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Black Noodle Project, The: Code 2.0

Although it took me a long while to break down, the previous, 2017 album from The Black Noodle Project, Divided We Fall, did eventually reveal an inner core that captivated the heart in the most desolate of ways. The desolation still shines through on the band’s new release, Code 2.0, but for me, without the inner release and contrast previously offered up by this band. From many accounts, this is an album that finds this French band going back to their melancholy roots but as such, the results are, for me, just a little too relentless to stir the emotions beyond a remote appreciation and inner acknowledgment that the musicianship is of the highest standard. The three piece defining those efforts come in the shape of Anthony Létévé (bass), Fabrice Berger (drums) and Sébastien Bourdeix on guitars, keyboards and occasional bass and voice. And for the latter, voice and not vocals is a key distinction, because along with Sandrine Bourdeix, Clément Bourdeix and Léon Burghgraeve, the quartet offer up French word spoken sections across the album that both heighten the tension and, unfortunately for me, increase the remoteness.

Under normal circumstances I can appreciate and, usually, revel in bands using their native tongue to embellish, if not lead their work, but here, the spoken word sections are presented in a way that disconnects them from the post-prog meanderings in such a fashion that for me makes not understanding the words a true stumbling block. Admittedly, they are an occasional feature as we slide from the plaintive offerings on ‘Acte III” to the more melodic and accessible tones of “Acte IV”, but nonetheless, I can’t quite shake off the feeling that I’m missing out on a key element of this album and the intention behind it.

Musically the whole experience, even with a mix of deep, dank darkness and some more melodious moments, can become all too one dimensional and while there’s great care to alter the mood and atmosphere, I can’t help but feel that I’m grasping at thin air for the cohesion that should hold the whole thing together. Meticulously constructed as it is, Code 2.0 simply doesn’t speak to me and while I can admire the austere beauty and shimmering, simmering atmospheres that it creates, in the end, the lack of emotional connection is the breaking point between appreciation and enjoyment. I undoubtedly do the former here, but not the latter and ultimately that makes this album a tough journey.

Track Listing
1. Acte I
2. Acte II
3. Acte III
4. Acte IV
5. Acte V
6. Acte VI
7. Acte Final

Added: January 22nd 2021
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: The Black Noodle Project on bandcamp
Hits: 1053
Language: english

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Black Noodle Project, The: Code 2.0
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2021-01-23 04:02:55
My Score:

Here is another release I was anxiously awaiting for in 2020. The band is Black Noodle Project and their latest album is titled Code 2.0. The band’s conception dates back to the early 2000’s and is/was the brainchild of Paris borne musician Jeremie Grima. He started writing material with what would have been the band’s first album called Dark Smiles (2003), but from what I understand the album was not officially released until many years later as a selection of demos titled Dark & Early Smiles (2011). That said, Grima has released a steady stream of albums since 2003. On their second album Sebastien Bourdeix was added to the fold and has been a stalwart ever since. Various musicians have come and gone, and some have appeared as guests on future releases. Grima does not actually appear on the album as he has taken some time off from the project to work on his new novel. The reigns were handed to Sébastien Bourdeix (guitars, keyboards, bass on track 6, voice on track 7) who is joined by Anthony Létévé (bass) and Fabrice Berger (drums). Guests include Sandrine Bourdeix (voice on track 7), Clément Bourdeix (voice on track 6) and Léon Burghgraeve (voice on track 6).

Before Code 2.0 came to me I have only reviewed their 2013 release titled Ghosts & Memories which I very much enjoyed. I remember Floyd being a major influence on that album but for reasons unbeknownst to me I have not delved in further. Enter Code 2.0.

Upon first listen comparisons to Anathema, Pineapple Thief and a bit of Pink Floyd are certainly there but Black Noodle Project are copies of no one. Combining progressive and post rock elements, their sound is both refreshing and catchy easily bridging the gap between heavier and softer textural builds and those unleashed heavy guitar riffs can be heard on the first track “Acte I”. There is plenty of detail in the background, a cymbal ride here a swish of keyboards there giving the sound a dreamy vibe, and leads to one of the best ear worm riffage on the disc in the excellent “Acte II”. Beautiful builds from light to heavy softened with pretty guitar arpeggios and tasteful keyboards, there is much to like here. The somewhat sad sounding “Acte IV” is another gorgeous sounding tune with melodic acoustic and electric guitar working marvelously together. Simply outstanding. The tracks segue from one to the next and it is not until the last two tracks we first hear vocals. And like everything else on this album they are tastefully executed. The disc ends with “Acte Final”, a dramatic Anathema-like statement that is pure ear candy.

Not much else to say really. Code 2.0 is essential listening for any fan of modern prog and post rock.

A Progressive Promotion Records release.

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