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CARPE DIEM

Eclectic Prog • France


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Carpe Diem biography
Founded in Nice, France in 1970 (Initially as "Deis Corpus") - Disbanded in 1979 - Reformed in 2014

This French group was founded on the Riviera (Nice more precisely) as had SHYLOCK also. They both managed to make two albums both on the Musea catalogue nowadays. However they do sound different, CARPE DIEM sounding more diversified and also holds some singing, as well as some wind instruments (flute & saxes). One can say that they had that typical French symphonic prog sound of the second part of the 70's much like PULSAR, ATOLL and a bit less in the ANGE and MONA LISA mould.

Their two albums are highly regarded by progheads but do not ooze originality, always eyeing towards the British references. Still well worth the discovery, though.

: : : Hugues Chantraine, BELGIUM : : :

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CARPE DIEM top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.74 | 115 ratings
En regardant passer le temps
1976
3.88 | 90 ratings
Cueille Le Jour
1976
3.80 | 22 ratings
Circonvolutions
2015

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CARPE DIEM Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 En regardant passer le temps by CARPE DIEM album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.74 | 115 ratings

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En regardant passer le temps
Carpe Diem Eclectic Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 20-Year Chronological Run-Through pt. Fourteen: 1976.

French symphonic prog band CARPE DIEM was founded, albeit with another name, in 1969 in the city of Nice. Alongside bands such as Alice and Ange, they were one of those early French bands that drew notable influences from British progressive rock, especially from Genesis. This group only was pretty slow in starting their recording career. The line-up on this debut (with a title meaning "On watching the time pass by") was shaped in 1974, and the album came out in the spring of 1976.

The four-track album is mostly instrumental, although I think the voice of keyboardist Christian Truchi is fairly pleasant. The relatively brief but delicious instrumental opening track 'Voyage du Non-Retour' is uptempo and jazzy space rock with a GONG reminiscence. Soprano saxophone, electric guitar and keyboards build melodies in a groovy setting that sounds suitably jam-based. The three longer pieces go into more symphonic heights.

'Reincarnation' has flexible melodies and a drive that remind me of early CAMEL (debut/Mirage-era), and German ELOY could be another good reference. Derivative perhaps, but very enjoyable, with an exception for the robotic vocals in the midway -- fortunately very shortly. The flute and soprano sax parts are great. 'Jeux du Siecle' mixes the spacey psychedelia of Saucerful-era PINK FLOYD, fast sax melodies á la VdGG and some Genesis reminding melodies & sounds. The guitarist has been compared to both Steve Hackett and David Gilmour.

Also 'Publiphobie' combines instrumental and vocal sections in a balanced and dynamic way. The atmosphere is often intense and dramatic as in the Gabriel-era Genesis songs such as 'Fountain of Salmacis'. The heavy use of reeds and the instrumental orientation make this band suitably different from Genesis (or Ange), and this album is a strong four- star classic for me. Of the French bands, PULSAR might be the best reference.

 En regardant passer le temps by CARPE DIEM album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.74 | 115 ratings

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En regardant passer le temps
Carpe Diem Eclectic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars It would be a terrible irony if a band calling itself Carpe Diem - Latin for "Seize the Day" - didn't make the most of its debut album, but thankfully this French prog outfit lives up to their name and uses the brief 36 minute running time of this release to magnificent effect.

The band's tastes seem to have run the full gamut of the 1970s prog universe; there's no full-on zeuhl or Canterbury on here, mind, but there's a great swathe of other prog sounds. In the first tinklings of Voyage du Non-Retour I thought I was in for a space rock voyage, then the album took more symphonic directions, but with a jazz-rock tinge to it which develops into full-blown fusion by the close of Publiophobie. And somehow, the band manage to make this all fit together in a single aesthetic whole, rather than sounding disjointed. Impressive stuff all round.

 Circonvolutions by CARPE DIEM album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.80 | 22 ratings

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Circonvolutions
Carpe Diem Eclectic Prog

Review by Replayer

4 stars I was taken aback when I noticed on the PA homepage that Carpe Diem released its third album after nearly a forty-year hiatus. I remember a conversation from a few years ago with the friend who introduced me to this excellent band and I recall lamenting how Carpe Diem released only two albums. The album's Escher-like black and white cover brought to mind that of the band's debut album. I purchased it immediately, of course.

