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progVisions is a progressive rock e-zine, published in English and made by an international group of members.

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progVisions

progVisions is a progressive rock e-zine, published in English and made by an international group of members. Our objective is to become a centre of information that contributes to the knowledge, growth and development of progressive rock.

album reviews

album review

Serge Blenner - Virtualis - 2001
“Strange colours which appear to me
Drawing on your body like frescoes
Strange colours which disappear
Just light remains like a gesture”

I wonder how many progVisions readers have heard of the name of Serge Blenner. Maybe he is more known in the electronic scene. If you don’t know this guy, you have missed a lot of great music. Because I like keyboards in my prog and sympho I have often crossed the lines between prog, sympho, classical and electronic music. In the year 1986 I bought my first Serge Blenner album entitled “La Dimension prochaine”. I liked it so much, that I have always followed the works of this man. His warm, romantic and classical electronic music touched my heart. However it was often difficult to get his albums, I managed to get my hands on most of his titles. He is one of the few people who can create with synths and samplers warm electronic music. (Kit Watkins is also one of those few unique composers) And he is a master in creating classical orchestrations with his synths. His previous album “Ars Oratoria” is a classical masterpiece!

Serge Blenner – samplers, synthesizers and multitrack digital sequencing.

As usual the titles of the tracks are given in English, French and German languages. This is probably because he is born in France (Mulhouse) but lives and works since 1975 in Germany (Hamburg). He also writes little poems which from time to time are showing up on his albums. Always spoken in his native language French. This together with his Satie like piano playing gives a beautiful and romantic atmosphere. The piano melodies are just amazing. You can float away on them; Serge understands the importance of melody in music.

On his latest and seventeenth (!) album “Virtualis” we get an hour of electronic music with beautiful classical orchestrations (electronic!) and amazing melodies. There are twelve compositions on this album (“Splendeur”, “Lumière”, “Asmodi”, “Oriental”, “Anima e Vita”, “Optique”, “Elan Vital”, “Magique”, “Nèantise”, “Erato”, “Les Muses” and “Vivance” ). I will not describe track by track. This album consists out of different atmospheres and electronic textures delicately arranged by this remarkable modern composer. The second track “Lumière” is for me a typical composition of the romanticist Serge Blenner. The minimal piano (Satie) combined with beautiful electronic orchestration and some rhythm sequencing develops into a composition with breathtaking melodies. This is followed by a piece (“Asmodi”) with dark orchestration in the beginning. “Oriental” has of course oriental influences. I hear some Turkish influences but this is delicately combined with romantic French atmospheres. Also the name of composer Stravinsky came across my mind. It has to do with the instrumentation I think. When I listen to Serge’s music I often think about classical composers like Satie, Debussy and Stravinsky. The dark and sad atmosphere of the opening of “Elan Vital” reminds me more of Shostakovich. But the piano makes the second part of the piece brighter. “Magique” is a piece more like “Lumière”, “Nèantise” and “Vivance”. I just love those melodic and romantic jewels only Serge Blenner can make.

In the past Serge has made some more electronic albums and albums which had more difficult and heavy contempory orchestral sequences. After his classical masterpiece “Ars Oratoria” out of 1999, Serge Blenner has made a beautiful romantic album for a much broader audience. He seems to have found the ultimate mix of electronic and classical textures. This composer has a unique style and his arrangements are just (“Magnifique”) magnificent. If you are open minded to classical and electronic music (and progressive fans must be!) please listen to Serge Blenner’s music.

More information on his website: http://www.blenner.com

Douwe Fledderus - July 2003
rating - MdeC Editions

 

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