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(50:17, Musea Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Psychedelice 1 6:48 2. Petit Dejeuner Compris 5:03 3. Psychedelice 2 6:49 4. Sieste & Energies 9:00 5. Spleen Attitude 3:36 6. Fanfarfelue 2:56 7. Fantasmes 3:02 8. Posologie De l'Amour 5:28 9. Psychedelice 3 6:09 10. A l'Unisson 1:26 SOLO PILOT: Christian Decamps – guitars; keyboards; vocals
Prolusion. Christian DECAMPS is a highly familiar figure in the world of progressive rock, first and foremost in his home country of France, due to being the front man of Ange ever since that outfit started their career in 1969. And although he's had a few solo ventures outside of this group, first of all with the band Fils, "Psychedelice" is one of the rare true solo productions by Decamps and is one of the few occasions where his name stands alone as the performing artist and where he is the main performer as well as composer. Indeed, for this excursion he's chosen to handle all instrumental duties himself.
Analysis. Although his musical roots are shown clearly throughout this venture, "Psychedelice" is a creation where Christian heads out into quite different musical territories than on earlier efforts. Aspects of his previous solo outings with Fils as well as elements that will sound familiar to fans of Ange are very much present, but in a different musical setting. The most surprising aspect will possibly be that the compositions for the most part are instrumental. Of the ten tracks only one contains any vocals, Posologie De l'Amour. The stylistic expression of choice for this piece is one with a new age tinged foundation. Floating layers of synths and keyboards are essential elements in everything here, and light fluctuating melodic themes are a very important part of the sonic tapestries woven. But while the individual tracks may start off in a fashion reminiscent of artists like Gandalf or Vangelis, they soon evolve into quite different areas in their overall stylistic expressions. Darker, ominous-sounding or brooding tinges are inserted into the background of the mix, while additional symphonic layers are added to the main melody lines of most of these excursions. Atmospheric guitar soloing or gentler acoustic guitar patterns are additional flavors woven in, and in a select few cases the synths provide emulated trumpet and flute passages to the soundscape as well. The end results are richly textured and often grand-sounding creations, majestic in scope with nerve, tension and a great deal of theatrical flair. There are enough contrasts present to maintain an interest in the proceedings, and more often than not the complex sound and melody lines give the listener many details to keep track of too, and while somewhat predictable at times, there are enough subtle variations added to keep the various segments and themes intriguing. The main weakness with this disc in general is that it is somewhat synthetic sounding; keyboards and synths can never replace other instruments wholeheartedly. In this case this is a minor point, but one noticeable and thus worth mentioning.
Conclusion. "Psychedelice" is a creation that will cater to the needs of those who relish symphonic music in general and the keyboard dominated variety in particular. With new age colors rather than rock as the musical foundation it is a creation that undoubtedly will have a stronger appeal for followers of acts like Vangelis and Gandalf, but the richly detailed compositions should also appeal to a wider crowd - in particular those fond of instrumental symphonic manoeuverings containing a fair deal of melodramatic and theatrical flair.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: June 2, 2009
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