Loreau, Bertrand - Passe Compose

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Dreaming (Musea Records)
Catalog Number: DR 8414.AR
Format: CD
Total Time: 67:36:00

Passe Compose is another of those albums on a prog label, in this case Musea, that would feel right at home on a contemporary instrumental label like Narada or Hearts Of Space, for example, with some pieces that would feel more at home on a classical label. As it happens, Musea realized some time ago (circa 1996) that this type of music was different from the progressive rock they were releasing under the Musea label proper and added another imprint ? Dreaming. This sub label releases titles in the ambient/electronic genre, as they subdivided their then existing Parallèle label (fusion, modern jazz, new musics, and electronic).

The music on this CD, all 21 tracks worth, was composed by French keyboardist Bertrand Loreau. Passe Compose, as the title suggests, is a compilation album, featuring tracks composed at different times and for different projects ? used or not -- and including a few that appeared on previous releases: Prière (1992), La Pays Blanc? (1994), Sur Le Chemin (1996) and Jericoacoara (1998). Loreau is joined by fellow keyboardist Olivier Briand and guitarist Lionel Palierne.

That you are in for something different from what you might expect from Musea comes with the first piece, the austere and lilting "Tchau Téo," which lasts for an all too brief 1:56. If ever a piece of music had a sense of high drama, with a touch of sadness, it is this piece. What follows is the light and airy "Communion." It is sparse and yet not lacking. Palierne riffs and bends notes both with a gentleness and style akin to some of my favourite guitarists (Gilmour and Rothery, of course). The dual keyboards bring in a bit of Tangerine Dream like flavor or even early Steve Roach. Composed and recorded in 1994 for a concert in La Baule, France, Palierne's guitar parts were added in 1999, though you wouldn't know that from listening. Klaus Schultze and Vangelis are named as artists that Loreau admires, and this is apparent in listing to the album, Vangelis coming to mind with "Simulacre Of Dream." Over a pulsating beat, synth effects percolate, while keyboards play soft streams of sound.

Another element to Loreau's sound comes with the very next track, "Origin Of Life," which is at once atmospheric, and, on occasion, atonal. Deep, resonant tones provide a gloomy back drop that gives way to sharp metallic like whistles ? almost like they were made either with a rusty hinge or a highly strung violin? as these tones change and become more musical, it becomes harder to describe, other than to say a bit other worldly. In fact, the title does a very accurate job of describing this ? it evolves just as life has and does ? growing more complex and textured.

Though the strings on "Une Autre Vie" are certainly from one of the variety of synths being played, only the very expert would be able to tell the difference. And in any case, they have the right amount of sweetness and melancholy to sound "authentic." In other words, they hit all the right emotional spots. "La Leçon De Musique" has an old world feel, a bit of the baroque.

As you can tell, there isn't just one mood or tone colour being painted here, but several. That goes along with the time frame over which the pieces were written of course, but it also shows the breadth of Loreau's compositional skill. Whether your taste runs to atmospheric ambient music ("Origin Of Life," "A First Night On The Earth") or more dynamic, flowing pieces ("Communion") or even guitar centric pieces (the acoustic, lilting "Le Clos Des Papillions," the latter day Pink Floyd-like "Alone Together," the Tangerine Dream-like "Heavy Dream," or the dark and searing "A Bad Movie"), there's something for every one. "Biera-Mar De Fortaleza" has what I call that "New Age sound" ? a softly plunking synth serving as the bottom end, while additional synths and keyboards play the main melody on top, each with a particularly synthesized sound. The compositions are pretty, soothing, and relaxing ? though a bit dry by nature -- but the more acoustic sounding pieces have more warmth.

Myself being a fan of this kind of music, due mainly to the very same artists that inspired Loreau, I quite like this release. Loreau doesn't milk a favoured passage to death, but lets flow or end natural, it's remembrance lingering on the air. This means that while many of the tracks barely reach the 2-minute mark, you don't feel cheated. Recommended.

Tchau Téo??(1:56) / Communion???(7:20) / Origin of Life?(4:55) / Une Autre Vie?(3:35) / A First Night On The Earth?(4:58) / A Son Is Born?(3:26) / A Daughter Is Born?(6:45) / La Leçon De Musique?(1:50) / Le Clos Des Papillons?(1:20) / Beira-Mar De Fortaleza?(3:48) / Can?ao Para Tidinha?(1:30) / Le Pays Blanc??(1:18) / The Lost Lake of Crystal?(5:13) / Was A Prière???(3:22) / KS Impression?(5:30) / Simulacre Of Dream?(5:50) / Music For Nothing??(1:40) / Alone Together?(1:00) / Heavy Dream??(2:45) / Just Follow The Sequence?(1:35) / A Bad Movie?(2:00)

Bertrand Loreau ? Yamaha DX7-2, TX 802, Roland D50, JV80, U220, S550, JP8000, Akai S3000XL and Korg SG1
Olivier Briand ? Prophecy synthesizer, Akai CD3000
Lionel Palierne ? Charvel guitar

Prière (1992)
La Pays Blanc? (1994)
Sur Le Chemin (1996)
Jericoacoara (1998)
Passe Compose (2002)

Appears on:

Patch Work Music (1995)

Genre: Other

Origin FR

Added: February 23rd 2003
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: www.chez.com/loreau/
Hits: 824
Language: english


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