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Pulsar - Halloween CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.03 | 184 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Here comes another 5-star rating for my all-time favourite French prog act. 'Halloween' is a stunning concept album in which Pulsar continues to explore in its own reflective mood and vibrant melancholy, though the symphonic aspect of their prog is notably enhanced by a couple of factors: the employment of a major range of instrumentation (the flautist also plays clarinet, the keyboards and percussions are more abundant, guests on cello and congas), and the programatic, almost cinematographic disposition of the sections comprised in both Parts of the material. The varied musical passages make fluid transitions from introspective melancholy ('Sorrow in My Dreams', the introductory section of 'Tired Answers') to mysterious agressiveness (the tribal 'Fear of Frost', the rocky section of 'Tired Answers') to sheer sweetness (the sung parts of 'Lone Fantasy' and 'Colours of My Childhood'), which shows you how well these musicians can deal with perfect compenetration while exhibiting their own individual skills for the whole group's benefit. The gloomy density and mysterious tone that flood all over "Halloween" reaches some occasional creepy peaks sometimes (the climatic synth leads on 'Fear of Frost' flow magically on the groovy rhythm section as expressing a dance of sinister creatures drunk in a metaphysical joy), but never in the sense of a ghost story or terror movie: I feel it more like a psychological thriller, a certain indefinite horror that comes from an instrospective point of view. An example comes from the comparison between the first two sections of Part II. The sung sections of 'Lone Fantasy' and 'Dawn Over Darkness' are equally melancholic with an overwhelming vibration, but the former is sustained on a controlled use of the basic melodies and textures, while the latter utilizes a more expansive colorfulness (the doubling of flute and clarinet and the soaring guitar leads are simply delicious). The last section features soaring dual keyboard layers aupon which a voice that imitates a castrato's Latin singing adds a weird sense of subtile humor to the overall mysterious vibe. If "The Strands of the Future" signified Pulsar's arrival to its stage of maximum maturity in the quest for their own voice, "Halloween" was a step forward in the evolution of that voice. Conclusion: an undisputed gem of French prog, whose special beauty and eerie unquietness can't be reached by human words.
Cesar Inca | 5/5 |


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