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Carpe Diem

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Carpe Diem En regardant passer le temps album cover
3.74 | 124 ratings | 19 reviews | 19% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Voyage du non-retour (3:48)
2. Reincarnation (12:50)
3. Jeux du siècle (10:10)
4. Publiophobie (9:54)

Total Time 36:42

Line-up / Musicians

- Gilbert Abbenanti / guitar
- Christian Trucchi / keyboards, vocals
- Claude-Marius David / flute, soprano saxophone, percussion
- Alain Bergé / bass
- Alain Faraut / drums, percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Hubert Pattieu

LP Arcane 913051 (1976, France)
LP Crypto ZAL 6418 (1977, France)
‎LP Sterling ST 4806 (1977, Canada) Re- entitled "Way Out - As the Time Goes By"

CD Musea FGBG 4122.AR (1994, France)
CD Belle Antique BELLE 071273 (2007, Japan) Remastered by Hirobumi Kawanishi

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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CARPE DIEM En regardant passer le temps ratings distribution

(124 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(19%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(60%)
Good, but non-essential (18%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

CARPE DIEM En regardant passer le temps reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!

Having started as early as 69 in Nice (alongside the Italian border), Carpe Diem's two albums rank as gems in the French symphonic sound, even if they never were innovative (by the release of their debut in 76, the genre was more or less set) or particularly original, they are angular pieces of the genre.

While some people always see Carpe Diem as a semi-Genesis-Camel clone, it is much closer to the truth to compare them to fellow French groups like Pulsar, Atoll, Ange, with an added avant-prog flavor. Certainly there are some similarities to the British groups mentioned, but they have that distinct and unmistakable French symphonic style (but with a slight jazz touch as well), but the very present wind instruments and few vocal passages provide its own character.

After a short Voyage, the rest of the tracks are made or 10-min tracks or more. While the modest allocation time for vocals allowed for some superb instrument interplay, I must say that all three remaining tracks appear interchangeable and none are standing out as extraordinary. Competent, professional, at times exciting, in others a bit too derivative, it seems that Jeux Du Siecle is probably their most complex track on the album, but also my fave. Publiphobie is again another good moment, but as usual, Carpe Diem does not manage to get to the next level: the sublime one.

While finding nothing wrong with Carpe Diem (as opposed to finding easily flaws to Pulsar or Mona Lisa), I also find it hard to really get enthused/enthralled by their music: it just does not push the right button for me. Clearly by the end of the record, you are a bit relieved that it has stopped: the constant bombardment of their uniform sound can get a bit tiresome, a fault I think due to the production. Nevertheless, for all symphonic rock fans, if not essential, Carpe Diem is certainly there to thicken honestly your collection.

Review by maani
2 stars I find it hard to classify this album, which is almost entirely instrumental (despite some perfunctory vocals). There are certainly influences (though fairly well "channeled"), and there is certainly creativity going on. There is also fine musicianship involved. (N.B. The previous reviewer is correct about the Hackett-influenced guitar, though I also heard a little bit of David Gilmour as well.) However, the album as a whole left me somewhat "flat." There seems little that is "compelling" in any way, and, indeed, much of the album has a "journeyman" quality to it: indeed, parts of it seem somewhat "lazy." In addition, the creativity does not always show clear direction or inner logic: many sections sound as though they were strung together because they "could" be, rather than because they made any particular sense. Still, it is a pleasant album to listen to, is certainly worth hearing (if not keeping), and probably deserves another half star (if I were able to give one).
Review by loserboy
4 stars Truly amazing mid 70's French space prog fusion band creating some highly creative and definitely unique sounds. "En Regardant Passer Le Temps" features lots of superb soprano sax with acid laced guitar soloing all sauteed in a slight space jazz setting not unlike elements of GONG and The SOFT MACHINE at times. Drawing comparisons is actually quite difficult here but perhaps one could draw some similarities to the spacier aspects of Camel Much of this album is instrumental, and vocals parts are sung in French and are quite acceptable sounding almost terrestrial. Without a question this is a gem of an album from start to finish and the fine folks at Musea have done a wonderful job in re-mastering this one. Set the controls for the heart of the sun.
Review by Proghead
5 stars This album has really grown on me big time. This has got to be one of the greatest prog albums I have bought in a long time. This group, as far as French prog bands are concerned gets mentioned up there with the likes of PULSAR, ATOLL, MAGMA, ANGE, etc. and without good reason. The band consisted of keyboardist/vocalist Christian Truchi, guitarist Gilbert Abbenanti, bassist Alain Berge, drummer Alain Faraut, and saxist/flutist Claude-Marius David (who unfortunately died in 1993, according to the booklet included in the Musea CD reissue, but unfortunately no mention of cause of death).

"En Regardant Passer Le Temps" is the first of only two albums and is generally regarded as the better of the two. This is one of the very few prog rock albums I've found where I can't find any flaws. Many times I have problems with bad production, bad vocals (or a band singing in poor English if they're from a non-English speaking country), an album getting hampered by a sappy ballad or two, awful synth sound, poor lyrics, or whatever, but none of that's to be found here. Christian Truchi decides to sing in his native French, and he has one of the more pleasant voices in French prog (a refreshing change, when you're accustomed to harsh French vocals, like that of ANGE).

The band has one of the more unique keyboard sounds I've heard, rather than the usual Hammond organ, Mini Moog, and Mellotron, Truchi used a Farfisa electric piano, an unidentifiable synth, and a string synth. So many times you see this band compared with GONG, or CAMEL, or SOFT MACHINE. Don't buy in to that at all, this has got to be one of the more original mid '70s prog albums. For one thing, the music is way more sophisticated than what GONG did. There are plenty of jazzy passages because of the presence of sax, but plenty of spacy symphonic passages. The band is often placed under the "space fusion" category with the likes of GONG and even OZRIC TENTACLES, which is a bit strange, given CARPE DIEM was quite a bit more sophisticated. Expect more of a symphonic space prog album.

The album consists of only four cuts, but all are of the same quality, so it's really difficult picking out the best cut. Plus you can't beat the cover, which is very much in the style of M.C. Escher (done by Hubert Pattieu). Truly an essential album, as far as I'm concerned.

Review by James Lee
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Before I listened to the album I wondered if the title might be a reference to Proust's "A la recherche du temps perdu"- it would make an interesting and lengthy libretto- but it's probably not the inspiration here. "Voyage of No Return" sets the tone: aggressively paced jazz-influenced prog rock with plenty of improvisational soloing. The keyboards, in particular, are fairly unique-sounding...but usually in a bad way, combining dissonant runs with very cheap-sounding tones (the 1975 equivalent of a Casio home keyboard?). The guitar parts sound great, in the classic 70s fuzz style, but the playing is unremarkable for the most part. The highlight is Claude-Marius David on the sax, but even he sounds aimless; the song doesn't conclude as much as just fade out. "Reincarnation" launches with a synthetic harpsichord sound and a thin phasing sweep that confirms the slightly unpleasant quality of the keyboads, although the melody this time is rather nice. The vocals are low-key, contributing to the bittersweet feel that allows this song to triumph over the sum of its often bland parts. The processed vocals about halfway through are interesting, pre-dating KRAFTWERK, and the guitar sometimes achieves a fuzzy soulfulness. The climax, however, is a bit labored and limp. "Jeux du Siecle" provides us with our first real comparisons, starting much like a PINK FLOYD classic ("Echoes", for instance) but when it gets going becomes more similar in composition and texture to an early GENESIS or KING CRIMSON piece. Largely enjoyable, it does suffer from the nasty keyboard sounds and some bad timing. "Publiphobe" is similar territory, with more KC influence in the rising odd-meter climax (a less heavy "Fracture" or "Lark's Tongues"). Comme-ci, comme-ca. For everything impressive on this album there is something else that weighs it down. The musical capabilities of the band are respectable, but there were moments of actual sloppy playing ("Jeux du Siecle" and "Publiophobe" have a few of these). I could understand this on a live release, but for a studio album this is a bad sign for the largely technically-focused progressive genre. The double-bass drum usage is ahead of its time (even masters Bruford and Peart weren't really doing it yet) and the drummer generally excells without resorting to exotic percussion like so many prog drummers. The band does establish a mood pretty well, especially the bittersweet sections and some of the more eerie/ suspenseful parts. The production is good but not great; the instruments are distinct and seldom overpower each other but each one seems stripped of some of its character. I was trying to decide if the vocals were mixed low or filtered to let them blend with the rest of the band when I realized that nothing blends; the mix as a whole is strangely sparse and brittle. I don't dislike the album- it leaves me with very little lasting impression at all- and the fact that it is a first album compels me to be easier on CARPE DIEM, but I do not think this will appeal to many people. One star for the impressive drumming, and one for the almost-ambitious "Reincarnation".
Review by lor68
4 stars Musea, a fertile French label, gave us an old "jewel" (in the early nineties) coming from the school of Ange and related French 70's bands. They belonged to the so called "Crypto" Records, along with other interesting groups such as Pentacle, Monalisa and so on. Mainly an instrumental ensemble with a few vocal parts, They were able to produce some pretty harmonic lines, being quite technical musicians. Their interplay between the sax and the keyboards or the flute and the guitars was a great imprinting in the middle-seventies, as a reference for the whole Romantic Prog scene in France. It's incredible their mix in between, sometimes resembling the style of the early "romantic" King Crimson, which is suddenly abandoned as They play according a different sound "Camel-oriented" (think of "Mirage"): this is their search of "airy" melodies and pretty instrumental interplays in the same time, able to make this album a classic one and a must have for all seasons...honestly the unique defect is a bit of discontinuity and a few uneven breaks through, in which They lose their direction for a while, but after all it is an old album dated 1975 and at that time you couldn't listen to anything better within this music genre!!

A classic album, deserving a 3 stars at least!!

Review by Carl floyd fan
4 stars There seem to be mixed reviews on this one. But really I think there is far to much to like about this album to give it any less than 4 stars. Granted it grew on me but after repeated listens I was hooked. The closest comparisson I can make in the sound department is the space fusion sound of classic Gong minus the goofyness. Its really hard for me not to give this 5 stars but its knocked down to 4.25 star range with vocals that sometimes mar the overall appeal. At times it sounds like the singer is almost constipated. Other times, they are perfectly fine. Regardless it brings the score down a little. Also, sometimes the music is directionless and boarders on noodling. Other times, these guys are spot on with their jams, especially the middle of "Publiophobie" (about six minutes in). The flute and sopransaxophon add nice dimension to to music that is otherwise generic (but skilled) space rock. In the end its a nice fusion-esque cd.
Review by hdfisch
5 stars Carpe Diem was a rather short-living French band with (unfortunately) not more than two albums and though they are considered in general by Prog fans of minor significance compared to i.e. Ange, Clearlight or Pulsar they are in fact my top favourite one from that country having quite an unique sound and (at least for me) the perfect blend of progressive rock music. Actually they're quite difficult to categorize because they revealed elements of symphonic Prog, jazz-rock fusion and space rock. Due to the latter two components of their music I've seen reviewers relating them in the broadest sense to the Canterbury and Space Fusion scene which might be a bit misleading. There isn't any similarity to bands like Soft Machine or Gong in their music and I guess this tag comes from their frequent use of saxophone which has been played by them though not that much in a typical free-form jazzy vein but more based on classical symphonic music. Even to their country fellows Pulsar they're often compared with I don't hear much of similarity, they had a much more lively and less somniferous sound than that band. Also there's little resemblance to Ange or Shylock since Carpe Diem revealed only occasionally (and very pleasant) vocals and a high degree of harmony in their compositions. Closest comparisons coming to my mind actually would be Clearlight, Atoll or the Franco-Canadian band Maneige in some way but Carpe Diem mainly sounded like Carpe Diem. I really prefer them to many other symphonic Prog bands not only due to the adorable combined use of flute and sax but also because they managed to never sound overblown or sappy at any moment despite all harmony in their music.

Both of their albums are pretty much in a similar high quality and honestly I'd rate each of them with 90 percent. Their debut here in review opens with the short "Voyage du Non-Retour" in a rather quirky and up-tempo vein and here in fact the jazz-rock classification still fits quite well. But "Reincarnation" reveals already very obviously a sound typical for this band starting with slow e-piano which reminds of harpsichord, gentle flute play and spheric synths. The composition continously gains momentum and develops into an excellent and wonderful symphonic Prog piece with both a jazzy touch (due to the saxophone) and a slightly spacey one (due to tone modulated vocals). "Jeux du Siecle" reminds much more of classical music than of jazz and offers a very warm, gentle and harmonic sound dominated by saxophone, tasteful keyboards and Camel-esque guitar play (actually the only element this band comes to mind) with nice contributions by flute. Most of the track is kept instrumental, only in the final minute there are some vocals. The closing all instrumental one "Publiophobie" is like the introduction again more lively and represents a highly appealing hybrid between symphonic and jazz rock. Especially in its second half there are nice sections where the guitar's coming more to the foreground for the first time.

As a conclusion I must say that Carpe Diem presented on their debut a felicitous mix of traditional Prog and jazz fusion in a very dense and highly intriguing sound that fascinates the prone listener in a mesmerizing way. Being aware that in general it might not be considered a real masterpiece like i.e. Clearlight's Symphony and since there isn't a half-star option I decided nonetheless to distribute my 90%-ratings for their two albums by giving this one five stars and their second one four. For sure both of them are must-have ones for any symphonic Prog fan.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars Like SHYLOCK, CARPE DIEM are from Nice, France. They play a blend of spacey, jazzy, symphonic music that is subtle, beautiful and complex. There are some vocals, mostly on "Reincarnation" but this is mostly an instrumental album.

"Voyage Du Non-Retour" is an uptempo instrumental with light drums throughout helping to give this song a jazz feel. Sax and keys help create that great sound. There are some unique sounds that come from the keyboard of Christian Truchi as he modified it in order to produce unusual sounds like Dave Stewart and Dave Sinclair.

My favourite song is "Reincarnation". The tempo changes in this song are used to great effect. Flute and light keys to open and we hear vocals for the first time and I like them. I love the guitar melodies, the tone of the guitar is perfect for this music. Some terrific drumming and sax in this one as well. "Jeux Du Siecle" is a complex track opening with synths and flute. A tranquil and pastoral mood is created. Sax and drums eventually lead the way. Guitar comes and goes and again it sounds so good. The keys are great and vocals come into this track for the first time as flute and synths provide the melody. "Publiphobie" has some really good drumming as well as sax,piano and guitar. More vocals too.

This is an excellent record and worthy of any prog collectors collection.

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Seize the day!

Carpe Diem are considered by many one of the best of the French prog scene of the 70s. The group spent many years slogging through clubs playing covers and dealing with personnel changes until they had built a good reputation beyond Nice. They play a style of progressive symphonic combined with space rock that is sophisticated, understated, and to some perhaps a bit dry. There is none of the ribaldry of their countrymen Ange which I miss, they perhaps fall somewhere between the likes of Pulsar and the more zesty Pentacle. I think you can make the case there is even a bit of Canterbury to their sound in the reserved perfectionist play. Carpe Diem will absolutely thrill some proggers with their tightness and composition and will disappoint others who prefer a bit more fat left on their steak. One thing for sure is that I didn't "get" the beauty of Carpe Diem on the first few spins. Their lower key style makes active listening a must and therefore this is music that takes longer to appreciate but as is often the case, it translates to bigger payoffs in the long run.

"Voyage" is a brisk intro with keys and sax taking a mysterious sound atop a tight, consistent drum/bass line. Electric guitar lead breaks in about half way through but the pace is still driving. The track feels full even though only 4 minutes long because of the minimal changes in rhythm but it still is mostly an introduction to "Reincarnation," one of the three meaty tracks that make up the album. "Reincarnation" has a classical sounding keyboard opening with delicate flute sprinkled in, very nice. Soon the vocals come in and they are modest by French standards, pleasant and downright serene compared to the likes of Christian Decamps. After this verse the band gets to work piloting the craft for orbit with tight and technical structures that build with very deliberate lead guitar and great percussion. Vocal sections come and go but they remain background to the spacious instrumental work around them. Half way through comes a break where the guitars get sparse and the pace slows for some strange robotic vocals. Slowly things build again until the energy coalesces into some beautiful leads that remind me a bit of Camel's Moonmadness phase. "Jeux du siecle" begins very softly, rising from silence with quiet guitar. Flute and synths begin to well up as the song begins to animate. Plenty of tasty runs of keyboards and guitar follow, together and separate, always conjuring rather "airy" feelings and supported by economical but interesting drum play. Last we have the succulent "Publiphobie" with its relentlessly plodding bass line and lead guitar fireworks that clearly indicate some jazz fusion influence in the mix.

Mike McLatchey at Gnosis2000 calls En Regardant "a supremely excellent example of progressive rock.on par with the greats - Atoll, Shylock's Ile De Fievre, Pulsar Halloween, Arachnoid, Terpandre, and Artcane Odyssee. spacey and atmospheric with that rare sense of professional restraint that only the classic symphonic groups had like PFM, Banco, or Ezra Winston. The result was a slightly jazzy and very spacious music of a fragile and delicate nature, yet with a sense of power that grows behind the complex musical structures. Throughout the four tracks, their melodies are very harmonically rich and refined, often with three parts from keys, sax, and guitar."

While I agree with the mountains of praise heaped upon Carpe Diem for their skill and arrangement talents, as hinted above I need more of an emotional connection to give something our highest ratings. I do find the band's music to be dry and just a bit lacking in cholesterol. Their peers in Pentacle may not be as talented as Carpe but are bursting in richness which is why they garner the higher rating from me. The Musea booklet has a great history with photos and the cover art here is spectacular. Take some time to really drink in the cover if you buy this, it works so well with the music. 3 ½ stars.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars A nice way to pass the time

This, Carpe Diem's first album, dates from the mid-1970's although the band had been around for some years prior to its release. The music of the band is probably best compared to Camel, although overall the sound is a bit harder and jazzier.

This album consists of just 4 tracks, three of which range from 10-12 minutes long. The opening "Voyage du non-retour" is a shorter instrumental piece which forms a sort of upbeat overture. The vocals are heard for the first time on the album's longest track, "Reincarnation". Co-incidentally they are, as with Camel, the band's Achilles heel, being rather bland and ineffective. Thankfully they are kept brief, the track developing well through mainly keyboard flourishes. At times, suggestions of the more melodic side of Hawkwind drift in and out, although we never actually reach Space Rock territories.

"Jeux du Siecle" is the most symphonic of the tracks, with fine guitar and lush keyboards arrangements. Without wishing to labour the point, the fact that it is largely devoid of vocals (they form a brief coda to the piece) also contributes to it being (for me) the best of the bunch. The final track, "Publiophobie" is rather like an improvisation on the opening track. Here, the bass is more intrusive than on the rest of the album, the track also having similarities with Camel's "Lunar Sea" from the "Moonmadness" album.

In all, a decent first album which suggests the band have significant technical ability. Recommended for those who might be interested to hear what it sounds like when symphonic prog goes to Canterbury.

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Having got acquainted with Carpe Diem through their sophomore (and final) release "Cueille le Tour", it was a very pleasant surprise to find out that this band already had a mature musical voice of its own as it is revealed in the repertoire of "En Regardant Passer le Temps", the debut album. There is a predominant lyricism refurbished through some spacey vibes here and there, plus a gentle use of jazz- oriented cadences within an overall symphonic scheme. On thing that caught my attention especially was the presence of rough instrumental travels in many places, energetic in a clearly psychedelic fashion. This is something that is coincidental with the dominant mood in Pulsar's first two albums as well as Asia Minor's debut release - going even a bit further back in time, you can also notice traces from King Crimson's "Islands" and "Lizard". No doubt that David's efforts (mainly on soprano sax, but also flute) are the most notorious in the recurrent dialogues between lead guitar, wind and keyboards; by no means it is my purpose to overlook Abbenanti's tasteful solos or Trucchi's ability to build up phrases and orchestrations (somewhat Bardens-influenced). The solid rhythmic foundation of Berge and Faraut, meanwhile, states a perfect balance between the pulsation of art-rock and jazz-inspired dynamics, very pertinent in order to sustain the melodic developments in each turn. The shortest piece, 'Réincarnation', opens up the album on a very Gong-meets.-early Soft Machine note. It is so exciting that one can only regret that the fade-out arrives before the 4 minute mark, but the good thing is that this sort of colorfulness is well elaborated in the next three tracks. 'Jeux du Siècle' is a 13- minute suite that kicks off very pastoral, featuring a playful flute flowing over the eerie synth layers. Once we get to minute 2, the full ensemble states a rich musical travel elaborated with controlled pomposity. At minute 6, a cosmic section settles in very powerfully, which eventually serves to pave the way for the climax that fills the track's last two minutes. As impressive as this first half of the album is, I must prefer the second half. "Voyage du Non-Retour" brings similar moods and textures to those from the previous track, but in my humble opinion, the integration between the various motifs is better accomplished - I also feel that its somewhat rougher approach helps to spice things up consistently. And finally, we get to the album's undisputed gem, 'Publiphobe', which emerges a storm of melody and harmony craftily sustained on a whirlwind-like bass guitars sequence and lovely jazzy drum patterns. All spaces are filled in this track, yet the band cleverly avoids saturation and ornament excess. The melancholic aura displayed in the sung interlude receives much of its drive from the exciting instrumental that preceded it: here, there is an evident tension beneath the surface, relieved by the controlled dialogues between sax and guitar that take place in the moments when the band's sound gets tighter. The playful opening motif returns for the effective coda. This sort of excellent closure is what this excellent album deserves, no less. Generally speaking, "En Regardant Passer le Temps" does not match the magical finesse soon to be delivered in "Cueille le Tour", but it sure surpasses in terms of energy and musical development. Both albums are clear indicators of the sort of progressive genius achieved by Carpe Diem, a band for the most demanding symphonic rock fan.
Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Superb French band,who recorded two albums in the 70's before disappearing just before the 80's.There are historical traces that the band existed since early 70's,but didn't release anything before 1975.CARPE DIEM were located in Nice at the southern side of France and debuted finally in 1975 with ''En regardant passer le temps''.

While some obvious influences by older bands can be indicated,I find their sound to be very intricate and efficiently original.Their unique musicianship can be split in two styles.Definitely the smoother parts follow the vein of pastoral symphonic rock,characterized by the dark use of mellotron,the leading acoustic guitars,the intricate flutes,even some harpsichord appears at some moments, and, if you dare,add some atmospheric full-spacey synths around to complete this fully attractive soundscape.Seems if early KING CRIMSON and CLEARLIGHT are together on stage featuring STEVE HACKETT on guitars!On the other hand there are plenty of parts where the music is led by Claude-Marie David's saxes and his unbelievable solos yet in a melodic way,supported by the nice breaks and dynamics of the rhythm section.Can't help thinking of VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR or even MAGMA listening to these parts,as they were very popular and respectful in France during the 70's.The whole result is beyond your imagination and the album comes highly recommended to fans of daring,challenging and original music!

Review by Flucktrot
3 stars One of those unique 1- or 2-shot wonders, like so many Italian prog bands. Unlike some of the Italian prog bands with severely truncated careers, I'm not sure how much Carpe Diem had left to give. This is a good album with some nice textures and pieces, but then after listening to their next and final album, it's hard to pick out meaningful differences in some places. Given that there are a few minor tempo, compositional, and coherence issues in this release, I think I prefer their next album to this, although either is nice to have for a little light French flavor.

When I say light, it's not to say the music is lacking in intensity--as a matter of fact, one thing that Carpe Diem do very well is keep the tempo brisk, even in sections in which the percussion is light. I think this helps to keep the listener engaged during the softer sections, and I think it's a songwriting tool that more prog musicians might take notice of.

