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Les elephants carillonneurs (The Elephant Bell-Ringers)

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Album Review

Philharmonie's second album (their first for the record label Cuneiform), Les Éléphants Carillonneurs, introduced the band to international audiences. The guitar trio's sound was still taking shape, but the Robert Fripp influence was already very strong. The album features delicate contrapuntal pieces, but also more dreamy numbers and even a folk-poppish tune ("Rappelez-Nous"). Most of the material found here is weaker than on later efforts (especially the stunning Nord). The next albums would include percussion, adding bite to Philharmonie's sound, but Les Éléphants Carillonneurs is mainly just too sunny and mellow. These guys don't get angry here (and they can, as documented on Rage and Nord). A couple of pieces stand out, "Amazone" and the title track, both pointing to the direction the band would take on Nord. Frédéric L'Épée, Bernard Ros, and Laurent Chalef were already playing more than competently, and fans of the California Guitar Trio and the League of Crafty Guitarists will find this album worthy of their attention (and money). But, compositionally, the trio hadn't found the strength and art they would reach on later releases. ~ François Couture, Rovi


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s

The French group Philharmonie originally consisted of electric guitarists Laurent Chalef, Bernard Ros and Frederic L'Eple, who together play complex, improvisational music. Self-taught guitarist Laurent Chalef has a background in jazz and fusion. At age 18 he established an acoustic guitar duo in which he worked as a composer and studied improvisation. Bernard Ros is grounded in rock, and has worked on composition and improvisation. On Philharmonie's 1994 Cuneiform release, Nord (North), he plays...
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Les elephants carillonneurs (The Elephant Bell-Ringers), Philharmonie
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