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Esthesis: Watching Worlds Collide

Esthesis is another new band for me, so I had no idea what to expect from this slightly enigmatic release. The French band is led by multi-instrumentalist Aurélien Goude (keyboards, vocals, lap steel guitar (tracks 4,6), guitar (track 2), harmonica (track 7), drum/FX programming and bass programming on track 3) and is joined by Baptiste Desmares (lead guitar), Marc Anguill (bass guitar), and Arnaud Nicolau (drums). Guests include Mathilde Collet (vocals on tracks 1, 2, 4, and 6), Maceo Le Fournis (tenor saxophone), Axel Foucan (trombone), Yannis Beugré (trumpet), Mathieu Vilbert (violin on track 3), and Vincent Blanot (banjo, electric banjo, mountain dulcimer, percussions on track 4)

After listening to Watching Worlds Collide, I was struck by the band’s smooth sound in mixing jazz and progressive rock in such a seamless way. I also hear elements of soundtrack and electronic music. Besides a couple EPs, the band released their first full length The Awakening in 2020. Their latest is the aforementioned Watching Worlds Collide, released in 2022, and I have to say this is an excellent collection of songs.

Jazz and progressive rock go head to head in the album opening “Amber” where moody atmospheres, multiple keyboard flavours, smooth lead vocals, jazzy piano, and heavier bits of guitar makes for a complex listen without losing the melody. There is so much happening here, but it is all so subtle, as the band has a deft of touch that is very impressive. This nuanced approach demands attentive listening. So as not to get too comfortable, the slightly discordant lead guitar introduces a little chaos to the band’s smoothly flowing sound. Interesting rhythm guitar and an intricate arrangement highlight the excellent “Place Your Bets”, including a superb saxophone solo courtesy of Maceo Le Fournis. On “Skimming Stones” a gentle keyboard and percussion develops into a catchy groove with sumptuous bass and creative sound manipulations, a scaffolding of near perfect construction. The violin further adds to the band’s rich sound palette. I really dig how they meld traditional and modern approaches, as it keeps everything fresh and exciting.

There are a total of seven tracks with no duds in the bunch. After spending a considerable amount of time with this album I think I need to check out The Awakening, also reviewed on this site. I urge all music fans to check this one out.

Track Listing:
1. Amber (6:46)
2. Place Your Bets (7:23)
3. Skimming Stones (5:12)
4. Wandering Cloud (6:00)
5. Vertigo (5:00)
6. 57th Street (12:00)
7. Through My Lens (8:07)

Added: July 22nd 2023
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Score:
Related Link: Band @ Bandcamp
Hits: 363
Language: english

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