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Armelle LC - 2022 - "L@ Derive (the drift)"

(65:32; Armelle LC)


TRACK LIST:                  

1. I wish... 2:09
2. High Time 9:51
3. Lost Princess (Princesse a l'ouest) 3:03
4. Claire Obscure 5:07
5. Ups and Downs 4:43
6. Poetique 7:08
7. A new Penelope 4:28
8. Nouveau Depart 5:48
9. The Choice (fit it?) 6:43
10. False Divisions 4:37
11. Detour (les detours de la fee) 5:40
12. Where (the drift) 6:15


Armelle LC  vocals, harps, synth, keyboards, programming, bass, bendir, tambourine, Indonesian rain stick, Tubular bells, kikongi
Mike Sington  synth
Squonk66 - sound design, programming, drone
Eric Docet  bass
Aurelien Joucla  programming
Renaud Bayard  programming (6)
Jonathan Chopin  sounds
Adeline Guihard  piano
Philippe Joucla  guitars
Paul Jenkins  guitars
Chris Bacon  didgeridoo
JeanJean  flutes, bells and tinkles, Tibetan bowls, sounds, vocals
Therese Johnston  keyboards
Cyril Coutand  sounds
Thierry Chassang  sounds, programming, timpani drum
TNO  synth, programming, bass, guitars
Amanyth  keyboards, programming
Lucie Martineau  cello
Sylvestre Charbin  whistles, bass, guitars, oud, timpani drum, saxophones
Yann Nicolas  sounds
Clement Hibon  programming, TamTam, sounds

Prolusion. French artist Armelle LC has developed her craft as a musician and composer since early childhood, and has a career as a recording artist that stretches back for at least a decade and is also a seasoned performing artist. "L@ Derive (the drift)" is the name of her most recent studio production, which was self released in the spring of 2022.

Analysis. Aside from being a concept album, "La Derive (the drift)" is a production that is difficult to categorize in a correct manner. This is a production that draws in impulses from a number of different directions and traditions, and while it also contains elements from rock music this isn't really or truly a creation that can be defined inside a rock music tradition as such. If pressed I suspect I might classify this album as classical music, or possibly folk music, although it wouldn't be a comfortable fit in any of those contexts either. The hard to define nature of this album makes it a natural inclusion into a progressive music context of course, even if the rock aspect is more a secondary feature here. The most striking aspect of this production are the vocals. Armelle LC has a distinct voice, and it appears to me that she by accident or design draws upon Asian traditions a bit in terms of tone, timbre and scale for the singing, something that does add an exotic touch to the proceedings. It also serves as a striking contrast to her main instrument, the harp, with the vocals being a sharper and clearer element while the harp has a more tranquil and somewhat understated role to play here. The compositions here cover a fair bit of range both in sound and execution. We get careful, sparse excursions with the harp and the vocals with sparse additional instrumentation that explores more of a folk music tinged landscape, we have similar creations that draw in a few more elements from what I'd describe as chamber music, and also songs that combine elements from both of these subtle variations on a theme. We get material with a more fleshed out nature that adds impulses from both rock and jazz, combining with or exploring landscapes outside of the folk and classical reference points. Darker and more mystical creations with more of a tribal feeling to them is a part of the total experience too, with at least one song using elements from ancient Australian folk music traditions to establish a specific mood and atmosphere. The use of silence and bell-like sounds as transitional elements is another detail I took note of, adding an almost story-like element to this album experience and details that really exist outside of any specified music context as such. While a lot more could be described in greater detail, the point is that this is an album that defies genre conventions and as a total experience also exists outside of the more commonly explored traditions. The moods, atmospheres and landscapes are ones that come with a dreamlike quality, and contain both ancient and otherworldly elements. A combination which, for me at least, is one I don't encounter all that often. The end result is most certainly something that is a bit different as well as expressive. Like many expressive productions not everything manages to have the same amount of impact, and I would suspect that individual taste will have a lot to say in terms of what is effective and what isn't quite as effective. This is more true for some albums than for others of course, and for me this will be one of the albums where this description is more true.

Conclusion. The world presented and the landscapes explored on Armelle LC's latest studio album "L@ Derive (the drift)" are ones we don't see all that often. With elements from ancient folk music, world music, classical music and jazz combined with occasional additions from the world of rock music, and with vocals that at times are very distinct and with something of an exotic sheen, this is music that defies categorization and tends to shy away from easy definitions. If dreamladen, subtly exotic music that has ancient roots, a dreamladen orientation and otherworldly aspirations sounds like something that might intrigue you, chances are good that this is a production you'll find to be rather enjoyable.

Progmessor: October 2022
The Rating Room

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Armelle LC


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