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(50 min, 'SC')
TRACK LIST: 1. Derniere Ouverture 6:27 2. Chambres Musicale 5:32 3. Pointe au Pere 6:56 4. Mille Reves 7:23 5. Sharing a Life 7:05 6. Nadir 2:17 7. Remembering Abby 5:03 8. Wonderland 5:45 9. Flash 4:00 All music: by Gaudet. All lyrics: by A Martineau. Produced by Gaudet. LINEUP: Philippe Gaudet - guitars; synthesizer; vocals Mathieu Poirier - drums & percussion Frederic Lallo - woodwinds Stephane Beaulac - trumpet Chantal Caron - vocals Marie-Neige Chatelain - vocals Daniel Paquin - narration
Prolusion. Here is an outfit from the Canadian French-language province of Quebec, SEISMIC CRY, and their debut album "The Hopeless Flair".
Analysis. The project's main man, composer and guitarist Philippe Gaudet, presents his first brainchild as a blend of progressive and classical music, which in many respects conflicts with the actual state of affairs. While two or three tracks feature the sampled sounds of chamber instruments (violin-like pizzicatos, synthetic strings), there is neither Classical music nor even related arrangements on "The Hopeless Flair", and the events develop in the following way. The album opens with Derniere Ouverture, a long, yet, very primitive and monotonous soundtrack-like piece with an overextended male narration in French. Surprisingly, the further contents turned out to be more and even much more interesting, keeping the tendency of a gradual progression right up to the next to last track. Although the music still remains exclusively slow and smooth, the three pieces that follow the opener: Chambres Musicale, Pointe au Pere and Mille Reves are notable for more thematic diversity and can be (rather should be) considered a Prog-tinged New Age, though the latter has also some folk flavor. The typically ambient sketches alternate with the edgier semi-acoustic / quasi-symphonic stuff, often accompanied by romantic female vocalization, while the quantity of narrated phrases has noticeably diminished. Overall, this music is much in the same vein as that by Nouvelles Lectures Cosmopolites or A Sparrow-grass Hunt, so if you are acquainted with these French projects, you can easily get a rather vivid idea of what I've just talked about. Among the further five numbers, four of which are songs with English lyrics, there is a very nice little concerto for classical guitar: Nadir. However, it's the preceding track that has become a turning point, marking a nearly radical change of sound. Like any of the other songs, Sharing Life finds Marie-Neige Chatelain taking the duties of lead singer, at times sharing them (but not life:-) with Chantal Caron, and has a full-band sound, with real drums. Although immediately accessible, the music is to a certain extent progressive, especially in the instrumental sections. Remembering Abby is a bit harsher in places, but is on the whole a similar thing, worthy of the same epithets and even more. This would be my favorite track here. Wonderland is a bit less diverse, but it's still a good song, above all due to the well thought-out passages of acoustic guitar running all through it. Unfortunately, the group got exhausted on the final lap. Flash is a melodic Hard Rock, lightly Prog-tinged at best. But while it is strongly inferior to any of the preceding songs, it better fits my taste than the first four instrumentals, perhaps due to the fact that it sounds fresher and more dynamic.
Conclusion. Most contents of the second half of Seismic Cry's debut CD show that the outfit is capable of pushing the boundaries of Ambient and New Age and creating an interesting Prog-related music. Hopefully, their growth will continue.
VM: May 19, 2005
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