Five past members of the band are featured: keyboardist and singer Christian Truchi, drummer Alain Faraut, guitarist Gilbert Abbenanti, bassist/vocalist George Ferrero and guitarist/violinist Gérald Macia. The last two joined the band in 1977 and worked on a yet-unreleased album. Saxophonist and flautist Claude-Marius David was a key contributor to the band's sound and he unfortunately passed away in the early 80s. To fill in his role, the band brought it two guest saxophonists/flautists: David Amar and Manu Dicostanzo. Melodie Rose is another guest musician, contributing drumming and background vocals.

The two longest tracks were originally recorded live in 1978 and feature Claude-Marius David.

The first track, Along the Great Wall, had me worried with its introductory 80s style electro-beat, but fortunately it is soon doused in the band's characteristic jazzy prog.

Conte de saxs is a saxophone duet. It reminds me of Alan Parsons Project in style. The band makes effective use of its two saxophonists on the album, having them play together.

The instrumental title track starts with a sequencer pattern (it reminds me of organ's repeat function as used by the Who on Baba O'Riley), unusually for the band. The pattern is then played on saxophone, drums, guitar, synths and organ at different points in the track. It's a pleasant enough composition (I especially like the electric guitar duet), but it sounds more like minute-long snippets spliced together and tied by the recurring pattern. With all the instrumentation changes, I feel it doesn't have a chance to develop organically as the band's previous longer compositions. The ending saxophone duet is a satisfying conclusion, though.

L'imagerie fantastique is one of the two tracks recorded live in 1978, and clocking at 11 minutes, is the album's longest track. It starts in an ambient manner. This track features Truchi's familiar keyboard he used so often on the band's previous albums. After a couple of minutes, drums join in and theme reminds me of Jeux du siécle. The second half is characterized by an interesting saxophone/wordless chanting duet.

Namire is a beautiful solo acoustic guitar piece in a Renaissance style, performed by Gérald Macia. It reminds me of Steve Howe's Mood for a Day.

Wedding Day is a pleasant laid-back jazzy shuffle with interesting saxophone/flute/violin interplay, but I don't really like the scat singing in the refrain.

Jardin de verre ("Glass garden") is the other live track from 1978 and only slightly shorter than L'imagerie fantastique. It stars off in an almost classical manner with violin, flute and string synth, then evolves into a standard Carpe Diem workout.

Overall, I found Circonvolutions to be an enjoyable album. It is not very demanding listening, but the album is impeccably played and produced and I genuinely like listening to it, despite my aversion to jazz. I applaud the band for this offering that has one foot planted in the band's classic 70s sound and the other exploring new musical horizons.

 Circonvolutions by CARPE DIEM album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.80 | 22 ratings

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Circonvolutions
Carpe Diem Eclectic Prog

Review by Thierry

4 stars A legend is back! Remember: the famous Crypto label, created by Jean-Claude Pognant, contributed in discovering French bands as essential as Ange by the mid seventies. Among those was Carpe Diem. Led by Claude-Marius David (saxophone & flute), this band from Nice gave birth to two splendid albums: "En Regardant Passer Le Temps" (1975) and "Cueille Le Jour" (1976). All reissued by Musea on the CD form. Their refined progressive rock featured rare vocal parts (but was never boring or demonstrative), instrumental intensity, through sophisticated songwriting and structures. Fluid organ reworked sounds were beautifully combined with lyrical flute, sax, clarinet parts or airy guitars, to create a dreamlike rock evoking Ange, Caravan, Fruupp and King Crimson ('Starless') with a very slight jazz touch. Well, you'll find the charm of the past in 'Tibetan Moment' (those gorgeous keyboards!), the great circumvolutions structures in 'Circonvolutions' precisely. 'Wedding Day' recalls Sting's 'An Englishman in New Yrok' a bit by the instrumentation (!). And nostalgia fully operates with the superb 'Jardin de verre' and 'L'imagerie fantastique', both unpublished typical labyrinthine epics from 1978. Yes, a legend is back!

 Cueille Le Jour by CARPE DIEM album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.88 | 90 ratings

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Cueille Le Jour
Carpe Diem Eclectic Prog

Review by Flucktrot
Prog Reviewer

4 stars As if their debut album was a warm-up--though I'm sure they did not see it that way when recording it--Carpe Diem release their tour-de-force in prog, Coleurs. Although there are some singles on the B-side, and ones that are fairly decent at that, the importance of this album lies in the epic.

Coleurs is really a wonderful piece. From the mysterious introductory sequence, in which every fourth bar has a missing beat, to the nicely paced final wind-down, this track is a treat throughout. Although there's little that's virtuosic or innovative about this piece, the genius lies in the slow build and the textures generated by the arrangements, including some wonderful soprano sax and subdued guitar. Just a series of catchy, dreamy melodies, delivered wonderfully, that leads to one of my top 50 all time epics.

