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(68:00, Musea Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Mesopotamie 4:14 2. Qui Est-Il Qui Parle Artist 4:52 3. Reprise Mesopotamie 1:17 4. Agrements Parfaitement Bleus-III 4:03 5. APB Epilog 1:03 6. Alpha de Centaure 6:49 7. Venise 6:25 8. Transparences 7:47 9. Tintamarre 6:37 10. Ephemere a MC 13:29 11. Forfanterie 7:04 12. Printemps Noir Final 4:20 LINEUP: Jean Lapouge – guitars Christian Paboeuf – flutes Daniel Renault – drums; violin Pierre Aubert – violins Denis Viollet – cello Denis Lefranc – bass Claude Lapouge – trombone Pascal Leberre – saxophones, clarinet With: Francis Michaud – saxophone Jacques Nobili – trombone Guy Bodet – trumpet Michel Bassler – drums
Prolusion. Please read here.
Analysis. One of the interesting parts of this second Noetra album is the booklet that follows the CD. Those interested in this band are served a fairly detailed history covering the band's ups and down as well as how it came to be that the first two Noetra CDs came to be. The short version for this particular production was that Lapouge, some years following the release of the first one, had a trip down memory lane revisiting the material recorded by Noetra way back when. In doing so he soon heard that there was quite a lot of the material that really merited an official release. When he had an album's worth of material he approached the people at Musea Records, and they were happy to issue this second disc of unreleased compositions by Lapouge's old band. While the first Noetra CD showcased a band that explored chamber rock and chamber music first and foremost, this second one is put together by material of a fairly different kind. The chamber rock orientation is still present at a subtle level, but the main emphasis this time around is jazz rock. Quirky, fairly sophisticated drum patterns in tioght interaction with bass guitar, Lapouge's guitars providing gentle light toned motifs as well as melodic soloing runs of a far more spirited kind, and with careful use of additional instruments as well as richly arranged themes sporting a myriad of instrument layers in an expression pretty close to what is generally described as brass rock. Opening piece Mesopotamie showcases the band's abilities at performing the more nergetic side of jazz rock quite nicely, and the following Qui Est-Il Qui Parle Artist documents their gentler side to just as good effect. And the aforementioned intense, somewhat brass rock oriented effort Tintamarre basically concludes this part of the album. The remaining items take a step away from the dedicated jazz rock oriented style, and by and large appear as constructions less developed and defined to my ears. None of them uninteresting by any means, my explorations of Noetra have lead me to conclude that whatever material this unit recorded merits an inspection, but the final 20 or so minutes of this disc don't quite live up to the high standard of the preceding material, to my ears. Those with a stronger affection for the chamber rock oriented parts of this band's repertoire might find these creations to be subtly more intriguing though, as with most music this will come down to indivudual taste.
Conclusion. Noetra's second full length album, assembled and released 8 years after their belated debut effort, documents their repertoire as a jazz rock unit quite nicely. A subtle chamber rock orientation does remain, but rhythms, arrangements and instrument motifs are first and foremost geared towards jazz rock on this occasion. And as it turns out, Noetra was easily just as skilled in that department as they were when focusing on compositions with closer ties to chamber music. An album well worth checking out if jazz rock is your thing, and in particular if you also have a soft spot for chamber rock.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: July 4, 2012
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