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Aside Beside (France) - 2002 - "Tadj Mahall Gates"
(55 min, "Musea")

1. Tadj Mahal Gates 4:04 (ASIDE BESIDE)
2. Nightmare 7:55 (=)
3. And I Hate Her 3:38 (Giardina)
4. Autumn 5:29 (Giardina, Woff)
5. You Who Know 2:54 (=)
6. Ghost of Love 4:34 (Giardina)
7. Tu qui omnia scis 1:18 (Chevalier)
8. Friends 1:56 (Giardina)
9. Christmas Time 2:40 (Giardina, Woff)
10. Loneliness 5:09 (Giardina)
11. Carelessness Song 5:54 (Giardina, Riaux, Pean)
12. Fruits of Meaning - I 4:00 (Giardina) 
13. Fruits of Meaning - II 6:00 (=)

Arranged & produced by ACIDE BESIDE.
Orchestral arrangements by F. Woff.
Engineered & mastered by F. Woff & V. Chevalier.
All lyrics by L. Giardina.


Lionel Giardina - lead vocals; guitars; Layotron 
Frederic Woff - synthesizers & organ; drums & percussion
Vincent Chevalier - Mellotron, organ, & piano; back vocals
Pascal Riaux - electric & acoustic guitars
Tristan Pean - bass guitar (on tracks 1, 2, 6, & 10)

F. Woff uses Hammond organ
 (also plays contrabass - on 8)
V. Chevalier uses Fender Rhodes organ.

Guest musicians:

Mickael Plihon - trombone (on 5 & 10)
Marion Thomas - Celtic harp (on 4)

Guest female vocalists:

K. Audebert & C. Callac (2)
A. Eva & N. Petibon (4)
S. Poujade-Ballazar (5: in Latin)
R. Hubert (7)
C. Huet (8)
K. & A. Audeberts, & M. Panaget (9)

Prologue. "Tadj Mahall Gates" (they, as well as the Tadj Mahal palace itself, are reproduced on a cover of the CD booklet) is the debut Aside Beside album, which was recorded, mixed, & mastered exclusively at F. Woff's home studio from May 1998 to October 2001. Some of you dear readers know that the release of this album was announced as one of the most extraordinary events in the history of Progressive.

The Album. Overall, on "Tadj Mahall Gates" Aside Beside look like the intelligent followers of the legacy of mighty Genesis who are sensible about what they want and what they do. (Xitizen Cain's "Raising the Stones" is an album of the same category, though I like it more than this one.) My first impressions when listening to this album was that it was so clearly in the vein of early-to-mid period Genesis that I underwent a genuine Deja Vu (Fr.) (Also, such a state is sometimes called the effect of a mirrored time or a temporally mirror continuum). This means that then, it seemed to me that some time ago I've been in absolutely the same situation, being surrounded by the same things, smelling the same odors, etc down to the smallest details. Well, the phantom of a classic Genesis is still wandering about the Prog world, and there's no hope to take shelter from it and legions of its imitators even in the future. (Which should be for certain, as real phantoms are immortal entities.) Back to the hero of this review, the album's track-list that is featured in the CD booklet presents 12 tracks, which was confirmed by the display of my CD player. However, the longevity of the last track on the album is actually not equal to the fifteen minutes indicated by the display. There is a 5-minute pause between the first and the second parts of Fruits of Meaning, both of which are musically very different among themselves. By the way, the parts of the said track, 'namely', 1 and 2, were, displayed by still the same CD player, while in the CD booklet it is presented as an unbroken piece. That's why I found that it is necessary to present here my own version of this CD's track list (see above). (I was hardly tolerating such pseudo musical spaces already at the time when the mode in them has just appeared. I am more than puzzled why so many progressive (!) bands use a void as part of their works. Do they really find it something outstandingly original? It seems they do. Absurd!) While in my previous review I was fighting against the tracks' separatism, this time I had to take the contrary measures. Having transformed "Tadj Mahall Gates" into the 13-track album, I've thought everything is correct now and by all means. Eight out of these thirteen tracks represent nothing else but the works of Classic Symphonic Art-Rock of a dramatic character, though musically; they're not stylistically integrated. The instrumental arrangements that are present on Tadj Mahall Gates, Nightmare, and Autumn (1, 2, & 4) contain much more of the band's own original ideas than those that were borrowed from Genesis. The album's title track however, with its quite heavy, dark, and dramatic arrangements, is the most unique among them and all the other long songs on the album (there are no instrumental pieces on it). Nightmare is the only track on the album where there are the elements of Classic Jazz-Fusion were interwoven with those of Symphonic Art-Rock, which is clearly heard beginning with the second minute and up to the 4-th minute of this 8-minute song. Thanks to the solos of Celtic harp in the very beginning of Autumn and the unique interplay between passages of acoustic guitar and the oboe- and violin-like solos of synthesizer in a couple of the next themes, this song brings to the listener a slight medieval feel. All five of the other Classic Art-Rock songs: And I Hate Her, You Who Know, Ghost of Love, Carelessness Song, and Fruits of Meaning - I (3, 5, 6, 11, & 12), are also marked with original ideas, which, however, aren't as bright as those on tracks 1, 2, & 4. Furthermore, here, the Genesis-influenced arrangements, especially those by Mellotron and synthesizer, dominate over original ones. As for the lead vocals, they're not unlike those of Peter Gabriel almost throughout the album. Instrumentally, Loneliness (10) is about a completely original Neo Progressive (which is not symphonic yet), but very simple arrangements raised to the power of very Gabriel-esque vocals make it one of the less interesting songs on the album. Another and the most serious drawback here is track 13, i.e. the second part of Fruits of Meaning. Here, you can have a rare chance to hear Peter Gabriel singing to the accompaniment of slow passages and effects of the so-called space music. Surprisingly, Tu qui omnia scis, Friends, and Christmas Time (7, 8, & 9), all of which are the shor

Summary. With the exception of two drawbacks that you already know about, I liked "Tadj Mahall" very much, though, of course, not as much as "Somewhere But Yesterday" and especially "Raising the Stones" by Xitizen Cain. (Check the "Albums / Performers" Top sections on the site's title page to make certain of how much I love both of these albums!) Among hundreds of the followers of Genesis (not to mention any wannabes), there are only a few bands that are worthy to be named the true followers of Legend's legacy, and Aside Beside is one of them. After all, I like to experience a pleasant Deja vu.

VM. March 4, 2002

Related Links:

"Musea Records" - web site & online store:


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