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ORION 2.0: VIRTUAL HUMAN

Orion

Symphonic Prog


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Orion Orion 2.0: Virtual Human album cover
4.26 | 42 ratings | 7 reviews | 36% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music


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Studio Album, released in 2019

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Virtual Human (5:24)
2. T.O.W.U. (3:48)
3. Run For Life (5:54)
4. Le Nuage (4:31)
5. Silicon Cirkus (6:00)
6. Silicium (7:45)
7. Shagreen (7:01)

Total Time 40:29

Line-up / Musicians

- Jérôme Nigou / lead & backing vocals
- Pierre-Jean Horville / guitars
- Paul Cribaillet / keyboards, piano
- Eric Halter / basses
- Cédric Affre / drums, additional rhythm guitar (2)

With:
- Philippe Kalfon / guitar solo (2)
- Janusz Tokarz / additional keyboards (5), co-producer

Releases information

CD Musea - FGBG 5007 (2019, France)

FLAC download - bandcamp.com

Produced by Janusz Tokarz and Pat Wyrembski for Patjaprog

Thanks to lucas for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy ORION Orion 2.0: Virtual Human Music


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Le SurvivantLe Survivant
Musea
$16.56
La Face VisibleLa Face Visible
MUE 2015
$16.55
$20.18 (used)
Mémoires Du TempsMémoires Du Temps
Musea 2013
$16.56
$24.51 (used)


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ORION Orion 2.0: Virtual Human ratings distribution


4.26
(42 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(36%)
36%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(36%)
36%
Good, but non-essential (18%)
18%
Collectors/fans only (8%)
8%
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)
3%

ORION Orion 2.0: Virtual Human reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by TCat
COLLABORATOR Eclectic Team
4 stars Here we have another band formed many years ago, 1975 to be exact, who had disbanded, and now have reformed. Over the years, ORION has produced 5 full-length albums, the fifth album released in September of 2019 which is named "Virtual Human" goes under the band's new moniker "ORION 2.0". Maybe this new moniker is to reflect the reforming of the band, or maybe it is to distinguish the band from other bands with the same name. Whatever the case, this symphonic prog band as founded by vocalist and flautist Laurnet Delenne who gives the band a folkish flavor, by keyboardist Janusz Tokarz and Franck Mormosa on guitar.

The band released one album in 1979, and then we didn't hear from them until 2013 and they have loyally released an album every two years since then. None of the original founders are on this album, except for Tokarz, who only shows up as an additional keyboardist on track 5 and who serves as a co-producer. The core band for the 2.0 version of the band are Jerome Nigou on vocals, Pierre-Jean Horville on guitars, Paul Cribaillet on keyboards and piano, Eric Halter on basses, and Cedric Affre on drums. The album consists of 7 tracks and has a total run time of just over 40 minutes.

"Virtual Human" starts off with a good amount of energy and has a nice neo-prog flavor, but when the airy vocals come in, the music takes on a jazz flair, and a fusion sound progresses from this point, with nice, almost funky guitars nnd bass, and lovely piano. An occasional power chord or two remind us that this is still rock, and the music churns into an exciting and rousing guitar led ending. "T.OW.U." continues with the slight jazz/rock sensibility, which again becomes more apparent when the vocals start. The instruments always follow suit when the airy vocals start, but when there are instrumental breaks, things typically get heavier. All in all, it makes for a nice contrast. This time, there is a more obvious leaning towards progressiveness when the music transitions from the vocal to the guitar solo. Again, the sound is clean and quite appealing.

"Run for Life" begins with a long instrumental introduction, and the sound continues in the same vein of a neo-prog sound, but the vocals come in well into the 2nd minute and the music becomes very mellow and pensive. After the vocals, a nice jazz piano-led interlude takes over. At this point, the lyrics have been in English, but "Le Nuage" is written in the band's native French. The music in this case is more straightforward and has a commercial feel to it. The pop/jazz sound reminds me of my days in Italy listening to Pino Daniele. Once again, there is a nice guitar-led instrumental at the end. "Silicon Cirkus" is obviously heavier with an almost southern rock feel to it, until the robotic voice comes in that reads the lyrics in a monotone, and then the last stanza is sung. The robot voice comes back in French after this. Meanwhile, the music plays along with a repeating background until the regular vocals come back again, then the music again takes a darker and more southern-rock feel that mostly comes from the guitar style. By the ending, the music ventures off into other avenues from a heavy interlude, to a jazz-groove infused guitar solo to end it off.

"Silicium" is the longest track at almost 8 minutes, and starts off slow, pensive and a bit ominous. The slow tempo continues, another jazz guitar solo, and then soft and airy vocals again as the tempo stays soft and slow, this time the lyrics are all in French again. The slow jazz fusion is a nice change to the more upbeat tracks as the band takes on their inner George Benson. The track just takes its own slow and sweet time. Very relaxing. The last track is another 7+ minute track called "Shagreen". The rhythm begins immediately more upbeat and a bit more complex. After a while the music takes a more solid and power chord led turn before finally going into jazz fusion mode again as the vocals come in. The melody is more of an untraditional sound, losing the verse, chorus structure and also becoming more complex, though still quite accessible. The track is more of a concept style and is based on a classic French fantasy novel "La peau de chagrin" written by Balzac in 1831.

Overall, this album takes on a surprisingly jazz feel with occasional outbursts of heaviness and progressiveness, but staying on a more accessible feel. The jazzy attitude of the music is a nice path for the band to take, but as a result, doesn't really say much for the Symphonic tag that the band has. Yes there are progressive traits to the music, but they are not strong as the band chooses to stay on a smoother path with the nice jazz style and occasional spurts of progressive meters and riffs to keep it all interesting. After all is said and sung, the album is enjoyable and one that I can say I would come back to from time to time. The sound is mostly bright and slick with great production and sound, and some high quality passages where the musicianship shines through well.

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Mentorship is a beautiful concept that has been around in the artistic world since Eden, seasoned veterans passing on their expertise to a younger generation of artists , often creating an altogether new style albeit with a new found vigour. The French symphonic group Orion was founded back in 1975, disbanding in 1980 and gloriously reforming in 2011, having recently released a few delicious albums , 2017's 'Le Survivant' and most especially the amazing epic 'La Face Visible ' from 2015, which were most appealing. Led by musicians of Polish origin (Janusz Tokarz and Patrick Wyrembski ), they have now positioned themselves as an overseeing influence in terms of production and methodology, giving their young musicians the platform to shine on their own. Virtual Human is a departure from their more symphonic previous catalogue, daringly edging towards a jazzier, more subtle form of prog, certainly more upbeat and crystalline than ever before . While still loaded with crafty chords and complex arrangements, the onus was now more squarely focused on attractive melodies . Lead singer and composer Jerome Nigou certainly stamps his positive style on the tracks , with a mellifluous voice that glides, swoons and caresses with flair. All the other musicians played on the previous opus 'Le Survivant', namely keyboardist Paul Cribaillet , electric guitarist PJ Horville as well as the tight rhythm section of Eric Halter on bass and Cedric Affre on drums. 5 songs are sung in English and 2 in French.

The title track introduces this new climate of shimmer and gleam, expertly infectious groove that grows into a harder edge, propelled by a tight beat, chugging guitar that explodes into frenzied licks and Jerome's suave voice. Modern life with all its gadgets, social media platforms and cellphone /computer interfaces ruling our daily activity. Contrasting the robotic feel with the more organic style they now swear by, Horville adds a more aggressive guitar to the mix that ends the deal.

'T.O.W.U' aims at a proggier covenant, distorted sound snippets churning into a more complex soundstage, contrasting with the lighter vocal-led arrangement, the swooning synth break and some wicked lead guitar soloing that twists and veers like a fly by wire jet fighter.

Keyboardist Cribaillet favours his piano for the next piece 'Run For life' , draping a classical structure onto a more folk tune, aided by a sizzling guitar line , recalling the exploits of a lady athlete who died at too young of an age. The panting arrangement is asymmetrical and choppy on purpose, with only the soft voice remaining to convey the dedication of continuing regardless. The ensuing piano solo is magnificent, steeply rooted in jazz , with a slight Celtic tinge.

'Le Nuage' (the Cloud) is a more direct song that has that swirling guitar feel so unique to PJ Horville, quite a unique style to say the least, as the singer sweetly sings about the effect of an Internet crash and how mankind would cope with such a 'catastrophe' . The lead guitar solo is noteworthy in its simple/complex rhetoric , as its screeches wildly.

'Silicon Cirkus' is inspired by California's fascination for diversity, where sunshine and silicon chips vie for attention and the human/robot conundrum lives supreme , there is a lot going on in terms of musical options: a slide guitar country a la Hotel California, mixed in with some San Francisco Zappaisms, a touch of LA Van Halen feel, and topped off by a blistering 6 string bass solo! Now that is ballsy! Nigou even does some vocalizations that emanates from funk central! Creative to say the least.

The 7 minute ballad 'Silicium' is a slick experiment in progressive creativity, combining breezy George Benson-like guitar phrasings with a high-pitched vocal that hints at quality pop music. Its quality lies in its simplicity and easy listening sheen, sandwiched between the previous wild ride and the upcoming finale which is pure prog.

