This is only the second album I have heard from Arnaud and given that was the first of the “Marmite” series and this is now the sixth I am not surprised to find this is very different indeed. Here we have singer Cherry Pob combining with Arnaud, who provided all the arrangements, on two length tracks: “contes lunaires” is more than 22 minutes length, while “dynamogeny” is nearly 12 (both are deliberately titled in lower case). Here we have Arnaud working very much in the territory of modern classical, combined with experimental prog and even jazz, to create something which is both sweeping in its ambition yet also delicate and refined. It is an album which demands to be played on headphones, so that one can really get inside all the nuances and not miss anything, as the listener needs to pay close attention. One never knows where the music is going to lead, and while the main track is one long suite it could well have been broken into different elements as we can move from percussion-led orchestra to electronic keyboards that are staccato, or move into lounge, and be either instrumental or have stunning vocals with the male and female styles intermingling or being dominant, whatever the requirement.
At times it is almost reminiscent of Art Zoyd in its experimentation and RIO approach, while at others it is way more mainstream, which in itself can seem unusual due to the context it has been placed within. However, even though there is so much going on and the music is often changing dramatically in terms of style and focus, it is also incredibly interesting to listen to and enjoy on first hearing. Themes are sometimes returned to, especially within the vocals, and the double-tracking makes it seem that there is a full choir at play at times, with vocals which are more in the classical form than the popular. The result is yet another compelling album which is pushing musical boundaries and bringing together forms in a way that somehow makes total musical sense. It is thoroughly enjoyable from start to end, and I can’t wait to see what Arnaud delivers next.
8/10 Kev Rowland