Visitors — Visitors
(Musea FGBG 4106.AR, 1974/1994, CD)
by Henry Schneider, 2016-04-10:
Here is a short one-off Musea reissue that deserves some notice. Forget the tacky artwork of the alien invaders, Visitors contains some very strong music. Believe it or not, there are 20 musicians (including four keyboard players) and singers (11 to be exact) on this obscure French concept album from 1974. The music bears a strong resemblance to Vanilla Fudge and Deep Purple but there are enough experimental sound effects and studio tricks to keep the music out of the seventies rock idiom. The Gregorian singing that pops up in several places anticipates the gothic bands of twenty years later. The music works on several levels but it may take several listenings for you to get into it. But at 30 minutes, who cares? Visitors is definitely a Musea release to buy, if not for the music, then for Didier Lockwood’s pre-Magma performance.
by Peter Thelen, 1995-03-01:
The brainchild of producer Jean-Pierre Massiera, Visitors was his project "band," intended to be a one-shot affair and go no further. Massiera utilized an expanded lineup featuring several lead vocalists (including himself), multi-guitars, multi-keyboards, basses, Fender Rhodes, violin, and multiple backing vocalists, somewhere between eight and fourteen members, with a lot of extras standing in. Musicians of note include Bernard Torelli (guitar) who later turned up in Atlantide, and most notably the Lockwood brothers Francis and Didier on Rhodes and violin respectively, the latter who would go on to Magma, Zao, and a prolific solo career. "Dies Irae" opens the album, a haunting progressive hard-rock opus with Gregorian-like chanting, heavy organ with Leslie, and vocal harmonies that sometimes recall early Blackmore era Deep Purple or Vanilla Fudge with heavy reverb applied — a powerhouse of invention, ripping guitar, violin solos and all-around heavy jamming. Throughout the album, the vocals (mostly in French) are arranged in a typically early seventies rock style, with the addition of Massiera's low-pitch, often demented ravings — no more so than at the beginning of "Terre-Larbour," where the multi-synths and effects grow out from behind his frightening introduction. The Lockwood brothers seem to bring a jazz element to the music, although it rarely overpowers the rock base. There is plenty of experimentation here as well, especially with vocals, as evidenced in "Nous" or the title track. I must admit that I wasn't overly impressed with the album on first listen, mainly because of its dated elements, although certain things did stand out. By the end of the third listen I was completely sold, this is a brilliant album, extremely inventive, with top-notch musicianship throughout, and one that I'm sure many would enjoy.
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more
Gongzilla - Live in Concert and the East Village Studio – Bon Lozaga and Hansford Rowe have done a respectable job keeping their fusion offshoot of Gong alive and well and true to their vision. The bottom line is that the group serves up hot jazz-rock,... (2006) » Read more