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LA FACE VISIBLE

Orion

Symphonic Prog


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Orion La Face Visible album cover
3.86 | 67 ratings | 1 reviews | 23% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 2015

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. La Face Visible (9:36)
2. Quelque Part En 1989 (6:41)
3. La Dernière dans in Berlin (3:39)
4. De l'Autre Côté du Rideau de Fer (5:17)
5. Puis un Jour on m'a Dit (7:00)
6. Résistance (3:59)
7. Stèle Blanche (3:30)
8. Le Singe de la Vie (5:12)

Total Time 44:54

Line-up / Musicians

- Janusz Tokarz / vocals, keyboards
- Pierre-Jean Horville / guitars, bass
- Michel Taran / keyboards, drums
- Patrick Wyrembski / bass, acoustic guitar
- Alain Pierre / drums, guitar

Releases information

Artwork: Michel Philippon

CD Musea ‎- MP 3306 (2015, France)

FLAC download - bandcamp.com

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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La Face VisibleLa Face Visible
Musea Parallèle/Musea 2015
$10.65


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ORION La Face Visible ratings distribution


3.86
(67 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(23%)
23%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(18%)
18%
Good, but non-essential (38%)
38%
Collectors/fans only (18%)
18%
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)
4%

ORION La Face Visible reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I had that eerie palm scratch feeling when I landed on the PA page describing Orion, a French symphonic band that went under my radar, forcing me inexorably to pull the trigger on an immediate order to get their highly rated "Memoires du Temps" (2013) and their latest the sublime "La Face Visible" (2015). Well, what can I say, the gut feeling that guided me since 1969 still kicks ass! "La Face Visible" is a thrilling masterpiece of the highest order, somewhat closer to Pulsar than the usual 'theatrical' French prog of Ange/Atoll/Mona Lisa, preferring a slightly more obscure and instrumentally heavy option with subdued and occasional vocals that add and not overpower. In fact, this is a keyboard -dense and electric guitar paradise, with countless soloing and textural embellishments.

I was initially attracted to something that caught my eye in the song titles, a reference to the monumental changes in the USSR that ultimately led to the surreal and rapid breakup of the Communist Iron curtain which had imprisoned East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Romania and my native Hungary. This Stalinist colossus, thought once to outlive all other forms of social politics, ultimately collapsed from its own internal corruption, inefficiency and callous lack of judgement. Freedom to express oneself was severely curtailed by the 'people's democratic' dictatorship, at one point even trying to ban instrumental jazz as being 'seditious'. The idiot Soviet censors were actually correct in their fears, as popular western music played a large role in eventually collapsing the rigid and inept system. Those iconic 70s Yes, Floyd, Crimson and Genesis albums were even more prized in Budapest and Warsaw than in the West because they were stamped as technically 'imperialist bourgeois propaganda'. Two members of Orion, Patrick Wyrembski and Janusz Tokarz are of Polish descent, escaping in 1965 to France and are the main composers who remember only too well the inadequacies and injustices of Communist Poland and now seek to immortalize those heady days in November 1989 , when the Wall of shame collapsed within mere days, totally unexpected and unannounced.

For those of you too young to recall, a physical wall of barbed wire, minefields, trip-wires, guard towers, self-firing machine guns and stiff border controls divided Europe from the Baltic Sea to Trieste in the Adriatic, turning once great cities like Prague, Bucharest, Warsaw, Sofia, Berlin and Budapest into drab prisons. Many were forced to flee with guards shooting at them (such as my parents cradling me in their arms) and seek a better life in the West, where at the very least freedom of expression is a constitutional right. The words of President John F. Kennedy remain visionary and immortal, a young leader who saw the future in his famous "Ich Bin Ein Berliner" speech that eventually led 40 years later to inevitable freedom. I urge all readers to look up the content of that speech and be forever imbued by the courage and foresight of what was the beginning of an end, at least in terms of political accountability.

The tracks all represent various impressions, the opener "La Face Visible" refers to the 'wall' itself, which was touchable on the western side, while unattainable on the eastern Communist side. In fact, having seen it personally, the East German borders guards trained their guns inward, preventing escape of their citizens instead of defending their 'paradise' from Western imperialism. The band sheds light on this fact both in the booklet as well as in their music, a greyish mist floating over the doom-laden forest of barbed wire, ghostly East Berlin houses with windows boarded up and the monstrous presence of the Vopos, ready to shoot to kill. And they did?Thus the music is rather sombre with a militaristic beat, disturbing keyboards and a raging guitar that scours the night fog , a foreboding ready to ask for your documentation and permit passage only if you are a foreigner. The synths are highly evocative with cascading waves of symphonic thunder and plenty of the chicanes, twists and turns that made Checkpoint Charlie so un-manoeuvrable to both vehicles and pedestrians. The more upbeat moments surely have to do with the 'other side', flush with endless light and eternal hope for eventual 'Einheit' (unity) with the rest of Europe.

