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ROQUEFORTE

Aranis

RIO/Avant-Prog


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Aranis Roqueforte album cover
4.01 | 57 ratings | 7 reviews | 21% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 2010

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Roque (5:54)
2. Ade I (1:03)
3. Past (5:31)
4. Ade II (1:33)
5. Noise (11:46)
6. Ade III (1:17)
7. Naise (10:54)
8. Ade IV (2:31)
9. Tissim (5:40)
10. Aila (8:12)
11. Forte (3:08)

12. PS (0:56)

Total time: 58:22

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Jana Arns / flute
- Liesbeth Lambrecht / violin
- Marjolein Cools / accordion
- Stijn Denys / guitar
- Joris Vanvinckenroye / double bass, compostion

Guest musicians:
- Ward De Vleesschouwer / piano
- Stefan Wellens / viola
- Pierre Chevalier / piano
- Dave Kerman / drums & percussions

Releases information

Altr0ck, ALT012

Thanks to Sean Trane for the addition
and to avestin for the last updates
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ARANIS Roqueforte ratings distribution


4.01
(57 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(21%)
21%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(52%)
52%
Good, but non-essential (20%)
20%
Collectors/fans only (5%)
5%
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)
2%

ARANIS Roqueforte reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
4 stars Aranis's fourth album is a bit of a return to their first two album's foundations, creating a typical chamber prog that is in the purest Belgiam tradition, stuck somewhere between Julverne, Cro-Magnon and Louise Avenue's happiness on one side, and Univers Zero, Present and Art Zoyd's (French, I know) darkness on the other end of the spectrum. But if the first two albums had a joyous, almost frivolous side, and the very/fairly different Songs From Mirage, which explored a more melancholic facet of theirs with an added trio of chorus women; Roqueforte is definitely in the more sombre realm, no doubt in part due to Pierre Chevalier (piano) and Dave Kerman (drums & percs), both Present alumni and appearing as guests throughout the album. It should also be noted that some line-up changes occurred just after SFM, and pianist Axelle Kennes and violinist "meisje" (name escapes me at present time) are absent from here.

The 12 tracks, ranging from 1 to almost 13 minutes, are presenting a palette of red moods (the artwork) that range from near-orange (the lighter tracks) to dark brownish (the heavier ones). Recorded in the early spring '10 in Antwerp and finalized in Liege later that summer on the Homerecords label, RF is surprisingly licensed/referenced as 2009, so go figure.

It's only a guess, but the album's name is a play on words on the French cheese Roquefort, made fairly close to Carmeaux, the site of the RIO festival that Aranis played in mid-September 09. Opening on the Roque track and closing on the Forte track, the inner contents of the album is a typical instrumental chamber rock that sometimes nears the Tango realm, where Marjolein Cools' accordion plays an important, but not definitive, role; but it's an important trump card in Vanvinkenroye's compositions. If I spoke of the sombre moods of RF, it is still quite far from Present and UZ dark and almost sinister moods. Sometimes I wonder if Joris didn't use an electric bass guitar, rather than his usual contrabass (Tissim)

Clocking just under one hour - including the afterthought PS (post-scriptum most likely, not part socialiste) that acts as an announced hidden track last 1 minute after a 1 minute silence break, RF is well in the Aranis-line of its usual creations after a slight deviation of the previous SFM. And it should please all chamber rock fans and Avant/RIO heads.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#303842) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, October 14, 2010

Review by avestin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Aranis, the Flemish ensemble led by double-bassist Joris Vanvinckenroye, keep on evolving on their fourth album, RoqueForte, released on the fantastic Italian label, Altr0ck. While the first two albums provided beautiful chamber music with strong rhythmic backbone and some folk-ish tendencies, the third album presented more ambiance as well as vocalization. In this album, they are joined four guests, Ward De Vleesschouwer (piano), Stefan Wellens (viola), Pierre Chevalier from Present and Univers Zero (piano) and Dave Kerman from 5UU's, Thinking Plague and various other projects (drums and percussions). You'd think that adding drumming to their music would change their sound dramatically, but that is not the case at all. Dave Kerman's drumming is subtle and not dominative and mingles perfectly with the rest of the instruments. In fact, it sounds as if the percussions were always a part of the band's sound.

