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Tracklist: 1. Blackmail 9:35 2. Stimpy Bar 5:12 3. Redrum 11:03 4. Cinema 1920 5:00 5. Nova Express 15:32 All compositions written & arranged by NeBeLNeST. Line-up: Olivier Tejedor - devices; keyboards, percussion Cyril Malderez - guitar Michael Anselmi - drums & percussion Gregory Tejedor - bass Produced by Bob Drake & NeBeLNeST. Recorded, mixed, & mastered by Bob Drake at "Studio Midi Pyrennees", Caudeval, France.
Prologue. NeBeLNeST is one of the leading bands of the contemporary New Music movement, which follows the legacy of such Progressive Rock genres and sub-genres as RIO, Prog-Metal, Art-Rock, Zeuhl, and Canterbury, as well as Classical and Avant-garde Academic Music. "Nova Express" is the third album by the band. One of my friends has always wondered why I listen to music, which, according to him, reminds him of the seemingly endless tune-up of various instruments. Usually, I laugh off with the next phrase: "It's because in my childhood, I was sick for a long time". However, it seems he perceives it in earnest.
The Album. I don't know why, but it's obvious that presently, it is really hard to create something new and unique within the framework of the first three progressive genres, namely Symphonic Art-Rock, Prog-Metal, and Jazz-Fusion. It turned out to be that RIO was the only progressive genre, which could have adapted to all of the cataclysms of the "dark decade", etc, and still remains flexible enough to create truly innovative forms of music. Certainly, the fifth 'chief' progressive genre Fifth Element could've been born only within the precincts of RIO. It wasn't difficult for me to find it, as there are quite a few bands today, the music of which doesn't fit any of the first four main progressive genres, including even RIO, of course. So, yes, NeBeLNeST is one of the 'official' representatives of Progressive's Fifth Element. Please take your seats. "Nova Express" invites you into a very unusual journey through the difficult musical regions, which, however, are as wonderful as the Wonderland itself. Stylistically, this album presents a fantastic blend of all of the Progressive Rock genres (with the exception of Jazz-Fusion), which was composed with the active use of a 12-tone scale of Avant-garde Academic music. In addition, all of this was raised to the power of Fifth Element (which is unique ad infinitum) to have a truly hard-edged Progressive Rock of a kind you have never heard before. All of the five tracks that are featured on the album were created within the framework of a unified stylistics (which is originally NeBeLNeST's very own stylistics). In other words, the features that are typical for each of the separate tracks are also typical for the album as a whole. First, it must be said that this is the music of non-Euclidean spaces, where the parallel lines can easily cross each other, and discords create a wonderful harmony. The cascades of tasteful and virtuosi passages, solos, and riffs of a few soloing instruments, contrasting interplay between them, kaleidoscopic and, often, sudden changes of tempo and mood, atonalities, complex time signatures, and constant development of very eclectic arrangements. All of this is a brief structural characteristic of the routes (or of the tracks, to be dually correct) of "Nova Express". As for the other events that accompany this journey, the overall picture of them is rather motley. The roles that the various keyboards and both of the electric and bass guitar play here are equal. However, the parts (I'd even say "attacks") of electric and bass guitars are for the most part not only heavy, but also harsh and angry like mountain rivers. The drumming is outstandingly diverse and masterful as well. Sometimes, though, it is expressly aggressive, which happens accordingly to the current musical circumstances. The elements of a dark Doom-Metal and sinister Thrash-y Prog-Metal (both of which, by the way, can be found in the creation of Voivod at the end of the 1980s) extend a rather strong influence on this music. Furthermore, keyboards (including Mellotron) sound dark or sinister here and there on the album as well. While there are a few soft and symphonic episodes on each composition, the overall atmosphere of the album is quite tense. However, the main merit of the "Nova Express" journey is that it is incredibly intriguing.
Summary. Try to draw an isosceles triangle on a ball. Doesn't work? However, if you find a certain sense in what you've drawn (what you've done, to be precise) and apprehend that even stones have their own philosophy, you'll love the music of NeBeLNeST to death. Like any true classic for the future, "Nova Express" needs several listens to be more or less completely comprehended. Here, I mean those Prog-lovers who are truly experienced and brave enough to take such a wonderful, yet in some ways dangerous journey. There was a note on the cover of "Please Don't Touch" album (1978) by Steve Hackett, which warned any sort of nervous people against listening to it. I've heard lots of albums that need the same note on their covers. So if you feel good while listening to Voivod's "Dimension Hatross" or Univers Zero's "Heresie", for example, then you'll be in euphoria while taking the "Nova Express" journey. I can only add that as a matter of fact, this album is a unique masterpiece.
VM. March 28, 2002
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