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Carpe Diem: En Regardant Passer Le Temps (1975)

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Let's jump right in.. I could give this band's entire history and come across as a prog genius but you'd realize , upon purchasing this disc, that I merely lifted it from the extensive liner notes. This is a Musea release , and in my opinion, no label does a better job of unearthing all the facts and bios of the bands they release (making them , in my book, the premiere progressive label out there).

This quintet of 'freedom prog' has to be considered at the top of the list when it comes to symphonic progressive rock from "The Land Of The Unpardonnably Rude". "Voyage Du Non-Retour" is a 3:48 instrumental piece to set the mood. We immediately realize that this is a top-notch symphonic outfit. In fact, I would put this album up against most releases by any of the Big 5 British bands recorded in 1975. Track 2 "Reincarnation" is the perfect piece to illustrate my point. It's a 12:50, HUGE symphonic opus of the highest order ( sorry, spilled some hyperbole on my keyboard. Some must have seeped through the keys..). The track encompasses most every element of classic '70's prog: sparse sci-fi lyrics and tons of instrumental passages featuring a plethora of "truly progressive" instrumentation such as flute, soprano sax, and a small arsenal of analog keys. It contains roughly 4 minutes of vocals ( in French and never annoying or over the top ) and roughly 9 minutes of instrumentation. This is as lyrical as this disc gets. Track 3 " Jeux Du Siecle" clocks in at 10:10 and contains exactly 19 words of lyrics. The song begins with dreamy synths before morphing into a progressive tour-de-force featuring tremendous soprano saxophone and keyboard exchanges. The whole thing builds to a head courtesy of some nimble fretwork by guitarist Gilbert Abbenante. Keyboard player Christian Truchi should not be overlooked here either. His clean , fluid playing is also very impressive as the two trade licks. This track is about as clear a textbook definition that one could give of symphonic progressive rock ( still a little hyperbole left on the keys.. there .. got it!).

The final track is the 9:54 "Publiphobie" where we're assaulted with a whopping 32 words ! The song opens with a droning bass line over which each member bobs and weaves a myriad of musical lines. The brief, haunting lyrics are then dispatched within a minute or so, over some tasty soprano sax. The closing segments are, once again, textbook symph prog . A delicate guitar line is randomly bombarded with some sax parts and a pounding bass line until it morphs into a psychedelic-laden guitar venture. Each member is given a chance to shine as the track keeps adding layers of complexity , while remaining highly musical and flowing. Alas, the disc comes to an end far too quickly since it clocks in at approximately 36:00 only. Rest assured it's time well spent as there is no room for filler on this one.

If any of you uninitiated Americans happen to be at a "Burn Everything French" bonfire and you see someone tossing this one on the pile, scoop it up before it melts. It will be worth the blisters on your fingers .Highly recommended.

Yves Dube


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