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LA THEORIE DES CORDES

Jazz Rock/Fusion • France


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La Theorie Des Cordes biography
A promising French jazz rock unit LA THÉORIE DES CORDES firstly got started as a duo founded by Mathieu TORRES (guitar) and Stéphanie ARTAUD (piano). Although their lineup has been changed frequently, they've been playing with being much inspired by 70s British progressive rock, avantgarde progressive, Canterbury, hard rock or metal scene, based upon the Mathieu / Stéph duo. Their debut album "Premières Vibrations" was released in 2011 via Musea Records.

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Premières VibrationsPremières Vibrations
Import
Musea Parallele/Musea 2011
Audio CD$17.63
$43.56 (used)

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LA THEORIE DES CORDES top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Premières Vibrations
2011

LA THEORIE DES CORDES Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.68 | 3 ratings
Singes Electriques
2013

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LA THEORIE DES CORDES Reviews


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 Singes Electriques by THEORIE DES CORDES, LA album cover Live, 2013
4.68 | 3 ratings

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Singes Electriques
La Theorie Des Cordes Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

5 stars La Theorie Des Cordes were a bit of an underdog band for me when they released their debut album back in 2011. I took a chance on their debut album without hearing a second of it beforehand, and was amazed to find a youthful, talented and clever band of musicians taking on the jazz/fusion/progressive rock instrumental genre, playing with incredible skills way beyond their relatively young years, and bringing their own unique and playful individuality. It was one of the most fresh takes on those styles I'd heard in ages, and I promptly gave it a rave review. But it's even better when that same personal favourite band returns with a new album that not only manages to surpass the achievements of their first effort, but show the musicians maturing and pushing their signature sound in more complex, emotional and clever directions, all the while keeping their usual sense of colour and spark. Certainly not a case of a `second album pressure' slump, instead this two-disc `live in the studio' work "Singes Electriques" (apparently translating to `electric monkeys'!) sees the band shining a light on a long exciting future full of possibilities.

Through much of this album, the band bring a love of the Canterbury Scene sounds of old and mix it with their own unique ideas full of spontaneity and unpredictable energy. Lovers of bands such as Gong, the middle fusion period of the Soft Machine and even a pinch of early King Crimson and the eclectic unpredictability and humor of Zappa will find much to enjoy here, with interjections of heavier sounds, avant-garde experiments and a general `anything goes' sense of daring that ensures this is not merely a case of remaking what has come before.

Disc 1's `L'Oeuf Schizo - part 01' drifts in on a swirl of dangerous approaching noise, the band settling in before a naughty strolling piano and sax melody kicks off that will have your foot tapping in no time! Alexandre Henri's bass snakes around the background, mixed nice and fat, there's endless spontaneous ragged electric guitar soloing from Mathieu Torres, dazzling jazzy piano runs from Stephanie Arnaud, all combining to bring some searing rough charm. It's cheeky and spiky while still bringing a strong musical intelligence. Cutting Soft Machine-like abrasiveness, percolating percussion and a definite sleazy sax, creeping bass and winding snarly electric guitar melody run through the very jazzy `Le Process du Tempes'. Spiced with occasional doses of heavy riffing to build some tempo, some lovely slower and thoughtful passages with very moving guitar soloing, wailing deranged sax blowing, while drummer Fah Pigny expertly moves back and forth around all the sudden direction changes. Gong fans will go crazy when they hear the floating `Shamal' atmospheres from about the 10 minute mark, all drifting droning sax full of lonely deserts of shifting sands and lurking dangers!

Although the band is notable for their quirky humour, it's their willingness to settle down if a piece requires it that again shows that newly found extra maturity. Stephanie and Julien really steal the show on `I.T', a slightly sad, heart-wrenching drifting reflection. There's a child-like innocence to the calmer moments, drummer Fay expertly and carefully picking up the tempo to drive the more excited sections. I almost expected the Mother Gong herself Gilli Smyth to come drifting in and weave around the players with her precious space whispers. `Circus' is the sound of smoky dungeon cafes hidden down unknown city alleyways. Snapping and gnashing dragon-like guitarplay, all teeth and slashing claws, cocky strolling bass/drums and waffling dingy Soft Machine- like sax. The band displays here a level of subtlety and mastery that only absolute first-rate professional musicians can execute so perfectly, just listen to the sublime build driven by Alexandre's bass from about the six minute mark! So much prickly energy and danger on this one!

Despite opening with drowsy, disorientating, hallucinogenic noise, disc two's `Paysages Urbains', with its mix of up-tempo melodic plucky fusion-era Soft Machine-like guitar soloing so full of joy, floating treated sax that wafts through the balmy dark air, evocative never-ending piano runs, pulsing bass and complex drumming, is your soundtrack to a sparse city at night, possible danger or unexpected excitement just around the corner, reminding you of the thrill of forcing yourself to take a new chance, of bringing about new possibilities and starting a whole new chapter in your life. A truly relentless, exhilarating and dynamic piece! `Nomads Land' by contrast is a maddening, intimidating, feral and occasionally comical devilish carnival, only Stephanie's twinkling piano and Fay's playfully light drumming offering us any sort of relief or possible safety, reassuring us that that the sights we may be seeing are actually quite amazing and wondrous. Some lovely slow- burning fusion dueling from Mathieu in the middle, draining every inch of spiritual life-force from his guitar, with Alexandre's nimble bass, before snapping mischief and saucy bluster in the finale.

