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Present - Barbaro (Ma Non Troppo) CD (album) cover





4.24 | 139 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars 4.5 stars really!!!

Intro: It had been a while since present had released a new studio album (Hi Indefidelity dated from the first part of the 00's), and the live album (of a 90's tour) only partly quenched our thirst for more of the same (Ma Non Troppo, if possible ;o)))) ?. And to say the least, our patience got only half-rewarded?. Only three tracks (rather long, though) for a rather short album (by today's standards), and one of them being a re-visitation of an UZ's early classic. But to make-up for that, the ReR label added a superb and much-awaited-for DVD containing almost all of the available live Present footage all era included. The two discs come in a Cd + DVD package that's become a bit Cuneiform's trademark (ReR is a close collaborator and most of Present's discography in on Feigelbaum's label) and thus making it an absolute must for fans. The modern (now) line-up is fairly much the same as it was when I'd last seen them in 04 at Studio Athanor (an evening spent first in a UZ concert played a mile away, then in the company of Guy Seghers for a gigantic amounts of laugh and chicks a-go-go >> I kid you not, at a Present concert!!!), and it's quite a joy to hear their communion in the studios, sort of an intergenerational paternal:child friendly and musical confrontation: Roger, Chevalier and Kerman "crossing blades" with Reginald, Safaty and Desassis

First the studio album: the two "new" tracks are your typical Present tracks, even if with the "new" expanded line-up, there is little possible confusion and you couldn't possibly confuse it with any other band in the world, UZ included. Even the Jack the Ripper (present ? so to speak - on UZ's Hérésie album) sounds like the typical Present tune, despite a DD compositional touch that (thankfully) couldn't be expunged and Udi Koomran's production is absolutely phenomenal, even if this is hardly an incident, given the man's usual talent. Vertiges is pure bliss, while Last Drop (the one that overflowed the teacup) drips suaveness with its classical influences. These "songs" have obviously existed for a while, since Last Drop was played live in 06 and Vertiges since 07.

Next come the DVD: the main attraction of this double-disc set, and also produced by the mega-fine Udi, even if he had to deal with the original sound quality of the historical footages. Starting oiut with the RIO 2007 set (Trigaux is one of the co-organizers), comprising of only three tracks, all of them from the old days, including UZ's Ripper, the classic Ceux D'En Bas (from their N°6) and the ultra-classic Promenade Au Fond d'Un Canal, the latter having an outstanding self-destructing finale, when some human beast dressed as a wild Scot/Pict savage ala Braveheart comes in the forefront and starts hitting binary-ly a metal bar with a hammer as the band's crescendos until they reach the point of no return when Roger destroys his guitar on the stage and on his keyboard, while Kerman is chaining his skin and the whole group goes bezerk. A sure way to get a standing ovation, which they'll get. The second part is the next day's acoustic concert involving two pianos (Chevalier and De Vleeshouwer) and tons of percussions, including two and a half drum sets (Kerman and as a surprise appearance Daniel Denis, while Roger bangs as he can ion a partial set) and other hitting instruments (I think they're seven on stage at one point), the whole thing on some visual effects (in the type UZ had developed for their Implosion tour in 04), thus giving an awesome unique experience concert to the first Carmeaux RIO festival. Just as much a treat as the next day's normal set, probably a tad more enjoyable due to its unique one-shot-only nature . more stuff on the DVD: the previous year, Present had participated to the Portuguese festival in Gouveia and had given a solid, but "normal" set (given the usual festival set length), providing a fairly different set than Carmeaux's (but filmed in 4/3 format), including the classic Limping Girl (again from N°6). Further down (and a bit accessorily), we get some excerpts of the Trigaux father and son COD (side-) project on two electric guitars. Another treat is the outdoors Carmeaux' prior-to-RIO festival's 94 edition excerpt, where Present played (with Daniel on drums), while other tidbits date from Wurzburg's 01 festival and an Orion appearance.

Conclusion: If you're anywhere close to a RIO-Zeuhl-Avant-prog fan, this double- disc package is an absolute must (in good part due to the DVD, but not just that) and one to treasure away, much the same way you would, once Daniel and Steve agree to release the much-awaited UZ future DVD to come (hint, hint, guys ;-)))). But let's leave the wishful thinking to the fantasy realm and head back to the Present reality. Definitely not a cheap artefact, but it's definitely worth the investment and it might even be adequate as best possible introduction to a newbie to Present's musical realm.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |


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