Gauthier, Daniel - Above The Storm

Year of Release: 2000
Label: self-released
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 57:11:00

French Canadian guitarist Daniel Gauthier's Above The Storm is an acoustic based outing where the music often made me think of Yes, without sounding particularly like Yes. That is, "Heart Of The Sunrise" often popped into mind on more than one occasion, mainly from an arrangement point of view. There are tones here, too, that reminded me of the more sedate Pink Floyd material, me mainly thinking of "Shine On You Crazy Diamond." Vocally, Gauthier, who does sing with an accent, reminded me both of the vocalist with Eris Pluvia/Ancient Veil, Alessandro Serri, and of Eloy vocalist Frank Bourneman. Here and there Gauthier's guitar playing - strumming and picking - is reminiscent of Steve Howe, and so another Yes-connection. Guests on this album are Gaston Gagnon, lead guitarist with Existence, and drummer Bruno Dubé Gauthier plays, in addition to acoustic guitar, bass and keys.

The album starts out, after rolling thunder, with the spacey, swirly keyboard atmospheres of the title track, that give way to acoustic guitar, and plinking keys.* Once the keyboards keep to a background role, the tracks shine, Gauthier's guitar giving everything a very warm feel. The keys add a certain coolness that draws away from the warmth. "Empty Space" has a strong feel of modern country music, perhaps because of the acoustic base, but also because of the easy rhythm. Like modern country, too, elements of rock are infused. The rock element, mainly brought about the driving drums and symphonic keys, make this sound less like a rockier Byrds and more like a countrified Pink Floyd....but even then not so very much like Pink Floyd. "Evening Of A New Romance" is very much like "Heart Of The Sunrise" ... such that you half expect Gauthier to break into the chorus of that track. Heavy basslines lead off the track, and reappear throughout, giving the track a very energetic and driving rhythm. Here is one place where as nice as they keyboards are, they could have been stronger. Their layering in "Quartet Solo" seems clumsy at times, but here Gagnon's guitar solo shines. "Cross The Bridge" is the longest track here at 17 minutes, and includes a jazzy guitar interlude from Gagnon that also has Floydian overtones. This is one of the few places were the keys work well and add to the track. It is also the most progressive of Gauthier's pieces, I think. We get a little waltz like section, with deep tones that occassionally dip into "Shine On" territory -- those famous doom dooms that descend for four beat then it goes another direction just short of imitation. Later there are some deep tones that are "Welcome To The Machine" like as well -- though don't go into this expecting really to find a strong Yes/Floyd influenced album, though my mentioning of these elements might mislead you there. These elements where they appear are strong, and I'm not suggesting that neither band could have been an influence, but it's clear from the majority of the music that Gauthier isn't trying to imitate any of these bands. Much of Gauthier's material is of a spiritual nature (um, well, so was Yes', I suppose)...but most are written such that they also can have very secular meanings as well.

Bobo found fault with Gauthier's pronouncation of some words, but I'm not hearing it; yes, his English is, as mentioned, heavily accented, but this isn't something I personally found bothersome. I find the "curls" his accent gives his words just add to the character of the music.

While Above The Storm is not Gauthier's debut, as it follows on from a 1998 limited edition album called En Ce Jour Et Pour Toujours, it shows very great promise. This is a terrific sounding album; like Bobo, I wish the keyboard sounds and execution were a little better, but I find no fault Gauthier's guitar and bass work. This is a very nice, fairly mellow album that gets good marks from me.

*Interestingly, and perhaps it's because I spend far too much time in front of a computer in all of my jobs, I noticed that one particular note in the intro to "Above The Storm" sounds exactly like the default sound in the Windows operating system ... the specific file, for the curious, is ding.wav. I bring it up because as I was listening to this CD again, this time at the computer, I heard the tone and first looked to computer to see what was wrong.

Above The Storm (6:54) / Empty Space (4:31) / Evening Of A New Romance (6:45) / Quartet Solo (6:47) / Soft Souvenirs Of 184 (1:57) / Real Love (6:56) / Silent Years (5:14) / Cross The Bridge (17:58)

Daniel Gauthier - bass, keyboards, acoustic guitar, vocals
Bruno Dubé - drums, percussion
Gaston Gagnon - electric guitar

En Ce Jour Et Pour Toujours (1998)
Above The Storm (2000)
The Wish (2005)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin CA

Added: August 31st 2001
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 1186
Language: english


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