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TRISKAÏDÉKAPHOBIE

Present

RIO/Avant-Prog


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Present Triskaïdékaphobie album cover
4.29 | 129 ratings | 9 reviews | 44% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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Studio Album, released in 1980

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Promenade au fond d'un canal (19:15)
2. Quatre-vingt douze (15:36)
3. Repulsion (3:27)

Total Time 38:18

Bonus tracks on 2014 CD release:
4. Dense (live *) (9:55)
5. Vous le saurez en temps voulu (live *) (10:34)

* Recorded February 28, 1981 at Halles de Schaerbeek, Brussels, Belgium.

Line-up / Musicians

- Roger Trigaux / guitars, Fender Rhodes
- Alain Rochette / Yamaha electric grand piano
- Christian Genet / bass
- Daniel Denis / percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Roger Trigaux after a drawing by Sir Charles Bell (1774 - 1842)

LP Atem ‎- ATEM 7008 (1980, France)

CD Cuneiform ‎- Rune 382 (2014, US) Remastered by Udi Koomran w/ 2 bonus tracks, new cover art

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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PRESENT Triskaïdékaphobie ratings distribution


4.29
(129 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(44%)
44%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
41%
Good, but non-essential (9%)
9%
Collectors/fans only (5%)
5%
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)
1%

PRESENT Triskaïdékaphobie 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 Review edited in 2014 in the light of the then-recent reissues Or The Fear Of Number 13, most likely a reference to Trigaux's old group Univers Zero's debut album called 1313. Actually Present started as an offshoot project of Univers Zero with both Roger Trigaux and Daniel Denis, but Trigaux was not to return to back to the mother group. The vast majority of the album is written by Roger Trigaux (who oscillates constantly between the piano to a searing guitar) and therefore one should not really expect the same kind of music than on a UZ album, despite the same kind of sombre ambiance.

Just three tracks on this album, one of which is simply the most representative track of Present's Oeuvre: the side-long 19 min+ Promenade Au Fond D'Un Canal. With an incredibly ever changing rhythm pattern but constantly sinister and metronomic-quality (almost repetitive to be minimalist, but this would be misleading) groove and helped out tremendously by Rochette's piano, this track is riveting, tense from beginning to end. The 15 min+ Quatre-vingt Douze is based much on the same pattern but reminds you of John Cale and Terry Riley's superb album Church Of Anthrax. Last but not least is a short Repulsion (a collaboration between Trigaux, Denis and bassist Genet) that has problems finding its place next to the other two "epics", but is highly atmospheric.

The recent reissues of Present's first two albums boast bonus tracks and in this case, it is two live tracks from the mythic Halles De Schaerbeek back in 81. The first track is a shorter version of UZ's Dense (from the then-upcoming Ceux Du Dehors) with a much more electric feel. A very interesting bonus track that could've fitted on an early UZ album as well. The 10-mins Vous Le Saurez En Temps Voulu reflects well the paranoiac feel induced by the title (you'll know when it suits US) with its sinister pedestrian pace that goes crescendo. Both tracks are essential and high-valued additions to the original album. AAMOF, if you didn't know of the original album's initial form, you'd swear the bonus tracks are part of it. The expanded booklet provides a few pictures and the first-part history of the band's first era, courtesy of Aymeric Leroy. The remastering of the album and bonus tracks was handled by the great Udi Kooran.

Certainly one of the darkest Oeuvre written back then, there are not that many albums that have topped it in that regard, since. I cannot easily recommend this album to everybody, because this dark sinister music is not easily approachable (and not suited to getting romantic with the girlfriend unless she enjoys doing it in a coffin ;-) and is at best an acquired taste. But if you are reading this review, one can say that ¼ of the way is done.

