D Project, The - Shimmering Lights

Year of Release: 2006
Label: Ipso Facto
Catalog Number: IF 2027
Format: CD
Total Time: 48:37:00

It's a capital D that rhymes with V which stands for Vendetta. In other words, it's a rebellion against all that's average and illegitimate in the mainstream.

Newcomer Stephane Desbiens (vocal, acoustic and electric guitars, keyboards, and mellotron) is a shot of bright light on a very dim night. Just when you think there's nothing new and fresh, along with Frost* and GPS, he joins in on the fight. He also brings some elite talent into the incursion. Riding along on this raid is the likes of Tomas Bodin (The Flower Kings), Martin Orford (IQ), and Fred Schendel (Glass Hammer). You couldn't request a more influential band of leaders on the frontline. Assisting in the ancillary role is Mathieu Gosselin (bass, stick bass), Danny Robertson (Drums), Sandra Poulin (violin), and this secret entity named Alyssar (back vocals). Each one adds some impressive elements of their own. Then there is Francis Foy who produces and co-writes, and even incorporates some backing vocals. It goes to show you can accomplish a lot when you have a large circle of friends.

The only downside is that the production is a tad too grainy. Otherwise, it seems to work for all intents and purposes. The only recommendation I could make is for them to utilize a certain buddy of Bodin. That would be Jonas Reingold, who also happens to be a fellow Flower King's mate. He could fine-tune the mixing and mastering as well as fire up his bass. Reingold has repeatedly put out productions so clear you could hear a pin drop and let's not forget how well he channels his instrument. Then again, the cleanliness of these quarters isn't necessarily why you'd make the visit. Whether ancient or up-to-the-minute, The D Project gives you passage into an esteemed castle. With every threshold you cross, you're sure to find unparalleled pleasantries in the corners of these cuts.

Let's give the schematics a thorough inspection before anyone opts to surround this bastion of bliss:

"Shimmering Lights" - As Monty Python used to say, this is something completely different. You have no idea what you're getting into until you're a whole four minutes into the campaign. I wasn't sure if this was RIO, a warm-up, or an onslaught of instrumental bedazzlement. It's a lot like The Art of Noise with a famous quote from John F. Kennedy integrated into its bare middle. I really enjoy the music when the vocals pour in. Hopefully, my heads-up won't be seen as a spoiler. I found the beat to be eighties punk with dribbles of computer-looping and commercially-driven riffs. In the atmosphere is an air of Depeche Mode and New Order. It also has an edgy aroma of Echolyn and Izz. I even sort of hear Longshot's "The Cosmic Bacteria's Experiences" towards its end in some of the guitar and keyboard arrangements. I'm speaking out of turn as I have only heard this out-of-print masterpiece solely through a selection of hard-to-find samples. Regardless, it instantly makes me think of that genetically frenetic and fantastically fanatic fabrication... Now that's a mouthful!

"They Come And Grow" - This has the huff and puff of a dragon along with the dregs of Led Zeppelin. In addition, I hear The Tangent in their coldest impersonation of an era long passed. They seem to follow the path of a catchy Canterbury sequence. It's also easy to imagine the last letter in RPWL settled somewhere in the vicinity. It's as if Yogi Lang were floating within the viscous volume coddled inside this diaphanous vial.

"Hide From The Sun" - This is where Bodin first appears. I was really looking forward to seeing what he would do in this endeavor. His melodies are faint, but it's the moisture in the flakey brownie that provides the important aftertaste. Not to mention, it's the only place where Foy lends his voice, so you know it must be special. This song is a mix of Flower Kings, Riverside, Violent Femmes, and Herbie Hancock. It's really that odd of an incarnation, but still the chemicals blend well. It has just an ounce of lead in its paint and a hint of hardcore metal in its texture. As a secret ingredient, there is whispering that actually transcends into singing. For this reason, I found it to be very Phil Collins-esque at times.

"What Is Done Is Done (Rat)" - The title of this track makes no sense to me, yet it provides a fast-acting fix. Suffice to say, it's over before you know it. If you're keeping your eye on the clock, you'll miss it. Nevertheless, it offers a short reprieve from the rhythm. In this time out, you're allowed enough of a stretch to unwind and catch a gulp. Then again, it's belligerent and seems to purposely lack class. At times, it eats like a pig and act like, well, let's just say it'll make my mongrel happy. With that said, it has a touch of the female persuasion.

"End Of The Recess" - Orford is an artist who greatly undersells himself. Go no further than this song to find conclusive proof. His incantations are partly elfin magic and to some extent, enchanted moon dust. It certainly supports my supposition. He's a keyboard wizard and a true star. It's as if he hardly needs to import any effort in order to glimmer. This song spins in synch with Karmakanic's "Wheel Of Life."Again, I must wonder, "Where is Reingold?" If it's any consolation, it's unquestionable that this has a Swedish connection.

"September Solitudes" - I'm impartial to this piece. I really enjoy Bodin's subtle hand-outs. This piece has Porcupine Tree, Pineapple Thief, as well as a foggy mist of other translucent dreams in its midst.

"That's Life" - This is louder and rougher than the others, but I'll be darned if don't like it. Schendel puts some of his best progressions to the test. He plays Mini-Moog and Nord Electro keyboards through a ?ring? modulator and a Leslie Simulator. You could say this complex arrangement is done on a one-of-a-kind device. When it comes to progressively pious pieces, this is the one that rules them all. It has oomph, as it seems to be a lighter variation of Time Requiem, Opus Atlantica, and Anderson's Space Odyssey. Oddly enough, it finishes in same manner as Transatlantic's first album. The fast wrap-up concludes the affair like a circus extravaganza.

In retrospect, the first couple minutes of the album are terse and tense. It was tough to settle in at the beginning. It doesn't grab hold of you immediately, but on subsequent listens, it fits as if it's that obscure piece you need to finish a puzzle. I found myself liking the music more as it went on. Each time I try again, it burrows incrementally deeper. While Frost* tricks us with an instrumental opener, it fools us in a totally different manner. You'll find yourself startled by the revelation, but not just by the fact it incorporates vocals. Like an underground coaster (see Mt. Olympus' Hades) it has unexpected passages and twists, which makes the ride awfully thrilling and a lot of fun.

Typically, the best song is the title track and it comes on at random. In the case, it's not only the opener, but it's also decent. However, I wouldn't call it my favorite. I'd have to say the two I liked the most both include maestro and ace Bodin. I felt these were the finest in the set. Regardless, I give this author credit for plagiarizing nobody and repeating nothing. In Desbiens' quest to make some newfangled fantasy, he finds victory in his debut. I'll be interested in seeing what triumphs lies ahead for this artist.

D is dubious; maybe even a wee bit deranged, but D stands for ditties that abound with creativity. In essence, D is for Delightful.

Shimmering Lights (8:54) / They Come And Grow (6:23) / Hide From The Sun (8:00) / What Is Done Is Done (Rat) (3:32) / End Of The Recess (3:55) / September Solitudes (10:08) / That's Life (7:39) (plus a bonus video track)

Stephane Desbiens - vocal, acoustic and electric guitars, keyboards, and mellotron


Mathieu Gosselin - bass, stick bass
Danny Robertson - drums
Sandra Poulin - violin
Alyssar - backing vocals
Francis Foy - backing vocals (3)
Tomas Bodin - mellotron, Taurus and Fender Rhodes keyboards (3, 6)
Martin Orford - Moog Voyager synth (5)
Fred Schendel - Mini Moog and Nord Electro keyboards through a ring modulator and Leslie simulator (7)

Rose Nocturne - ?closion (1994)
Rose Nocturne - Bete De Cirque (1997)
Desbiens - Desbiens Acoustic (1996)
Sense - Madness (2002)
Sense - Out Of Range (2004)
Sense - Stone In The Sky (CD/DVD) (2005)
The D Project - Shimmering Lights (2006)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin CA

Added: August 27th 2006
Reviewer: Joshua "Prawg Dawg" Turner
Artist website: www.thedproject.com
Hits: 2614
Language: english


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