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Present - Triskaïdékaphobie CD (album) cover





4.28 | 114 ratings

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5 stars Present was the brainchild of Univers Zero guitarist Roger Trigaux, showing his compositional skills outside that band teamed up with UZ drummer Daniel Denis, bassist Christian Genet and the relatively unknown Alain Rochette on the keyboards. Trigaux's ideas for Present notably shows the differences from his work with UZ with a more repetitive and hypnotic approach to the music, but while still being dark and gloomy - sometimes even scary. Triskaidekaphobie was their debut album and proves these facts spot on, and remains one of my most favoured RIO recordings to be released at that time. The music is dark and atmospheric, hypnotic and repetitive, but never boring to the listener. Another difference between UZ and Present is that this album moves away from the chamber influences and uses electric instruments instead, but the material here is no less interesting and it is in fact very reminiscent of UZ's 80's albums stylistically. The opening cut, "Promenade au fond D'un Canal", is the best piece here and sets the album mood perfectly with it's gloomy opening before turning into frantic and challenging Avant-Prog delights until it finally slips into darkness and goes through a multiple of sections before returning to it's opening theme promoted with a blistering and intense guitar solo by Trigaux. It's a composition that has to be heard to appreciate properly but it's definitely one of the genres finest songs. The next cut, titled Quatre-Vingt Douze, is more varied and goes through even more sections, although it's more on the minimalist side of the album at times. Again, it displays blistering complexity both in terms of musicianship and compositionally seen, although it's not as strong as the opening cut. Not easy listening by any means, but along with the previous cut it have a lot to offer and stands out as perhaps the most interesting part of the album.

The final piece is a very gloomy and dark closer that gives the listener a chance to chill, but with goosebumps and a chance to think what the hell he just went through the last 35 minutes. Again a very odd track, but still it might be the most normal piece here. Throughout the album, the musicians provide some excellent playing. Daniel Denis in particular does some really creative drumming on all tracks and spices the arrangements up even further. His unique style displayed with both Present and UZ definitely makes him one of my most preferred drummers in rock. Christian Genet's bass playing isn't as notable but he backs up the music very well and provides excellent techniques when required. As with his bandmates, he is a very unique player that suits this band perfectly. Alain Rochette takes the main role in most of the songs with his sharp and precise playing on the keyboards and he easily manages to boost Trigaux's arrangements up a few notches, making the songs more clear and understandable. Trigaux himself textures the music with long, soaring guitar notes for most of the time, but backs up the rest of the band excellently when needed. All in all, the playing from the band and compositions featured here is nothing but admirable, and it all works extremely well. This is not easy listening by any means, but surely a must have if you like this kind of music. You might look on it as a masterpiece, or maybe not, but I think this album is the best in Present's discography. Their next album is no worse so check out that one as well, in fact Cuneiform Records released both of them on one CD in the late 80's so pick it up if you are interested. A complete meltdown of wonderful insane, beyond brilliant stuff! 5/5

Bj-1 | 5/5 |


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