Hecenia — La Couleur du Feu
(Musea FGBG 4129.AR, 1994, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 1995-07-01
If you've ever heard Hecenia's first album, Légendes from a few years ago, with vocals, drum machines, and all, you might want to push all that out of your mind now. This new album is completely different, and in fact may be the surprise of the year. In the new Hecenia, the only remaining original member is keyboard mastermind / virtuoso / composer Thierry Brandet. The new four-piece band features keys, bass, drums, and orchestral string-harp (!) ...and no vocals. As might be expected, this highly symphonic music is dominated by a dizzying array of keyboard work, layer upon layer of organs, synths, piano, string ensemble, and just about anything else one can think of with keys on it. Brandet's skill as a keyboardist is second only to his compositional chops, which draw influence from classical music across the spectrum, with a favor for the impressionistic. He creates entire worlds of subtle musical imagery, occasionally tethered to earth by the extremely tight rhythm section, which most of the time tends to be subservient to the whims and flights of keys and harp. The end result is a rich, ever-changing complex tapestry of melodic color. For comparison and contrast, this might fall somewhere between Ars Nova's Transi and the first album by The Enid. The highlight here is the awesome twenty-four minute "Les Jardins Ethernels," a brilliant multi-part musical fantasy of the highest order. This album is certainly a sterling candidate for one of the best new albums of the year.
Related artist(s): Hecenia
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