French drummer/percussionist and composer Michel Blanc is an idea-man and gifted technician who records for a cutting-edge record label that enlists artists who morph numerous genres into a distinct methodology. On this 2008 release, Blanc derives influence from a World War I French infantry unit that included his grandfather Adrien. He constructs these non-classifiable themes into an intersecting sequence of tone poems, featuring trumpeter/bugler Jean-Luc Capozzo who often looms as the lead voice.
Blanc melds old tapes of wartime occurrences including the sounds of an air raid siren and voices into this multihued feast for the mind’s eye. Electric guitarist and co-producer Franck Vigroux generates scathing crunch chords and EFX in spots, to offset strings parts and oddball background treatments.
Blanc provides off-kilter rhythmic pulses amid Eloise Decazes’ spoken word iterations and foreboding musical vistas that are centered upon controlled-noise patterns and blistering progressive-metal motifs. However, Blanc does impart wartime sentiment via his regimented march rhythms that often mimic an army ready for battle.
On "16 mars," Capozzo soars skyward atop Vigroux’s blitzing licks and an undercurrent of ominous effects. In sum, the drummer’s weaving vignettes are chock full of surprises. Otherwise, he manages to attain a persuasive medium between the dour circumstances of WWI and his forward-thinking strategies. Blanc’s muse is always a source of interest. We can only wonder what his next move will be.