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Eidolon - 2009 - "Dreamland"

(52:41, Musea Records)

TRACK LIST:                   

1.  Vacuum 6:16
2.  Idein 20:26
3.  Topos 3:59
4.  Reflexum 5:18
5.  Illusio 5:36
6.  Ontology 5:27
7.  Logos 5:39


Thomas Nguyen – keyboards; guitars; vocals
Pierre Boulonne – bass; violin; vocals
Noe Lahaye – drums; vocals
Emeline Conce – violin 
Carole Durot – violin 
Jeanne Camus – viola 
Ines Gandon - cello

Prolusion. The French outfit EIDOLON was formed in 2004, when its three musicians were attending the Rheims Conservatoire. From the onset their vision has been to combine music with literature and various other artistic expressions within a theatrical performance and thus realize the idea of a total work of art. In 2005 their first attempt at achieving this rather ambitious goal crystallized in the show Dreams and Nightmares. In 2007 they started recording their debut album, which was issued in 2009 by Musea Parallele, a sub-division of the French record label Musea Records.

Analysis. “Dreamland” is the name of this first recorded effort by Eidolon. And if anyone should find the name familiar, it might be due to the fact that it is a poem written by renowned US writer Edgar Allan Poe. Eidolon's task has been to create a musical score for this well-known literary work, which might be described as a daunting task, or at least a challenging and ambitious one. Personally I'm not overly concerned with the lyrics of an album, as the music in itself is what is most important to me. Still, I presume no one will object to the notion that the lyrical contents of this production are of the highest quality. Musically I do find this venture to be less satisfying though. There's no denying the talent of this band; quite a few passages make a very favorable impression. These are all rather similar in nature - sequences with a distinct and melodic bass and steady rhythms as the foundation, with organ or floating keyboard layers providing the main melodic theme. In some passages these two combine, while violins add extra flavoring in others. Most of these pretty intriguing passages are instrumental, while a few are more subdued in manner, serving as a backdrop for the recital of parts of the poem Dreamland. Those who like the German band Eloy in general and their album “Ocean” in particular should find these parts of the album rather enjoyable, and those who fancy ‘70s Pink Floyd will probably enter familiar territory here as well. The other parts of this excursion I find somewhat wanting though. The elongated ambient opening on the first composition, Vacuum, suddenly evolving into noisy guitar cascades and vocals, are not suited to this particular sound at all. The five or so minutes following the brilliant opening twelve on second track Idein are a chaotic freaked-out sequence contrasting wildly with the rest of the creation and generally feeling misplaced. The closing track Logos returns to the guitar cascades ending the opening number of the album without any more success the second time around. One of my pet peeves when it comes to musical enjoyment is the lead vocals, and also in this department I find this band to have a potential for development. Heavily accented, slightly flat and somewhat lacking in power they barely work on the interesting parts of this venture and not at all whenever heavy guitar riffs make an appearance. When that is said, I am more concerned about vocal performances than the average listener and presume that for many potential buyers this won't be regarded as critically as what I do.

Conclusion. I find “Dreamland” to be a mixed affair. There are many good parts to this effort, even if somewhat derivative in scope. There are quite a few weaker aspects to be found too, sadly, which at least as contents of a CD fail to inspire. I suspect that the music on this release will find its way to a live performance as described in the band's vision of a total art experience though, and in such a setting I can see these compositions working pretty well as a musical score. As a standalone production this album is uneven, but if one can live with skipping a couple of tracks those who enjoy bands like Eloy and Pink Floyd might find the best efforts of this recording interesting enough to warrant buying.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: October 14, 2009
The Rating Room

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