Philharmonie — Rage
(Cuneiform Rune 84, 1996, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 1996-08-01
Perhaps a bit of history is in order. Philharmonie began in the late 80s as strictly a guitar trio, led by former Shylock guitarist Frederic L'Epée. Their first album, Beau Soleil, was a very fluid yet somewhat low key affair, but surely enjoyable. With the second album, The Elephant Bell Ringers, came a move to Cuneiform, and a sound that more closely paralleled Fripp's League of Crafties or the California Guitar Trio. For the third album, Nord, a drummer was added to the lineup, and their sound became more varied through using a wider range of instruments (including Bernard Ros' new full time position on the Chapman Stick). Rage is their fourth album and marks a big step forward on many fronts. The first change one may recognize is the strength of the compositions, which now seem to have a better sense of purpose, as opposed to being subservient to the three-guitar format. Another is the wider use of guitar effects and instrumental variety. But the most immediately noticeable change is in drummer Jean-Louis Boutin – he's actually doing something besides following the guitars, now adding a whole new dimension to the group-written material, and handling the kit in a more conventional way, giving their sound more backbone. Don't misunderstand, the music still reaches those wonderful intricate heights where multi-guitars weave a complex tapesty of interlocking arpeggios that will leave you breathless, but there's a lot more to their sound this time out and I'm sure most listeners will be pleased. If one liked the earlier discs, then this disc is certainly one to check out. For any readers that have never heard Philharmonie before, this is definitely the place to check them out. Highly recommended.
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more