ProgressoR / Uzbekistan Progressive Rock Pages


Various Artists - 2007 - "French Electronic Music 1974-‘84"

(73:43 / Gazul Records)


TRACK LIST:                                 
1.  Back to Heldon 8:29
2.  Electronic Alarm 4:00
3.  Variations VII 4:32
4.  Alice 15:21
5.  Spirale Malax 17:13
6.  Tiny Tina 2:04
7.  Musique par Correspondance 15:07
8.  Bar Electric 2:33
9.  Le Gord 4:24


1.  Heldon
2.  Camizole
3.  Richard Pinhas
4.  Verto
5.  Lard Free
6.  Video-Aventures
7.  Pascal Comelade & David Cunningham
8.  Pascal Comelade & Victor Nubla
9.  Video-Aventures 

Prolusion. Musea is a French non-profit record label, that for more than 20 years now have dedicated themselves to releasing progressive music. This compilation CD "Musiques Electroniques en France: 1974 - ‘84" was released on Gazul in 2007, which is the sub-label for what Musea calls "New Music", i.e. music which is highly experimental and groundbreaking. The aim of this compilation is to showcase French artists who were pioneers in the field of experimental electronic music, using keyboards such as Mini-Moog, ARP 2600, VCS3, AKS and other influential synthesizers.

Analysis. As with all compilation releases of the 'various artists' type, there is a great deal of variation on this release. The compositions explore music within a set type of genre, with differences in approach and structure. There are however several similar traits in the tunes here. All the pieces are minimalistic in nature, with slight changes in sounds conveying melody and evolvement of the compositions. Indeed, the slight changes in the details of the soundscapes often suggest melodies rather than actually presenting them. A distinct space feel to the music is a common denominator throughout the tracks here, and most have a distinct psychedelic and trippy nature making them good choices for music to play when meditating or seeking out other forms of altered mind state. Back to Heldon by HELDON is dominated by a dark fluctuating space sound where various electronic sounds and atmospheric guitar playing provide melodic suggestions. In the final part of the track electronic sounds take over the soundscape, creating a highly space-like sonic texture. CAMIZOLE's Electronic Alarm starts out with an alarm like sound, evolving into a soundscape with a minimalistic theme way back in the mix as a foundation for a multitude of layers of electronic sounds, some of which at times convey melodic touches that interact with it. The cut then ends as it started with an alarm like sound, slowly growing to dominate the tune towards the end. Richard PINHAS’ Variations VII is dominated by a repeated rhythmic electronic melody, where slight changes in the melody and additional electronic sounds create slight variations. The piece comes across as somewhat similar to Tangerine Dream in style. VERTO's long composition Alice ebbs and flows all the way, with elements growing and then fading away. Bell-like electronic sounds dominate the start of the track, before evolving into a multi-layered carefully crafted theme where elements are added and subtracted throughout, often with an individual melody-line evolving and changing nature before fading out. Atmospheric guitar chords are used to good effect to create nerve and tension in this composition. Spirale Malax by LARD FREE is dominated by a dark space-like wind synthesizer for the first 10 minutes, with additional touches of synths and guitar providing several layers of slight melodies and electronic noises added to create variation. In the last 7 minutes of the tune sounds and styles come and go to a greater extent, with rhythmic sounds and electronic melodic fragments coming and going. This epic piece is somewhat similar to Hawkwind's more psychedelic explorations in style and manner. VIDEO-AVENTURES’ Tiny Tina is a brief, repetitive track where rhythmic sounds with slight melodic suggestions create a highly minimalistic soundscape. The Pascal COMELADES & David CUNNINGHAM collaboration, Musique par Correspondence, starts with rhythmic electronic sounds ebbing and flowing, gradually forming a repetitive melody structure with minor changes in details, slowly evolving the tune for the first 12 minutes, with a few instances of elements added and subtracted to create variation. The last 3 minutes consists of melodic fragments coming and going. On Bar Electric COMELADE collaborates with Victor NUBLA revealing a shorter track with a dark brooding melody, where rhythmic sounds, electronic noises and whispered synthesized voices create a dark and fascinating atmosphere. VIDEO-AVENTURES’ Le Gord is the final track on this CD, mixing rhythmic sounds with electronic bleeps and noises to create a repetitive, hypnotic atmosphere. Most of the compositions come across as fascinating and interesting, with the Pascal Commelade/ David Cunningham collaboration for me the only weak track here. Personal highlights: Richard Pinhas’ Variations VII, Verto's tune Alice and the Pascal Commelade/ Victor Nubla collaboration Bar Electric, these three being slightly better than the rest in my opinion.

Conclusion. Fans of electronic experimental music will enjoy this release immensely, and fans of the first generation of synths should find these sonic explorations to be highly fascinating as well. Most people enjoying spacey, psychedelic music should also consider checking out this release.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: February 14, 2008

Related Links:

Musea Records


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