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars 4.5 stars. Quite appropriate that PRESENT's first album would be called "Triskaidekaphobie" (fear of the number 13). As Sean Trane points out it's sort of a nod to UNIVERS ZERO who's debut was called "1313". Three of the four members of PRESENT are from UNIVERS ZERO including UNIVERS ZERO's leader, drummer and percussionist Daniel Denis. While Daniel and bass player Christian Genet would go back to UNIVERS ZERO after this recording to create "Ceux Du Hors", Roger Trigaux wouldn't, their former guitarist would continue with PRESENT as it's leader. In fact this project was his vehicle all along as a way to express his musical dreams or should I say nightmares. The music here is similar in style to UNIVERS ZERO without the classical instruments and with more of a focus on the guitar and piano. By the way Daniel Denis would return to play on PRESENT's second album after UNIVERS ZERO recorded "Uzed".

We begin with my favourite song on the album "Promenade Au Fond D'Un Canal" a 19 minute classic. It opens with piano and percussion and is dark and reserved. It kicks in at the 2 minute mark with piano, drums, guitar, bass and percussion. It sounds great ! So much intensity ! It slows back down 4 minutes in but still has that incredible sound. Scorching guitar 7 minutes in, and the bass that comes and goes is prominant. It all stops before 10 minutes except for the piano. Percussion and guitar join in before a heavy beat arrives.The piano becomes very prominant again. 15 minutes in the guitar starts to slowly rip it up until that's all you hear right to the end of the song. Nice.

"Quatre-Vingt Douze" is another long track at over 15 minutes. A fairly energetic intro is replaced by gentle piano. It becomes uptempo again 2 1/2 minutes in with percussion and piano leadng the way. It calms down again 6 1/2 minutes in with gentle piano as this theme is repeated. The song stops 10 1/2 minutes in and returns slower and darker with eerie piano melodies. The pace picks up 14 minutes with some great bass as the mood brightens. "Repulsion" is the final track and is very repetitive with a piano note being methodically pressed every 3 seconds while percussion is used in the same way. The sound slowly increases.

Like with the music of UNIVERS ZERO this album is not for everyone. If you like that style though you have to check this one out.

Review by Bj-1
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Present was the brainchild of Univers Zero guitarist Roger Trigaux, showing his compositional skills outside that band teamed up with UZ drummer Daniel Denis, bassist Christian Genet and the relatively unknown Alain Rochette on the keyboards. Trigaux's ideas for Present notably shows the differences from his work with UZ with a more repetitive and hypnotic approach to the music, but while still being dark and gloomy - sometimes even scary. Triskaidekaphobie was their debut album and proves these facts spot on, and remains one of my most favoured RIO recordings to be released at that time. The music is dark and atmospheric, hypnotic and repetitive, but never boring to the listener. Another difference between UZ and Present is that this album moves away from the chamber influences and uses electric instruments instead, but the material here is no less interesting and it is in fact very reminiscent of UZ's 80's albums stylistically. The opening cut, "Promenade au fond D'un Canal", is the best piece here and sets the album mood perfectly with it's gloomy opening before turning into frantic and challenging Avant-Prog delights until it finally slips into darkness and goes through a multiple of sections before returning to it's opening theme promoted with a blistering and intense guitar solo by Trigaux. It's a composition that has to be heard to appreciate properly but it's definitely one of the genres finest songs. The next cut, titled Quatre-Vingt Douze, is more varied and goes through even more sections, although it's more on the minimalist side of the album at times. Again, it displays blistering complexity both in terms of musicianship and compositionally seen, although it's not as strong as the opening cut. Not easy listening by any means, but along with the previous cut it have a lot to offer and stands out as perhaps the most interesting part of the album.

