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JPL: Sapiens, Chapter 1/3 : Exordium

With Nemo still, in the words of their one time leader Jean Pierre Louveton, ’put to sleep’ the multi-instrumentalist continues on with his JPL project, this time with the first in a three part story dedicated to the history of man. A broader subject you couldn’t imagine and with the lyrics, as is most often the way with Louveton’s releases, in his native French, one that for me at least will have to remain partly in my imagination. That said I’m not one to be put off by songs not sung in English and have long been a follower of both Nemo and then JPL, with Sapiens, Chapter 1/3 Exordium following strongly in the flavours previously set out by those bands. However, on this occasion, it also offers something different, a slightly pensive air brought to the more expected neo-prog edge. Later in the album as we move into the second and third movements on this three section release the brighter, more immediate side you might expect from that style does begin to shine through, with “Hot And Cold” and “Planet A” providing some more obvious hooks. Up to that point though things are slow and introspective as they (I guess) represent the story being unravelled in front of us. Most of the moods and atmospheres ever so patiently constructed, with careful interplays the order of the day as the scene is set for what is to come not just here, but also on the two future releases in this sequence of albums.

As ever Louveton, who sings and plays guitars, bass and ‘virtual instruments’ is joined by drummer Jean Baptiste Itier and the almost subconscious bond between the duo once again pays dividends. In the hands of a less acquainted pairing the stop start of “Alpha Centauri” and its keen play off between modulating keyboard blasts and fabulous fret forays could have stumbled and fallen. However, everything holds together with an apparent ease that belies the technicality that’s gone into piecing all of this together into one coherent blast of music interspersed with regal church organ and spoken word. Some equally talented guests, Florent Ville (drums), Guillaume Fontaine (keys), Stêphanie Vouillot (piano/backing vocals) and Marguerite Miallier (hurdy-gurdy), join the pair for short bursts but in essence that one man created all the music here is impressive indeed and bodes well for the forthcoming albums in this set. That said, I found this a difficult collection to break down and much less willing to reveal its secrets than previous JPL albums. That in itself isn’t a bad thing but it may lead to a few people dismissing it before really getting to know it. That would be something of a travesty but I can’t help but get the feeling that we’re scene setting here and that albums two and three in the Sapiens trilogy will be where things really take off.

Track Listing
1. Mastodons
2. Homo Sapiens
3. Ecce Homo
4. Provided
5. Hot and Cold
6. Planet A
7. Alpha Centauri

Added: April 14th 2020
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: JPL @ bandcamp
Hits: 575
Language: english

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