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Present - Triskaïdékaphobie CD (album) cover





4.28 | 114 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars Review edited in 2014 in the light of the then-recent reissues Or The Fear Of Number 13, most likely a reference to Trigaux's old group Univers Zero's debut album called 1313. Actually Present started as an offshoot project of Univers Zero with both Roger Trigaux and Daniel Denis, but Trigaux was not to return to back to the mother group. The vast majority of the album is written by Roger Trigaux (who oscillates constantly between the piano to a searing guitar) and therefore one should not really expect the same kind of music than on a UZ album, despite the same kind of sombre ambiance.

Just three tracks on this album, one of which is simply the most representative track of Present's Oeuvre: the side-long 19 min+ Promenade Au Fond D'Un Canal. With an incredibly ever changing rhythm pattern but constantly sinister and metronomic-quality (almost repetitive to be minimalist, but this would be misleading) groove and helped out tremendously by Rochette's piano, this track is riveting, tense from beginning to end. The 15 min+ Quatre-vingt Douze is based much on the same pattern but reminds you of John Cale and Terry Riley's superb album Church Of Anthrax. Last but not least is a short Repulsion (a collaboration between Trigaux, Denis and bassist Genet) that has problems finding its place next to the other two "epics", but is highly atmospheric.

The recent reissues of Present's first two albums boast bonus tracks and in this case, it is two live tracks from the mythic Halles De Schaerbeek back in 81. The first track is a shorter version of UZ's Dense (from the then-upcoming Ceux Du Dehors) with a much more electric feel. A very interesting bonus track that could've fitted on an early UZ album as well. The 10-mins Vous Le Saurez En Temps Voulu reflects well the paranoiac feel induced by the title (you'll know when it suits US) with its sinister pedestrian pace that goes crescendo. Both tracks are essential and high-valued additions to the original album. AAMOF, if you didn't know of the original album's initial form, you'd swear the bonus tracks are part of it. The expanded booklet provides a few pictures and the first-part history of the band's first era, courtesy of Aymeric Leroy. The remastering of the album and bonus tracks was handled by the great Udi Kooran.

Certainly one of the darkest Oeuvre written back then, there are not that many albums that have topped it in that regard, since. I cannot easily recommend this album to everybody, because this dark sinister music is not easily approachable (and not suited to getting romantic with the girlfriend unless she enjoys doing it in a coffin ;-) and is at best an acquired taste. But if you are reading this review, one can say that ¼ of the way is done.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |


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