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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

LOREAU/GERCHAMBEAU: Catvaratempo (2018)

“Difficult to tame, Catvaratempo remains nevertheless this kind of album which inspires the time, and which will continue to establish its mark a few decades later”

1 Eka 15:32 2 Dvi 15:01 3 Tri 15:38 4 Chatur 16:12 Spheric Music|SMCD6306

(CD 62:23) (V.F.) (Much Progressive Berlin School)

Nearly a year later, the eclectic French duo is back on the map with a very first album on the label Spheric Music, a label known to produce interesting albums related to the Berlin School style. Retro as Neo or as very progressive! Like this CATVARATEMPO for a collection of 4 tempos, which proposes 4 titles of a fortnight of minutes where the complexity in the movements of rhythm from Frédéric Gerchambeau welcomes the eternal romanticism of Bertrand Loreau. The result commands an open mind less demanding than in Vimanafesto but which is just as difficult to define.

The duel between the two French musicians begins in subtlety. The opening of Eka is carved in silk with this flute that expires a medieval melody. A wind rises and raises percussive particles that burst like big sound bud. The flute is changed into organ layers which spread its large wings in a rather heavenly harmonic vision, while the birth of the percussive effects is done in a din whose impact is diminished by the rise of a line of sequences rippling like a big snake which is fleeing the fires. The roles are swapping here! While the sequencer multiplies its harmonic loops, a beardless flute tries to establish a discordant presence. Thus, is born a musical din where a harmonious module always breaks out. When it's not the Mellotron and its flutist clothes, it's the sequencer who cuts out in thin pieces its rhythmic approach. And this rhythm, the melodies too, is twirling like a rag doll in a tornado. This is how Eka takes place! If sometimes we have the impression of reaching, both in rhythm and in seraphic melodies, the points of the peaks that our eyes examine on the cover, the descent is as brutal as enjoyable for the ears. Dvi does more in orchestral musicality with its sequences climbing glass stairs all surrounded by violin layers as tender as the first caresses of a mother. The movement of the sequencer, which is the entire backbone of the ambient rhythm of Dvi, makes me think a lot about Remy at the top of his meditative art. Bertrand Loreau is impeccable here with synth solos that are tinged by his nostalgic imprint. Great electronic art which flirts with the hypnotic movements of Exhibition of Dreams released in 2009. Or better, with the wandering rhythms of Klaus Schulze. The first 11 minutes of Dvi are splendid! Subsequently, the music and its ambiences escape into a passage which flirts slightly with a dissonance that is still imbued with this very romantic touch which animates the essences of Dvi.

The introduction of Tri begins with a layer of dissonances where twisted sounds and waves of reverberation wear out their heaviness in a corridor engulfed by breezes whispering its white noises. Electronic beeps sneak into these clouds of disparate tones, sculpting a phantom melody which flickers with graceful resonant movements. The sequencer sculpts its crawling rhythm with warmer tones while Tri delivers its charms between our ears with layers that drift between the ice floes of electronic noises cleverly preserved by the very Berliner, and also more musical, movement of Frédéric Gerchambeau. When I told you that the two artists are exchanging their roles! A bit like in Dvi, it's layers of chthonic voices which announce the change of Tri's scenery, thus adopting a more anarchic vision of the tonal territorial rights of each of the two artists. Despite this discordance, the French duo is quite successful to join some short wandering phases, rather melodious I should add. It's by another phase of harmonious flute that awakens Chatur. There is not 30 seconds passed to the meter that the synth goes for this beautiful electronic bel canto which is marked by the clock of the sequencer. This movement of boosted tick-tock bewitches as much the sense of hearing as the multiple charms of the synth and its invading songs. This short phase, more or less 4 minutes, is lost in the electronic mists from which emerges a sequencer that sways its rebellious keys. These chords click without musicality, amplifying a discordant which runs after the tail of the last chord in a soundscape filled of evanescent fog. This rebellious movement finds a cohesion in a violent dance of oscillations whose radioactive effects penetrate the intentions of a choir without souls. Beneath the synth solos, as under the haze and the electronic effects, this movement is jumping like a cloud of metal balls on a conveyor which continues its crossing up until a final soaked by its seraphic intentions.

Accomplices in their respective visions where the Berlin School presents itself from different angles, Frédéric Gerchambeau & Bertrand Loreau succeed in creating contrasts which attract in an astonishing symbiosis came out from the left field. Difficult to tame, CATVARATEMPO remains nevertheless this kind of album which inspires the time, and which will continue to establish its mark a few decades later. Like the classics of yesterday that were avant-gardist works a few decades ago. Admittedly, the approach is more contemporary, but the result is the same. We start with Dvi and the rest will follow ... as if by magic.

Sylvain Lupari (December 12th, 2018) *****

Available at Spheric Music

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