The final piece is a very gloomy and dark closer that gives the listener a chance to chill, but with goosebumps and a chance to think what the hell he just went through the last 35 minutes. Again a very odd track, but still it might be the most normal piece here. Throughout the album, the musicians provide some excellent playing. Daniel Denis in particular does some really creative drumming on all tracks and spices the arrangements up even further. His unique style displayed with both Present and UZ definitely makes him one of my most preferred drummers in rock. Christian Genet's bass playing isn't as notable but he backs up the music very well and provides excellent techniques when required. As with his bandmates, he is a very unique player that suits this band perfectly. Alain Rochette takes the main role in most of the songs with his sharp and precise playing on the keyboards and he easily manages to boost Trigaux's arrangements up a few notches, making the songs more clear and understandable. Trigaux himself textures the music with long, soaring guitar notes for most of the time, but backs up the rest of the band excellently when needed. All in all, the playing from the band and compositions featured here is nothing but admirable, and it all works extremely well. This is not easy listening by any means, but surely a must have if you like this kind of music. You might look on it as a masterpiece, or maybe not, but I think this album is the best in Present's discography. Their next album is no worse so check out that one as well, in fact Cuneiform Records released both of them on one CD in the late 80's so pick it up if you are interested. A complete meltdown of wonderful insane, beyond brilliant stuff! 5/5

Review by Sinusoid
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars TRISKAIDEKAPHOBIE is the birth of a band called Present that sounds a lot like (and shares members with) RIO legends Univers Zero. Yet, it is fairly obvious that Present has its own sound that distinguishes it from UZ. An interesting paradox, yet it's so hard to explain exactly why the two bands differ. You almost have to have heard both groups to get the idea in your head, and it's still hard to explain.

Whatever dark, macabre horrorifics that UZ employed (speaking from their debut, they got more electric later on), Present sound much less acoustic. The main strengths of the band are the pianos, the drums (Daniel Denis; no surprises there) and just the intensity of the music. Both big epics have that last quality in spades; if you're a fan of avant-prog, that hair-tickling feeling of the sharpness of the music will rub off on you in the best way. That's how best to really describe why Present and TRISKAIDEKAPHOBIE work within the avant-prog scene. It's well worth putting an ear to if you can find it.

Review by chamberry
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Present's debut is such a well rounded album. Granted it has only two songs and an outro, the songs themselves are intense from start to finish, leaving very little to complain about. I find myself shifting between this album and Univers Zero's Heresie depending on my mood, but at the moment I'll take Present's debut simply because Trigaux' guitar make this a rockier affair (and I mean 'rockier' in that it sounds more like a band than just an ensemble, as oppose to U.Z.'s first three albums.) Genet's bass is unrelenting too; it's as pummeling as anything found on Magma's discography.

Fans of those aforementioned bands should check these guys out.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
5 stars One of the earliest examples of the unique hybrid of 20th century classical music, chamber music and avant-prog, Univers Zero stunned the world with its darkened delivery of these composites with its first two albums "1313 (originally released self-titled)" and "Heresie" which took the world of avant-prog into more sinister grounds and the basis of scary horror soundtrack music that wasn't from the Italian group Goblin for decades to come. Despite the eerie perfection that was laid out on those two classic epic album, composer/guitarist/pianist Roger Trigaux decided to jump ship and create a new band where he presumably had a bit more control. The result was the band PRESENT which signified a split between the world of Univers Zero and PRESENT where he stole bassist Christian Genet from the first UZ album as well as drummer Daniel Denis who would moonlight in both bands for many years.

With the exit stage left of Trigaux, Univers Zero was shown to have lost the darkest member of the crew as the third UZ album sans Trigaux shifted gears completely in terms of darkness by offering a "lighter" approach to what had been established on the first two albums. On the other hand PRESENT took the dark side of avant-prog / chamber rock / modern classic music to even more extremes. For PRESENT's debut TRISKAÏDÉKAPHOBIE which is the French word for triskaidekaphobia and means fear of the number 13, the darkness was a more concentrated form which unleashed a more frenetic version of what UZ had done only with a stronger guitar presence and a knack for crafting a larger than life sound with as a mere quartet. TRISKAÏDÉKAPHOBIE could possibly qualify as the scariest and most forbidding album of the year 1980 unleashing sonic demons and forever making you wonder if the number 13 is really Satan in disguise!

