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Tracklist: 1. Mesopotamie 4-14 2. Qui est-il qui parle artist 4-51 3. Reprise Mesopotamie 1-16 4. Agrements parfaitement bleus* (part III) 4-03 5. APB* (epilogue) 1-02 6. Alpha de Centaure 6-48 7. Venise 6-24 8. Transparences 7-44 9. Tintamarre 6-36 10. Ephemere a M.C. 13-28 11. Forfanterie 7-03 12. Printemps noir (final) 4-20 Line-up: Jean Lapouge (electric and acoustic guitars) Denis Lefranc (electric and acoustic basses) Daniel Renault (drums & percussion, violin) Pierre Aubert (violoncello) Francis Michaud (flutes) Christian Paboeuf (woodwinds and piccolo) Pascal Leberre (saxophones and clarinet) All music written by Jean Lapouge. Produced by Jean Lapouge.
While there is still only one (the first) Noetra album "Neuf Songes" (recorded 1978 to 1980, released on CD by "Musea" back in 1992) as described in the Gibraltar Encyclopedia of Progressive Rock, there are actually another two albums in the discography of this great band (really, great). The second one (virtually, the third one) titled "Hauts Plateaux" was composed by the band's only mastermind Jean Lapouge (born in 1953) in the same year of 1992 as a result of the rise of Jean's inspiration, which happened thanks to the release of "Neuf Songes", one of the two early brain-children of his. The album was recorded in March 1993 and released by one of the Musea divisions "Musea Parallele" in June 1993 as Jean Lapouge's solo album. Jean, though, was always the only composer for Noetra, so once his solo "Hauts Plateaux" album was re-released under the name of Noetra by Musea in fall of 2000. The "Definitivement Bleus" album, consisting of the second part of Noetra's early compositions (recorded 1978 to 1982 and completed by Lapouge himself in the beginning of 2000), was released by Musea in the end of 2000. Unfortunately, I haven't heard either "Neuf Songes" or "Hauts Plateaux", but it's enough to listen to "Definitivement Bleus" to understand that Jean Lapouge is an incredibly gifted composer-innovator and his Noetra was really a great band. As well as any of the RIO performers, the music of Noetra is highly innovative, original and complex, and it's impossible to compare the band's creation to anything known within the frame of the genre. Despite the fact that I haven't heard "Neuf Songes", I doubt that according to the descriptions in the GEPR, the music of this album has to be a mix of Henry Cow (RIO), National Health (Jazz-Fusion or Prog-Fusion), and Oregon (Jazz-Rock). Both of the early Noetra albums have been taken from the same master-tape, according to the band's bio, "told" by Jean Lapouge himself in the booklet of CD. There are no Jazz-related ingredients in the music of "Definitevement Bleus" and (thus) "Neuf Songes" either, (I am almost sure I am right here), and there are too few comparisons between Noetra and even Henry Cow, which, in my view, is the most pseudo-jazzy sounding RIO band, especially on the "Western Culture" album of 1978. Although I've heard just one of Noetra's two early albums, I regard them as the most folk-y sounding RIO band, - relatively, of course, as there are a lot of other classic constituents of RIO in the music of "Definitivement Bleus". This is, however, the only RIO-related (all right) album I know with more than noticeable elements of French, obviously, folk music. 'Mentally', Noetra is far from a darkness typical for Univers Zero, Present, and Horizont, (to read the reviews on this great Russian RIO band's albums click on this link: http://www.progressor.net/review/horizont_overall.html); the music on the "Definitivement Bleus" album reminds of a complex, not quite optimistic on the whole philosophy, which however is not as light as in U Totem or early Art Zoyd. While most of the connoisseurs of complex music such as RIO understand that the mood is probably the only relevant thing with regard to the bands of the genre, all of which, at least in my view, are unique, it is generally hard to compare Noetra to any of the other RIO bands. So all those in the know, don't miss this in many ways exotic fruit of RIO.
VM. September 20, 2001
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