So, of course the key piece is the extended one. That should be enough for most of us, but the rest function as decent throw-ins, if that happens to sweeten the pot. In all, unique, happy, and "real" prog.

 En regardant passer le temps by CARPE DIEM album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.74 | 115 ratings

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En regardant passer le temps
Carpe Diem Eclectic Prog

Review by Flucktrot
Prog Reviewer

3 stars One of those unique 1- or 2-shot wonders, like so many Italian prog bands. Unlike some of the Italian prog bands with severely truncated careers, I'm not sure how much Carpe Diem had left to give. This is a good album with some nice textures and pieces, but then after listening to their next and final album, it's hard to pick out meaningful differences in some places. Given that there are a few minor tempo, compositional, and coherence issues in this release, I think I prefer their next album to this, although either is nice to have for a little light French flavor.

When I say light, it's not to say the music is lacking in intensity--as a matter of fact, one thing that Carpe Diem do very well is keep the tempo brisk, even in sections in which the percussion is light. I think this helps to keep the listener engaged during the softer sections, and I think it's a songwriting tool that more prog musicians might take notice of.

The highlights for me are Reincarnation and Jeux, which are both extended pieces that feature plenty of nice keys and very effective soprano sax lines, often combining with the guitar for some beautiful harmonies. They certainly have a very distinct sound! Reincarnation is perhaps a bit heavier, while Jeux is more dreamy, although both strongly remind me of their next album.

Overall a very nice sound, solid playing, and interesting compositions--this is a decent choice to track down if you enjoy instrumental, lighter symphonic prog.

 Cueille Le Jour by CARPE DIEM album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.88 | 90 ratings

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Cueille Le Jour
Carpe Diem Eclectic Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

4 stars Once in a while, a piece of music jumps out of the loudspeakers and grabs me by the throat. The opening track Couleurs is one of these pieces of music. The twenty-two minutes of music is a blend of symphonic prog, Canterbury prog and jazz. The opening salvos of moog is just heaven and utter heaven. The rest is a mix of superb vocals and the above mentioned styles of music, pretty much dominated by Claude-Marius David's superb flute and sopransaxophon pieces. Couleurs is a creative triumph for the mankind and one of the best piece of music I have ever heard.

I have no idea who this band is. I put the album on for the first time and I lost my ability to speak for some minutes. I was spellbound. I was shocked. I was in heaven. I am now supposed to give reference points for this music. The first thing that came into my mind was a melodic version of The Soft Machine's closing twenty minutes long epic on their Fourth album which I have forgotten the name of. PFM also springs to mind. So does Genesis too. Return To Forever also springs to mind. The excellent, intense music on this album as a whole is something Chick Corea would have been happy with. Add some really good vocals too and you get the picture. In short; this is music which should appeal to mostly everyone in PA.

Couleurs is a fantastic track and the rest of the album is not that good. But it is still an excellent album and one I will saviour for decades. I still have no clue who this band is. But I am now a fan.

4.75 stars

 En regardant passer le temps by CARPE DIEM album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.74 | 115 ratings

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En regardant passer le temps
Carpe Diem Eclectic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Superb French band,who recorded two albums in the 70's before disappearing just before the 80's.There are historical traces that the band existed since early 70's,but didn't release anything before 1975.CARPE DIEM were located in Nice at the southern side of France and debuted finally in 1975 with ''En regardant passer le temps''.

While some obvious influences by older bands can be indicated,I find their sound to be very intricate and efficiently original.Their unique musicianship can be split in two styles.Definitely the smoother parts follow the vein of pastoral symphonic rock,characterized by the dark use of mellotron,the leading acoustic guitars,the intricate flutes,even some harpsichord appears at some moments, and, if you dare,add some atmospheric full-spacey synths around to complete this fully attractive soundscape.Seems if early KING CRIMSON and CLEARLIGHT are together on stage featuring STEVE HACKETT on guitars!On the other hand there are plenty of parts where the music is led by Claude-Marie David's saxes and his unbelievable solos yet in a melodic way,supported by the nice breaks and dynamics of the rhythm section.Can't help thinking of VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR or even MAGMA listening to these parts,as they were very popular and respectful in France during the 70's.The whole result is beyond your imagination and the album comes highly recommended to fans of daring,challenging and original music!

