Posted by Mark Johnson, SoT Staff Writer on 2011-03-08 06:24:45
This was an interesting and completely original album with sounds and vocals that set it apart from the vast field of ambient and prog artists globally. Claire's voice and music have a sound and tone which is very hard to compare to any other artist either currently recording or from the past. Her vocal range spans from husky to completely soft. She has a voice made for cool jazz, but she often mixes ambient, electronic, prog, and rock music with French lyrics to create a surreal soundscape of beauty.
Well worth your investment.
The title song, "Cyber Neptune", is a lush musical soundscape, full of Claire's beautiful vocals, some awesome piano and broad full bass and lead electric guitar riffs. The guitars and sound lunge out of the speakers after the slow quiet opening. These are not the soft French vocals that will come later. Claire's power vocals open this song almost like an awakening. One of the 'progiest' and best songs on the album.
"Meluzine" sets a softer, quieter tone for the rest of the album. The beautiful piano and percussion that opens the song is exhilarating. Once Claire starts singing everything else falls into the background. Now French is a beautiful language, but with the right voice it is magic. An English translation would only take away from the beauty and grace enraptured with this music. Knowing this story and song is about a famous French literature character, the snake goddess does not detract from the beauty of the piece.
Soft percussion, guitar and Claire's vocals open "D'un Recent Naufrage" slowly. The soft drums continue to build as heavier guitars and cool synthesizers are added to the soundscape. Despite the story, about a recent sinking, the vocal delivery is solid and powerfully rocks. Claire's backing vocal noises and sounds fill out the soundscape along with those wonderful keys and slicing guitars.
More soft cool percussion mimicking the sounds of rain as "Il Pleut Sur La Ville", or 'it rains on the city' opens. The piano and guitars help add to create the effect of a slow rain. With Claire singing, even a rainy day feels good. The piano solo is wonderful in the middle.
Buzzing synths and guitar open "Jeanne", set to rocking music. The cool keys and the buzzing guitars support Claire's intense vocals well. Definitely the rocker amongst the rest of the album.
"Dans Ton Monde Cyber", or 'in your cyber world', opens with very cool, original sounding percussion, soft keys and some excellent guitar riffs and chords. This song is full of ambient and electric sounds which light up around Claire's beautiful, often soaring vocals. The keys are just magic.
"11h52", '11:52' is apparently the best time for slow quiet keys and cymbals as the drums begin to set a rhythm. This instrumental includes Claire's beautiful 'Ahs' while soft synths and keys wind their way through the heavier drums. The echoing effect at the end is so relaxing.
With all the talk of water, "Soleil", brings us the sun, and one of the longest songs on the album. Claire's lead and backing vocals mix well with the Rhodes and slide guitars, bass, and drums. A Caribbean feel and beat takes over as the song progresses. The guitar solos and Claire's voice get rougher at points adding great punctuation to the sound.
A tribute to soldiers, "Les Soldats", and Claire's question why do people serve in armies that go to war? She passionately questions why some chose to be heroes, while others sleep quietly, despite recruiting others to war. A haunting slide guitar surrounds the background as Claire's voice and piano drive home the message.
"De L'Ouest…Une Brise Souffle" is my favorite song on the album. Even thought the title suggests a breeze from the west, the sound of the music is decidedly Eastern influenced. The guitar even sounds more like a sitar. The tambourine and deep drums truly build a cool, soft slow rhythm. If you are familiar with the Canadian band, Tea Party, you will be reminded of the sounds of 'Inanna', only slower. Claire's voice at its most alluring. The mellotron does an incredible job of filling the background with incredible sound. At 3:37, it is way too short. I could have listened to this song for over ten minutes.
"Tant De Guerre" is a song about war. At the end of each line Claire adds some English lyrics to bring home the point that love survives all situations. The bass and drums are heavier to dramatize the effect of the lyrics.
"Cyber Neptune II" is a more stripped down version of the title song with the power of the Rhodes and synths replacing the heavier guitars and drums.