Bertrand Loreau — Sur le Chemin...
(Musea Dreaming DR 8400.AR, 1996, CD)
by Mike Ezzo, 1997-05-01:
France hasn't exactly been renowned as a breeding ground for solo electronic artists. I can call to mind only a small handful who have surfaced over the years. So this album by the one-man orchestra Bertrand Loreau, came as quite a surprise. Sur le Chemin started off rather promising I thought, with a few pieces skirting near Tangerine Dream's mid-80s albums like Underwater Sunlight. The second track, "Jeu d'Enfant" sent my mind back to Vangelis, with its simple ostinato patterns and pretty melodies couched in a crystalline web of digital sound. This orthodox but refreshing tone continued on for the first third of Sur le Chemin. Software or Lightwave might be reference points — the second generation electronic contingent, derived from Tangerine Dream. Loreau differs markedly though, since he substantially structures his work, with a hefty accent on form. (Not always valued in this genre, admittedly, but it's there).
All was well and good until after the first third, when the music began to circumnavigate its way dangerously nigh of New Age dominions. As the music shed its depth and richness it became more and more song-structured, revealing a piano-based method of composition, but transferred to synthesizers. Nothing particularly wrong with that, but the synthesizer's sound-manipulating virtue is then forfeited in favor of an emulating function. (This seems to be the post-70s predicament of the synthesizer). At this point various other instrumental colors were introduced such as clarinet, classical guitar, and harp. Sure enough, after a bout of this we start to take a swing for the better, resulting in a slew of short pieces comparable to Nik Tyndall's light New Age space music. This material weaves an ethereal spell that was patently absent hitherto. So the album ends on an up note, having trundled through some rather rough terrain.
This is a genre that has become glutted with practitioners, in approximately equal proportion to (and because of) the decrease in expense required to practice it, alongside the convenience of working alone. The down side is that to turn peoples' heads you have to really hit with a wallop. Sur le Chemin won't fry your brains into lysergic bliss or blast you into the cosmos, but could serve as a decent introduction for newcomers to what's happening in the world of New Age synthesizer music. More finicky devotees of the genre, however, are likely to give it a miss.
by Henry Schneider, 2016-02-18:
Bertrand Loreau’s third album Sur le Chemin... is the first to appear on Musea’s new sub-label Amplitude, an outlet for what Musea calls electronic modern music. Loreau creates pretty dreamlike melodies powered by percussive sequences that are fairly derivative of recent Tangerine Dream efforts. Like Maestracci’s Symphonia, nothing of interest happens on this disc. Sur le Chemin ... is your standard New Age fare. If you like subdued background melodies this may be the album for you. Since I prefer my music on the edge, Sur le Chemin... did not pass muster for me.
Related artist(s): Bertrand Loreau
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more