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Pierrot Lunaire - Pierrot Lunaire CD (album) cover

PIERROT LUNAIRE

Pierrot Lunaire

 

Prog Folk

3.58 | 75 ratings

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kenethlevine
Special Collaborator
Prog-Folk Team
4 stars I remember this band being discussed enthusiastically on some prog forum or other many years ago and, not being familiar with Arnold Schoenberg, I had incorrectly assumed that their name was simply a not especially clever reference to "Au Clair de la Lune" and my friend Pierrot as the lyrics go, which may well have been Schoenberg's intent. I thus banished any further thought until recently, when the prog folk team admitted Kay Hoffman's sole release into our untrimmed dandelion patch, and it was noted that several members of PIERROT LUNAIRE had performed on it well after their own band appears to have ceded to the petulance of the industry. This seemed like the logical moment to dive back into their history. After a unsatisfying brush with the avant garde "Gudrun", I decided to sample this debut, and have been lounging in my own little paradise of RPI meets folk for some undetermined period. Luckily Pierrot has lent me his plume for this review.

This remarkably mature and adventurous work plays on the subtleties of strummed acoustic guitar, delicately plucked electric guitar, flutes, gentle to spirited vocal passages, warm and elegant piano tones, and the occasional glimpse into what would become "Gudrun". The opener "Ouvertura" could have fit on myriad RPI releases of its day but it does serve notice of the group's abilities. "Raipure" is a delightful acoustic ballad which is only eclipsed later by the uplifting "Il re di Raipure" which sounds more South American than European. While PFM and ERRATA CORRIGE have been accurately referenced, some of these arrangements, like on "Invasore", may have influenced the earnestness of SENSITIVA IMMAGINE a few years later.

The two longest tracks, "Narciso" and "Sotto i Ponti" both allow the band to explore a dreamy meandering mood and a patiently building romantic suite respectively. The latter seems to presage LE ORME's "Florian" before tastefully electrifying as it winds down, but I think this is more fully realized than anything on that late 1970s album. Another height is scaled on the penultimate "La Saga della Primavera" with its hypnotic piano- acoustic guitar interplay. The album would have been better served to end here rather than on the screechy "Mandrangola" but I suppose they needed to advertise their intent to go all loopy on us in a few short years. Add in a reference to LE ORME's pending "Radiofelicita" for its accelerated not quite coda.

At turns both accessible and complex, indeed often simultaneously, "Pierrot Lunaire" is a mostly gentle always evocative amalgam of folk based prog that manages to be both structured and free form, hence ideal night music for any phase of the moon or life. Oh, and here is your pen back buddy.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |

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