The sound is more edgy, rough, raw and yet still as elegant as ever. They have veered into territories covered by Univers Zero and Present, i.e. a darker and more brooding style and atmosphere; but they have not lost their identity, their sound and charm. Indeed, the Aranis personality is renewed here in this extended lineup. RoqueForte shows the group in their usual punctual playing and elaborate compositions, yet with a new direction and somewhat different approach, showing their strive to evolve as a musical entity.

The music here, while as rhythmic as before, seems more intent creating delicate but ominous ambiance. Take the opening track, Roque for instance. While they don't forsake melody for texture, they do sounds as if more intent on evoking certain mysterious and eerie qualities. I think this piece presents a well thought-out and executed balance between the melodic and the textural side of Aranis. In support of this notion, I'll mention that the album contains 4 short pieces named Ade I to IV which all seem to serve the same purpose as I mentioned above.

All of this is not to say that they don't craft any more tunes. In fact, the tunes found here are still as gorgeous as ever. Take the third track, Past for instance. In it you will find faint accordion playing with the flute strolling higher above it, the two accompanied by the piano and percussions, all together painting a magical and moving piece. The dynamics of this piece are very well done; each instrument wisely set in a proper volume and all of them move together as a whole up and down, louder and weaker until a climatic end. Indeed, the Past never sounded better.

Aranis also provide us with two lengthy compositions here. While they did this before, (Zilezi from the first album), this is not a commonality for Joris to compose pieces of this length for the group. The two pieces, named Noise and Naise, are stunning pieces in their beauty and arrangements. The flute has a lead role in Noise and its delicate sound clashes with the violin creating tension, all the while supported by the menacing double bass and the accordion. In this piece we also hear perhaps the most prominent drumming section on the album (the other tracks being Naise and Tissim), but not in the way you might think; a beating on the drums, in pattern and conjuction with the double bass and piano, create the intimidating canvas for the flute, violin and accordion to paint their lines and circles. This piece is a superb example of Aranis' current sound and of how they've developed since their first album. Again, this is a good example of the balance between melody and ambiance in Aranis' music. There is not a dull moment in this piece, not a wasted note. It all comes together in an enchanting fashion to a hair-raising conclusion.

An interesting piece comes in the form of Tissim. An aggressive composition, fast and even furious sounding at times. There is a remarkable interplay between the piano providing the basic pattern and rhythm along with the drumming (which are a little below it), the accordion with its own theme and the flute playing overhead. At times it sounds harmonious only to change moments later to a chaotic-like musical battlefield, it concludes in a recurring theme being played until end while the lead instruments have their "fight".

RoqueForte is a superb offering from Aranis, another wonderful achievement from a band that seems intent on progressing their sound. If you liked Aranis' previous releases, you definitely should get this as well. If you're new to Aranis and would like to try them out, I find this is a good entry point and you could then work your way backwards. As there are a lot of nuances, quieter parts and overall many intricacies, I recommend listening attentively and on headphones.

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Send comments to avestin (BETA) | Report this review (#304958) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, October 17, 2010

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars ARANIS are from Belgium and play modern Classical / Chamber music.This apparently is their first album with a drummer so why not get one of the best right ? Well in Dave Kerman they did. Also new to the band in pianist Pierre Chevalier who many will know from UNIVERS ZERO and PRESENT. Besides piano and drums we get double bass, flute, violin, viola, guitar and accordion. No vocals on this one. It seems like i'm getting my fill of Chamber music of late and this is another outstanding example of it. I really like how the music here seems to build then settle back, then build and settle back.This happens often.

"Roque" opens with a good rhythm then it settles with piano, strings and flute standing out then back to that rhythm. It does get pretty intense then settles back again after 3 minutes with strings. Accordion takes the lead for a while later on. It's catchy late to end it. "Ade I" is a short eerie piece. "Past" opens with strings, piano and percussion as accordion joins in then flute. It settles around 2 minutes then the flute starts to lead as it builds. It settles again and builds once more. "Ade II" is another short ominous piece this time with flute. "Noise" opens with flute and piano before a fuller sound kicks in. It's building a minute in then it settles some with flute outfront. It builds again before settling with strings then it gets fuller. A calm after 4 minutes then strings and bass come in, flute too. It's building. It settles back before 6 minutes with percussion and piano. Accordion joins in as the tempo picks up. Great sound before 11 minutes. Just a fantastic track !

