Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Benoit Widemann - 1977 - Stress!

Benoit Widemann

01. Balèze
02. Herbes sol
03. Stress!
04. Le Camp du Drap d'Or
05. Demi-final
06. Quaternaire
07. Spirale
08. Fête au Septième Plan - Sacrifice
09. Final - part 1
10. Final - part 2

- Benoît Widemann / acoustic piano, fender piano, Moog and Oberheim synthesizers
- Clément Bailly / drums, percussion, tympani
- Guy Delacroix / bass
- Patrick Gaythier / minimoog
- Jean-Pierre Fouquey / Oberheim polyphonic synthesizer
- Patrice Tison / guitar
- Bruno Menny / Rhythmus system
- Emmanuelle Parrinin / voice
- Hugues de Courson / voice

 Benoit Widemann was the keyboardist of Magma between mid- to late-70's.Among his duties with the Zeuhl monster band, he also found time to write some material of his own and recorded his debut for the small but legendary Ballon Noir label, entitled ''Stress!'', in 1977.He was helped by several other Magma members like keyboardists Patrick Gauthier (also of Heldon fame) and Jean-Pierre Fouquey, drummer Cl'ment Bailly (former of Nemo) and bassist Guy Delacroix.We find also contributions by guitarist Patrick Tison and singers Emmanuelle Parrenin and Hugues de Courson.The album was recorded during the summer of 77' at Studio Acousti in Paris.

''Stress!'' is a much-keyboard-driven album of different dramatic soundscapes and what more reasonable with three keyboardists on the roster.It is a great proof of Widemann's diverse talent and composing skills with the tracks ranging from Space Fusion to Funk and from energetic Jazz-Rock to Electronic Prog.While ''Baleze'' opens with some fiery and powerful Funk/Fusion beat, it is followed by the hypnotic ''Herbes sol'', full of electronic ambiences and led by Widemann's grand piano.The eponymous short instrumental has a lovely Canterbury edge in it with great electric piano throughout and on ''Le camp du Drap d'Or'' it is time for Delacroix'es star to shine, deep funky bass lines all the way supporting the Fusion-esque synthensizers.''Demi-final'' is just an outro based on sound effects, totally needless.The flipside opens with ''Quaternaire'', fantastic Fusion with complex bass lines and Canterbury-styled synths blended with funky vibes, definitely the album's highlight, performed under series of great solos.''Spirale'' is so close to Avant Music with Widemann's haunting piano and the obscure synths creating a grandiose atmosphere.The addition of the rhythm section along with some background mellotron and guitars make it even more bombastic and powerful, another great composition by Widemann.''Fete au septi'me plan - Sacrifice'' has also an obscure atmosphere created by the atmospheric background synths and the distorted guitar lines to close as a pure cosmic Electronic piece of music.The pair of ''Final'' tracks at the end are Jazz/Ambient-based numbers, much driven by Widemann's piano, an attempt by the keyboardist to close the album in a smooth way.

I categorize this album as one of the best releases ever to come out by a Magma member, though its style is rather unclassifiable.Yet this a trully progressive release of versatile instrumental musicianship, that deserves some exposure.Strongly recommended, propably even more for fans of dynamic Fusion stylings.



  2. An overlooked masterpiece, like all Widemann records. Highly energetic and original power fusion. Too bad he made only three solo records.