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Album Review

Philarmonie's Nord is pure beauty. With already two albums released as a trio (Frédéric L'Épée and Laurent Chalef on guitars, Bernard Ros on Chapman Stick), the band decided to expand its sound with the addition of drummer Jean-Louis Boutin. But unlike what will happen on their next release Rage, here Boutin remains very quiet, his presence only felt in heavier passages. The focus is still on the three guitars. The cycling interlocking parts evoke Robert Fripp and the League of Crafty Guitarists, but on Nord it has become obvious Philarmonie has a better sense of melody. Technical prowess is secondary; essentially, these songs sing and feel, something Fripp rarely achieved. The album includes the beautiful and very quiet "Vers le Nord" ("To the North"), indisputably their best recorded piece, and the 16-minute long "Prélude, Marche et Lamentations" ("Prelude, March and Laments"). As far as guitar-oriented instrumental prog rock goes, Nord is the best album ever recorded. ~ 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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North, Philharmonie
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