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(61:01, Musea Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Le Vieux Cahier 2. Promenade Intra-Muros 3. Les Jours Heureux 4. Nocturne-I 5. Juste du Temps 6. Entre les Murs 7. Fenatre Aux Nuages Qui Filent 8. V'la le Bon Vent 9. Lune Rousse 10. Dans Un Songe 11. Chanson Revisitace 12. Dans Un Songe Reprise 13. La Galerie Aux Miroirs 14. Nocturne-II 15. Cortage Aux Ames 16. Au Matin SOLO PILOT: Thierry Payssan – keyboards; percussion; vocals
Prolusion. Thierry PAYSSAN is a brother of Jean-Luc Payssan, both of whom are widely known above all as the masterminds behind the French ensemble Minimum Vital, albeit they have another project, the Vital Duo. “Dans la Maison Vide” is Thierry’s first solo effort.
Analysis. Not counting mallet percussion (tambourines, light congas) and sort of natural effects, like steps, the pipe of the birds and the howl of the wind, all of which are used rarely, this is an all-keyboard album. Piano plays an important role almost throughout it, but ten of the 16 tracks here, Le Vieux Cahier, Nocturne-I, Juste du Temps, Lune Rousse, La Galerie Aux Miroirs, Au Matin, Promenade Intra-Muros, Fenatre Aux Nuages Qui Filent, Chanson Revisitace and Nocturne-II, feature either nothing besides that instrument or (the latter four pieces) only it and synthesizer which, though, only appears episodically. The music is symphonic Ambient with some classical touches, reminding often of Rick Wakeman’s ‘90s piano creations. That’s not to say there is a strong shortage of melodic ideas, and none of the pieces are static in nature, but nevertheless, due to their limited sonic palette and sluggish thematic development, they wear thin soon: already upon the second listening in fact. If this stuff appears as dry or too icy, the rest of the material is warmer and is more interesting in general. Even such comparatively short tracks as Dans Un Songe Reprise (featuring the majestic sound of church organ) and Dans Un Songe (whose string arrangements have an Eastern flavor), impress, while Entre les Murs, Les Jours Heureux, V'la le Bon Vent and La Galerie Aux Miroirs are all really good, the last two of these being very much in the style of Thierry’s main outfit, Minimum Vital. The fact that Thierry plays an array of keyboards on each of these certainly helps, as it gives the pieces a distinctive sound, and also adds a considerable amount of interest to the album, diversifying it in style. Deploying a virtual symphonic orchestra, Cortage Aux Ames, is pure classical music, delivering a lot of melodies that are both beautiful and fairly sophisticated. What somewhat mars the piece is a clownery laugh that appears somewhere in the middle of it – thankfully not for long. Finally, I’d like to mention that three of the tracks contain vocals which, though, are barely comprehensible.
Conclusion. This is a rather strange album from a classic progressive viewpoint. However, there are some tasty compositions that give me a certain pleasure. Anyhow, I don’t remember any all-keyboard albums that sound consistently interesting.
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