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TRACK LIST: 1. Le Corps des Femmes 4:28 2. Metronome Celeste 5:16 3. La Lune Rouge 5:01 4. Pentagramme 4:20 5. Volupte 2:51 6. Geometrie Intime 4:41 7. Quinacridone 4:51 8. Les Voyageurs du Temps 8:13 LINEUP Xavier Boscher - vocals, instruments
Prolusion. French composer and musician Xavier BOSCHER has a long career as a solo artist and as a member of various band projects, releasing material at a steady pace since 2002 and with a band history that goes back to the mid 1990's. The album "Pentagramme" dates back to 2016, and was released through Boscher's own label Orfeo'lab. He has since released two more studio albums: "Embryogenesis" (2017) and "Eternity" (2018).
Analysis. Boscher has been at it for a long time, but how well known he is as an artist among fans of progressive rock is something I'm rather unsure about. Looking at the go to website Progarchives, it would appear he has not made all that much of an impact among the users of that website. Which doesn't always warrant a reflection about popularity as such, but at least it indicates how wide spread, or not, the impact of an artist is. Boscher is, at least at this point, one of the numerous artists that deserves more attention for the material he creates. While he doesn't expand any boundaries or break any barriers, on "Pentagramme" he comes across as an artist rather sure about what he wants to accomplish and how to about it. The most novel aspect of this album is, I guess, that it doesn't fit neat and tidy into any one subsection. What we are treated to is a fine and accessible album, by plan or accident created as to have a fairly widespread appeal. There are no abrasive details, not too much is up front and dominant either, and the quirkier details are kept subtle and used sparingly and with care at that. Music easy to listen to, but at the same time filled with enough contrasts and details to stay interesting. The songs tends to alternate between a few different orientations, ranging from a token careful jazz-tinged and a similar folk-flavored token excursion, via melodic progressive rock on one side to hard progressive rock on the other, bordering progressive metal in intensity on a few set occasions. Always with mood and melody as the main focus, and with a calm presence throughout that is enhanced by the careful lead vocals. Rhythm details and keyboard details adds a gentle and subtle but also rather effective flair and variation to the proceedings, and the album as a whole strikes me as a well planned and well developed affair. Mix, mastering and production aren't quite at the same level as the music, with the sound a bit closed in, the loudness levels not quite constant throughout, and the occasional small artifact appearing. Nothing major on any level, and few will even notice this I guess, but at least for audiophiles this is an album that may well put this particular segment off. Much depending on personal taste of course, as there are people that find this type of production more attractive than the cleaner, clearer but perhaps a bit more sterile sounds produced by the Steven Wilson's of this world.
Conclusion. Xavier Boscher have a lot of albums to his name at this point, and I seem to recall that they can be rather different in sound and style at that. "Pentagramme" is among the more intriguing of the albums I have encountered with him, and due to that I'd say that this album is a good place to start if you want to explore what his music is all about. Other than that, those fond of accessible and melodic progressive rock ranging from gentler escapades to harder edged progressive rock may want to give this album a check at some point.
Progmessor: January 10th, 2018
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