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ASIDE BESIDE

Crossover Prog • France


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Aside Beside biography
With the phantom of GENESIS forever wandering about the prog vaults, one could argue that the last thing needed was another clone or G-wannabe. Yet, ASIDE BESIDE (hailed as the new French wave) are one of those rare intelligent followers of the mighty "G" who manage to give their material an unmistakable personal flavour. Clearly from the early 70's symphonic school, their album "Tadj Mahall Gates" displays a rare perfection for a first attempt. The core of the band consists of Lionel Giardina on lead vocals, guitars and Layotron; Frederic Woff on synths, drums and percussion; Vincent Chevalier on mellotron, organ and backing vocals; Pascal Riaux on electric and acoustic guitars; and Tristan Pean on bass guitar. A hefty score of 8 extra musicians also appear on their album "Tadj Mahall Gates", released by Musea in 2002é

Upon hearing "Tadj Mahall Gates', the listener instantly recognizes the BANKS-ian keyboards, the HACKETT-esque solos, even the husky (and pleasantly non-accented) vocals of a Peter GABRIEL (vocalist Lionel Giardina almost sounds more PG than PG himself!) But wait: there are also outbursts of EGG-like discord in this music (the English EGG, not the Swedish one); some killer guitar solos that range from Pat Metheny's to Allan HOLDSWORTH's; definite classical influences provided by oboe solos and martial brass choirs; even an operatic tour de force by tron master Chevalier-turned-baritone for one track. The performance is huge, the musicianship astounding and the production impeccable. Now, the weak points: the quality of the album seems to decrease slightly as it moves along, making it two-thirds masterpiece and one-third a bit less impressive - although they always remain on the safe side of prog. The other sore point is the absurd 5-minute pause between the last two tracks; why this fad is endorsed by so many a prog bands remains a mystery... Despite these flaws, the album is an ambitious, coherent and varied piece of work that is practically devoid of any 'neo' antics. And contrary to some of their compatriots, ASIDE BESIDE don't indulge in any lengthy, freaky sessions whatsoever. Their album is definitely well worth checking out. Some déjà vu, no doubt, but a mighty pleasant one indeed.

Very highly recommended for all fans of old GENESIS who long to hear the likes of the old masters enhanced by a pristine, modern production.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

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Tadj Mahall GatesTadj Mahall Gates
Import
Musea Records France 2006
Audio CD$14.95 (used)

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ASIDE BESIDE discography


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3.25 | 18 ratings
Tadj Mahall Gates
2002

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ASIDE BESIDE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Tadj Mahall Gates  by ASIDE BESIDE album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.25 | 18 ratings

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Tadj Mahall Gates
Aside Beside Crossover Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars French prog band Aside Beside was one of the Genesis wannabes from late '90s manageing to come with a single album in 2002 named Tadj Mahall Gates, issued at Musea records. Clearly influenced by bands as Genesis (Peter Gabriel era), Strawbs or Ange, Asides Besides remaining to pay tribute to the '70 prog masters without having very much intresing passages. Besides very gabrielesque voice of Lionel Giardina, the ekeyboards and guitars lines are very good on first two pieces Tadj Mahal Gates and Nightmare - Vincent Chevalier manage to create some quite solid and inspired Banks like organ parts, very good. The musicianship is ok, some Steve Hackett like guitars nad good druming, but originality lacks. Now, the main problem is that the first part of the album is more then ok, with quite good and intresting arrangements, the second half is almost mediocre with less impressive parts, mellow passages and safe playing. Some listners might have a deja vu when listning to Tadj Mahall gates, but from time to time I think may worth some spins. 3 stars, good but nothing more.

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 Tadj Mahall Gates  by ASIDE BESIDE album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.25 | 18 ratings

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Tadj Mahall Gates
Aside Beside Crossover Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

2 stars A French one of wonder.

A very tasty cover artwork hides a bit of a quandrum. Hence this review. Starting out as a bit of Caravan esque Canterbury scene album, it soon turns towards early Genesis. There is hints of Trespass and Foxtrot here. But the album also turns towards overbloated Phil Collins songs and mostly stays there. I can also hear the Italian band The Watch, themselves a Genesis copy, here. The sound is down my alley, in other words. It is polished and commercial.

The problems with this album is the total lack of any good songs here. There are sporadic good melody lines. But most of this album sounds like an overbloated Genesis without the good songs. And I can assure you I have tried to find good songs here. I have tried to like this album, but I cannot. Hence my stars....... or lack of it. Sorry.

2.5 stars

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 Tadj Mahall Gates  by ASIDE BESIDE album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.25 | 18 ratings

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Tadj Mahall Gates
Aside Beside Crossover Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars How close can you come to being perfect but ruin it by some technical glitches done on purpose or not (?) is the story behind this French group's rather tasty debut album. Firstly, a quirky name Aside Beside (A-Side B-Side), a reverential nod to the 2 sided vinyl LP, that has appeal to say the least, as well as some sumptuous artwork. Lead lung Lionel Giardina does have a Gabrielesque voice there is no doubt but adds the usual tinge of gallic theatricality, best expressed on the opening title track where all the musicians really shine, certainly highly evocative of the Genesis tradition. Pascal Riaux weaves some spidery guitar patterns, with dual keyboards blasting away in a very Dave Stewart-Canterbury style, a little zeuhl chanting in the mid-section reminding us all that they are French and do have a fine prog tradition. A dash of Mellotron adds to the frenzy of this highly appealing "entrée en matière". Frédéric Wolff is the main Hammond player, as well as the drummer while Vincent Chevalier deals with the Mellotron, Fender Rhodes and piano parts, both prominently displayed on the fabulous "Nightmare" with hints of Gong, a little Wilding-Bonus (funky prog), some wacky jazzy noodling, driving bass guitar contributing to stop and start the theme, amazing muffled English vocals with a series of Frippoid guitar seizures and a wow organ/synth solo that revives the Genesis style to seal the deal. "And I Hate Her" offers up some overt Hillage influences, synth and tron both nicely contributing to the spacey feel, floating delicately with fluffy abandon. "Autumn" is not akin to the Strawbs classic, preferring a frail Celtic harp intro to a sad melancholic lament, a plaintive oboe whimsically "playing my song", Lionel's somber voice in sequence with the mournful cello, Riaux sizing it all up with expert 12 string acoustic patterns and a superb female vocal intervention that duets marvelously with Lionel's. This is precious stuff. "You Who Know" bends into a different direction, trumpets and horns highlighting the fanfare, while maintaining the "Trespass" flavor on the microphone, an idiosyncratic arrangement that searches out a little dissonance. Good idea, because the next out of this world piece has this huge whopping chorus that leaves a severe imprint on the soul, "The Ghost of Love", sung with heartfelt craze, combined with a scorching Fripp-style lead, a definite highpoint of this CD, I could listen to these on repeat. The very brief "Tu Qui Omnia Scis" dives straight in an outright operatic style, with a big male voice singing in Latin, queuing into "Friends", a vocal-piano male-female voice duet that has an almost fragile aroma. "Christmas Time", as the title implies has a Yuletide feel to it, a gentle lilt loaded with choir work, on a melody slightly reminiscent of Here Comes the Sun by the Beatles. "Loneliness" returns to more contemplative material, with loads of vocal work from Lionel, trumpets blaring again in the hatch, a Santana like guitar solo to add some piquant, all propped up with some fine yet obtuse lyrics ("I've never ever seen the organs that should have played for the two of us , the Symphony of Destiny"). "The Carelessness Song" is really not as vocally interesting, perhaps adhering to the title's precept, yet spiced with numerous superior guitar leads, towering flute sorties and sprawling organ work to keep the interest level high. The finale (?) "Fruits of Meaning" (de-Meaning, I say) is where the sour taste mentioned in my opening shows up, a simply pulsating bass-led, guitar-machined groove with masterful vocals, grandiose symphonics and lavish rippling flute simply lights up the pleasure dome for about 4.5 minutes until it suddenly fades into silence, like a reel of film coming unspoiled. The silence lasts 5 darn minutes!!!!! I simply hate when that happens, no dead air with my prog please, whether purposefully or not. And then it suddenly continues with some atmospheric para-psychedelic rambling that sounds more like The Legendary Pink Dots than anything else, very bizarre: "ground control", "communication breakdown", really. Bad timing , monsieur le Producer . Because of this mindless glitch, the 5th star just fell from the sky in brooding shame. That Aside and Beside, this is whopping good music. 4 Gates (no not Bill!)

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 Tadj Mahall Gates  by ASIDE BESIDE album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.25 | 18 ratings

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Tadj Mahall Gates
Aside Beside Crossover Prog

Review by Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars If you ever wondered what it would be like to take the legacy of 70s Ange, provide it with some touches of Arachnoid plus some occasional dissonant chamber orchestrations, and finally, recycle it using an avant-garde pop rock filter, Aside Beside sure can demonstrate what an amazing result can be attained from that. But of course, neither you or I have wondered that in the first place, so the right thing to say is that this French band have managed to capture the main spirit of their country's theatrical 70s prog and translate it successfully into a contemporary rock language. Their "Tadj Mahall Gates" album is a concept album revolving around the subjects of mysticism, love and the afterlife in the context of this magnificent palace built in homage to a departed loved one. This band has two keyboardists (one of them also plays drum kit most of the time) and two guitarists (one of them is also the lead singer), but that's something that is precisely shown off. In the musical world of Aside Beside, interplaying happens to be not as important as elaborating textures and harmonies; what's more, at times, the presence of guest instruments such as oboe, horn, Celtic harp or flute is almost more featured than those played by the band members. But of course, the presence of mellotron, analog synthesizers, Hammond organ and piano can be noted as much as dearly appreciated by the prog fan who just won't get enough of those particular elements. There is something like an 'opera rock' feel to this album, although it evidently isn't one - Giardina sure knows how to use his moderately harsh vocal range in order to portray some dose of drama in his singing, but as it happens to the instrumental input, he never goes too far on that. This is basically an album of self-constraints, but nevertheless, the sonic colorfulness is patently easy to perceive. 'Nightmare', the sequence of tracks 5-7 and the somber two-part closure 'Fruits of Meaning' are, IMHO, the most accomplished moments in the album: all three of them manage to convey the band's innermost passion in is own terms. But you can also find a bunch softer pleasant songs, such as the beautiful 'Autumn' and the solemn 'Friends'. "Tadj Mahall Gates" is a very good album, and I hope that this is not the last from Aside Beside, since what they promise is really a lot: meanwhile, all I can personally do in the time being is review this work (which is what I've just been doing) and rate it with the appreciation that I think it deserves - 3.5 stars.

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