"Quelque Part en 1989" (Sometime in 1989) puts into music the sheer elation of the sudden collapse of the dreaded wall. Truth be said, a series of inescapable events began with the 1978 election of a Polish pope that led to the Solidarity movement having the courage to rise up (once again) and challenge the brutal one-Party Communist state. Like the sun rising over tempestuous clouds, the suave piano and yearning synths announce a brighter tomorrow, where dreams can now be permitted again. The gentle vocals swoon over the wire, intoxicating and liberating, the impending winds of change as the wall begins to fall. By then, party members who were more reform-minded in Hungary and Czechoslovakia took over their respective countries leadership positions, encouraged by a new breed of Soviet ruler in Moscow, a man called Gorbachev, who realized that the morally corrupt, economically underachieving, militarily-driven and heavily subsidized social paradise was an abject failure. And totally bankrupt. This was the USSR's last dance ("La Derniere Danse in Berlin"). The music is both reflective and inspiring, as the trilling synth announces the beginning of the end , the once unsurmountable obstacles are now openly left to pass through, as the stunned Volkspolizei look on , knowing soon Berlin will be one. On the other side of the Iron Curtain, ("De L'Autre Cote du Rideau de Fer") relates to ordinary men, women and children who were forced to believe in a system that degraded them intellectually, morally, spiritually, religiously, socially and economically. Criticism was crushed by the secret police, nowhere better illustrated that in East Germany, where the dreaded Stasi (State Security) employed one in 7 citizens to inform, spy and denounce their parents, children, neighbours and co-workers, the highest rate in history. People were arrested more out of spite, mistrustfulness and envy than due to any fascist western conspiracy. Fear was commonplace and omnipresent. Communist propaganda also claimed that the west was poverty ridden, with endless racial riots and hunger. Yet, everyone knew about the west from exiled family members, they marveled at the material wealth , the amazing automobiles, the department stores loaded with variety and options, the blue jeans and the wild fashions. But it was the freedom to travel anywhere that really created the most jealousy. When my parents ran with me into Austria in February 1957, they were greeted with oranges, which were such a distant memory, they ate the peel just in case?. Also the rock music, the Beatles, Yes, Moody Blues, Jethro Tull, Manfred Mann, Queen and so many more. Steve Hackett remains a massive attraction in Budapest (and from his releases, the feeling seems mutual). The sounds are markedly more electronic and modern, the electric guitar showing daring and audacity, in a near Holdsworthian style, notes bending as the wind of freedom blows now more like a hurricane.

"Puis Un Jour On m'a dit" (and one day I was told) reflects on all the false promises, the distortions of reality, the dreary Marxist rhetoric, the endless glorification of the state that verged on a personality cult that would have made Hollywood jealous (check out North Korean poster boy Kim-Jong Un if you have any doubts). These peoples barracks were tragi-comic laughable, where workers were paying for an automobile for 10 years before it got delivered, generally without the options and colour or even the model you asked for and purchased. Freedom to obey, comrade. The track has instrumental loops and snares that illustrate the so-called "Pravda" (truth).

As this album was being mixed in early 2015, the Charlie Hebdo incident shook the French Republic down to its core and was the first step in a new/old fight against foreign fundamentalist aggression. 17 innocent victims who died needlessly. After release, I am sure that the November 2015 attacks in Paris struck another chord, in view of the fact that most victims of that attack where music lovers who died at the Bataclan, a famous Parisian concert venue. This is today's "Resistance", a contemporary rant about the crumbling of the European pipe dream, of Paris under siege by intransigent ISIS terrorists, of fearful citizens living in the City of Light and expressing fear and darkness once again. "Stele Blanche" has a brief accordion moment that is so Paris, a cool take on the past, present and future, especially in a country now stricken with grief. It is dedicated to all the victims of the Iron Curtain/Cold War as well as those who perished recently in Paris. "Le Singe de la vie" (a play on singe (monkey) and signe (sign) of life) puts this amazing album to rest, a thoroughly enjoyable release.

This album is about freedom, the gift of living in a just society, even though at times imperfect but at least yearning for a better life for our children. Understanding, reaching out and caring is important but courage of conviction and decency remains unalterable examples of humanity. Musically, it belongs with Camel's cruelly underrated "Stationary Traveller" and Proteo's amazing "Republikflucht".

5 Franco poles

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