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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

THIERRY FERVANT: Univers (1980)

This is hyper romantic EM with too perfect melodies that manage to bring out a sigh, a tear and/or a smile depending how you feel...

1The Garden of Fables 6:38

2 Univers 3:27

3 Empyree 4:34

4 Night Ring 3:19

5 Spiral 6:55

6 Le Château de Feuilles 4:24

7 Animals Dance 3:32

8 In Fine 4:39

Quartz Music QM CD 701-2

(CD 37:44) (V.F.)

(Cosmic Rock, French School)

In a dramatic themed opening, a line of buzzes welcomes three beatings, and its echoes, as well as a line of whistles in a lift of soundscapes that eclipses that of the sun, but not of this hoop of chimes accepting the warm morning breeze. My eternal blank page! Each time I want to talk about this album I can hardly find the words. UNIVERSE by Thierry Fervant is a favorite album that I have been carrying on my iPhone and iPad when traveling since the Walkman existed. However, the sound has taken on a twist of old tones, like most of the albums of this era. And again, I listen to it at least once a month. Its finest quality is to offer a 38 minutes pumped up by an intense theatrical texture built on large symphonic drum rolls and orchestral arrangements cast in rose water. Hyper romantic electronic music with too perfect melodies that manage to bring out a sigh, a tear and/or a smile depending on our state of mind when listening. For a romantic like me, this is the perfect album! So, let's get back to The Garden of Fables which goes to its second stage with its chimes twinkling in the wooshh and the wiishh while a synth pad spreads an emotional tension which is struck by the rolls of orchestral drums. Even more intense layers always add more dramatic weight to The Garden of Fables which gets away with the chirping effects of a synth which whistles over this electronic frame beautiful melodious moments and which brings us to Universe.

Born Thierry Mauley in 1945, Thierry Fervant is a Swiss musician who studied piano and harmony at the Geneva Conservatory. He composed a soundtrack in 1970, L'Aube Ne S'est Pas Encore Levée, where he shows his immense talent as a melodist and arranger on a music which is far from being in the EM wave. It was at the same time that he made a reputation in the artistic world by collaborating with artists from the French Music-Hall and by writing close to 300 songs. At the end of the 70's, and following the success of Jean-Michel Jarre, Space Art and Frédéric Mercier with his immortal Music from France in 1979, he undertook the electronic turn by acquiring cutting-edge instruments. technology. It was in 1980 that he began his career as an electronic musician with the release of UNIVERSE, the first in a series of 4 albums which ended in 1988 with Legends of Avalon. UNIVERS literally puts him on the EM planet with a convincing album born from beautiful compositions and especially from a huge collection of synthesizers that Thierry Fervant had acquired over the years. And if you like the UNIVERSE experience, Seasons of Life, released the following year, is based on the same model. Blue Planet, 1984 and Legends of Avalon are more progressive works. Gérard Drai, on drums, and Terry Nelson, on mandolin, are the guest artists for this album.

The title-track is based on the keyboard's bass in order to structure a rhythm of lively oscillations which adjusts to sober percussion beats. The synth freezes a melody dragging like the rock anthem of a guitar on the hybrid tone of oscillations which form a lively circular movement. The tone of these oscillations is hybrid, a bit like the rhythm structure which freely exchanges the sounds of an oscillation for that of a sequence in this spheroidal attack which becomes a good catchy electronic rock adorned with pastiches, glitter and this subaltern choir which gives the perfect balance in these darker ambiences of UNIVERSE. We enter the archi-romantic universe of this album with Empyree and its enchanting flute singing among angelic tinkles. The water behind flows in a fountain and serious chords lay down a sibylline ambience equal to the dramatic rolls of the percussions. An immense texture of suspense covers the moods while the fluty airs are dying in the hold of bass chords progressing like a threat. Again, the tssitt-tssitt of the cymbals warn us that electronic rock is coming with Night Ring. The percussions in this album have this defect of aging badly, but for the rest this title offers a very beautiful alloy between its rhythm and its harmonies in a captivating structure which does not at any time escape of its cinematographic influence.

The jingles in this album are already familiar to us. They look like percussive cui-cui and are the origin of Spiral. A title which bears its name well and whose echo effects oversize its seraphic decor that astral voices embellish without reserve. Everything is in the tone here! And Thierry Fervant knows how to unify his instruments and his melodies in order to make a symphony which adjusts to the flow of the percussions. Synthesized harmonies inject a certain nobility to this title which gradually becomes covered with a suspenseful texture. Cast in echo effects, the harmonies respond to each other until this passage where a tender violin lays down its tears which seem to prostrate themselves until the percussions extend their spiral thundering, allowing Spiral to revive its cui- cui for one last lap until the bells announce that we arrive at the next title, Le Château de Feuilles. It is the mandolin that opens the doors of the garden to us where the chirping of canaries embellishes the ambiences. A flute is heard timidly accompanied by the melody of the eight-string. And suddenly everything turns black, obscure with an intimidating nasal bassline. A synth line sings like performing canaries, initiating a clarity directed by this synth which plays on both poles; darkness and light. As soon as the dark portion returns, a cello comes out to stretch out its sighs. And it's the light portion that brings us to Animals Dance which is a good electronic rock sounding old-fashioned. This is how we come to In Fine and its spheroidal structure which increases its dramatic crescendo each time the loop gets looped. The keyboard riffs also play on the fleeting intensity which becomes the biggest emotional knot in this UNIVERSE which has obsessed me for almost 40 years. And that, I still cannot explain!

Sylvain Lupari (January 18th, 2021)*****

This album is a hard to find item which is selling at high price on eBay. In the meanwhile, here's a link to hear it on You Tube: Univers

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Tae Mckay
Tae Mckay

I recommend Philipp Guerre's Cristal (1979).

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