• Sylvain Lupari

BERTRAND LOREAU: Sur le Chemin (1996)

Updated: Aug 4

It's a good musical album which transcends EM as such by a musical structure closer to contemporary classical music than simple EM

1 Point de Fuite 5:20

2 Jeu d'Enfant 4:50

3 Dans le Miroir 4:30

4 Sur le Chemin 5:26

5 La Chaise Vide 8:07

6 Demain Peut-Être 2:25

7 Regards Réfléchis 6:56

8 Une Autre Vie 2:28

9 Des Illusions 3:02

10 Message Perdus 5:00

11 Dernière Séquence 5:38

12 Au-delà du Passé 9:37

Musea-Amplitude AM 8400.AR

(CD 63:43) (V.F.) (EM à la Vangelis)

With the hatching of Awenson and Alpha Lyra, French EM seems to have a second breathe. But has it really ceased to exist? Or was it simply hiding in its inner borders or was it just ignored from the press and local medias which seem to prefer synth pop (Air) and techno (Daft Punk) to progressive EM as much oneiric is it? Since 1995 there is an association which aims at promoting progressive French EM in France; PWM Distrib chaired by Bertrand Loreau, which gather together names as Awenson, Olivier Briand and Alpha Lyra to name a few. Those who gravitate around the scene of French EM know Bertrand Loreau for his various implications in the electronic music art and his huge passion for the music of Klaus Schulze and, strangely, this passion is absent of all influences that surround Bertrand Loreau's 3rd opus. Initially released in 1993, SUR LE CHEMIN is a nice collection of musical odes where synths are tuning their airs into chamber music. And as a first contact, I didn't expect that! This album offers a sweet melodious EM with keyboards and synths which offer melancholic and nostalgic tunes under musical fragrances that are as romantic as the violin, the piano, the acoustic guitar and even the harpsichord. In the end, it's a good album where emotions are heard and are felt as we see the film of our life. Vangelis lovers; bring out your handkerchiefs!

Point de Fuite opens the ball of emotions with a rhythmic structure where fine sequences skip slightly. The keyboard is sober and melodious, recalling the electronic melodies of the Dream in Le Parc. The tempo increases in crescendo to surround a nice celestial melody where the chords sound like a harp. A title among the liveliest, like On the Way and its slightly more nervous rhythm with chords which skip and become entangled behind symphonic synths, as well as on the much livelier Last Sequence. Those who know me and follow my chronicles know how sensitive I am, and I must say that with Bertrand Loreau I found a superb music writer. Filled with emotions, he has the gift of making us feel them. Jeu d'Enfant is amazing in candor and virginity. A very good title starting with delicate arpeggios which spin behind a soft ethereal mist. Notes of glasses dance delicately under a look of tenderness where the modulations are surprisingly poignant and filled with a rare musical tenderness which usually dresses the most beautiful musical epitaphs of Vangelis. A good title which throws its melancholic chords up in the melody of In the Mirror which is on the other hand is more dramatic with a synth blowing nice twisted solos on a soft oneiric structure. The arpeggios parade like a musical carousel under loads of a synth and its breaths, both apocalyptic and dramatic.

SUR LE CHEMIN is full of beautiful lyrical melodies where the synths match like instruments of romance. I am thinking in particular of Demain Peut-être and its delicate piano flowing under violin sheets, tearing it apart Une Autre Vie, the happiest Des Illusions and the bitter Message Perdu. Music that can be listened to as in an intimate concerto for chamber music. La Chaise Vide is dedicated to a young pupil of Bertrand Loreau who died suddenly. A long title where the synth chords are dressed like notes of acoustic guitars or harps which wander in an ethereal mist and thin layers of mellotron stuffed with chimerical violins. At times it looks like a cosmic blues where you feel the sadness of the author and who gradually regains a joie de vivre with a more playful end. Regard Réfléchis presents a more complex Bertrand Loreau. Still as dark and melancholy but more complex. A long piece where the synth drags its nostalgic breaths over a vision of desolation in a slow and heartbreaking movement. It crosses soft arpeggios which appear like the sun after the ruins and play innocently under a synth line with hybrid sounds where violins caress the oboes, like in the Renaissance, on a structure similar to that of Au-Delà du Passé which is on the other hand richer in synths and mellotron.

Bertrand Loreau's music is quite unique since the composer favors a more sober and a more classical artistic approach than most of his contemporary colleagues with short and well structured titles where the French synthesist gives a lot of space to his melodious and poetic aspect. SUR LE CHEMIN is a beautiful musical album which transcends EM as such by a musical structure closer to contemporary classical music than simple EM. I see a sweet mix between a more contemporary Bernd Kistenmacher (A Viaggio Attraverso L'Italia and especially Celestial Movements) and a very harmonious and philharmonic Vangelis.

Sylvain Lupari (April 6th, 2011) *****

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