The shortest piece on the album at six minutes, `L'Oeuf Schizo - part 2' still manages to bend chugging guitar serrated aggression and wailing, blistering soloing with some sonic sax violation and a surprisingly victorious, upbeat finale. `Sasha Grey', named after the adult entertainment personality, brings back the emotional heart again, a wistful, sultry and sad finale led by mournful sax, floating sympathetic piano and considerate solemn guitar noodling. It's a molten fusion meltdown splashed with brooding build and a thought-provoking climax.

How this band seems to keep flying a little too far under the radar of progressive audiences is beyond me. The skill with which the band members respond to and feed off each-others musical directions is absolutely first rate, and it's rare to hear live musicians so faultless and inspirational. Already this year has brought some superb instrumental albums, but this one may be the best of the bunch. `Singes Electriques' is two discs of impeccably produced instrumental jazz/prog/fusion music with an eclectic and often Canterbury flavour that will never become dated, will keep thrilling more and more with every repeated listen that you can treasure forever and spend a lifetime enjoying.

Absolutely exceptional, and well deserving 5 stars.

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 Premières Vibrations by THEORIE DES CORDES, LA album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Premières Vibrations
La Theorie Des Cordes Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

— First review of this album —
4 stars One of my favourite instrumental progressive related albums of the last few years, the debut album `Premieres Vibrations' by French band La Theorie Des Cordes is a confident mix of snappy jazz, electric fusion with some gothic/cabaret drama and occasional harder moments, though rarely heavy enough to actually be metal. The band is impossible to pigeonhole into one genre, with most tracks diverting in different directions throughout and never ending the same way that they started. There's a real cracking energy to the performances, and although all the band members are first-rate talented musicians, there's a loose sound to their compositions that ensures the album never gets overly stuffy or lifeless.

Piano player Stephanie Artaud is a revelation here, sprinkling so much of the album with endless varieties of energetic and refined jazzy playing. Guitarist Mathieu Torres plays with a fire that jumps from manic attacks to thoughtful and emotional soloing, while Tadzio Gottberg's drumming is varied and commanding. Maxime Jaslier also contributes wonderful sprightly sax and fluid bass playing that compliments the band perfectly.

Opener `Supernova' is an emotional and slowly unfolding piece full of frantic and passionate electric guitar playing, bolero-like themes and tip-toeing piano soloing with just the right balance between delicate beauty and slight unease. There's some occasional heavy grunt and brooding tension throughout but pay special attention to the dreamy and haunting outro.

I cannot express how much I love the Canterbury foot-tapper `Reves Premonitoires'! Almost seven minutes of instrumental jazzy perfection with a slight Latin influence, full of snappy percussion/drumming and plenty of Gong-like sax. Winding sneaky guitar twists through dazzling piano that moves from upbeat, cheeky playfulness and slight eeriness before a wild cascading climax. This tracks always makes me smile and puts me in a great mood every time I hear it - 10 out of 10!!

`D'Hêtre A Etre' is a dramatic slow-burner with an emotional extended electric guitar theme constantly reprised throughout, plus dark jazz piano interludes, snarling heavy distorted guitar and very impressive deep melodic bass soloing. Listen to how expertly the band contrasts the moody improvised middle section with a frantic race to the finish full of classical flourishes, wild electric soloing and crashing percussion!

`Singes' begins as a floating early 70's Pink Floyd shimmering mystery, lots of tasteful dreamy guitar and hypnotic piano, with a very reflective and thoughtful guitar theme that plays throughout the piece. Then half way though the piece kicks up a storm with uptempo piano, urgent drumming and snarling guitar before falling away into the psychedelic ambience of the beginning.

`Le Bas-Art De L'Epouvante' is another devilish and fiery bolero/Canterbury concoction with some gothic/classical drama amongst the dizzying piano storm and truly ragged dirty guitar soloing, `Berceuse Moderne' is a beautiful heartfelt piano/guitar ballad with a subtly romantic melody and just a hint of danger. `Renaissances' is a dark and heavy spacey finale that opens with very sinister bass soloing, before jazzy drumming, swirling electronics, maddening middle-eastern themed electric guitar riffs and nightmare inducing ghostly piano finish the album in a very dramatic way that leaves you wanting ever more.

All in all, a varied, original and exciting first release from a talented band that offers so much potential. Highly recommended to all lovers of instrumental progressive rock, why not give them a try if you're after an exciting and accomplished young band with real personality and technical skills? Hopefully we'll also get a live DVD or CD from the band sometime in the future, as I have a feeling these guys will be in another league altogether live!

An easy four stars...perhaps four and a half!

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