Breant, François - Sons Optiques

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Musea Records
Catalog Number: FGBG 4427.AR
Format: CD
Total Time: 45:06:00

Sons Optiques was the first solo album from keyboardist/composer François Breant, recorded over a period of three years - 1976 - 1979 - it was released by Egg Records in 1979 (900553). This CD edition was released by Musea in 2002 and features two bonus tracks, recorded originally the 80s, but reworked in 2001 for this release. Breant's history - from working first with Christian Vander and Bernard Pagnotti in Cruciferious Lobonz (the duo's pre-Magma band) to working with Albert Marcoeur (drums) and Pascal Arroyo (bassist), both of whom appear on this release - is detailed in the liner notes. Breant's only "tools" on the album are an Arp Odyssey and piano, but he's joined by number of guests who round out the sound on drums, bass, guitar, violin, etc.

The album is a concept album in that all the pieces are meant to thought of as part of a score to an imaginary movie - the movie itself would be what ever images played out in your mind, the track titles sketching a rough outline. The music itself ranges from angular, avant-garde like excursions, to abstract electronic pieces, to something right out of a classic 40s movie. The heavy percussive sound of the opening track, "Les Joutnaux Annoncent La Guerre - Générique -- both literal in the drums of Marcoeur, but also implied in the way Breant attacks his keyboards -- reminds me of Keith Emerson a bit. But with the addition of tinkling piano and brass, we get something quite jazzy. Of course, having just been listening to Tarkus, Emerson's very much at the forefront of my thoughts anyway.

"Vacances A Concarneau - Flash Back" is a lovely, violin (Didier Lockwood) lead piece, while an elegant and classical piano phrase opens "De Retour A Paris," a gentle, very French sounding piece - and very cinematic sounding; you can almost envision a trip to Paris by way of the country side, as seen through a train or bus window (reflections of the watcher visible as well as the scenery going by outside) ... the setting maybe the mid-to-late 40s or early 50s... certainly a black and white film - a lighthearted romance (maybe with a dash of comedy). Of course, that's what I "see" - your trip may differ.

"Scenes De Foule Et De Pursuite Pendant Le Carnaval" is Breant playing with voices of his keyboards and all sorts of blips, bloops, twitters and such - a "carnaval" of sounds to be sure (it is like listening in on a conversation between R2-D2 and his fellow 'droids). "Dilemme De Jeanne Au Restaurant Chinois" is a dramatic, often subtle piece with brushed drums, lots of percussion (blocks and cymbals mainly), and brass like keyboard passages. Jean-Louis Chautemps' saxophone creates a very warm, comfortable atmosphere for "Survol Del Rio," the tight, but light percussion and keyboards giving this piece a very intimate feel. "Et Retrovailles Avec Bruno" is another subtle piece, at times quite ambient. At one point, the percussion is quite militaristic -- well, the first track, translated into English, is "The Newspapers Announce The War"... so that provides a setting (and given the textures, I'd say its WWII that's meant). So, the imagined title of this imaginary film might be Life During Wartime (which is, I know, the title of a Lucias Shepard novel, about a different war entirely) and dear Bruno is returning from war... That particular section made me think of Camel's Nude, too, which came out a year later. "Baiser Au Crépuscle Et Fin" has at times a 60s lounge feel.

The first of the two bonus tracks mixes in various sound effects and bits of brass in with it's "traditional" arrangement - piano, minimal percussion. The second picks up on that 60s feel with a mix of hip swing and trad jazz - perhaps something used in a particularly sexy James Bond scene - a well choreographed yet suggestive fight scene.

Sons Optiques is a very nice, mostly mellow album that really does at times hark back to the orchestral scores used for films. While "L'age D'or A Montlhéry" (from a soundtrack to a film about classic race cars, and, I'm guessing, tracks since mention is made in the liner notes of the Linas-Montlhéry racing track) does seem a little over long with out much movement, the album itself a lovely and textured work.

Les Journaux Annoncent Le Guerre - Generique (3:37) / Vacances A Concorneau (3:04) / De Retour A Paris (4:09) / Scènes De Foule Et De Pursuite Pendant Le Carnaval (3:52) / Dilemme De Jeanne Au Restaurant Chinois (4:01) / Survol Del Rio (3:07) / Scènes De Mobilisation - Flash Back - Et Retrouvailles Avec Bruno (9:41) / Baiser Au Crépuscule Et Fin (4:14) / Les Souffleurs De Verre* (3:50) / L'age D'or A Montlhéry* (5:27)

François Breant - piano, Arp Odyssey, voices
Marc Perru - guitar (1-8)
Pascal Arroyo - bass (1-8)
Guy Delacroix - bass (1-8)
Emmanuel Lacordaire - drums & percussion (1-8)
Albert Marceur - percussion (1-8)
Didier Lockwood - violin (1-8)
Jean-Luis Chautemps - tenor saxophone (1-8)
Eric Letournex - alto saxophone (1-8)

Sons Optiques (1979/2002)
Voyeur Extra-Lucide (1980)

Genre: Other

Origin FR

Added: October 19th 2003
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 883
Language: english


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