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Lard Free Vol. III [Aka: Spirale Malax] album cover
3.92 | 45 ratings | 6 reviews | 13% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1977

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Spirale Malax (17:12)
2. Synthetic Seasons (17:23) :
- Part 1 (3:25)
- Part 2 (5:15)
- Part 3 (3:24)
- Part 4 (5:19)

Total Time: 34:35

Line-up / Musicians

- Xavier Baulleret / guitars
- Yves Lanes / EMS & Synthi synths
- Jean Pierre Thiraut / clarinet
- Gilbert Artman / drums, vibes, grand piano, Hammond organ, ARP synth, composer

Releases information

Artwork: Claude Yvel

LP Cobra ‎- COB 37007 (1977, France)

CD Spalax - CD 14224 (1993, France)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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LARD FREE Vol. III [Aka: Spirale Malax] ratings distribution

(45 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(13%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(58%)
Good, but non-essential (18%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

LARD FREE Vol. III [Aka: Spirale Malax] reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars Once again , Lard Free presents another very different facet compared with the preceding ones and sadly this was to be their last one. But this album is clearly in the continuity of their previous Midnight album, taking the Krautrock presented there a step further almost to reach Tangerine Dream.

If I mention Tangerine Dream, I am speaking of a cross between the Zeit/Atem era and the Phaedra/Rubycon era. But the main difference would be that there are a lot more instruments ouside of KB , least of all is that searing Frippian guitar work that the successor of Pinhas (it was him in the Midnight album) , Baullieret would go unnoticed (you could swear it was Pinhas in here too) if it was not for his credits! As always the Fripp/Eno influences in Lard Free albums is overbearing!

Side 1 is a side-long track Spirale Malax (so imposing it gave its name to the album , but the album was originally entitled III) that is so remiscent of Tan Dream mixed with influences of minimalist Terry Riley (Thanks Philippe) that you will check again to see if you have the right disc in the deck! Slowly evolving music but definitely more eventful than T D. The other track on side 2 is divided in three sections according to the Spalax CD and four in the information above (this is often a problem with Spalax label products, the track listings on the booklet do not agree with the music on the discs). Anyway Synthetic Season is another awesome track!

Since I had to write my review in two days since this track confusion thing, I could read my reviewing colleague Philipe asking you not to take into account Tangerine Dream influences into account, he might well re-listen to the four albums I mentionned above come back to me with his new impressions!

Review by philippe
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Third and an other convincing effort by Gilbert Artman (keyboardist and man behind the machines). The first track "spiral Malax" starts with a rather supernatural electronic atmosphere. Noisy, cosmic sounds and repetitive guitar patterns all added to create a kind of trance phenomena. It has some evident Terry Riley accents in his long epic improvisations for keyboards (in "rainbow in curved air", for instance). The following track begins with a massive industrial drum set perceived in the background and a strange atmospheric mood. Always minimalist in tone, it let the place to a very sinister, distorted guitar work, then the vibraphone and the piano rise progressively. The fourth tune is a small piece near to classical contemporary music, entirely built around the piano and the clarinet. Almost without transition we pass to the mesmerizing, very chaotic tune which closes the album. We can hear a repetitive heavy drum pulse, really dark and raw guitar lines and hypnotic sound manipulations. Avoid taking in consideration what have been said in the previous review concerning the fact that this album should have similarities with Tangerine Dream. Despite that they both use electronic gadgets and they experiment synth sounds the result tend to be very different (Lard Free is less meditative and less sophisticated, really more urban in sound). However as for Heldon, the Fripp / Eno influences are well marked, especially in Spiral Malax.
Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars Like the previous record "I'm Around About Midnight" this one is dark and spacey with lots of electronics. Again HELDON is an excellent reference point, and these two bands are about as close to Krautrock as any French bands will come. The album is made up of two side long suites, although the second side is divided into 4 parts, even though these songs all blend together.

"Spirale Malax" opens quietly as sounds slowly rise out of silent space, pulsating as a cosmic wind howls in the background. Guitar comes in at 2 minutes followed by a keyboard melody as the mood lightens. The tempo picks up and the sound gets louder after 4 minutes. The drums become prominant after 10 minutes as the song settles down a bit. The guitar takes the lead before 12 minutes and backs off a couple of minutes later. The drums stop 16 1/2 minutes in as the pulsating sounds like in the beginning end it. Whew ! The trip is over and i'm still in one piece.

"Synthetic Seasons" begins with Part 1. Cold, spacey winds blow for 1 1/2 minutes before being interupted by drums in this haunting soundscape. Part 2 continues with the eerie backdrop as the drums start to beat faster. A guitar melody arrives after 2 minutes. It is replaced by piano a couple of minutes later. Part 3 becomes very haunting after a minute with no beat or melody just creepy sounds. Part 4 gets a drum beat 30 seconds in as angular guitar melodies join in as the sound builds. This is almost catchy. Haha. The guitar makes this the best of the four parts for me.

I actually enjoyed this a little more than the previous one. Flip a coin I guess because it's close. I do enjoy the later HELDON albums a lot more, and would compare these more to his middle period. If you enjoy Krautrock, Electronics or dark and spacey music, you need to check LARD FREE's last two albums out.

Review by Dobermensch
4 stars This is Drummer / keyboardist Gilbert Artman's last outing as the awfully monikered 'Lard Free'. Surely one of the worst named bands of all time?

Comparisons with Heldon are inevitable, and rightly so as they've both played in each others bands. Sometimes sounding a bit repetitive but ultimately leading to a tranced out feeling of stupor, it's very easy to get caught up in this weirdness. I'm sure most folk would find this too cold to listen to. It's almost as if it was composed by androids. 'Spirale Malax' has an excellent use of stereo and the treated guitars sound great too. ARP's and EMS's are used throughout and there's lots of backward rotating drums and echoes.

It's not going to win any prizes, but it's an excellent experiment in electronics.

Mr Artman would later go on to form the even stranger 'Urban Sax' - An orchestra of between 25 -50 people who played saxophone. Now that really was a head scrambler!

Review by Warthur
4 stars Lard Free's third album reminds me of early jams by the likes of Tangerine Dream or Amon Duul II, but performed taking into account some 7 or 8 years of subsequent musical development on the prog and krautrock scenes. Yves Lanes' synthesiser work veers between Hawkwind-like starship instrument panel noises and Tangerine Dream-esque soundscapes, whilst Xavier Bauilleret's guitar is a stern, brooding monster that can come out to lay down some discipline on proceedings at any time. The band may have been French, but they'd clearly been paying a lot of attention to what the krautrock scene had been doing and here produce an album that deserves consideration among such peers.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Yes - actually Lard Free wasn't real band because of the other members changing on every record. This one was the last and the most electronic effort of LF. We can't hear bass guitar here anymore. The instruments on this item are mostly synths, in addition yet piano, drums, vibes, guitar - and ... (read more)

Report this review (#70297) | Posted by Rainer Rein | Thursday, February 23, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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