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(59:54; Dur et Doux)
Lyon collective Le Grand Sbam are back with their second album, which in many ways follows on exactly where ‘Vaisseau Monde’ left off. There have been a few changes in the band, as Melissa Acchiardi (vibraphone, percussion) is no longer involved, but Antoine Arnera (piano, electronics, voice), Boris Cassone (bass, Mellotron), Jessica Martin Maresco (voice), Guilhem Meier (drums, amplified percussion, voice) and Marie Nachury (voice) have expanded the band with the addition of Gregoire Ternois (marimba, toms, dun dun bells, gong), Mihai Trestian (cimbalom) and Anne Quillier (Moog, Rhodes, voice). The addition of more voices, percussion, and keyboards, has allowed them to take their music further in the direction of crazed opera/RIO/Zeuhl/experimental prog. It is massively complex, yet also hugely chaotic, and one can imagine Zappa comparing the scoring of this to that of "The Black Page #1", smiling, and saying “yep, they got it”. Musically this is all over the place, structured yet free, and while it should never make sense it somehow does, and one can never fail but be enthralled by the performance. Just for the hell of it, this album commences with “La Trace” which is nearly 19 minutes in length, but in reality, all you need to do is listen to the first few seconds to understand what you may be letting yourself in for as a listener. Strange vocals, percussion, interweaving melodies, they are all there. About sixteen minutes into the piece there is a wonderfully high held vocal note, so pure and clean, which really makes it stand out. We get warmth and delicacy, strength and dominance, power, and submission, all in the same piece. The piano can be intricate and rippling, or it be crying in pain as it is being taken into new areas, with classically trained female and male vocals being both sublime and fractured, frantic and almost in pain. This is modern music which is being taken into new and exciting directions, and we are all the better for it.
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