"Ade III" is haunting with sparse piano. "Naise" opens with accordion, strings and bass as flute then drums join in.Yes it's building. A calm around 2 minutes then it builds again with strings, flute and piano. Another calm before 4 minutes then it builds with accordion, strings, flute and bass. It settles 6 1/2 minutes in and flute leads. The tempo picks up 10 minutes in to end it. Great tune. "Ade IV" opens with drums as violin,accordion and other sounds help out. "Tissim" opens with uptempo piano as strings join in. Great sound. Accordion after 1 1/2 minutes as it settles. It's building as contrasts continue. "Aila" opens with strings, accordion and bass. It settles with flute after a minute. Bass and other sounds return. Another calm arrives. It picks up 4 minutes in with a beat and strings. "Forte" is mellow to start then the accordion, drums, piano and strings come in. A silent calm before 2 minutes to the end of the track. "PS" is a short uptempo piece to close the album.

If your into this style of music then I wouldn't even hesitate.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#340422) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Aranis are the Belgian chamber rock band, and this their fourth album is representative example of this music school from its very first sounds. Similar to Univers Zero, but not so dark, a bit more sentimental, melodic and even romantic in moments, this album is really one of the best chamber rock release from 2010.

Usual strings section with flute and piano are supported by accordion there, and its sound gave some melancholic and very classic French/Belgian atmosphere. Compositions are well composed and perfectly played, and (for good) they all are not too much formal, dark or sterile. Spirit of RIO is presented, and it gives that live flavor to saloon musicianship. Some compositions with more melodic (even klezmer-like in few cases) elements and accordion sound are almost excellent! The only negative comment could be done noticing some repetitiveness in compositions, but in part it's a formula of the genre.

Great release, possible one of the best chamber rock album, coming from 2010.

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Send comments to snobb (BETA) | Report this review (#373060) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Review by colorofmoney91
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Roqueforte is a fantastic chamber ensemble album and the music here ranges from angry to depressing; very moody and red, much like the cover and album title suggest. Every time I listen to this album, I conjure images of a snake-charmer who is angry at the world, and him and his venomous friend seek revenge in bloodshed. The music on this album could very well be a soundtrack to my silly mental imagery, but this material definitely stands on its own as a fantastic piece of art.

This chamber ensemble's dark playing is unique with the accordion, which give all of this dark music a very weary touch and a folk music feel. The quality of this chamber rock sounds to me like it has great influence from Buenos Aires' tango master Astor Piazzolla, and that isn't only because of the accordion present (Piazzolla played the bandoneón, but you know...). The same colors and textures used on these tracks have a unique combination of South American modern classical and European folk music, though I'm probably the only person that gets that impression.

Some of these tracks are slow and beautifully dark, some are quite fiery and angry. And though the compositions here are fantastic with lots of great passages that really stick out, and the players are incredible, there are a few short filler tracks present that serve only the purpose of being annoying and "filling". Besides that minor gripe, which I actually have with most music, this is a seriously beautiful and moody album. This soundtrack to your rainy-day killing spree is highly recommended.

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Send comments to colorofmoney91 (BETA) | Report this review (#437885) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, April 22, 2011

Latest members reviews

4 stars An all-acoustic band that really has my interest piqued and heart won over. A more melodic than usual Avant/RIO band from Belgium that include violin, accordian, flute, double bass, and guitar with guests adding piano, drums/percussion, and viola. Delightful music throughout this album though it is ... (read more)

Report this review (#587232) | Posted by BrufordFreak | Monday, December 12, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The music of Aranis always has been very hard to classify. There are of course influences from fellow countrymen Univers Zero and Present but with their completely acoustic chamber rock they seem to have created a sub genre all of their own. Roqueforte, their 4th album, is even harder to compa ... (read more)

Report this review (#298991) | Posted by thedunno | Monday, September 13, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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