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4/3 De Trio - Ersatz CD (album) cover


4/3 De Trio

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5 stars Another masterpiece from french modern prog scene. Along with TAAL these musicians show the direction progressive music is going to develop in future. Again mixture of musical genres - symphonic progressive art rock with strong classical influences with jazzy and avantgardish moments. As album takes its course, moods are varying between dark and disturbing to comparatively light relaxing moments. "Ersatz" is mostly instrumental - only one track (La Blonde) is with lyrics and same is very ironical and philosofical piece of poetry about the joy of smoking. Lyrics are in french, and my french leaves much to be desired, but I guess "La Blonde" is a lovey-dovey name for a cigarette? Orchestral arrangements are of highest quality. Musicians themselves are all multi-instrumentalists - each of them is playing various instruments. This album is dedicated to the memory of their late drummer Didier Pegeron. Tracks 8 and 9 (bonus tracks) are composed and recorded by Didier Pegeron himslef. I heard that this album is going to be their last as they to put their carrer to an end, which would be a great pity, but this album will always remain a golden page in annals of progressive music.
Report this review (#36853)
Posted Saturday, June 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
Tristan Mulders
4 stars 4/3 de Trio - Ersatz

Starting off with the very much classical introduction of the song SolmhinArm this album starts off very promising. After the two or so minutes introduction we first encounter something that will last for the whole album, a general sense of some kind of jazzy improvisation.

All songs are instrumental which means that you can truly enjoy the various well thought out compositions. As mentioned earlier on a lot of it sounds as if it was improvised on the spot. I have to say that this is positive remark 'cause although there is a lot of fusion between more laidback jazz and hard rock influenced passages in the music, the music never gives me a forced feeling! I can truly relax and listen to the various technicalities of all the instruments, because if there is one thing on this album that you cannot escape, than it is the fact that all the musicians are very skilled and can show off how technical they can play, although not in a show-off way of letting us know.

What is something that surprises me is how mellow all the keyboards are, even the ones that are soloing! The guitars are the most aggressive instruments on this album and they sometimes do sound very aggressive, in a way that it feels like an attack on your ears. literally!

Although this is a fairly recent release, I cannot help but draw some parallels to the symphonic prog music of the 1970s. Mainly because of the sound of the keyboards I must say that it gives a twist of the old times, but (especially) the guitars give it a modern touch.

Report this review (#62316)
Posted Friday, December 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Conceived and developed while the band still existed but initially left unfinished, 4/3 de Trio eventually finalized the recording and release of their second and last album "Ersatz" as a tribute to the memory of drummer Didier Pérgeron, who had recently passed away from a fatal car crash. And what an excellent musical tribute this is! The solidness of the musician's interplaying and the integrity of the various ideas in the repertoire makes it hard to believe that the album's material was written and firstly recording during a period of inner tensions. But yes, "Ersatz" is an amazing catalogue of clever mixture of psychedelic prog, jazz-rock (with an accent on the rock thing), complex almost metallic hard rock, RIO and somber symphonic prog in Scandinavian fashion. Just for reference, I'll mention similarities with their compatriots of Xaal and Taal, as well as Lizard and the most Crimsonian Djam Karet. Anyway, an album that gets started with a majestic track as 'Solmhinarm' can sure grab the listener's attention for a while, say, one full album listen. The mellotron layers and the fierce guitar phrases reinforce the track's overall dynamics. Then comes the namesake number, which fluidly combines the special magic of jazz-rock and the neurotic darkness of KC, not unlike Xaal (another French young band that got finished too soon) - a special mention goes to the incendiary organ solo near the amazing climax. 'Bleu Cerise' kicks off with disturbing concrete music sounds left to the chance of absolute freedom, before the Present- influenced main motif arrives and gets settled. The last 40 seconds are filled by a calm, mysterious finale. 'Ayahusca' kind of follows a similar path of the previous track, albeit with a less oppressive mood and less intrepid tempo: all in all, the guitar leads continue to be disturbing and ballsy. Things get meditative when 'Oceane' gets in: it is a beautiful classical guitar duet a-la Villa-Lobos, very spiritual and providing a subtle exotic vibe to the atmosphere. 'Kossmokardak' is the 16 minute long tour-de-force that finds the band exploring the many faces of their most energetic side. You will find here a collection of succesive motifs wll integrated in a flow of eerie jazz-rock, hard prog rock, tight counterpoints, clever contrasts, Emerson-meets-Ratledge organ soloing, electrifying duelling between guitar and synthesizer, and last, a red hot synthesizer solo at the explosive climax. As much as it may seem ill conceived theoretically, the jazzy, frivolous number 'Le Blonde' manages to bring a breath of fresh air after the previous not-for- the-faint-hearted storm. Guest vocalist Elsa Klajnberg makes a convincing diva impersonation in her singing input. The album's bonus tracks are two solo Pérgeron tracks: he played the drums plus the guitar parts for two prog metal numbers, very much in the technical vein of the genre. My general balance: "Ersatz" is an excellent contemproary prog masterpiece for any good prog collection. 4/3 de Trio will forever be missed by prog fans worldwide.
Report this review (#99005)
Posted Wednesday, November 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars I've got to say that I havn't been that much fascinated by the quite half-baked mélange between grunge and prog on the debut of this French trio, ehem quartet. Actually by the time of release of their second (and unfortunately last) album here called "Ersatz" (German word for substitute) the band had been left already as a trio and been dissolved since drummer Didier Pégeron being only 26 years old had been sadly died due to a car accident. So this one is in fact a tribute album to him and has been only released for this reason. And what an excellent tribute, there's actually no way of comparison to their debut, it's miles away in terms of style coherence and quality. I use to have both of their CD's in my collection since a few years and though this one here was immediately highly appealing to me I never found really the time (too many other records) to listen carefully enough to it for writing a review. So now, years later I was thinking it's definitely time to give more attention to this great work, grabbed it from my shelf finally and since a couple of days it's almost not leaving my player anymore.

