Frédéric l'Épée — The Empty Room
(Bandcamp no#, 2019, DL)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2019-07-09
Master guitarist Frédéric L’Épée has done just about everything, recalling his work with Philharmonie, Yang, Shylock, and numerous solo albums alongside participation in his various bands. His latest release, The Empty Room, explores a variety of instrumental moods and feelings, a dozen generally somewhat introspective pieces that utilize acoustic and electric guitars, synthesizers, bass, and drums; some are completely solo creations done by layering tracks on top of one another, others feature up to five musicians together in a band configuration. On the seven-minute opener, “Badong,” L’Épée plays several layers of acoustic and electric guitars, synths, and percussion, along with drummer Andre Fisichella, launching a beautiful and effective melody over a gentle acoustic strum, with more instruments joining as the story goes forward, snaking through numerous sections bringing in new ideas and arrangements as it goes. “Inévitable Traversée” is second up, featuring the three pece of L’Épée (in several overdubs of electric guitars) plus bassist Nico Gomez and drummer Velodia Brice, together underscoring the gentle and dreamy nature of much of what is here on these twelve cuts. Brice and Gomez are featured on several other tracks later in this set, but the next five cuts, including the very interesting “Descending the Slow River” with its flat bells technique in new standard tuning, and the mysterious “Delta,” which features some interesting layered looping techniques with a variety of instrumentation, plus some blistering solos over its eight-and-a-half minute duration. Gomez returns on fretless bass for “Mist,” another interesting composition using looped acoustic, electric, and effected guitars. “Souvenirs de Traversée” features bayan player Olivier Innocenti, Laurent James on solo (ehru) guitar, along with Gomez, Brice, and L’Épée playing guitars, piano and sound sculpting, offering up quite a sonic adventure. Closer “Wegschippern” is a short piece featuring some mysterious loops tht closes the prgram nicely. There’s quite a bit of variety among the tracks, and whenever things get a little to relaxed, something entirely different comes along and changes the scene. In all, some very interesting creations here.
Related artist(s): Frédéric l'Épée
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