Philharmonie — Le Dernier Mot - The Last Word
(Cuneiform Rune 124, 1998, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2000-05-01
Philharmonie has been around since the late 80s, this being the band’s fifth and sadly, final album. The booklet notes make no bones about it – this is the end; a conscious decision by the band to call it a day at the end of ’97 and record this, their last album during the summer of ’98. Don’t let that fact slow you down, though. This is not a bunch of half-baked leftovers and live scrapings like the final Echolyn or Änglagård albums. This is the real deal, and without a doubt Philharmonie’s best release ever. The band is down to a trio here (apparently one member couldn’t wait for the end), but it’s obvious they saved all of their best material for this release. The opening track, “Rondo Argentin,” goes way beyond the Philharmonie of old, merging that ethereal moodiness so prevalent on their first album with a new spirited energy, rising to new levels. But even that won’t prepare the listener for the very Crimson-like “Metamorphose” – this sucker flat-out screams: this is the kind of music King Crimson should be making instead of wasting their time on all these half-powered Projekcts. Somewhere along the line Philharmonie linked up with new drummer Velodia Brice, whose style propels their sound into a more rock, less guitar-trio-like direction. “Sans Repose” uses the familiar interlocking multi-guitars to build an intense wall of complexity, overlaid with some brilliant leadwork by L’Épée. The band brings the level down a bit on the ten-minute “Hannibal à Capoue” with its extended improvisational intro. Seven tracks total, and all are outstanding. For Philharmonie, their last word is definitely their finest. My highest recommendation.
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more
Chick Corea RIP – The sad news has reached us that Chick Corea has Returned to Forever, so to speak. The innovative keyboardist and composer died on February 9 at the age of 79. With a career that spanned from the 60s until shortly before his death, Corea touched many listeners with the incredible variety of music he produced in his lifetime. » Read more
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more