordian.

4. "Mont St. Michel" (7/10) has a church feel to it--organ and chant-like harmonized vocals--before briefly shifting attention to piano. 4:30 sees a shift to a more acoustic prog orientation like MOON SAFARI, THE MOODY BLUES, BEACH BOYS, and early PETER GABRIEL. GENESIS-like heaviness beginning at the 7:10 mark brings a real mood shift to the song?especially with a great electric guitar solo with support passage. An interesting, entertaining song that would probably be rendered higher marks were I in on the lyrical content. (Future project: brush up on my old French.) Winds down with full PINK FLOYD sound à la "Eclipse."

5. "Le chat noir" (8/10) is a little ditty that starts and ends with SATIE-esque slow, jazzy, emotional solo piano. Nearly as interesting and unpredictable as the original works of the young master.

6. "Un unpénétrable mystère" (8/10) seems to feed off of the momentum of the previous song, beginning with treated piano chords and playful cymbol play before the poetic sing-speaking voice of M. Pisapia begins a upbeat monotone 'rap' over a rather jazzy, almost STYLE COUNCIL-like music. But watch out: these guys don't let you get bored or hypnotized; at 3:10 organ and true Gregorian chant-like choir takes over the singing of the lyrics. Then the sound drops out at 5:00 mark for a brief uncertainty before picking up the previous melodies on bass, b vox, and background upper register male voice. Then it stops, only to fade the last 30 seconds in a very trip hop way.

7. "À Bougival" (8/10) begins (and ends) with (what turns out to be) a constantly repeating four-note guitar arpeggios, two pairs of alternating piano chords and male voice before a kind of support soft-jazz combo joins in. This formula continues to cycle back and forth several times with the occasional rise and disappearance of near-Buddhist nasal voice intonations and a fully jazz- oriented section at about the 3:30 mark. Fascinating, unpredictable, and fresh!

8. "Sous hypnose" (7/10) introduces from the opening notes a harder, heavier side of THE BOX--again with a very LED ZEPPELIN foundation to it. Enter a harmonized lead vocal followed by a bridge of an (intentionally?) 'cheezy' organ solo, repeat formula, provide a different bridge to the electric (doubled, shadowed, or midied?) guitar solo, and you have a pretty standard rock constructed song. Until a C part begins at the 4:39 mark when you have wavering keyboard, jazz electric guitar solo and vocal "ha's" accompanying the eternally playful drummer's cymbol play. Return to beginning-style heaviness for outro.

9. "J'ai vu" (7/10) begins right where "sous hypnos" did: with another familiar-feeling LED ZEPPELIN "When the Levee Breaks"- like riff until it settles down to make way for repeating guitar arpeggios and harmonized 'spoken-sung' lead vocals. Heavy bass notes enter the play at the 3:00 minute mark as the piano gives us a little one-time jazz riff. Re-eneter the L ZEP riff at 5:00, this time with harmonized vocals accompanying/singing over to great effect?which only gets better as the song builds and progresses. The last 1:40 of the song play out in the sown-tempo 'B' mode.

10. "Super 61" (8/10) begins with female chorus reciting the title while a kind of BURT BACHARACH bassa nova back beat establishes itself. French-style vocal scatting familiar to all who heard Francis Lai's theme to the 1966 classic, "Un homme et une femme." In the Francis Lai traditioin, this is a pretty upbeat, light song with some catchy melodies (and perhaps lyrics!?).

Overall a delightful listening experience--one that is so different, so interesting and yet melodic and of superior construction, that I will come back many times to hear many more of the subtle shifts, instrument uses, and other nuances to be found herein. Excellent addition to any prog lovers music collection. 4.5 stars, really!

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Latest members reviews

5 stars This is the second opus of musicians from Quebec after their reunion. Formed a new line-up in 2003, keyboardist and vocalist Jean-Marc Pisapia recorded a very interesting album, "Black Dog There" (2005). And four years later a new release - a musical adaptation of short stories by Guy de Maupassa ... (read more)

Report this review (#265781) | Posted by yalinc | Friday, February 12, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Wow! Long gone are the "poppy days" This album show a rare maturity for a band of this kind of background. Their latest opus ranks as a very solid prog-rock album, a contender for a Best of 2009 list...at least mine. I discovered the band under a new light. The beautiful and haunting melodies c ... (read more)

Report this review (#262022) | Posted by pollux | Friday, January 22, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars An album not to miss for 2009 Yes my friends I cannot believe my ears... Yes this is the same Quebec band that use to do pop music ( but nice sophisticated pop) and that was classified in "Prog Related" just before they release their first prog album in 2004, the beautiful (but short) album "Black ... (read more)

Report this review (#253086) | Posted by danielfortin | Thursday, November 26, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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