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Molecule - 2007 - "Interstellar"

(45:42, Musea Records)

TRACK LIST:                   

1.  Interstellar 5:32
2.  Eclipse 5:11
3.  Transmition 5:28
4.  Isomorphisme 5:52
5.  Atmosphere 6:55
6.  Oxygene 2:10
7.  Stratosphere 4:58
8.  Control For the Sun 5:12
9.  Summer 69 4:24


Gerard Verran - all instruments; voice

Prolusion. MOLECULE is a moniker for Gerard Verran, a young solo performer from France, whose launch of creative activity is marked with the release of "Interstellar". Please readers turn your attention to the titles: six of them (two thirds), Interstellar, Eclipse, Control For the Sun, Summer 69, Oxygene and Stratosphere - are more than suggestive, aren't them? The first four are borrowed from Pink Floyd, the fifth one from Jean-Michel Jarre, and the latter from Tangerine Dream.

Analysis. It's difficult to comprehend why "Interstellar" was released by Musea Records' main label of the same name, but not through Dreaming, the company's division serving as a base for exactly such one-man homebred bands as Molecule, working mainly within Electronic. Perhaps the event took place due to the resemblance between this recording and Pink Floyd, which is obvious almost throughout here, despite the difference in instrumentation, since "all instruments" seem only embrace a couple of modern synthesizers and a drum machine. For the sake of justice, I must note that there are moments evoking the other two aforementioned performers (plus also Hawkwind and Eloy) to be found here too, but way less often then you already know what. Now however, I am forced to somewhat disappoint those of you dear readers who have jumped at the conclusion that this review and severe criticism are just soul mates. Indeed, a certain kinship between "Interstellar" and the English legend's legacy is the first thing to arrest the listener's attention, eight of the nine tracks present being marked with the influence (so I think there's no necessity to list those), all seeming to be unmistakably post-Pink-Floyd Space Rock, just lavishly flavored with electronica and radio voices. But once I dug deeper, metaphorically speaking, I've found out that the resemblance only exists on the surface of the music, having additionally unearthed some other interesting details, though I'm not sure I will be able to properly set all my thoughts out in writing. Here's what's opened up to me upon the second listen. While having armed himself with much of Pink Floyd's ideas (in terms of both composition and atmosphere), Gerard, only using traditional electronic technique, has reworked the source material in such a way that the final result seems to be something marvelous, since it bears a resemblance to the original and yet, at the same time appears as having nothing to do with it at all. All the said pieces begin with naturalistic effects combined with either radio or real voices, at times resembling On the Run with that piece's characteristic 'cosmodromic' feeling, but in a minute or so things take the shape of intense electronic Space Rock, whose groovy (prepared) basis, backed up by washes of atmospherics, gives the player spacious room to solo over, additionally using a variety of registers of his synthesizers. The music now reminds me of something from the same "Dark Side of the Moon", just changed almost beyond recognition, now of a stream of various bits from the Englishmen's earlier creations (Interstellar Overdrive and Echoes included) that strangely swells out, making me think Gerard is about to make a medley of his favorite Floyd pieces, only to have it alter away and not be that at all. Devoid of rhythm or conventional melody, the remaining piece, Oxygene, is all about atmosphere and effects, with the sound of thunder being the most widespread. In other words, this tune is musically almost empty, so not surprisingly, it comes across as a makeweight.

Conclusion. Although Pink Floyd's legacy was many times explored before Molecule, Gerard has found his own special way in that field. Regardless of all his discoveries however, I doubt "Interstellar" can be recommended to anyone else besides lovers of E-music (the legend's most freakish fans are part of that category though), but the fact that he's somewhat transgressed the conventions of that genre shouldn't go unappreciated; hence the rating.

VM=Vitaly Menshikov: January 1, 2008

Related Links:

Musea Records


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