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Claude Demet - 2008 - "L'Instinct"

(46:44, Bluesy Mind Records)

TRACK LIST:                   

1.  Recette du Plaisir 3:50
2.  Cigale 3:27
3.  Les Oiseaux de L'Errance 2:57
4.  Une Chaine Neuve a Mon Velo 3:48
5.  Amours Factices 3:19
6.  Vieux Dinosaures 3:17
7.  L'Everest 2:34
8.  Aux Flammes 2:50
9.  Elles Sont 2:40
10. Entre Deux Averses 3:22
11. Le Chant Des Sirenes 3:01
12. En Irlande 3:34
13. Que la Pluie 4:15
14. Rouge Dans le Ciel Blues 3:50


Claude Demet  vocals; guitars, keyboards; harmonica
Claude Bongarzone  drums 
Jean Tota  bass 

Prolusion. Claude DEMET is a veteran French guitarist, with a career that started out in the mid 60s. In 1977 he joined the highly acclaimed outfit Ange, and participated on one album and the tour following that release. After contributing to the recording of a solo album by Ange leader Christian Decamps, Demet started his own solo career. "L'instinct" is his tenth solo album and was released by Bluesy Mind, a sub-label of French recording company Musea Records, in 2008.

Analysis. The French label Musea is something of an institution in the world of progressive rock, releasing massive amounts of (mostly) quality music for several decades now. During their existence they have branched out to many different musical territories, but one of the oddest branches on their tree of sub-labels is Bluesy Mind. Having a branch concentrating on blues music for a label with their main focus on progressive music is an odd one, as blues is about as far away as you can get from progressive rock in most of its stylistic aspects. Still, in this particular case it's not as contrasting as one might believe. Anyone familiar with Ange will recognize the influence on Demet's vocals for starters. Not that there are operatic qualities to the vocals here, though; in fact the vocal style is somewhere halfway between talking and singing, but there's a certain theatrical approach to the vocals that is highly similar. Adding to that facet on this release is the mix, highlighting the singing and subduing the instruments, leaving the music more or less as a backdrop for the deep, pleasing voice of Demet. Although subdued, the instrumental performance makes this CD one fitting for a release by Musea though. The musical foundation here is blues of course; but blues in a style and manner that have quite a few progressive elements in it. The guitars add a central aspect to this mostly blues-dominated style, in particular blues-tinged solos and solo fragments in practically every tune. There are also some classic blues-drenched guitar licks and riffs spread throughout these 14 tracks; there's no doubt as to what is the dominating style. What sets this apart are mainly two additional features, and the dominating of those are layered and harmonizing guitars: in most cases an acoustic guitar pattern partially supporting and partially harmonizing with the electric guitar. Nothing highly complex, but it's a slightly unusual touch for a blues record. Add in some quirky guitar patterns and leanings towards jazz, which is the second additional feature on the guitar side of things, and we're dealing with music a bit on the outside of a standard blues album. A few more elements in the compositions take this music even further outside of the boundaries of traditional blues: carefully placed floating keyboard layers in the back of the mix, a bass guitar quite often taking melodic wanderings partially or wholly harmonizing with the guitar patterns, and drum beats that come across as quite complex on a few occasions. The music is still well within the realm of blues, but these elements combined give the compositions a leaning towards progressive rock in style and a rather unique sound overall. The tracks are a mixed lot though. The first half of this CD in particular contains songs that are a bit too generic and alike to my ears, but the second half of the album has quite a lot of intriguing tunes in my estimate. In fact, these songs are also the most adventurous on this release if one might call blues an adventurous style of music.

Conclusion. Released on the label Bluesy Mind, there's not much doubt as to what the target audience for this release is. Those who like traditional blues might want to approach this one with some caution though, as these compositions may be a bit too far removed from the original blues for them. On the other hand, people enjoying progressive rock, in particular French progressive rock, might want to check this one out.

OMB: October 8, 2008
The Rating Room

Related Links:

Musea Records
Claude Demet


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