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Terpandre - Terpandre CD (album) cover

TERPANDRE

Terpandre

 

Symphonic Prog

3.53 | 48 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

A quintet from Lyon that recorded their sole album in 78 and released it in 81 (this alone should tell you why you've never heard of this obscure band), the eponymous album is one of those typical ultra- symphonic product of its time. The group (a double keyboard attack quintet, all five of them in their late 20's) was lead by guitarist Monerri (designer of the bucolic sleeve artwork) and main songwriter and keyboardist Jacques Pina and preferred instrumental music, with hired hand violinist Tilleman playing on the opening and closing track of the album.

Opening on one of the most up-tempoed Le Temps track of the album, it is probably the jazziest of the 5 original pieces, with guest Tilleman's violin (strongly influenced by JL Ponty's playing) pulling a great closing solo. Conte En Vert is a rather soft and cosy ultra symphonic track, filled with a mellotron and some Hackettian guitars, but it might just be a bit too sweet for our own good, the ultra-symphonic side nearing the cheesy. As often with late 70's works, there are some derivative influences such as Yes, Genesis and a bit of Crimson, but it's fairly well-digested and therefore neither obtrusive, nor obstructive. Another mellotron-laden (two of them at the same time) track Anne-MichaŽlle is maybe a tad too much of a tron-indigestion (this is not Flamen Dialis) and is the only track penned by the other keyboardist Tardieu, but the best track of the album is yet to come. Indeed Histoire D'un PÍcheur (story of a fisherman) is an absolute stunning track, although starting from some suspicious-sounding synth, but soon we're into an unreal piano, percussions and mellotron passage that bring chills down your spine. Carrousel is the closing epic track, clocking over 13 minutes, and it is the group's other tour de force, making the flipside much more interesting than the A-side. The track oscillates between up- tempo and very reflective piano moments, but it is the lengthy and repetitive crescendo finale (a bit like in Crimson's Starless but fairly different) that ultimately remains in mind.

The Musea reissue comes with the usual Musea great care in the overly-informative booklet, a few pictures and some almost-obligatory bonus tracks. Here the two "live bonuses" are of average sound quality and one of them is a non-album piece, Clair-Obscur being a clear reference to a classical master of the late romantic period. Terpandre's sole album (a typical late 70's production) is one that had bleeped on my radar a while ago, but then had slipped out of my sight, and I must thank Lady Jane for a great Valentine.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |

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