Exposé Online banner

Bertrand Loreau — Sur le Chemin...
(Musea Dreaming DR 8400.AR, 1996, CD)

by Mike Ezzo, 1997-05-01:

Sur le Chemin... Cover art

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.


Filed under: New releases , 1996 releases

Related artist(s): Bertrand Loreau

More info

Latest news

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Sithonia - Spettacolo Annullato – Sithonia is a rather new band on the Italian scene. Spettacolo Annullato is their second album, followed by the live Folla di Passaggio recorded during the first part of a Caravan tour. Sithonia is...  (1995) » Read more

La Pentola di Papin - Zero-7 – This obscure band released this album in 1977, but you wouldn't guess it from listening to it as it's in the beat classical rock vein that are a good portion of Vinyl Magic's roster, i.e....  (1995) » Read more

Fantasy - Vivariatum – Fantasy are probably best known for their 1973 debut, Paint a Picture, a song-orientated but strikingly beautiful and melodic classic of British progressive. More recently, Audio Archives released...  (1995) » Read more

No-Man - Flowermix & Heaven Taste – I suppose the music on these two remix CDs by No-Man could be categorized as loosely flirting with the techno / trance / ambient realm of things, but since the exceptions far outweigh the rule, it...  (1997) » Read more

Egoband - We Are... – Egoband are a contemporary progressive outfit from Italy. Although their sound is generally generic hard prog, at times they throw in some surprises such as e-bowed guitar solos, Floydian drones, and...  (1997) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues