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Tracklist: 1. Les journaux annoncent le guerre Generique 3:37 2. Vacances a Concorneau 3:04 3. De retour a Paris 4:09 4. Scenes de foule et de pursuite pendant le Carnaval 3:52 5. Dilemme de Jeanne au restaurant Chinois 4:01 6. Survol del Rio 3:07 7. Et retrouvailles avec Bruno 9:41 8. Baiser au crepuscule et Fin 4:14 9. Les souffleurs de Verre* 3:50 10. L'age d'or a Montlhery* 5:27 All tracks: by F. Breant. Line-up: Francois Breant - piano & digital keyboards; vocalizes Eric Letournex - alto saxophone Jean-Luis Chautemps - tenor saxophone Albert Marceur - percussion Emmanuel Lacordaire - drums & percussion Guy Delacroix - bass Pascal Arroyo - bass Didier Lockwood - violin Marc Perru - guitar Tracks 1-8 were recorded & mixed by Andre Harwood at "Studio de la Grande" (1976 to 1979, Paris). Bonus* tracks (9 & 10) were composed in the beginning of the 1980s. Reworked, recorded & mixed: by F. Breant in 2001.
Prologue. Well, so far let's continue talking about new CD releases by Musea Records. I don't know how many albums are in Francois Breant's solo discography. However, the hero of this review is the first album released under his name. By the way, you can see a few of the well-known musicians in the line-up of "Sons Optiques".
The Album. Above all, I'd like to mention that "Sons Optiques" has a very refreshing sound. IMHO, this is one of the most original and complex albums released in the second half of the 1970s. Only the album's opening track contains a few of the repetitions that are really noticeable. Its stylistic definition should sound as a blend of Classic Jazz-Fusion and Symphonic Rock with elements of Classical Music. On the whole, however, "Sons Optiques" was created within the framework of a unified stylistics, which, overall, represents nothing else but Classical Academic Music with elements of Symphonic Art-Rock and Jazz-Fusion. In other words, all nine of the remaining tracks on this album are the instrumental pieces of Classical Music performed by the Rock musicians with the use of Rock, Jazz, and chamber instruments. Six of them, tracks 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, & 9 (how long their titles are!), are in the similar vein both compositionally and structurally, even though two of them, tracks 3 & 4, were performed without the rhythm section at all. The parts of acoustic piano, digital synthesizers, and either one of the two saxophones (alto and tenor) or both of them are present throughout the album, and the only exception is the last track on it, which does not features piano. However, the passages of piano and solos of saxophone play almost always a prominent role in the arrangements on the album. As I said, the rhythm section is not available on two tracks. Though five out the eight pieces, where the rhythm section is present, feature the parts of hand percussion instruments instead of a traditional drumming. These are tracks 5, 6, 8, 9, & 10. The virtuosi passages of violin and diverse interplay between them, passages of piano, and solos of synthesizers and bass are the core of the arrangements on tracks 2 & 6. The solos on the vibraphone are featured on tracks 8 & 9. As for a guitar, a few solos of it I noticed only on track 7, which, along with both of the remaining pieces (5 & 10), I should certainly name. These are Et retrouvailles avec Bruno, Dilemme de Jeanne au restaurant Chinois, and L'age d'or a Montlhery respectively. All three of these compositions are for the most part filled with very distinctive flavors of music of East. One of them, the longest composition on the album, Et retrouvailles avec Bruno (7), is not only the absolute winner, but also a real gem representing a blend of Classical Academic Music and Progressive Rock in all the beauty of both of these genres.
Summary. On his debut album, Francois Breant showed himself as a very gifted composer and musician. "Sons Optiques" is an outstandingly original album, the music of which can't be compared to anything existing under the sun of Progressive Rock. (Though, of course, I can't be so categorical with regard to a contemporary Classical Academic Music, as I am rather poorly acquainted with it.) Recommended to the lovers of instrumental progressive music of a high complexity.
VM. August 13, 2002
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