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(41 min, Altrock Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Toz 9:25 2. Intermud 3:00 3. Dunb 8:57 4. Bumlo 5:34 5. Mluez 6:17 6. Ih 08:16 LINEUP: Fabien De Kerbalek – guitar; vocals Thybo – guitar; drums Damoon – bass; vocals Sir Alron – bass; vocals Brhuno – saxophones, bassoon; vocals Sam – saxophones, clarinet, flute; vocals Emilie Massue – vocals; percussion (4-6) Marhion Mouette – vocals; percussion (1-3) With: Remi – oboe (1-3) Pierre – horn (1-3) Catherine – clarinet (1-3) Severine – flute, piccolo (1-3)
Prolusion. The six-track “Fanfare du Chaos” is the debut outing by the French ensemble RHUN. The CD press kit presents them as followers of Magma.
Analysis. This is an absolutely brilliant album. There are six tracks here, ranging from three to nine and a half minutes in length, and each of them is a masterwork. The rhythmic vitality takes a powerful shot in the arm, the band keeping the proceedings churning to the end by adding various woodwind instruments, percussion and vocals to the album’s basic sound, which normally embraces two guitars, two basses (one of which is often played through the distortion module), two saxophones and drums. The result is an engaging – perhaps already classic – French twist on the Belgian RIO/Chamber Rock approach that carefully subverts, submerges and disguises its experimentation beneath a strong sense of melody and form. One can indeed compare “Fanfare du Chaos” to some of Magma’s work, but the difference here is that this music is much less groovy on the one hand and is at times very heavy on the other, slightly reminiscent of a cross between early Thinking Plague, mid-70s King Crimson and late Univers Zero, plus the fact that the vocalists sing in a more traditional operatic custom, somewhere in the vein of the Universal Totem Orchestra, albeit the language reminds me of Magmatic, i.e. Kobajan. Most of the compositions also reveal moments of Avant-jazz and those of neoclassical music of the first water. The longer tracks, Toz, Dunb, Bumlo, Mluez and Ih, all come across as suites – multi-layered compositions that bring together all the diverse elements into a delicately balanced whole, often beyond any routinely identifiable influences. Complex rhythms, shimmering melodies and a strong chamber rock component are all embedded within the fabric of the pieces, occasionally giving them a very avant-garde face, while most of the time a totally cohesive and spiritual nature. The former four pieces fully suit all the above descriptions, and only the latter (featuring vocal parts by a single female singer besides those of a mixed choir), which doesn’t contain most of the aforesaid stylistic elements, Metal-In-Opposition included, throughout lies within the classic RIO realm. While the relative simple, repetitive figure in it overstays its welcome for this reviewer, this shortcoming is more than overcome by clever, ever-changing musical constructions and colorful arrangements. Four guest musicians contribute oboe, horn, clarinet and flute to the album’s first three tracks, all of which are the richest in chamber colorations, especially Intermud – a piece of neoclassical music, performed without any rock instruments.
Conclusion. This album is unusually deep and rich for a band’s first effort and is a sure bet for my best of 2013 list. Enough said, I hope.
VM=Vitaly Menshikov: September 21, 2013
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