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Émeraude - Voyageur CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.13 | 4 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars A recording of songs from the Emeraude vault, this work conducted by bassist Gilles Baud is quite different from the classic album Geoffroy. Composed by 10 songs of medium lenght (between three and a half to seven and a half minutes), it has an harder edge than it's 20 year older predecessor, being closer to neo-prog and sometimes more traditional rock than to the space-folk of Geoffroy. Gilles Baud recruited an array of musicians from prog and non-prog acts around the Nice area to help him create this album, the greatest help coming from guitarrist Eric Delzard and the pen of Jean-Paul Ansart.

Each song (apart from Samouraï) is introduced by a spoken passage, each passage in a different language, an hint of the voyage the album is suposed to convey. All songs have a similar standart structure composed by a main part, chorus, instrumental section (almost always a guitar solo) and chorus reprise. The first song, Make Up, is a general rocker, no hint of progressive in this one, but it does feature some nice saxophone in the opening and a good electric guitar solo complemented by some more sax. Second track Songe continues in that mood, on a slower pace, and slightly less heavy and with a greater keyboard presence, giving it a tad more progressive feel. Lovely spacey middle section, with a tasteful electric guitar solo. The following track, Le Cygne features female vocals for the first time. It is an interesting song dominated by flute-emulating keyboards, calmly building up before a quite good middle section when an electric guitar solo bursts out. The song then reverts to its initial slow pace before ending. Fourth track L'Oiseleur is another heavier track with a keyboard and electric guitar balance and agressive vocals. Fomalhaut is an instrumental composed by Delzard, alternating between heavier and fast-paced guitar-driven passages and slower, softer parts dominated by the keyboards, interesting but nothing really exceptional. 6th track Hérès is slower track with an eerie feel with a good chorus with strong guitar playing. Pantin Farine is another generic slower rock track, featuring some nice piano and violin passages and yet another good guitar solo. L'Autre is the longest track on the album. It begins slowly and gently, driven by guitar and keyboards. It increases in intensity towards the middle, but never really exploding. It features a nice keyboard solo towards the end. The following track, Samouraï, has an oriental feel to it, conveyed by the keyboards and vocals, but it quickly loses it as soon as the guitars kick in. Finishing off the album is another fine rock powerballad, Les Héros, with a soft build-up into an heavy chorus, ending the record on a high note, with some more great guitar playing and vocals.

Voyageur is an interesting recovery of old material, but it has some flaws. Most songs are all alike, their structures don't vary too much, most of the playing sounds good but unimpressive. Production is also a minor glitch, giving the album a dated feel that a 2000 recording really shouldn't have (Geoffroy, for instance, sounds a lot more clear). The spoken passages at the beggining of the songs also lack some clarity, with some being terribly recorded, making them more annoying than interesting. All in all, it is a decent effort, showcasing other sides of a band that could have offered a lot more in their heyday.

Kotro | 3/5 |


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