Tiemko - Océan

Year of Release: 1990
Label: Musea Records
Catalog Number: FGBG 4013.AR
Format: CD
Total Time: 47:37:00

I was originally going to review Tiemko's Océan a few years ago when this site was in one of its embryonic forms, targeting it for a "quick takes" section. That review was never finished, but in cleaning up some of my directories, I happened upon the draft (one among others). In doing so, I needed to listen to the CD again. I am so very glad I did, as this is a wonderful album. Interestingly, the ideas and thoughts that come to mind now, are much the same as I was going to say then, but I am certainly going to say a lot more than I would have in a "quick takes."

This is a varied album, ranging from being very much like jazz-rock to atmospheric. All instrumental, and very good, we find that the textures in each individual track vary, too. The first track, "Épisode", is very drum heavy (E Delaunay), as in the back ground there is a steady thump. R. Chauvidan's guitar is the lead instrument, his lines being very muscular with a certain underlying harshness -- fusiony. Underlying all this searing guitar is a light and playful piano (J. J. Toussaint). Delauney gets a moment or two for a drum solo, bash and crashing all about his kit. There are moments on "Hypercontraste" that are eerily like Andrew Lloyd Weber's Phantom Of The Opera score. These are throaty bass lines that descend for four beats then ascend for another four. The title track, which closes the album, has a very hard rock/prog metal lick a seventh of the way in - after an atmospheric Steve Roach/Robert Rich like beginning. Just when you think you've got Tiemko pinned down, though, there's something different to change that opinion. There are wonderful piano passages here, and on the second track, "Hypercontraste," beautiful use of the vibraphone - an odd instrument for a prog release, though I'm seeing it used more and more (Ed Macan comes to mind, immediately). This track harks back to a classic jazz sound in some spots (Larry Carlton is who comes to mind, or John Scofield), before it becomes very playful. A few bits of something that could have been from Fiddler On The Roof or Zorba The Greek, then a short vibraphone solo, and then were back into jazzier territories. While I wasn't sure I should mention it, I will go ahead anyway and say that there are passages that remind me of the "I Dream of Jeannie" theme music.

"Bonbon Très Sucré" begins life as an acoustic guitar based piece - hints of Steve Howe at the beginning, but as it progresses, it is more of Al DiMeola-like track. This is such a beautiful track with a great deal of warmth -- because it so very smooth and likeable, it could find a home on a "smooth jazz" station. Chauvidan's guitar races across the arrangement, though with an assured sense of ease.

Angular rhythms a la After Crying start off "Vodka Frappée," which is full of dark and sinister tones, hinting somewhat at a carnival theme. After about two minutes in, the arrangement becomes like a carnival ride going wildly out of control. Or, actually, sounds as if this track could just as easily been called "Flight Of The Drunken Bumblebee."

The longest track is the title track at 21:55. Whereas on the previous four tracks each was a contribution from one of the band members -- Toussaint composing "Épisode," Chauvidan "Bonbon...," and Delaunay both "Hypercontraste" and "Vodka..." -- "Océn" is credited to all three. As mentioned, we start off with some Roach like synth washes before rhythmic and earthy drumming kicks in (bongos) with other bits of percussion as accents (still we are in the Roach/Rich territory ... soon keyboards return to first paint blotches and then turn those blotches into ribbons of texture. Everything then subsides as Chauviden plays a searing guitar solo of tightly wound, driving notes out (think Hendrix' "Star Spangled Banner"). We then move into Tangerine Dream-like territory with the addition of dramatic piano -- well, Clearlight and Cyrille Verdeaux ought to come to mind as well. All this and we're only a third of the way through the track. We get some gentle, floaty bits (keys, guitar), some beautiful piano bits... and so much more...giving a little of everything for almost all tastes without the music being chaotic. It all fits together nicely, having a terrific sense of flow.

As listen to this album over and over, I find so much more to enjoy each time. This is a stunning album, and well worth your attention. Highly recommended.

Épisode (6:02) / Hypercontraste (5:30) / Bonbon Très Sucré (7:39) / Vodka Frappée (6:51) / Océan (21:55)

J. J. Toussaint - synthesizers, paino and contrabass
R. Chauvidan - acoustic and electric guitars
E Delaunay - vibraphone, drums, bongos and "gouloubougoula wagalabagou"

Espace Fini (1988/1998)
Océan (1990)
Parade (1991)
Clone (1995)
Ça Tourne (2004)

Genre: Fusion-Jazz Fusion

Origin FR

Added: August 31st 2001
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: sitetiemko.ifrance.com
Hits: 1396
Language: english


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