Visitors — Visitors
(Musea FGBG 4106.AR, 1974/1994, CD)
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.
by Henry Schneider, 2016-04-10:
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.
New Aristocrats Live Album on the Way – No foolin'! These supreme musicians toured Europe early in 2020, just before touring ceased to be a thing musicians could do, and there were some hot performances captured. On May 7, some of these will be releases as Freeze! Live in Europe 2020. » Read more
Jewlia Eisenberg RIP – The sad news has come out that Jewlia Eisenberg has died. As a founding member of Charming Hostess, Eisenberg changed the face of music, bringing together Balkan klezmer, American folk, and experimental rock in a distinctive blend that garnered much praise. » Read more
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more
John Flomer's Primal Cinema - Mysterious Motions of Memory – Mysterious Motions is synthesist / composer Flomer's debut for Spotted Peccary. As 'Primal Cinema' and the title might suggest, the music here has a strong cinematic character, full of... (1997) » Read more