Another 7 minute epic , ''Shagreen'' (a play on the french word chagrin, which means sorrow) is inspired by an 1831 Balzac novel that offers another take on the classic Faustian choice of granting your wildest wishes at the cost of the Devil owning your soul. An elaborate composition that has moments of intense hypnosis and intensity, a sublime moog solo vying for attention and a satisfying ending to an entertaining , fresh, airy and interesting album.

Orion mark II is quite the discovery, with a bright future ahead. I am still enthralled by ''La Face Visible'' as it delved into subject matter that I hold dear to my heart as it relates directly to who I am and what I have become. It would be therefore unfair to compare it to this new release or any other prog album out there! If you enjoyed Siiilk, another super French band that has some similarities with Orion 2.0 than you will love Virtual Human.

4.5 Imaginary earthlings

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A surprisingly refreshing release from a pair of French artists, Patrick Wyrembski and Janusz Tokarz, founders of the prog band, Orion, back in 1975, who'd left the prog scene for over 30 years. The new incarnation of the band has compositional and production input from Patrick and Janusz but a whole cadre of new musicians performing the songs. Whereas I lambasted their previous release, Le survivant, for its poor production and simplistic compositions, this album has definitely seen the band step up into the big leagues. The album is replete with strong melodies, tight and interestingly constructed songs, all indicative of artists who have a mature understanding on what's important in a song. Though stylistically they're still a little scattered, the sound production is very good.

1. "Virtual Human" (5:24) awesome opener sounding like a cross between an old Big Big Train song (The Difference Machine era) or one from 3RDEGREE, The Long Division album. Great singing voice (in English!) and lyrical delivery. (9.5/10)

2. "T.O.W.U." (3:48) mature, poppy, tightly constructed with great melodies, harmonies, instrumentals and vocals. Quite similar to the sound, feel, and style of New Jersey band, 3RDEGREE. Great song! (10/10)

3. "Run For Life" (5:54) piano-based, a little jazz-bluesy, amps up after a few. Nice melodies. Interesting and innovative that the music sparsens for the delicate "jazz" vocal section. (8.75/10)

4. "Le Nuage" (4:31) I hear a lot of NEMO and its guitarist, Jean-Pierre Louveton, in this music. (8/10)

5. "Silicon Cirkus" (6:00) Is this what Jeff "Skunk" Baxter-era STEELY DAN would sound like in the 21st Century? (8/10)

6. "Silicium" (7:45) a late 1970s pop smooth jazz/jazz fusion song in the vein of Hubert Laws, Larry Carlton, Lee Ritenour, Narada Michael Walden, and . Beautiful music with great melodies and harmonies, if a little simplistic. (12.5/15)

7. "Shagreen" (7:01) initially interesting and always pleasant, the song is diminished by its monotony and simplicity over the course of its entire seven minutes. Too bad! (12.5/15)

Total Time 40:29

Despite some great songwriting and delicious melodies, the collection of songs here fail to maintain either the strength of the openers as well as a stylistic consistency to which we can attach an identity.

Four stars; an excellent album of eclectically-inspired poppy progressive rock music.

Latest members reviews

5 stars I discovered this album on the progarchives.com website and it was a very good surprise. It's a little masterpiece on its own, it will be in my Top 10 of 2019. I really like this mix of prog, jazz and soul. The main themes addressed are digital life, the robotization of society, dehumanitaion and th ... (read more)

Report this review (#2277477) | Posted by goldenprog | Friday, November 1, 2019 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Virtual Human is a very good album. I didn't know this group and I am pleasantly surprised by this discovery thanks to the Bandcamp site. It is possible on this site (orion11.bandcamp.com) to listen to the entire album, to see the lyrics and all the pictures of the CD and booklet. It made me wan ... (read more)

Report this review (#2267060) | Posted by tgprog | Tuesday, October 8, 2019 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I'm a big fan of the Orion band so obviously I bought this last opus as soon as it was released. I must admit that it is completely different from the previous albums but it is magnificent. The only criticism I have to make is that it is not longer. It is composed of 7 tracks (5 songs in English ... (read more)

Report this review (#2264945) | Posted by cprog11200 | Sunday, September 29, 2019 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This very beautiful record will be part of my Top 10 of the best albums released this year. I keep listening to him. Prog rock from France with singing in English and French. 7 compositions for a total duration of 40'29. My favorite song is SHAGREEN. A song inspired by the novel by the famous Fr ... (read more)

Report this review (#2247384) | Posted by progz590 | Saturday, August 31, 2019 | Review Permanlink

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