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(47 min, Carbon 7)
TRACK LIST: 1-4. The Limping Little Girl 16:53 5. Le Rodeur 1:58 6-12. Ceux D'en Bas Suite 19:30 13. Sworlf 8:31 All tracks: by Roger Trigaux. Produced by Present. LINEUP: Roger Trigaux - composition; vocals Reginald Trigaux - guitars; vocals Pierre Chevalier - keyboards; vocals Dave Kerman - drums & percussion Keith Maksoud - bass With: Yuval Mesner - cellos David Davister - drums
Prolusion. While I believe the RIO veterans PRESENT don't need an additional presentation, I didn't have the opportunity to hear their two most recent albums until now. At last, here is one of them, "No 6". Although I understand that my thoughts of the album are hardly much different (if ever different) from those of most ProGfessors, it is my duty to review it, which I am doing with pleasure. Related review: "Cod Performance".
Analysis. The 13-track "No 6" contains only four compositions in fact. Both of the epics, The Limping Little Girl and the Ceux D'en Bas suite, are absolutely monolithic: by structure, compositionally and stylistically. They're just conventionally divided into several segments. Without looking at the display of a CD player, it's hardly possible to fix the moment when one section alternates with another, especially upon the first spin. The band's founder and the primary mastermind behind it, Roger Trigaux, is the author of all compositions, but as a musician, he is nearly absent here, for the first time in Present's history. For some uncertain reason, the band has recorded without him, far from their homeland, Belgium, in Israel! After the band returned, Roger added his vocals and guitar solos to Le Cauchemare Yo (one of the parts of the suite), which is the only real song on the album. Keyboards are mainly pianos. They are really ubiquitous here, and their master, Pierre Chevalier, seems to be always aspired to bring them to the fore of the arrangements. A few tracks feature Mellotron in the background. Unlike his father, Reginald is quite cautious about long frenetic guitar solos, but then he shines with playing riffs, and these are fundamental to most of the music, particularly to the first composition, The Limping Little Girl. A complex architecture of RIO moving to Metal-related repetitive hypnotic territories with very dense sound, this epic is of a more furious nature than the rest of the material and is actually the harshest and darkest. (Though there is hardly a minute of placidity anywhere on the album.) The music is abundant in aggressive tones and features lots of angular melodies dancing in a queer ring around some highly unstable eccentric axis. The shortest track, Le Rodeur, is notable for strange guitar and brutal vocals and is a mix of atmospheric, RIO and Death Metal. The second epic, the Ceux D'en Bas Suite, is a culmination of the play, with a very complex contrapuntal structure. I don't mean it's the best here, but I would say it's the best among the equals. This is the classic Belgian-school RIO, but with Punk and Death Metal intonations in the vocals (present in two sections) and a social protest in the lyrics. As is typical for suite, the events go through lots of changes in theme, tempo and mood. While being as dense, eclectic and intensive as any of the preceding compositions, the 8-minute closing number, Sworlf, is basically slow. Still, the music is classic RIO, but this time out with some jazzy flavor, as Chevalier often switches over to improvisations. What is striking is the astonishing, absolute inner coherence of music everywhere on the album, and there is not even a single weak moment here in general.
Conclusion. Brilliant. Like any active music reviewer, I very rarely have the opportunity to sit down and just listen to music, without any special purpose. But it's a really a great feeling to recognize that the album you loved so much is present in your collection. (Indeed, it's Present.) Welcome, "No 6"! Top 1999
VM: March 31, 2005
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