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Present: Le Poison Qui Rend Fou (remastered/expanded)

Well, what a pleasure it is to hear this again, upon its reissue. And with new engineering from Udi Koomran, this sounds expansive, fresh and simply gigantic. Even listening to this with 2014 ears, this sounds so far beyond most musical releases it beggars description. This is new music indeed. It erupts out of the European progressive music scene fully formed and incredibly vital. Based more on the work of composers like Bela Bartok and chamber music, it runs alongside the advances of magma (whose music was based more on Orff and Coltrane) in shifting the sands of progressive music away from the pastoral settings of much British prog. It is industrial as well, not in the sense of simple machine rhythms, but in the heaviness of the sound.

Steve F. and Cuneiform have done us a solid in reissuing this, along with Present's first disc Triskakeidekaphobie (to be reviewed separately). And he, and the band, have added many extras- expanded liner notes (from Aymeric Leory), live music, DVD of performances from older VHS tapes. This is all must have material, even if you already have it.

I don't know what value would be had in me reviewing each song. The first part of "Le Poison" is phenomenally heavy and driving, but completely modern and in my view completely Belgian in character. "Ersatz" sounds sort of spritely, but under it are odd meters, skipping and angular piano parts, and skittering basslines. "Le Poison" part 2 is a different creature than its first part. It features a lot of Roger Trigaux's screaming guitar, but it bounces and jumps like crazy. This was released in 1983, I think. It sounds new. There is nothing like it, nothing to which one can compare it. Yes, many RIO bands now show the influence of Present, but even today, there is little like it. The song is dreadful, in the true sense of the word, filled with dread. "Samana" is almost friendly in nature, though it, too, skitters along almost atonally at times.

The disc contains live music as well. This is from a concert at Livry-Gargan, 1982,and it's just amazing music, and must have pulverized the audience into submission. It is also incredibly complex material, showing astonishing compositional ability and musicianship. No 4/4 beats here.

Listen, let's stop here. Buy this. Now.

Track Listings
1) Le Poison Qui Rend Fou Part 1: Ram Ram va Faire "Pif Paf"
2) Ersatz
3) Le Poison Qui Rend Fou Part 2: Didi, Dans ta Chambre
4) Samana
5. Quatre-vingt Douze (Live in Livry-Gargan, France, January 23, 1982)
6. Ersatz (Live in Livry-Gargan, France, January 23, 1982)
7. Le Poison Qui Rend Fou, Part 1 (Live in Livry-Gargan, France, January 23, 1982)
8. Chaos Hermetique (Live in Livry-Gargan, France, January 23, 1982)
9. Promenade Au Fond D'un Canal (Live in Livry-Gargan, France, January 23, 1982)

Added: February 3rd 2014
Reviewer: Dana Lawrence
Related Link: More Information
Hits: 2501
Language: english

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» Reader Comments:

Present: Le Poison Qui Rend Fou (remastered/expanded)
Posted by Aymeric Leroy on 2014-02-04 09:41:12
My Score:

Thanks for the review. Just for accuracy's sake, this album was indeed recorded in 1983, but only released in 1985 - already on Cuneiform, then a fledgling label !

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