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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

BERTRAND LOREAU: Sequences (2010)

Updated: Aug 4, 2020

With its fluid movements and its amazing melodies sculpted in the darkness of lonely souls, it's a must for fans of sequencer-based style of EM

1 Séquence Souvenir 8:20

2 Arc en ciel 5:32

3 Cerfs-volants 6:43

4 Rue Colbert 6:10

5 Libourne 2005 Part 1 4:21

6 Libourne 2004 20:02

7 Libourne 2005 Part 2 13:22

8 Séquence Libre 4:50

(CD 70:42) (V.F.)

(Sequencer-base style)

Bertrand Loreau is certainly one of my most beautiful discoveries and became one of my favorites these past years. The French synthesist knows above all how to shape melodies from a simple idea or an isolated note. As you can imagine, SEQUENCES is an album based on sequenced movements. In Berlin School, one says; sequencer-based style. Inserted in an artwork that depicts all his melancholy, Bertrand Loreau presents 8 titles composed between 1988 and 2005. Some are pure skeletons free of their melodies, while others put on the melodious approaches of the musician from Nantes. Divided into 2 parts, SEQUENCES is a reference in the art of reconciling sequences and melodies. The first part gathers studio recordings which are restored in their pure state, while the second part is more melodious with extracts from concerts given at Libourne and Close Encounters festivals in 2004 and 2005. A real album of free expressions or corporeal, it's a hybrid work where the experimental meets this beauty and this nostalgia which inhabit and divide Bertrand Loreau.

Fine pulses hatch and skip arrhythmically. Like a free ballet, Sequence Souvenir flies away in a maelstrom of sequences where the chords flutter and intertwine, creating a strange melody fragmented by astonishing endings and sudden stops. An experimental melody nestles on this long spasmodic structure where the jumping keys twirl, pulsate, follow one another and crisscross in all directions at the whim of amazing sequenced movements, just like the wisp that is Arc en Ciel. Cerfs-volants is very representative of its name. Imagine a kite and its unexpected movements dictated by the winds and you have the best description for this title. With Rue Colbert we enter the melodious territories of the French musician. Played at Salle Vasse in 1988, it shows his clear attraction for electronic melodies in the style of Le Parc or Underwater Sunlight by Tangerine Dream. A solid track that begins with hesitant sequences advancing with cat steps to dance an electronic tango. Dressed in its melody, the title progresses with good sequences and keyboard chords which gently rotate around its axis of rhythm. The percussions fall and shape a captivating and catchy rhythm accompanied by a synth with soft spectral breaths. We are not at the end of our astonishment that strikes of xylophones emerge to inflate an amazing melody which subtly accentuates its cadence. It's an absolutely brilliant title, just like Libourne 2005 Part 1 which is a splendid, but a splendid electronic ballad which turns like a crystal carousel. A monument of tenderness and of electronic poetry, this delicate starburst is imbued with a melancholic lyricism and an angelic sweetness. It feels like in the sky, in the clouds, and on earth, in the ocean, with this tender and melodious aria which is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful I have heard in the EM universe.

And Bertrand Loreau continues to amaze us with Libourne 2004. This long piece of about twenty minutes is a chain of divine melodies where we clearly feel an influence of Vangelis. An influence that lies on this very nostalgic and somber approach that is a French artistic expression. Soft strata of violins emerge from a spatial introduction where strings of sequences are intertwined under angelic cymbals. Eclectic breaths resurface and permeate a psychedelic approach to this title which begins a bit like Rue Colbert but with a more developed musical envelope. Violins and hesitant sequences weave a dramatic and mysterious canvas which a soft streamer of sequences crosses with a shimmering fluidity. Softly, and tenderly, the sequences move under the deaf synth implosions and spin like a nursery rhyme for melancholic to isolate themselves and fade away in the dawn of time. At the 10th minute, another movement of the sequencer emerges. Always very soft, it resonates like the strings of a guitar that you pluck hard to sound vaguely like a harpsichord. A brief movement which precedes another one more harmonious with strings of violins which one rubs with energy and which, as if by magic, brings out a delicate melody with a thousand chimes. A melody which is grafted towards an ascending rhythm where choirs and sequences tumble and overlap in a musical mishmash as daring as harmonious. Libourne 2005 Part 2 strikes at the heart of the Haslinger years of the Dream. Its introduction offers a tender rhythm where the sequences intersect in a harmonious canvas whose flow gradually increases to result in a splendid whirlwind that a bass line supports with good musical depth. The sequences fly, twirl and intersect on a movement full of staccatos before leading to a beautiful sequenced ride. A very beautiful passage which brings us towards a lonely path and a more ethereal structure where a soft female voice calls for softness and solicitude on a fine movement reminding us of the borders of the superb Legend. This is another title full of twists that we never get tire of hear. Séquence Libre ends this impressive work on sequences with a title where glass chords clink with other more serious ones. It's a beautiful blend of tones that forges a two-tone melody.

How not to fall in love with SEQUENCES? I must admit that it was on the tip of my ears that I discovered this album by Bertrand Loreau. Being more of an essay on the sequences than purely melodic or musical pieces, the first 3 titles slow down the ardor of plunging into this quintessence of sequenced movements. On the other hand, once this stage is crossed, we are invaded by a musical world of charms and daydreams; the wonderful world of Bertrand Loreau. With its fluid movements and its amazing melodies sculpted in the darkness of lonely souls, it's a must for fans of Tangerine Dream, Philip Glass or Vangelis.

Sylvain Lupari (November 21st, 2011) *****

Available at PWM Distrib

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