The highlights for me are Reincarnation and Jeux, which are both extended pieces that feature plenty of nice keys and very effective soprano sax lines, often combining with the guitar for some beautiful harmonies. They certainly have a very distinct sound! Reincarnation is perhaps a bit heavier, while Jeux is more dreamy, although both strongly remind me of their next album.

Overall a very nice sound, solid playing, and interesting compositions--this is a decent choice to track down if you enjoy instrumental, lighter symphonic prog.

Review by Warthur
4 stars It would be a terrible irony if a band calling itself Carpe Diem - Latin for "Seize the Day" - didn't make the most of its debut album, but thankfully this French prog outfit lives up to their name and uses the brief 36 minute running time of this release to magnificent effect.

The band's tastes seem to have run the full gamut of the 1970s prog universe; there's no full-on zeuhl or Canterbury on here, mind, but there's a great swathe of other prog sounds. In the first tinklings of Voyage du Non-Retour I thought I was in for a space rock voyage, then the album took more symphonic directions, but with a jazz-rock tinge to it which develops into full-blown fusion by the close of Publiophobie. And somehow, the band manage to make this all fit together in a single aesthetic whole, rather than sounding disjointed. Impressive stuff all round.

Review by Matti
4 stars 20-Year Chronological Run-Through pt. Fourteen: 1976.

French symphonic prog band CARPE DIEM was founded, albeit with another name, in 1969 in the city of Nice. Alongside bands such as Alice and Ange, they were one of those early French bands that drew notable influences from British progressive rock, especially from Genesis. This group only was pretty slow in starting their recording career. The line-up on this debut (with a title meaning "On watching the time pass by") was shaped in 1974, and the album came out in the spring of 1976.

The four-track album is mostly instrumental, although I think the voice of keyboardist Christian Truchi is fairly pleasant. The relatively brief but delicious instrumental opening track 'Voyage du Non-Retour' is uptempo and jazzy space rock with a GONG reminiscence. Soprano saxophone, electric guitar and keyboards build melodies in a groovy setting that sounds suitably jam-based. The three longer pieces go into more symphonic heights.

'Reincarnation' has flexible melodies and a drive that remind me of early CAMEL (debut/Mirage-era), and German ELOY could be another good reference. Derivative perhaps, but very enjoyable, with an exception for the robotic vocals in the midway -- fortunately very shortly. The flute and soprano sax parts are great. 'Jeux du Siecle' mixes the spacey psychedelia of Saucerful-era PINK FLOYD, fast sax melodies á la VdGG and some Genesis reminding melodies & sounds. The guitarist has been compared to both Steve Hackett and David Gilmour.

Also 'Publiphobie' combines instrumental and vocal sections in a balanced and dynamic way. The atmosphere is often intense and dramatic as in the Gabriel-era Genesis songs such as 'Fountain of Salmacis'. The heavy use of reeds and the instrumental orientation make this band suitably different from Genesis (or Ange), and this album is a strong four- star classic for me. Of the French bands, PULSAR might be the best reference.

Latest members reviews

4 stars "En Regardent Passer le Temps". The first album of CARPE DIEM. The music is psychedelic, classical jazz-rock . The tone quality is cheep, but they made a fantastic world. In addition, there is a feeling like KING CRIMSON. "Reincarnation" (12:53) is a thirilling masterpiece which the performan ... (read more)

Report this review (#84129) | Posted by braindamage | Wednesday, July 19, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Mellow and symphonic band from Southern France with some Epicurian viewpoints to life. Longish compositions with quite homogenous level. But sounds like caress of ears. In my oppinion musically a bit more interesting and a bit more beautifully sounding than following Cueille Le Jour album. The ... (read more)

Report this review (#73303) | Posted by Rainer Rein | Tuesday, March 28, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Carpe Diem is a band that completely captures my imagination. This, their debut album from 1975, is one of the finest albums of the French progressive movement of the 1970's that I have heard. They are particularly fine in developing and aranging their material, and are superb musicians concentra ... (read more)

Report this review (#72095) | Posted by wooty | Thursday, March 16, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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