 En regardant passer le temps by CARPE DIEM album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.74 | 115 ratings

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En regardant passer le temps
Carpe Diem Eclectic Prog

Review by Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Having got acquainted with Carpe Diem through their sophomore (and final) release "Cueille le Tour", it was a very pleasant surprise to find out that this band already had a mature musical voice of its own as it is revealed in the repertoire of "En Regardant Passer le Temps", the debut album. There is a predominant lyricism refurbished through some spacey vibes here and there, plus a gentle use of jazz- oriented cadences within an overall symphonic scheme. On thing that caught my attention especially was the presence of rough instrumental travels in many places, energetic in a clearly psychedelic fashion. This is something that is coincidental with the dominant mood in Pulsar's first two albums as well as Asia Minor's debut release - going even a bit further back in time, you can also notice traces from King Crimson's "Islands" and "Lizard". No doubt that David's efforts (mainly on soprano sax, but also flute) are the most notorious in the recurrent dialogues between lead guitar, wind and keyboards; by no means it is my purpose to overlook Abbenanti's tasteful solos or Trucchi's ability to build up phrases and orchestrations (somewhat Bardens-influenced). The solid rhythmic foundation of Berge and Faraut, meanwhile, states a perfect balance between the pulsation of art-rock and jazz-inspired dynamics, very pertinent in order to sustain the melodic developments in each turn. The shortest piece, 'Réincarnation', opens up the album on a very Gong-meets.-early Soft Machine note. It is so exciting that one can only regret that the fade-out arrives before the 4 minute mark, but the good thing is that this sort of colorfulness is well elaborated in the next three tracks. 'Jeux du Siècle' is a 13- minute suite that kicks off very pastoral, featuring a playful flute flowing over the eerie synth layers. Once we get to minute 2, the full ensemble states a rich musical travel elaborated with controlled pomposity. At minute 6, a cosmic section settles in very powerfully, which eventually serves to pave the way for the climax that fills the track's last two minutes. As impressive as this first half of the album is, I must prefer the second half. "Voyage du Non-Retour" brings similar moods and textures to those from the previous track, but in my humble opinion, the integration between the various motifs is better accomplished - I also feel that its somewhat rougher approach helps to spice things up consistently. And finally, we get to the album's undisputed gem, 'Publiphobe', which emerges a storm of melody and harmony craftily sustained on a whirlwind-like bass guitars sequence and lovely jazzy drum patterns. All spaces are filled in this track, yet the band cleverly avoids saturation and ornament excess. The melancholic aura displayed in the sung interlude receives much of its drive from the exciting instrumental that preceded it: here, there is an evident tension beneath the surface, relieved by the controlled dialogues between sax and guitar that take place in the moments when the band's sound gets tighter. The playful opening motif returns for the effective coda. This sort of excellent closure is what this excellent album deserves, no less. Generally speaking, "En Regardant Passer le Temps" does not match the magical finesse soon to be delivered in "Cueille le Tour", but it sure surpasses in terms of energy and musical development. Both albums are clear indicators of the sort of progressive genius achieved by Carpe Diem, a band for the most demanding symphonic rock fan.
 En regardant passer le temps by CARPE DIEM album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.74 | 115 ratings

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En regardant passer le temps
Carpe Diem Eclectic Prog

Review by Easy Livin
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

3 stars A nice way to pass the time

This, Carpe Diem's first album, dates from the mid-1970's although the band had been around for some years prior to its release. The music of the band is probably best compared to Camel, although overall the sound is a bit harder and jazzier.

This album consists of just 4 tracks, three of which range from 10-12 minutes long. The opening "Voyage du non-retour" is a shorter instrumental piece which forms a sort of upbeat overture. The vocals are heard for the first time on the album's longest track, "Reincarnation". Co-incidentally they are, as with Camel, the band's Achilles heel, being rather bland and ineffective. Thankfully they are kept brief, the track developing well through mainly keyboard flourishes. At times, suggestions of the more melodic side of Hawkwind drift in and out, although we never actually reach Space Rock territories.

"Jeux du Siecle" is the most symphonic of the tracks, with fine guitar and lush keyboards arrangements. Without wishing to labour the point, the fact that it is largely devoid of vocals (they form a brief coda to the piece) also contributes to it being (for me) the best of the bunch. The final track, "Publiophobie" is rather like an improvisation on the opening track. Here, the bass is more intrusive than on the rest of the album, the track also having similarities with Camel's "Lunar Sea" from the "Moonmadness" album.

In all, a decent first album which suggests the band have significant technical ability. Recommended for those who might be interested to hear what it sounds like when symphonic prog goes to Canterbury.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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