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Visitors - Visitors CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.57 | 24 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars Jean Pierre Massiera has been considered an unhinged genius of sort for having been not only extremely prolific but also by having thought completely out of the box and tackling a dizzying array of musical genres in his wake. He grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina but ultimately ended up in Nice, France where he established himself as a producer. While taking his work seriously when taking on the projects of others, Massiera stepped out of his producer's shoes on many occasions in order to craft his own demented musical projects.

It seems there wasn't anything he wasn't willing to try whether it be psychedelic rock in bands like After Life, Les Chats Renaissance or Human Egg to the kitschy space disco of Herman's Rocket and oddball pop of Phantasmes. Equally at home in the world of progressive rock with bands like Atlantide he also cranked out some of the weirdest one shots in the form of the bizarre Horrific Child and one of his best off-kilter projects was released in 1974 under the name VISITORS.

This is sort of what a musical would sound like if it were dedicated to an extraterrestrial invasion of sort with an alien taking over the recording studio and demanding that only fun and improvisation are allowed. This is a playful alien invasion, not that "War Of The Worlds" crap. To keep it lighthearted, Maassiera gathered up a group of nineteen musicians with the most famous being Didier Lockwood who played violin for Magma at several stages in the 70s, most notably on the outstanding 1975 Live album.

Taking a cue from bands like Mahavishnu Orchestra and the solo career of Jean Luc-Ponty, VISITORS is a crazy mix of frenetic Paganini styled violin, psychedelic rock and zeuhl with crazy bombastic progressive rock outbursts. It's made all the stranger by the fact that once this strange assortment consists of freaked out Hammond organ attacks, frantic Crimsonian guitar attacks and unpredictable moshpit dives into outlandish time signature freakouts. The music also offers a highly melodic form of standard rock with flamboyant vocals sung in both French and English but mostly in wordless form.

While the music can be complex, it often sticks to a simple rock formula in standard 4/4 timing with guitar, bass and drums and heavy doses of Hammond organ. The many spoken vocal parts occur in chant, polyphonic complexities, offer call and response, echo effects or spoken word prose. Wordless utterances appear in dramatic operatic supplications by both male and female vocalists. The fact that 19 musicians come and go make this one a quite startling dramatic turn of events for its mere 31 minute run.

While not exactly otherworldly in a completely removed from Earth sort of way, VISITORS does come across as something you've never experienced before even though huge sections are completely dominated by highly melodic vocal dominated accessible psychedelic rock. While vocal melodies are aplenty, the dramatic flair of the violin is never far behind and often adds a secondary call and response to the primary melodies provided by the polyphonic choral vocal effects. Sudden dramatic changes can spontaneous take the musical train of thought into completely new directions. The album was also fortified with healthy doses of sound effects with various field recordings and manufactured sounds to create a more lysergic and alien sounding smorgasbord.

There's a good reason this one has achieved such a significant cult status! It's utterly bizarre beyond belief as it sometimes takes on a Floydian "Saucerful Of Secrets" persona in the most lysergic organ driven ways possible or it can sound like a more cosmic approach to the musical "Hair!" Either way, it's quite the entertaining listen that never gets boring for a second. This is an album i've owned for years but only seem to break it out when i'm reminded of its existence and with each listen i'm continually blown away by its sheer creative genius. This is excellent music for those of us who love dramatic wildly unique music that you can't believe exists! Take it all with a grain of salt for its a touch cheesy, a little camp and all in good fun.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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