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Conventum - Le Bureau Central des Utopies CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.94 | 32 ratings

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4 stars Picture an album with the most perfect balance between upbeat, classical, folk, and liquid, vaporous, dark, intriguing, romantic atmospheres. This album is nearly entirely instrumental, with the absolutely surreal layers of sound speaking enough. Ever-evolving, never repetitive, always nostalgic, narcotic, cosmic, and full of a magical spice. Now picture you are one of the few people who know this genius album. You would not be in a much different situation than I am when considering French-Canadian Conventum's magnum opus, Le Bureau Central Des Utopies.

This album, as I see it, is a canvas on which to paint your thinking. It is one of the most thought-provoking, genuinely atmospheric series of sounds I've ever experienced. The vast majority of the tracks contain no singing, but eerie, captivating, intriguing, (chiefly) acoustic gripping instrumentals. With some electric guitar reminiscent of Larks' Tongues era Fripp or Tales from Topographic Oceans era Steve Howe on tracks such as Choreographie Lunaire, this musical creation is perfected. Throughout the somber tracks is a spacey, sedating, in short, psychedelic feel. The sound quality is not perfect, but the infinitely captivating playing more than makes up for it: great violin, haunting flute, and lush bass.

As I mentioned, some tracks are more upbeat and nearer to standard folk, such as Le Reel Des Elections and La Belle Apparence, which do not feature the Frippian guitar or the sinister and/or melancholic atmosphere that the others generate. Though these songs are still very good, and are greatly unalike anything else I've heard, they don't approach the profundity, the uniqueness, or magic as other solemn tracks, such as Fondation, Trois Petit Pas, and the phenomenal bonus track Le Commerce Nostalgique (which is dominated by evolving symphonic flutes). Speaking of bonus tracks, Le Pays Du Bruits is a hilarious, interesting theatrical live performance. Unfortunately, the majority of the song is vocals, and unless you speak (or at least understand) French, this song will do nothing for you (which is a shame, because it's really entertaining.) Le Bureau is undoubtedly a great piece of prog folk greatly under-appreciated, and undoubtedly a masterpiece.

After so long having this album in my elite top, one of my so very few five star albums, I have decide to remove a star. It's not that I find the music has grown stale after this time; in fact, I find it is one of the few albums that holds perfectly over time, and my love for it even increases. So, despite loving it to hell, the reason I remove the star is that it isn't a deeply personal album, it's not top five material, subjectively, it has no eternal brotherly bond with me. As you can tell, my criteria for a five star album is based on extremely subjective grounds. And so with a heavy heart, I remove a star. Keep in mind that I still consider this flawless and essential music, and urge you all to get it.

Shakespeare | 4/5 |


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