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TRACK LIST: 1. Chanterelle 3:25 (Demouron) 2. Valse Noble 5:34 (Viaud) 3. Kerouac 7:54 (Demouron) 4. Rue Alice 14:29 (Rousseau) 5. Le Matin Blanc 2:14 (Viaud) 6. Pamela Story 0:21 (=) Bonus tracks: 9. Automne Souvenir 7:05 (Rousseau) 10. Memoire Baroque 9:42 (Demouron) 11. Mandoline Station 2:02 (Viaud) Note: the 'live' versions of Kerouac and Rue Alice aren't included in this track list. LINE-UP: Andre Viaud - electric & acoustic guitars Pierre Demouron - basses & contrabasses Gilles Rousseau - drums & percussion Produced by Pataphonie & P. Maudit. Engineered by V. Chambraud at "Prunay-Le-Temple".
Prolusion. "Le Matin Blanc" is the second and last album by the French band Pataphonie. The eponymous Pataphonie debut album was released in 1975.
Synopsis. There are many reviews on the Web where the music of Pataphonie has been compared to that of King Crimson, Henry Cow, and the Muffins, to name just a few. Well, the lovers of comparisons find kinships everywhere, regardless of whether all of that has any meaning or not, like in the case of Pataphonie. The music of this outfit is outstandingly original, and if these French guys used a fuzz bass, like the Muffins, this argument is too weak (to say the least) to compare these bands. "Le Matin Blanc" is a highly profound ProGduction created by playing ProGfessors for listening ProGfessors, and the presence of varied bass and guitar effects on this album is more than justified and gives a mysterious feel to its sound, which is especially evident in Space Fusion-related arrangements. The alternations of power and, often, quite heavy textures and atmospheric ones are typical for most of the compositions here: Valse Noble, Kerouac, Rue Alice, Automne Souvenir, Memoire Baroque, and Mandoline Station (2, 3, 4, 9, 10, & 11). The music on each of these tracks represents a unique combination of guitar Art-Rock and Space Fusion with elements of RIO. Thanks to the use of special pedals, Andre Viaud's guitar sometimes sounds like a synthesizer and even a vibraphone (!) - on Valse Noble and Rue Alice (2 & 4). Pamela Story (6) is somewhat of a brief comic outro of Le Matin Blanc. As for the album's title track itself, the music here is simply fantastic and is the only one of its kind. It features no drums and consists of the constantly developing interplay between electric guitar sounding not unlike a viola, and contrabass, which, in its turn, sounds not unlike a violoncello. This is probably the most wonderful piece of Classical Music ever performed within the framework of Progressive Rock. The musicianship of all of the members of Pataphonie is top-notch, and their creative fantasy doesn't have any borders.
Conclusion. It was Rush's "2112" that I considered the best guitar trio album of the 1970s until now. And now, the hero of this review has dethroned it from that pedestal. Pataphonie's "Le Matin Blanc" is one of the most amazing Progressive Rock gems released in the second half of the 1970s.
VM: June 25, 2003
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