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(53:57, Musea-Parallele Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Le Ruissortilege 6:16 2. Les Messagers 5:52 3. Isengrin 5:24 4. Les Normands 5:00 5. La Trahison 8:59 6. La Fete Des Fous 7:27 7. La Dame Et le Dragon 6:11 8. A Chacun Son Graal 8:46 LINEUP: Emmanuel “Motis” Tissot – vocals; guitar, bouzouki; keyboards Florent Tissot – flutes; guitar; backing vocals Remy Diaz – drums, percussion
Prolusion. “Live Crescendo” is the latest output by French trio MOTIS, recorded at the Crescendo Festival last year and released in January 2008. Officially, it is considered that they have two more albums, “Prince Des Hauteurs” and “L'Homme-Loup”, both predating this one (reviews are here and here).
Analysis. On their website, however, the group lists two more items in their discography, “A Chacun Son Graal” (2000) and “La Fete des Fous” (2001), both of which, while being full-length studio recordings, are unavailable to the general public. To some degree this CD makes up for that deficiency, as it features three tracks from the first and one from the second of those virtual discs, the other four songs all having their studio counterparts on “L'Homme-Loup”. From which it follows that Motis’s first official release, “Prince Des Hauteurs”, has no representatives here. Anyway, being familiar with both of the trio’s last studio efforts, I thought I know what to expect from this their live performance prior to listening to it. The result, however, turns out to be a mixed bag. While a folk component is still present, it in most cases plays a supporting role here and is rarely associated with the Middle Ages. Where it is distinct is in places on Les Messagers and La Fete des Fous as well, in both cases coming across as having its origins in oriental music. Well, there is also the opening tune, the largely acoustic Le Ruissortilege, which however is simply Folk Rock of the first water, much in the style of Jethro Tull circa “Aqualung”. Otherwise Motis appear to be much closer to those bands that typify French Symphonic Progressive, with Ange leading at the head of the procession :-). The music is often filled with lush organ patterns and spectacular flute, acoustic and electric guitar leads and is heavily theatrical (save for A Chacun Son Graal, which is largely instrumental). The highlights include the longer three songs, A Chacun Son Graal, La Trahison and La Fete des Fous, and also Les Messagers, all of which are diverse, dynamically evolving compositions. Although similar in style, Les Normands, La Dame Et le Dragon and Isengrin are all fairly straightforward, all being from “L'Homme-Loup”. Unlike its studio version, The Lady & the Dragon Live doesn’t succeed in evoking the picture of a festival taking place in the palace of some medieval king. As for the new interpretation of Isengrin, it’s quite repulsive, finding Motis playing to their audience. The theatric recitative to the ‘accompaniment’ of handclaps that runs almost all through the piece ruins all its attributes, which aren’t that numerous in general.
Conclusion. Overall, this is an impressive performance by a true live band, with all three of the musicians being on more or less the same technical level. Although not for me, many will like it in its entirety, I’m sure.
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