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Demian Clav - 2013 - "Adrift: Ten Years Before Scardanelli"

(47:14, Yajna Editions)


****+
                 
TRACK LIST:

1.  Fall 6:12
2.  Eventyr 3:35
3.  Holy Road 4:01
4.  Edelweiss Flight 4:10
5.  The Art-Scattered Surface of the Earth 4:45
6.  Living Sculpture 3:35
7.  All Night Party 7:24
8.  Slow Boat to Nowhere 4:46
9.  Annonciation 4:15
10. All Night Party First Mix 4:31 (b/t)

LINEUP:

D. Claverul  vocals; guitars; keyboards
J. C. Wintrebert  drums; keyboards; cello
J. Y. Brard  bass 
With:
Pierre-Etienne Malefond  guitars 
Baptiste Breton  keyboards 
Madeleine Goosens  violin 
Patrick Meriau  violin 
Jessica Farley  vocals  
Armelle Darbon  vocals 
Raphaelle Guillet  vocals 

Prolusion. The French project DEMIAN CLAV appears to be the creative vehicle of D. Claverul, presumably with Demian as his first name, and was assembled in 2006. The first full length album of this project appeared in 2009 as "Nightfall Prayers", which was followed by "Wisteria Lodge" in 2011. "Adrift: Ten Years Before Scardanelli" is the third album by Demian Clav, and was released in the summer of 2013.

Analysis. The nine compositions covered in the ten tracks of Demian Clav's third album "Adrift" document an artist with a certain affection for dark moods and atmospheres more than anything else. Not dark as in brooding, ominous or otherwise threatening varieties of it, nor as in metal oriented songs and harder edged, brutal constructions. It's rather a case of a soft and elegant kind of darkness, a cinematic and mystical one, of the kind I can just about envision being present when the French Gothic scene dresses up in medieval inspired elegant clothing for a night of lords, ladies and vampires at a suitable nearby castle. I wouldn't be at all surprised if this artist has followers in just that scene, and if he hasn't he should have. As far as the music is concerned, cinematic is something of a key word. The heavy use of sampled sounds and effects adds a strong emphasis to this, but also the liberal use of layered symphonic, classically-inspired keyboard textures indicate someone with an affection for cinematic music, directly or indirectly. With cello and violin added to the proceedings, references to classical music do come easy, although in terms of possible sources of inspiration more than in stylistic expression as such. As far as the latter goes, we're served everything from cinematic soundscapes to elegant rock music closing in on the accessible side of Pink Floyd here, as well as a few cases of compositions that arguably might merit a slight use of the term avant-garde in the subtle detail department somewhere. Opening track Fall and the following Eventyr are notable mentions as being arguably the darkest tracks, the former with symphonic textures applied to a rock composition with some nifty organ creating an uneasy atmosphere later on, the latter a more adventurous and chaotic affair with string instruments aplenty. The most impressive composition to my ears, Annonciation, is a very different affair again: spoken words on top of a swirling piano or possibly glockenspiel foundation with subtle keyboards and effects adding a distinct cinematic quality to the proceedings. Three fairly different compositions, arguably ones one might say form the outer boundaries of the musical universe explored on this disc. While there's a fair bit of variety at hand, this isn't an album for those who prefer material of a challenging nature. Atmospheric and compelling creations with cinematic and occasional ambient orientations are what this album is all about, and fairly accessible too. Highly compelling too, at best, but a detrimental feature on quite a few occasions are the male lead vocals. Accented, and with sharp edges that should have been dampened when the album was produced. First and foremost a negative trait in the songs sporting sequences where the vocals are in the limelight and the instrumentation has more of a secondary role.

Conclusion. If you tend to enjoy music of the atmospheric kind, sporting plenty of cinematic and some ambient streaks, and have a soft spot for dark moods of the kind that inspires to thoughts about mysticism and melancholy, Demian Clav's latest album is one you might want to inspect. Those who enjoy sophisticated yet accessible rock not that far removed from Pink Floyd's most accessible material are possibly a key audience. Just as long as you're not overly demanding about the quality of the lead vocals that is, as they are a bit hit and miss on this production.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: January 7, 2014
The Rating Room


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