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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

OLIVIER BRIAND: Transparences (2011)

Updated: Jul 31, 2019

"To date, what I heard from Olivier Briand is very powerful"

1 Transparences (5:11) 2 Prophetic Steps (8:03) 3 Gladiators (8:29) 4 Dans le Temple du Graal (7:09) 5 KS Revival (18:39) 6 Fonik 707 (3:51) 7 Mortal Nightmare (10:32) 8 Cold Emotions (4:20) 9 Après L'Orage (7:21) PWM Music (CD/DDL73:35)

(Progressive French School) (V.F.)

I have already written it; the French EM conceals small hidden jewels and Olivier Briand is one of them. Those who enjoyed his performance during the Nantes concert in August 2010, and which is at the origin of the SpaceFish Live Inexxa's DVD, will be delighted to find again the complex and progressive electronic structures of the synthesist from Nantes. Pulled of recordings not used during his concert at Carquefou in 1996, TRANSPARENCES is a mixture of the kinds and influences which gnaw Olivier Briand. We can hear there some good reminiscences of Klaus Schulze (especially), Jean Michel Jarre (at the level of the rhythms) and Tangerine Dream (on a melodic level). In brief, a beautiful meshing of styles which become entangled in a sometimes claustrophobic but often melodic vision. A beautiful album of forgotten but unforgettable rests! The title track begins with notes of an electro-acoustic guitar of which the bluesy soul roams under stars. Jean Jerez is pinching his strings with pain and makes them resound among sinuous resounding lines which bite the fragility of their emotions while that quietly Transparences deviates towards a more nervous rhythm. A rhythm at the crossing of a cosmic free blues where chords of an undisciplined guitar fight arpeggios of a nervous synth that percussions support with a good steady tempo. The intro of Prophetic Steps slides into the fiery rhythms à la Jarre where resonant metallic percussions and arpeggios of an iridescent coolness collide on a beautiful rhythmic stuffed by crystalline serpentines, robotic vocalizes and sequential momentums as dynamic as melodious. It’s very good. We would believe to hear a merger of Kraftwerk and Jean Michel Jarre. Although its intro is quite honeyed with its fluty breaths which float above an angelic mist and fly among jets of industrial gases, Gladiators falls into a furious electronic rock where Pascal Férré's electric guitar bites out and spits out incisive solos which throw their venom on spasmodic and stormy sequences. An infernal storm fills our ears with a din of steel before that the calm smoothes all the musical surface with a superb melodious approach packed of Tangerine Dream musical souvenirs, area of Legend and Underwater Sunlight. It’s another great track which allies easily complexity and melody. In the Temple of Graal is simply hallucinating! Philharmonic crisscrossed stratas open the intro, such as a Pharaonic ballet. Somber vocals are grafted to this enchanting dance of sands which is sucked up by a multitude of aspirators holes which siphon the waltzing envelopes under great drum rolls. Such as the claustrophobic and encephalographic world of Klaus Schulze, the voices multiply and become entangled with the synth violin stratas in a strange cerebral ballet which has immoderation only the limits of a fanciful imagination. It’s an incredible track which spits all its fright and depth at high volume. KS Revival is a wonderful immersion into the digital years of Klaus Schulze and of his unchained glockenspiels area. The solos are juicy. They wrap with a repressed intensity the jerky movements of riffs and pads of a synth curt and incisive, while the percussions roll in loops under a structure of which the evolution brings us near a cosmos overturned by an undisciplined finale. A finale which repents in the short tranquility of a mislaid astral movement. Fonik 707 is a short electronic ballad where twinkling arpeggios skip on a bed of slithery spectral strata. The line of bass is superbly musical quite as the finale which is carried away by an abrupt and stormy movement, witness of the conceptual and melodious divergences which liven up the creativity of Olivier Briand. Very dark and ambiguous, Mortal Nightmare caresses effectively the doors of an insomniac night where the nightmare navigates on the black waves of synth which are overlapping among iridescent and tinkled breaths as well as whispers of paranoia. Cold Emotions offers a hard and cold rhythmic with oscillations which caw, borrowing (taking) the colourful universes of Klaus Schulze and the Caribbean rhythms of Jarre. The synthesist of Nantes weaves a musical universe rich in tones by grafting unreal vocalizes, nervous riffs and echoing spins on a rhythm in permutation and its pulsations as heavy as hypnotic. Rainy drops and thunderclaps scatter under the minimalist breaths of a flute to the colors of a rainbow singing under the furtive keys of a romantic keyboard. The music of Après L'Orage bears poetically its musical prose with a delicate ballerina approach where arpeggios sparkle and float among an iridescent mist, envelopes of cellos from fantasies and this suave flute of a centaur of the cosmic dunes. To date, what I heard from Olivier Briand is very powerful. His musical style full of abrupt movements and random rhythms where his melodies are caressing corridors soaked of a mesmerizing paranoia confers him a unique and very particular place and this as much as in the universe of EM ( I’m situating him on the same place as Remy) as in firmament of French school EM. With its steady and tortuous rhythms, its abstruse ambiances and its melodies as metallic as poetic, TRANSPARENCES navigates on a complex but rather accessible musical odyssey. It’s a very good album which is going to please to the fans of Klaus Schulze, Jean Michel Jarre (this is rather curious to hear these two names and styles to hobnob with) Tangerine Dream and Remy. It’s an album which is amply worth the money spent and Olivier Briand is definitely a name to discover in the universe of EM. Sylvain Lupari (January 28th, 2012) ***½**

Available at PWM Distrib

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