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TRACK LIST: 1. Rearview Mirror 5:24 2. Making Sense 5:16 3. What Is Real 5:25 4. Nothing Here Is Innocent 5:28 5. Missing Star 7:38 6. Spanish Castle 3:24 7. Dagger 3:49 8. Out of Range / Out of Line 9:34 LINEUP: Stephane Desbiens vocals; guitars; keyboards Matheu Gosselin bass; vocals Jean Gosselin drums With: Sean Filkins vocals Guillaume Fontaine keyboards Giovani Orteaga saxophone Jean Marcoux percussion Marie Noel Harvey violin Isabelle Cormier violin Marie Gagne cello Sylvain Laberge flute Claude Leonetti leode &: A few additional singers
Prolusion. The Canadian venture THE D PROJECT was formed back in 2006 by composer and musician Stephane Desbiens and writer Francis Foy, and to date they have released a total of 4 studio albums. Common denominators among them is that they tend to be theme-based, and seek to incorporate influences from the likes of Pink Floyd, Genesis and King Crimson in an adventurous and non-conform manner. "Making Sense" is the most recent album by the project, released in 2014.
Analysis. When listening through this album, I was struck by the impression that this is most likely an album that will be experienced in radically different perspectives, depending on how you listen to music. It doesn't take all that long to get a strong impression of a project here that appears to cross borders and boundaries with a deliberate thought behind it. Or, perhaps, a strong and defined philosophy is a better description. If that is actually the case or more of an accidental feature is an aspect of this production that the creators will have to vouch for or against of course, so while I can't state that this is the aim of this CD, I can state that I do get the impression that this is so. What this ultimately means is that the compositions are fairly diverse, and typically tend to wander through multiple styles by way of smooth transitions, dramatic shifts and interludes, trying one expression into the next. On an intellectual level this is a fascinating ride, and as the band opts to pair off styles that one normally wouldn't consider exploring within a single composition, there's quite definitely a challenging aspect to the record, too. Opening piece Rearview Mirror with its elegant piano movement, soft electronic interludes and melancholic saxophone-driven passages, paired off with dark toned, majestic metal riff-driven sequences, as good an example as any other, and the folk-oriented, pastoral tones of concluding composition Out of Range / Out of Line, alternating with frantic, neoclassical-oriented guitar solo escapades, as well as the single and layered string arrangements that appear in the final phases of this creation another. The challenge is, of course, to craft such diverse sounds and styles into a whole that is at least as good as the individual parts woven together, and by preference the totality should be more than the sum of the individual parts. It is in that department that opinions will differ quite a lot with this album, I suspect, as those who listen to music with the brain and the intellect will most likely find this blend to be inspirational, while those who focus on melodies, harmonies and what might be described as flow or cohesion might have a harder time with this one. Personally I'm closer to the latter than the former in that department. As a person I need music to be emotionally engaging, and while I can understand an intellectual fascination with the material here, they just didn't engage me on an emotional level. The Pink Floydian title track Making Sense came closest, with its pleasant, ballad-tinged mood, broken up by some haunting dark guitar motifs in appropriate places, which added a strong emotional impact. And the acoustic charms of Spanish Castle, while subtly chaotic, also had a drive and intensity that managed to engage me. Same with the gentle, neo-prog ballad Dagger, an elevated experience for me, due to the fine work of the instrumentalists and vocalist Desbiens that, in sum, made this creation into something larger than the sum of the individual parts. That these songs are also the ones with the least amount of stark variation probably merits mentioning too, as those who truly love their challenging music might want to inspect other tracks than the ones highlighted by me here.
Conclusion. "Making Sense" is a challenging production in the sense that it combines multiple styles within many of the compositions, and with a tendency to pair styles that are fairly different from one another at that. The material is well performed and produced, and while not managing to fascinate me on an emotional level, I can easily see why someone, who listen to music with more of an intellectual approach, will find this excursions charming. Ranging from frail piano movements and electronic oriented themes to jazz-tinged excursions, neo-prog and metal, I'd suggest that those who have an affection for varied, challenging progressive rock and tend to regard music as more of an intellectual than emotional ride to be the prime audience for this disc.
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