Exposé Online banner

Visitors — Visitors
(Musea FGBG 4106.AR, 1974/1994, CD)

by Henry Schneider, 2016-04-10:

Visitors Cover art

Here is a short one-off Musea reissue that deserves some notice. Forget the tacky artwork of the alien invaders, Visitors contains some very strong music. Believe it or not, there are 20 musicians (including four keyboard players) and singers (11 to be exact) on this obscure French concept album from 1974. The music bears a strong resemblance to Vanilla Fudge and Deep Purple but there are enough experimental sound effects and studio tricks to keep the music out of the seventies rock idiom. The Gregorian singing that pops up in several places anticipates the gothic bands of twenty years later. The music works on several levels but it may take several listenings for you to get into it. But at 30 minutes, who cares? Visitors is definitely a Musea release to buy, if not for the music, then for Didier Lockwood’s pre-Magma performance.


by Peter Thelen, 1995-03-01:

The brainchild of producer Jean-Pierre Massiera, Visitors was his project "band," intended to be a one-shot affair and go no further. Massiera utilized an expanded lineup featuring several lead vocalists (including himself), multi-guitars, multi-keyboards, basses, Fender Rhodes, violin, and multiple backing vocalists, somewhere between eight and fourteen members, with a lot of extras standing in. Musicians of note include Bernard Torelli (guitar) who later turned up in Atlantide, and most notably the Lockwood brothers Francis and Didier on Rhodes and violin respectively, the latter who would go on to Magma, Zao, and a prolific solo career. "Dies Irae" opens the album, a haunting progressive hard-rock opus with Gregorian-like chanting, heavy organ with Leslie, and vocal harmonies that sometimes recall early Blackmore era Deep Purple or Vanilla Fudge with heavy reverb applied — a powerhouse of invention, ripping guitar, violin solos and all-around heavy jamming. Throughout the album, the vocals (mostly in French) are arranged in a typically early 70s rock style, with the addition of Massiera's low-pitch, often demented ravings — no more so than at the beginning of "Terre-Larbour," where the multi-synths and effects grow out from behind his frightening introduction. The Lockwood brothers seem to bring a jazz element to the music, although it rarely overpowers the rock base. There is plenty of experimentation here as well, especially with vocals, as evidenced in "Nous" or the title track. I must admit that I wasn't overly impressed with the album on first listen, mainly because of its dated elements, although certain things did stand out. By the end of the third listen I was completely sold, this is a brilliant album, extremely inventive, with top-notch musicianship throughout, and one that I'm sure many would enjoy.


Filed under: Reissues , Issue 6 , 1994 releases, 1974 releases

Related artist(s): Jean-Pierre Massiera / Visitors / Atlantide, Francis Lockwood / Volkor, Didier Lockwood

More info

Latest news

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Earthmonkey - Audiosapien – If you take the free-festival space jamming of Ozric Tentacles and add a healthy dose of the psychedelic audio-collage work of Nurse with Wound, you end up in the land of Earthmonkey. There are...  (2005) » Read more

Calomito - Inaudito – Older people will surely remember Rock in Oppossition, an informal gathering of avant-rock groups initiated by Henry Cow in the early Seventies. They were from several European countries, including...  (2006) » Read more

The Nels Cline Singers - The Giant Pin – Since these initial recording dates in 2003 guitarist Nels Cline has been propelled from obscure LA sound sculptor to the indie big time with Wilco. Sifting through these older trio performances...  (2007) » Read more

Venegoni & Co. - Rumore Rosso – Although this band was led by a guitarist, Luigi Venegoni of Arti & Mestieri, it is far from a guitarist showoff exercise, but a very balanced group effort. Keyboards, handled by Ludovico Einaudi...  (2007) » Read more

Puppet Show - The Tale of Woe – Puppet Show’s long awaited second studio album has finally made it out the door. Squashing any blatant anticipation, the quintet jumps right to it on the opening cut, “Seasons,” with...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues