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Mona Lisa

Symphonic Prog

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Mona Lisa De L'Ombre À La Lumière album cover
3.58 | 33 ratings | 2 reviews | 15% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1998

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Captif De La Nuit (7:00)
2. L´Échiquier De La Vie (5:22)
3. Les Guerriers (7:12)
4. Passions (7:27)
5. Voyage Avec Les Morts (10:28)
6. Souvenirs (3:18)
7. Quelque Part Sur Un Quai (6:12)
8. Les Noces De Cendre (4:11)
9. Comme Un Songe (5:26)

Total time 56:36

Line-up / Musicians

- Dominique le Guennec / vocals, concert flute
- Guillaume de la Pilière / guitar, concert flute, lead (8) & backing vocals
- Alain de Lille / Hammond, Mellotron, Korg Lambda/770, Elka Rhapsody, Roland U20, String Ensemble, vocals
- Philippe Maury / bass
- Benoit de Gency / drums, percussion

Releases information

CD Musea ‎- FGBG 4251.AR (1998, France)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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MONA LISA De L'Ombre À La Lumière ratings distribution

(33 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(15%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(48%)
Good, but non-essential (27%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

MONA LISA De L'Ombre À La Lumière reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by erik neuteboom
3 stars Almost 20 years after their last album ("Vers demain" from 1979) French progrock band Mona Lisa surprised us with a new one entitled "De l'ombre a la lumière", the title refers to this (in English it means "from the shadow to the light").

The band consists of singer Dominique Le Guennec and the band members from Versailles. More than an hour we can enjoyan an accessible mix of early Ange and Mona Lisa and new Versailles, obvious less theatrical and psychedelic than aforementioned bands. Most tracks contain a slow rhythm featuring a bit bluesy guitarwork, often blended with pleasant organ waves (especially in "Passions" and the wonderful build-up "Voyage ave les morts"). Keyboardplayer Alain De Lille plays varied (harpsichord, organ, Mellotron, strings and synthesizers), his style reminds me of Tony Banks. This added with the flute from Guilliaume and the strong vocals from Dominique makes the music from Mona Lisa worth listening if you are up to the French language and a bit more mainstream progrock. And don't forget to check out their splendid Progfest 2000 DVD if you like Mona Lisa!

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars They say that if you never give up, you can actually outdo yourself and achieve great things. Well Mona Lisa is a prime example of a storied French progressive band that returned after a few decades of inaction and with the added inclusion of some savvy new prog musicians (the entire 4 man crew from Versailles), put together a fabulous recording full of old winks and new impulses. In the glory years, the Dominique LeGuennec led band pushed out some decent albums, as well as a few dandies (namely the solid "Le Petit Violon de Monsieur Gregoire" and the sultry "Avant Qu'il ne Soit Trop Tard"). The recipe was typical of the Ange /Atoll school of ultra-dramatic French "symphonique", great poetry elevated by some uplifting vocal theatrics. In 1998 and mostly due to the worldwide dissident revival of prog, LeGuennec decided that he wanted to leave another set of enchanting proggy songs that harken back to those heady times when fantasy ruled and trippy music was the thing.The album kicks off with considerable aplomb, with the doom-laden seven-minute "Captif de la Nuit", drenched in spooky Christian Decamps-like vocal calisthenics and a quasi "Cimetiere des Arlequins" feel, veering into Halloween music! The same mood is repeated with the third track "Les Guerriers". The ingredients are the same: the guitars weave magically, staying reserved, with occasional heavy leads, intertwined with rolling organ runs and some scintillating Elka Rhapsody (a French manufactured keyboard with a most distinctive sound) tapestries, all held sturdily together by a buzzing bass and some top-notch drumming. "Passions", as the title clearly implies throws in some wicked zigzagging guitar leads, ushered by some tasty flute and a ravaging steamroller delivery. But the true gem here remains the next and longest track at 10minutes plus, the somber epic "Voyage avec les Morts", an outright prog masterpiece that starts off as a mournful dirge, laced with the doomiest gloom, propelled by a binary bass burp and some two-fisted drumming, wrapped in some steamy atmospherics. Le Guennec croons his mortified heart out, guitarist Guillaume de la Piliere slashes out an extended bluesy solo that sounds more like Jimmy Page than anything else, relentlessly hammering home the grittily morbid message. A massive Hammond wave brings this hysteria to an end. This cut would sit charmingly well between Shaun Guerin's creepy "Monsters in My Room" or the Cure's sinister "Lullaby". Spine tingling material, indeed. "Souvenirs" is a much needed breezy affair, almost "chanson francaise" a.k.a French pop , with amorous lyrics and a sedate delivery, yet singed with a ornate guitar solo just to give it a pinch of weirdness. The heavy Hammond hand resounds majestically on the driving " Quelque Part sur Un Quai", this one containing an undisputed freak out element, mimicking the bland routine of a greasy train station, where the ones staying behind are remorselessly sad. The same melancholia is evident on the passionate "Les Noces de Cendre" where LeGuennec once again divulges his inner pain with a brief but mythical vocal performance. The finale is a more upbeat and playful send-off, with some more lightweight fare, so as not to drown in depression, again with a tinge of folly and grittiness that characterizes this style so well. This recording is not a polished masterpiece, nor a necessary addition to a prog collection. It's aimed particularly at the nostalgic lovers of the afore mentioned French prog bands and who are in need of an updated fix, so as to keep aiming for "Au Dela du Delire " (Beyond the Delirium). Otherwise, it's a good hour of solid music for the unconverted. I luckily belong to the first echelon and in thanking the crew for coming back, I have no problem giving this 4 Sarkozys.

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