My second discovery for this month is a beautiful album made by a Canadian music teacher named Robin Gaudreault. He made the “Au delà des ombres” album with the help of some musical friends. The sound and atmosphere of the album is 100 percent seventies and to be specific, you think often that you are listening to an album of Anthony Phillips or Genesis. It is all very tastefully done. The melodies are great and the instrumentation with 12 string acoustic guitars, Rickenbacker bass, flute, recorder, melodic electric guitar and delicious Mellotron sounds (M-tron) transport you to the seventies. The vocals which are sung in French are giving also that extra bit of magical atmosphere to the album. It is fairytale music!
Robin Gaudreault – Vocals, 4 and 8 string Rickenbacker, fretless basses, 12 string acoustic guitars, flutes, keyboards, piano
Jacques Livernoche – Drums and percussion; Éric Brassard – Electric guitars; Chloé L’ Abbé – Flute; Jocelyn Guillemette – Violins & soprano saxophone; Stephan D. & Frank B. – Vocals; François Fortin - Clarinet
After writing the introduction I could simply stop writing now and close with the words: Buy this album. If you see the long list of instruments behind Robin’s name you can describe Robin Gaudreault as a multi-instrumentalist. And he also wrote all the music himself. To be honest with you I am very impressed by the quality of the compositions of this album. The album has a magical atmosphere. It contains 7 tracks and has a total timing of 46 minutes and 10 seconds. Maybe not so long, but there are no weak compositions on this album. The first track “La course aux papillons” (9:00) is also the longest one of the album. It starts up-tempo with an aggressive electric guitar and a melodic synth. After the first vocals which remind me a little bit of another Canadian band Visible Wind you can hear for the first time the Mellotron sounds. The sound of it brings the names of Tony Banks and Rick Wakeman into your mind. And when this is combined with those typical 12 strings acoustic guitars and a Rickenbacker bass, the old Genesis & Yes fans like me are thinking they are in sympho heaven. Éric Brassard plays a melodic guitar solo, Chloé L’ Abbé plays the flute and Jocelyn Guillemette plays the violin. The diversity in instruments gave the composition a lot of variation. The synth solos of Robin are reminding me of the sound Anthony Phillips used on his amazing “1984” album. Only for this composition you must buy this album.
“La traversée” (5:34) opens with recorder and acoustic guitar. This combination always brings the band Eris Pluvia in my mind. It develops into a ballad with beautiful vocal melodies. Robin is blessed with a beautiful and pleasant voice. On this album the vocals have an important role, they are used like instruments. In the third track “La rose de Stalingrad” (8:28) we can enjoy again those amazing Mellotron string sounds. The bases of the first part of the composition are the acoustic guitars that play a tune over and over again. On top of this guitar layer al the other instruments are placed. The tune has a happy atmosphere. “Infantes” (4:20) is a shorter and slow piece with again a lot of Genesis references. It is very tastefully done and every detail is worked out. In the end the acoustic guitar brings an ode to Steve Howe.
“Mille couleurs” (3:23) is the single of the album. A happy tune where a saxophone brings a jazzy tint to the atmosphere. The combination of saxophone with Mellotron is very unique. The title track “Au delà des ombres” (6:13) is again a composition of great beauty. Beautiful melodies, with sometimes a classical atmosphere. The flute reminds of the work John Hackett did with his famous brother. Already the last track of the album “Ardeur ternie” (8:35). The fretless bass plays an important role in the first part of the composition. It seems Robin can play every instrument he touches. In this composition the Mellotron sounds at one point more like King Crimson but in the end it is again Genesis alike.
What can I say more? This is an amazing album of great beauty. A must for Genesis and Anthony Phillips lovers. But also Yes is shining true at some points. Maybe you will say: Oh I have heard this before. So it is maybe not very original. But it is so well done. Every detail is worked out. For me it is absolute the best effort in this style. It brought me back to those golden years of fairytale like music. You can hear that all the musicians are well trained and qualified. Their skills gave me the impression that they have all followed a classical training. And if you love Mellotron sounds, well this album is drenched with Mellotron. I hope Robin Gaudreault can find the time to make a second album. I would like to describe the album with one word: Beautiful. This album is a little precious gem.