Tom Hayes 7-November-2006 Dionne / Bregent - Et Le Troisieme Jour + Deux

Quebec based multi-percussionist Vincent Dionne and keyboard extraordinaire Michel-Georges Bregent were a highly creative duo, who created music far more expansive than what is normally associated with a two man team. They released only two albums together, and are now available, for the first time on CD in 2006, as a double set from Disques XXI. What’s most interesting is that each album presents two entirely different sounding sides, with none repeating, so you get a fresh sounding four “sided” disc as it were. The four part title track of “…Et Le Troisieme Jour” is the most electronic oriented track of the bunch, augmented by an atmospheric choir and soprano soloist. While it could be classified as rhythmic, it’s not “Berlin School” with raging sequencers, but rather is driven by subtle tuned percussion and repetitive organ. There’s plenty of wonderful Moog soloing and a percussion exhibition as well. Overall, a distinct French flavor pervades not far away from the works of Flamen Dialis, Claude Perraudin or even the famous Greek musician Vangelis (especially concerning the extensive use of the human voice). The flip, ‘L’Eveil du Lieu’ (in 5 parts) is as scary as it sounds. Some of the darkest music ever recorded, very much the sort of thing that if you played it on Halloween, NO ONE would come to your house for candy (hmmm….). Dionne and Bregent are joined by some classical musicians, who provide the haunting string sounds and creepy voices. On the spooky meter, this is beyond Univers Zero’s “Heresie”, and we’re in that rarified territory occupied by Jean-Baptiste Barriere’s “Pandemonium” series of albums on Atem. One year later, Dionne et Bregent provides us with a completely different outlook on “Deux”, one considerably more positive. Not to mention the material is much more of a complex nature, verse the entirely atmospheric debut. The first side, broken into 7 parts, may recall for the listener other keyboard drum progressive rock duos such as Rusticelli & Bordini, Eden (France) or Kashmir (Switzerland). There’s quite a bit of variation amongst the seven themes presented here, from quiet harpsichord passages to raging Moog solos. The backside of “Deux” positions Dionne and Bregent firmly in the high energy, but melodic, fusion category – quite a ways from the dark, alien sounds of ‘L’Eveil du Lieu’! Two tracks are presented here ‘Campus’ and ‘Transit Express’ (could have they known about the excellent French fusion group of the same name?). Tangerine Dream circa “Force Majeure” would be another reference. Plenty of great soloing (Moog, Mellotron, Clavinet, vibes, xylophone), time signature changes and complex songwriting. Not surprisingly, the two bonus tracks are, once again, very different from anything else on display. Dionne performs a 13 minute solo percussion version of a 1959 Stockhausen composition, which has an academic “serious” modern classical feel about it. The final track is the 10.5 minute ‘Fil de Terre’, which apparently was recorded for a soundtrack. It’s a rock based affair, not too distant from the material on ‘Campus’, but again there’s a twist, as this is considerably darker in tone (and some nice violin soloing). No date is given, but sounds a bit earlier than the albums proper. The duo themselves called their music Rock-Classico-Cosmique. That’s more accurate than anything I could think of! Sadly Michel-Georges Bregent died in 1993. Bregent has other albums, most notably with his brother Jacques in the band with their surname, but his work with Vincent Dionne is unparalleled in its creativity. This 2 CD set is a must buy for fans of adventurous rock music.

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