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(59:12, Musea Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Adyane 4:25 2. Espoir 15:40 3. La Cite des Dieux Oublies 18:58 4. So Close 4:53 (b/t) 5. Labyrinth 15:16 (b/t) LINEUP: Philippe De Canck – keyboards Philippe Clesse – guitar; violin Jean-Louis Tauvel – bass Bernard Petite – drums
Prolusion. France’s ACINTYA was a short-lived band that existed in the second half of the ‘70s. Here is the reissue of “La Cite des Deux Oubles”, their sole studio output, enhanced with two bonus tracks. They also have one live album, “In Live”, the review of which can be read here.
Analysis. The first three tracks on this version of the “La Cite des Deux Oubles” LP are the same that formed its original edition, and the other two are previously unreleased compositions, both of them unavailable anywhere besides this disc. Musically, there is quite a lot in common between all of them, but, nonetheless, I’ll begin with the former ones. On Adyane the music is symphonic Art-Rock all the way and seems to be influenced by Yes, Curved Air, Genesis and Camel, but with enough originality to never sound overtly derivative. The show is driven by the keyboards, violin and bass, with drums providing a solid supporting structure, all of which is also typical of both of the other tracks from the LP. Unlike the disc opener, the epic La Cite des Dieux Oublies isn’t structurally dense throughout. More traditionally for the genre, the sound here can be big and intense or soft and gentle, and the band is quite resourceful at both ends of the spectrum, with a penchant for dramatic arrangements (albeit the mood as such varies and is even jovial on some occasions) and blazing violin and synthesizer leads. A multi-sectional sympho-prog suite, it also features two relatively long interludes, one of which finds a piano and a violin interacting with each other very much in the way of classical music, while another is a dark, massive organ passage, evoking the one in the middle of ‘Siberian Chatru’ from Yes’s “Close to the Edge”. Another epic from the album, Espoir, also contains a classical-like interlude, a complex interplay between a piano, violin and acoustic guitar. Stylistically, however, it’s somewhat different, bringing together the above style and symphonic Space Rock, reminiscent of late ‘70s Eloy in structure, as also do the extra tracks, So Close and Labyrinth, both of which are live performances. Unlike the studio ones, where he most of the time acts as a – brilliant – violin player, on these Philippe Clesse is concentrated almost exclusively on guitar, most of the latter piece appearing as a prime workout for him-the-guitarist, who shows how graceful he can be on fluid electric or semi-acoustic versions of the instrument. Philippe De Canck deploys an array of analog keyboards: Roland, Hammond, Moog and more, and is skilful in handling all of them. Bassist Jean-Louis Tauvel is also a remarkable musician, crucial to the sound of much of Labyrinth. Nevertheless, in spite of what has been said before, I must admit that none of the compositions in hand fully satisfy my requirements. Acintya is a competent group of musicians, playing rather serious music, and yet it’s hard not to feel that you can guess what is coming next, at least in most cases. What’s really bad, however, is that, while the sound of the album as such is, say, merely poor, both of the bonus tracks are of such a terrible sound quality that it’s at times impossible to decipher any details.
Conclusion. As Acintya focuses on Symphonic Progressive, to those well experienced in the genre, there is going to be little to astonish you, especially since the music isn’t as varied as either of the band’s teachers in absentia. All in all, considering the sound quality of the CD, I can’t rate it higher than I did.
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