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Track List: 1. Trais Mineurs 6:22 2. La Foire 4:01 3. Rayons X 9:36 4. Ida et Lyncee 5:38 5. Les Argonautes 6:59 6. Les Dioscures-II 4:08 7. Les Dioscures-III 3:33 8. Irradies 7:23 9. Satellites 2:48 10. Bionics 0:37 11. Song of Sight 2:42 12. La Sonde 3:30 13. Mort de la Sonde 5:21 All music: by Francois Ribac. Lyrcis by: Le Teiller, Grunberg, Pasquier, & Goethe. Soloists: Eva Schwabe - Marie Grenon - Ken Norris Narrator: Jacques Allaire Back vocalists: Herve Le Teiller - Francois Ribac Musicians: Francois Ribac - - electric bass, guitars; piano, synthesizer, & vocoder Nathalies Rives - - marimba, neo-xylophone, assorted percussion Francois Bellin - drums Francis Touchard - clarinets Frederik Saumagne - saxophones Yann Martin - trombone & bugle Sylvaine Candille - flute & piccolo Produced by Ribac & Schwabe. Engineered by C. Frossard & Ribac at "Mesa" studio. Mastered by C. Frossard at "Mesa". Supported by the French Telecom foundation.
Preamble. "Le Regard de Lyncee" is one of a few operas by the remarkable French composer and multi-instrumentalist Francois Ribac. To read the review of the only mini-CD by him that I heard until now, click >here. Though a few more of the albums by Francois will soon be reviewed on these pages. Finally, I think I should mention here that this opera, "Le Regard de Lyncee", is dedicated to Robert Wyatt (of Soft Machine, Matching Mole, & solo fame)."
The Album. There are only two tracks on this album: Bionics and Song of Sight (10 & 11), representing quite unpretentious songs that, yet, were performed by operatic vocalists. Consisting of passages of synthesizer, rhythms of acoustic guitar, and solos of slide guitar, the instrumental arrangements on these songs are simple in comparison with those on any of the other songs on the album (no instrumentals here). Which, though, doesn't diminish the value of them, especially in the general context of the opera. Here, the theatrically dramatic vocals are as wonderfully diverse and beautiful as they are throughout the album, and all three of the main soloists on "Le Regard de Lyncee" are real and great operatic singers (and they're quite famous singers, by the way). The music that is present on both of the parts of Les Dioscures (6 & 7) represents a blend of Opera and a pure Classical Music. Apart from vocals, the first of them features the slow, yet, continuously developing interplay between the organ- and brass-like passages of synthesizer. While on another, I don't hear any other instrumental parts but diverse and virtuosi interplay between passages, solos, and pizzicatos of a few varieties of violoncello. Overall, all nine of the remaining songs on the album are about a highly complex, lush, and fantastically intriguing Rock Opera where, though, almost everything was composed by the laws of Classical Academic Music and where almost all of the vocal parts are either of operatically dramatic or operetta-like character. Apart from the basic Symphonic Art-Rock textures, about half of these songs contain also the elements of Jazz-Fusion and the bits of Industrial Rock and some old-fashioned music. As for 'a double almost' that is part of definition of the album's predominant stylistics, the last song on "Le Regard de Lyncee", Mort de la Sonde (13), is the only among the aforementioned nine tracks that features really audible repetitions and romantic vocals. All three of the main soloists sing both separately and jointly on most of the songs here. Wonderfully, the lyrics in French in the libretto change with those in English and German more than once, which is most likely determined by the origin of personages of the opera. Also, it needs to be said that the light, joking, and the other operetta-like vocals play one of the prominent roles (along with those of a dramatic character) on the first two songs on the album and those that are closer to the end of it. Whereas the atmosphere that reigns in the core of the opera (of course, it concerns both of the vocal and instrumental palettes there) is mostly dark and dramatic. It seems to me that so far, I didn't mention only those songs of this brilliant opera that are not only highly intricate, but are also filled with that marvelous magic, which we felt (and feel) when listening to the best works of Classic Progressive of the 1970s. These are Trais Mineurs, La Foire, Rayons X, Ida et Lyncee, Les Argonautes, Irradies, Satellites, and La Sonde (1 to 5, 8, 9 & 12). Though both of the aforementioned parts of Les Dioscures, and especially that on track 7, are, overall, of the same story, too.
Summary. Unfortunately, the number of sinister signs, surrounding Progressive and auguring its near decadence, grows constantly in the new millennium. Otherwise (just for instance), such a great work, as Francois Ribac's opera "Le Regard de Lyncee", which was released in 2000, would've been today as popular as "Jesus Christ Superstar" was in the 1970s. Yet, I very doubt that there is even one thousand of people on Earth who're at least in the know that this album exists in the musical nature. Well, these are also the words that would hardly be fully realized by many people. Nevertheless, if you, who read these lines now, consider yourself a real connoisseur of progressive music, you should never pass by such albums as the hero of this review. As a last resort, you should know that in any case, "Le Regard de Lyncee" is and will always be a classic for the future, which is certainly regardless of whether it is popular or not.
VM: December 20, 2002
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