TRISKAÏDÉKAPHOBIE originally featured a mere three tracks with two monstrously long nail-biters followed by a shorter come down piece. Considered one of the unabashed masterpieces of avant-prog, PRESENT admirably picked up the torch where the first two Univers Zero albums had suddenly left off. The opening "Promenade Au Fond D'un Canal" featured a claustrophobic 19 minute plus run beginning as eerily dark chamber rock before breaking into martial guitar and bass groove much like the world of zeuhl with Christian Genet's stellar bass gymnastics reminding of Jannick Top in Magma's classic Kobaian output. While the music retains the UZ darkened chamber rock vibe, the combo effect of the zeuhl rhythmic drive, frenetic keyboard runs and perpetual cyclical loops bringing Philip Glass's minimalistic approach to the table, all conspire to create a bizarre surreal soundscape that took the world of avant-prog to more energetic realms beyond anything Henry Cow or Univers Zero had explored thus far. The track slowly transmogrifies into a more rock induced hypnosis culminated in some wickedly wild guitar workouts before finally ceding to the next equally frenetic offering.

The second track "Quatre-Vingt Douze" misses the 16-minute mark but is every bit as effective at keeping the album's mood dialed to creepsville. Fortified with more melodic classical piano rolls, the alternation of sensual slow moving parts and fidgety angularities of the electric piano finger breakers offearas another startling taste of PRESENT's bleak musical palette. This track integrates more variations of styles, tones, timbres and motifs thus making it less hypnotic than track #1 but even more frightening. The original album closed with the 3 1/2 minute "Repulsion" which provided a creepy ambient come down period with a repetitive tone, gongs and a blackened atmospheric drone sounding more like the post-rock of Godspeed You! Black Emperor or other similar minded posties than what came before. The 2014 CD release on the Cuneiform label features an additional 20 minutes of live bonus tracks featuring the Univers Zero tracks "Dense" and "Vous Le Saurez En Temps Voulu" which was allowed since Denis was playing in both bands simultaneously.

PRESENT released a total of six studio albums before Trigaux's untimely passing in 2021 but of all the albums he crafted under the band name PRESENT, it's this debut TRISKAÏDÉKAPHOBIE that provides the most haunting musical experience you could ever hope for in the days before scary music started creeping into various musical genres. While a direct descendent of the first two UZ albums, PRESENT crafted a masterful mix of the most frenetic and hypnotic styles of music that existed at the time and in the process evoking the otherworldliness of Magma, the minimalism of modern 20th century classical artists as well as the angular jagged workouts afforded by the whacked out world of avant-prog. With tightly delivered instrumental workouts that featured four excellent musicians making stunning hairpin turns in unison, TRISKAÏDÉKAPHOBIE is an absolutely essential avant-prog album that remains timeless in its bizarro mondo freakery and a worthy continuation of what UZ had crafted with Trigaux. M-m-m-masterpiece of progressive rock!

Latest members reviews

3 stars Let me first of all add that I am not an avant-garde expert. I have never heard anything by Univers Zero either. But most importantly, I am not even a nuclear fission engineer. This is a review written by a humble IT guru and an open minded soul. For the experts, see the other reviews. Thi ... (read more)

Report this review (#296406) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Friday, August 27, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Triskaidekaphobie - a brief search on the internet gave the answer to the question about the meaning of the album name: fear from the number 13. Well, fear is one of the emotions that pass through the music, but not the only one. Here there are three compositions, two of them written by Roger ... (read more)

Report this review (#135669) | Posted by ShW1 | Saturday, September 1, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This CD is very well done. I was very impressed. This leans more towards "Orchestrated" prog than it does "Band" prog. It sounds like there should be a mad conductor standing at the front of the studio, flailing his arms in the air while dressed in satanic garb. Much like Tool asks us to do in Sc ... (read more)

Report this review (#27665) | Posted by Pale Fire | Tuesday, May 24, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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