Anoxie - Pastales

Artist: Anoxie
Title: Pastales
Label: Mellow Records MMP 238
Length(s): 67 minutes
Year(s) of release: 199?
Month of review: 12/1997

Line up

Pascal Lachaize - keyboards
Thierry Sportouche - lyrics, percussives
Bernard Riboulet - drums
Laurent Roche - guitars
Remy Soriano - vocals
Lionel Gibaudan - bass
 

Tracks

1) Overture 2.57
2) Visa For An Other World 4.40
3) Mutation (part I) 5.00
4) The Returning (A First Glimpse) 1.35
5) A Chinese Kite In Clear Blue Sky 5.01
6) Hymn Of Hope 5.20
7) Marie-ange 4.19
8) Visa No 16-rpm 5.01
9) Atlantis 9.30
10) The Lullaby Of A Butterfly 3.26
11) Misty Time 7.30
12) The Wizard Of Odds 2.45
13) The Returning 4.12
14) Mutation (part II) 5.18

Try a sample of the album in MP3

Summary

After a swap I got this CD and I was asked to review it here. They had one long track The Quest that can be found on the CD Enchantement on the Musea label.

The music

Since the band was formed by synthesist Lachaize, it is not surprising that the music on this album is keyboard dominated. After the bombastic Overture (reminiscent of Eloy) we come to the A-side of the single Visa For Another World. The song has some Eloy influences at first, but the chorus is rather poppy. The vocals are dramatic, and not void of accent. Also it is quite hard to make out the words. The melody of the verses is very good though. At the end the song becomes a little chaotic because of the added vocals, a mistake often made by beginning bands.

The synth work on Mutation (part 1) is copied from Tangerine Dream and I wouldn't be surprised if it would be present on some TD track from the end seventies begin eighties. The impression stays also with the addition of electric guitars. The first glimpse of The Returning has something of Pink Floyd atmospherics in it, while A Chinese Kite In A Clear Blue Sky starts out as a chinese sounding ditty with repetitive keys. Then we get a more relaxed part with only keys. At first it seems I hear some background noise, but I think it belongs to the music.

With Hymn Of Hope the music seems to become more up-tempo and in this case also anthemic. The melody is a bit too sweet for me and the entire five minutes are based on this one theme (well, just about). The drums sound dry. Still, the name is a good one. With Marie-Ange one expects a love song. In this case a ballad with acoustic guitar and keyboards. The melody is quite nice, but the recording is of demo quality. A moody track.

Visa n0 16-RPM not only has a rather strange title, but it's also a rather industrial sounding excursion into synth music. It's not hard or loud or anything, but the impression of a factory is not far off. An interesting and likable track. The title might come from the fact that at least the vocals of Visa For Another World seem to be played at 16RPM here. That's what I'm guessing. Atlantis has rather lame vocals. The middle part with moody keyboards is quite nice though. Lots of echo on the vocals reminding me of Hawkwind. The Lullabye Of A Butterfly is a string instrumental track with nice melodies and many things happening. I do wonder where Lachaize needs all those people for. I think that just synths would work quite well. The opening of Misty Time reminds me of the opening of Coda's Sounds Of Passion. The laughter sounds unreal. The following passage has a high noise to music ratio and the vocals in the next one are terrible. The Wizard Of Odds is again instrumental, moody and melodic. The plaintive vocals on The Returning sound better than on Misty Time. They sound fuller and although accented I like them. This song is one of the tracks that one could stick the label progressive rock onto. Rather up-tempo with emotional vocals and a clearer sound this is the progessive high point of the album. We close the album with the second part of Mutation, which is a rather repetitive electronic track.

The sound of the CD isn't good, but I wouldn't call it bad either. There are some mistakes in the recording, but I only heard it when I had the headphones on (for instance in the Chinese Kite track or the strange phenomena in Mutation (part II)). The production shows that the band was still in its infancy and the music can sound a little muddy at times while the drums sound dry. Like it says on the CD, these are Anoxie's first steps.

Conclusion

Nice melodic music, but not very captivating and the production and sound leave to be desired. As often happens, the compositions do not come over well because of the lack of proficiency in the studio and this is always too bad. The sound can be compared to Eloy and at times Tangerine Dream: very melodic and lots of synths. The music also has the atmosphere of early Pink Floyd but of course with synths instead of guitars. As it says on the cover this is a document representing Anoxie's first steps and that's exactly what we should take this CD to represent. Nothing more. I do think Lachaize would have done better recording his melodic instrumentals that are often rich in atmosphere and stayed an electronic musician. The sound quality should have been no problem then.

Jurriaan Hage











© Thierry Sportouche - October 2004