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(45:04, Musea Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Requiem Apocalyptique 45:04 SOLO PILOT: Guillaume de la Piliere – all instruments
Prolusion. Guillame De La PIERRE is a French composer and multi-instrumentalist who first made a name for himself as a member of the French art rock outfit Versailles. Came 1997 and he issued his first solo album and 11 years later his third solo creation sees the light of day after 6 years of work: "Requiem Apocalyptique", an effort Guillame has put his heart and soul into according to his homepage, where the album is described as "an auditory orgasm".
Analysis. I have to admit that I admire our guy De La Piliere quite a bit when listening closely to his latest effort. Not because his excursion is such a fantastic affair – it isn't – but because of what he has achieved with this creation, despite a few select weaknesses to be found along the way, and for me the most important of these are the vocals. Guillame opts for a dramatic delivery, utilizing a fair deal of weird-sounding delivery styles and even trying out an operatic delivery. In itself this isn't something unique, and quite a few vocalists, in particular French ones, have delivered similar antics before. However, Guillame doesn't have the skill or control of a Christian Decamps, and unlike the legendary main man of Ange the theatrical vocals used at times here don't really fit the mood of the passages where they are used in a select few instances. The same can be said for the opening segments of the composition, repeated towards the end. Frantic, swirling guitars and a driving bass line are only interesting for so long, and when accompanied by vocals that at times don't really fit the musical mood explored these parts get to be tedious and slightly annoying. On the positive side, the main parts of this excursion do come across as compelling, fascinating explorations, in particular several passages in the mid section that have some pretty neat synth-dominated parts, richly textured symphonic tinged affairs with spacey synths and an ominous mood fitting the name of the album perfectly, which is a nice contrast to the quirky, bass driven and at times vintage sounding art rock provided before and after. The final segment with its fluctuating synth layers and grim-sounding spoken vocals are also worth mentioning on the positive side. What I do admire, as mentioned above, is the fact that the composition itself comes across as a single unit. True enough, it could have been divided into several parts without much work, but it functions as a single creation without this having to be done and, despite some passages now and then that are more of a miss than the opposite, there is enough variety, complexity and continuity to keep a listener – at least this one – interested. And I have to admit that I find it admirable that Guillame himself handles all instruments too; on such a long excursion as this one it does take some skill to pull it off without outside help.
Conclusion. "Requiem Apocalyptique" is a mixed affair in many ways and a very French one at that. Those who enjoy the theatrical side of French progressive rock and find some eccentricities with the music intriguing might want to check out this one, in particular if acts like Ange are high on the list of bands you enjoy. This creation isn't of the same quality, but does contain themes and passages that might satisfy followers of above act. And although pretty obvious, listeners looking for songs of epic length should take an interest in this disc as well.
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