Being almost all instrumental (apart from the song "La Blonde" with pleasant vocals by guest Elsa Klajnberg) this highly versatile record is anything than a boring or easy listen but rather a very interesting and enjoyable one for lots of spins. Its versatility in fact is that high that it really offers something for any preferred taste be it heavy, dark, symphonic, melancholic, highly complex or acoustic. Certainly the kind of style 4/3 de Trio is playing here might be called derivative and not really groundbreaking and just for this reason alone I wouldn't call this one necessarily a masterpiece of progressive music. One can hear clear influences by Crimson, Anekdoten and Anglagard (mainly in the guitar work which is really outstanding) and at times their country fellow band Taal is coming to one's mind, especially in the great fully orchestrated opener "Solmhinärm". The title track continues more in a heavy rocking vein being a jazzy/classical mélange in the vein of Crimson or Anglagard with excellent e-piano. "Bleu Cerise" starts quite strange and rather improvised, here the band enters Avant-Prog territory but the track actually develops very dynamically offering highly impressing guitar play and a playful brassy middle section in free-jazz manner. "Ayahusca" spreads a great 70's feeling with majestic organ sound and some excellent solo presentations on guitar and synths. The acoustic and classically sounding "Oceane" offers a nice more quiet rest and it's the place where Guillaume Fenoy can fully show his high skills on guitar. The 16++ min long-player "Kossmokardak" could be considered the definite highlight of this disk although this is hard to say when speaking about such a strong album full of highlights. This is absolutely heavy and complex progressive rock between Red-phase Crimson and Rush to give just a rough idea. The final more mellow "La Blonde" is a perfect closure for this great album where Sébastien Gramond presents once again all kind of analogue keyboard sounds. The two bonus tracks are obviously solo works by sadly passed away drummer Didier Pégeron on electric guitar accompanied by sampled bass and drums. Really heavy rocking but nonetheless intricate stuff every metal fan will highly appreciate!

Finally the only thing left for me saying is that I'd highly recommend this album to any Prog fan looking for extraordinary music. Maybe not a masterpiece by definition but 4 ˝ STARS REALLY!

Report this review (#109115)
Posted Saturday, January 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Your brand new ANEKDOTEN!

Never being a fan of French Prog, I liked 4/3 DE TRIO a lot.There are some noisy, half- avant CRIMSOnique bands, that still manage to keep the equilibrium between angelic harmony and diabolical cacophony. 4/3 DE TRIO can serve as a sampler ;)

It has mellow tracks like "La Blone" and "Oceane" from one side and from the other side - rumbling pieces like "D.Dar#3" or insanity in "Bleu Cerise" vein. Some tracks sound pretty much normal ("Ayahusca"), others vary from Zeuhlish complexity to almost GENESIS-like "usual" Prog manner (all in "Kossmokardak", the 16-min highlight of the record). Highly recommended for those who aren't afraid of obvious CRIMSO influence and eager to find something new in contemporary Prog Rock

Report this review (#112457)
Posted Saturday, February 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars You can't go wrong with either of 4/3 DE TRIO's two releases. I actually enjoyed their debut a little bit more (at least the first half of it) mostly because it suits my tastes better. As the band went into the studio to record this their second album there was a lot of fighting between band members, so much so that they actually broke up. Shortly afterwards the drummer was killed tragically in a car accident. This eventually prompted the rest of the band to go back to the studio to finish off the record as a tribute to their friend.

