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Terpandre - Terpandre CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.53 | 48 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars The self titled debut and sole release by French progressive band Terpandre is a grand and romantic symphonic instrumental prog album, in the fine tradition of Camel and Rousseau. It also has slight fusion and jazz elements, with heavy use of the violin to give them their own sound. The album is hugely dominated by the Mellotron, which will no doubt impress many classic prog fans! With a refined and sophisticated sound, it's an intricate and delicate album with plenty of movement and colour.

The lead track `Le Temps' has a very upbeat rhythm, with grand violin, furious drumming, fluid bass, subtle Mellotron washes and urgent Camel-like guitar riffs, similar to their first few albums. It's quite a sprightly track with lots of energy - laid back and emotional one minute, frantic the next. Terrific way to start the album. `Conte en vert' has a reflective and thoughtful sedate quality, very uplifting in places, with an oddly comforting ghostly Mellotron melody. With some restrained electric guitar, subtle piano, murmuring bass and commanding drumming, it evokes a similar mood to the much loved Camel `Snow Goose' album, with the Mellotron replacing the flute very effectively. `Anna Michaele' is essentially a wondrous two Mellotrons and piano symphony with a dancing Moog throughout! `Histoire...' has an playful E.L.P inspired Moog intro, before the band cheerfully rip through some quirky time changes with snappy playing. The middle section in rather moody in contrast, quite menacing with manic violin that alternates between somber and sinister! The 13 minute `Carrousel' has many fusion elements, lots of tempo changes, and is filled with dirty violin, snarling electric guitar and jazzy electric piano. Although the classical middle section is perhaps a little too whimsical and pretty, it then diverts into a much darker section about 8 minutes that very briefly even reminds of Magma! The swirling mini-moog and busy pounding drum workout ensures the album ends on a very dramatic and epic finale.

The album has been given a superb reissue from Musea with a few rough-around-the-edges live tracks as a bonus. The performance of album track `Conte en vert' is a little wonky and flat, however live-exclusive `Musique...' is a great addition - an evocative and emotional piece highlighted by glistening electric piano and spectral Mellotron that breaks through the murky quality. The reissue also has a a very detailed booklet that is truly exhausting to read. Try reading it all, and tell me I'm wrong!

Taking into account when the album was made (recorded in 1978, released in '81), it's reassuring to find it's full of proper progressive rock, as opposed to being overly commercial or AOR. Although the album is frequently laidback and easy to listen to, it's never too basic or simplistic. Rather it's accessible, catchy and undemanding. With music frequently as warm, bright and full of energy as the front cover, `Terpandre' is a classy album full of rich and dreamy prog, and it's one that I return to constantly.

A bit of a lost gem! Highly recommended.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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