Mike McLatchey    13-May-2001 Volume 5 & 6

Catharsis - Volume 5 Le Bolero Du Veau Des Dames
(Spalax 14203, 1975/1994, CD)
Catharsis - Volume 6 Et S'Aimer... Et Mourir...
(Spalax 14280, 1976/1994, CD)

Catharsis were one of the most esoteric of the French 70s rock groups, combining influences of rock, folk, classical, psych and medieval into an unusual and distinctly individual mold. Led by keyboardist Roland Bocquet, Catharsis released a plethora of 30 minute albums of which these are not literally volumes 5 and 6.

Le Bolero Du Veau Les Dames and Et S'Aimer...Et Mourir... are both very similar in style, a slightly baroque sounding progressive rock with a refined Satie like simplicity - elegant and charming. A close cousin would certainly be Wapassou with the naive, almost antique musicality and developed yet straightforward themes. Catharsis' strange menagerie of musical references imbue a certain sense of a haunting uncertainty. Moving through each album's short duration are reminders of Genesis (Bocquet and Bank's organ styles can be close,) Ange (yet no so vocally prominent,) psych beat like the Strawberry Alarm Clock (the "Age Of Aquarius" wordless vocals,) and a naturally French cultural influence that brings the music closer to its contemporaries like Carpe Diem, Falstaff, or Metabolisme.

These albums are both very good and a pleasurable listening experience, but 16 bucks is a hell of a lot of money to put out for 30 minutes of music each. For example, Griffin music had released Vols 1-3 together on one CD, a long-deleted reissue. No doubt, one could take care of all of their non-collaborative albums with a three-CD package.

(Originally published in Exposť #6, p. 51, Edited for Gnosis 4/23/01)

Sjef Oellers 13-May-2001 Le Bolero du Veau des Dames (volume 5)

Instrumental progressive with both symphonic and fusion elements. The music is usually, and correctly, compared to early Camel, but I think that one can hear similarities to Carpe Diem as well. Keyboards (organ, piano, and synths) dominate their sound melodically, while electric and acoustic guitar play a secondary role. Pleasant listening and recommended if you like the two bands mentioned.

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