The record starts off with an orchestral song called "Solmhinarm" as drums and mellotron eventually join in as the track gets louder.The guitar 2 1/2 minutes in sounds great ! Piano arrives 4 minutes in as the song settles down. "Ersatz" takes us to some jazz flavoured music.The guitar melodies that come and go are incredible. At first they are raw sounding and aggressive, then they turn to a Fripp like style before he just starts showing off. Haha. Organ comes in as the song gets heavy 6 1/2 minutes in with some blistering guitar. "Bleu Cerise" opens with various sounds with no real melody. Drums come in 2 minutes in followed by guitar.The song turns jazzy after 4 minutes with some good bass and trumpet. A catchy guitar and drum melody follows. 6 minutes in we get some Fripp like guitar melodies. Nice. There is also some violin and mandolin on this track. "Ayahusca" is my favourite studio track on this record. 6 minutes of bliss that includes mellotron, drums, organ and guitar. Just beautiful !

"Oceane" features some intricate acoustic guitar melodies that have a Spanish feel to them 2 minutes in. "Kossmokardak" is the longest rack at over 16 minutes. It's jazzy until the song starts to get more aggressive and darker. The tempo speeds up as a RUSH vibe comes into play. The organ play is incredible as is the guitar 10 1/2 minutes in as it goes on and on for 2 minutes. Nice. "La Blonde" is the only song with vocals as a guest female singer adds her voice to the album. Her vocals are in French and she is joined by one of the band members. This is a laid back, dreamy song with mellotron. Just a beautiful soundscape 4 1/2 minutes in,and the organ play a minute later is great as he puts on a show.

The two bonus tracks are killer, especially the first one "D.DAR#1" which reminds me of LIQUID TENSION EXPERIMENT. A heavy, aggressive song with amazing drumming. This is jaw dropping, exhilarating music ! The other bonus track "D.DAR#3" is slower paced but still heavy. It kicks in 2 minutes in and gets even heavier 4 minutes in. I can't recommend either of their two albums enough. Satisfaction guaranteed !

Report this review (#130248)
Posted Wednesday, July 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars 4/3 De Trio are a great obscure south-eastern French project, who disbanded after releasing a single album. The drummer for this short lived band was killed not long after the disbandment, and in memory of him, they collected the work they left half-baked, and stuck it back in the oven. This second album smoothly rolls in and out of many different styles and atmospheres. Most notably are the King Crimson nods, particularly towards Larks' Tongues to Red era, with the clean, metallic, heavy segments. Similarly, these sections are easily compared to Änglagĺrd's style of slick, aggressive progressive rock. But there is also a distinct chamber-prog element here, articulated firmly in the opening track's haunting string arrangements. Avant-garde splashes also make it comparable to the RIO movement: particularly the shadowy compositions of Univers Zero, and those of the classically-inclined Art Zoyd.

However, despite these numerous comparisons, 4/3 De Trio is quite unique, and even during the sections most reminiscent of the greats, they're masked in their own distinctive approach. Many young generation, retro-prog bands if you will, make their own style merely by combining already existing styles of prog, and calling it something new. 4/3 De Trio (starkly not a retro-prog group), though nod back obviously, do not linger endlessly in the past. The arrangements are extremely powerful, the melodies are strong, and the musicianship is not at all lacking. The moods of the album are many, and varied. Textures range from serene acoustic guitar duets, to grand-scale string-backed finales, to jazzy, bass-heavy symphonic prog. But at the core of the project are the virtues of all progressive rock. RIO lovers hungry for modern music, Neo progheads, heavy symphonic, and even metal fans alike will all get a great fix from Ersatz.

Report this review (#161281)
Posted Friday, February 8, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Havng seen the reference to Taal, I thought this group, and this album would be a rather sure bet to please. And while it is a pleasant enough listen, once I take it out of my CD player, I'm not left humming any melodies or riffs. The playing is excellent, Half the tracks are hard complex rockers that recall Taal, and some Rush type of instrumentals. But nothing that makes me want to sit down and learn to play on guitar. Solhmin Arm starts off the album in a symphonic manner, and did make me think I had hit the jackpot with this record. But then song 2 - Ersatz - lets me down. It, to me , is really nothing more than the sort of hard jazz fusion playing that seems to be tossed off too easily by technical able musicians without attention paid to whether there is any melodic structure past the sterotypical runs. Bleu Cerise is the one where I see the Anekdoten sound, but with the added jazz fusion bent. Good, but I have to listen to it as I write to recall it. Not good, eh. Oceane is a nice respite, a comparatively short acoustic spanish guitar bit. But nothing that makes it stand out from what any semi-advanced guitar student could not improvise as a theoretical exercise. Kossmokardak, DDar # 1 & 2 again do no better than remind me of the unoriginality that is too often a feature of such music. I think back to Karcius, some Niacin, and other hard rock jazz fusion groups that display great chops, but average song-writing. So, if you're a musician who enjoys hearing technical excellence, and can get past the weakness of the compositions, then this is something that would be worth a listen. But there are better and more competent and complete musicians out there who should get your attention first.
Report this review (#201181)
Posted Friday, January 30, 2009 | Review Permalink

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