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Ange - Emile Jacotey CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.75 | 192 ratings

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3 stars I promise to tone down the cheap 'French' gags this time...

As to who exactly Emile Jacotay is/was is obscure but I have an inkling he was not a historic personage and perhaps stands as a metaphor here for 'everyman' (Or at least the ones who possess berets and/or scarves)

'Bêle, Bêle petite chèvre' - Google translation tools are not to be trusted. This ain't really a song about a small goat is it? Clattering dissonant guitar chord kicks things off before we meet quite a conventional rock track differentiated only by Ange's unique brand of theatrical singing. Christian Decamps in in fine agitated form and his litany of audible niggles is halted periodically by a very memorable little 'mallet motif heard in isolation.

Was that a bleating goat I just heard? Anyway, some French dude now starts narrating

(Monsiuer Jacotey we assume?) and the tracks ends rather abruptly.

'Sur la trace des Fées' - May have something to do with the pursuit or location of fairies (while traveling by goat?) This is a very powerful song with sensitive acoustic guitar picking transitioning into over-driven electric as the piece gathers momentum. Together with the tasteful string and choir like sounds, the melody is haunting and delivered in a passionate and dynamic manner.

'Le nain de Stanislas' - Dwarfs of eastern european descent this time? Even by his own standards, a rather snarling and affected vocal from Decamps, replete with cackling 'elf on helium' giggle from off stage and a spoken section that veers perilously near pantomime. The track is saved however, by an inspired instrumental passage featuring a very arresting synth lead and some backing choir before the lead guitar wraps things up nicely. Comical 'squirted' little ending chord though (Probably yet another example of this contrary group whipping the carpet from under their own feet)

'Jour apres Jour' - Sorry, nothing to report here 'goat' and 'tiny people' fans. This strikes me as somewhat ironic in intent as it resembles one of those French 'chanson' affairs covered by the likes of Juliette Greco. It's not necessarily bad but despite some beautiful pads, guitar flourishes and flutey synth in the background, the overall effect is closer to quaint than innovative.

'Ode à Emile' - Crusty old Emile makes another entrance and promises more livestock and small individuals soon. Quite a conventional strummed ballad but does have a memorable tune.

'Ego et Deus' - It's something of a relief to inhabit more progressive territory once more after the last two tracks and Ange do not disappoint with a very busy and ever changing piece with an ending that features a tantalizing organ and guitar duet solo cut cruelly short. Some of the instrumentation utilized here is reminiscent of Return of the Giant Hogweed era Genesis.

(So there just might be a song about another vengeful shrub buried in here somewhere)

Very powerful and memorable chorus lads, full marks.

'J'irai dormir plus loin que ton sommeil' - A battle to see who loses consciousnesses first? (I thought that was 'boxing') Ange serve up a stately slow waltz that rest assured, will not have the listener nodding off, but it certainly has a narcotic lulling quality until the explosive guitar enters and rounds things of nicely with an instrumental alarm call.

'Aurélia' - Short, brooding and obsessive ballad that features a wonderful synth patch during the verses, the source of which has been driving me nuts. I know I have heard this very distinctive sound before but cannot recall where exactly? Developmental section fails to really go anywhere alas, and I suspect this track was compiled from those little 'unfinished' bits and bobs that bands have lying around from previous sessions.

'Les Noces' - There's that yummy synth sound again! I love it to bits. More than a heady whiff of the 'Canterbury School' permeates 'Les Noces' particularly during the extended instrumental section that closes the track. Ange also give vent to their healthy sense of humour as evidenced by the various shrieks, oral plucking?, body percussion and coughing displayed here to comical effect. One of the very few Ange tracks that might be in danger of being a tad overlong.

'Le Marchand des Planètes' - Song about someone who sells planets for a living? Very interesting 'throbbing' bass pulse used here which cleverly contradicts the relative 'prettiness' of the harmonic progression above it. Little snatches of Frippian guitar appear here and there through the holes left in a carefully constructed kit pattern that fades out to the end.

So what does it all mean then, about this Jacotey dude?

Well it's obvious isn't it?

Emile was a Parisian goat herder who fell madly in love with Aurelia, but the latter could not reciprocate his feelings as she had to stay at home and care for her adopted Czech dwarf brother Stanislas who suffered from a rare and incurable type of narcolepsy. Eventually, because of Aurelia's selfless devotion to her brother, a magical fairy grants she and Emile sufficient cash to give to a man responsible for establishing a Day Care Centre for the Vertically Challenged and Chronically Sleepy on a recently colonised Neptune and they all live happily ever after.

Another fine and completely impenetrable concept album from our intrepid French progsters.

ExittheLemming | 3/5 |


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