Thursday, April 16, 2015

Visitors - 1974 - Visitors


01. Dies Irae (8:10)
02. L'Extra-Aventure de Villas-Boas (4:27)
03. Terre Larbour (3:00)
04. Flatwoods story (3:25)
05. Nous (3:27)
06. Visitors (3:43)
07. Le retour des Dieux (5:00)

- Gerard Brent / lead vocals, guitar, backing vocals
- Bobo / backing vocals, acoustic guitar, rhythm guitar
- Marc Attali / lead vocals, backing vocals
- Jean-Pierre Massiera / vocals [deep]
- Marc Rolland / bass, backing vocals
- Andre Guiglion / drums, percussion, backing vocals
- Bernard Torelli / lead guitar
- Yves Revol / keyboards
- Jacky Bemardini / keyboards
- Jean-Claude Tarin / organ, moog
- Jean-Pierre Stretti /keyboards, backing vocals
- Francis Lockwood / electric piano
- Didier Lockwood / violin
- Bernard Baverey / bass, backing vocals
- Alain Berge / bass
- Jeff Castaldi / guitars
- Bernard Beylan / backing vocals
- Jessie Joyce / backing vocals
- Micky / backing vocals

Visitors was the brain-child of the obscure but infamous French producer/composer Jean-Pierre Massiera. In 1974 he single-handedly recruited a group of nineteen musicians (most notably Didier Lockwood, the jazz violinist who spent a brief tenure touring with Magma and made an indelible mark on their 1975 live album) to record an album of his unusual, progressive compositions.

The resulting LP was a concept album on the theme of extra-terrestrial contact (hence the title Visitors) and was a truly eclectic mix of prog, psych, fusion and zeuhl elements with complex arrangements and often grandiose vocals.

Never really anything more than a studio project, nothing more was seen or heard of Visitors until 1981 when Massiera recruited a new group to record a second (and again self-titled) Visitors album. Unlike the original 1974 LP, Massiera handed most of the writing duties over to other members of the group, and the resulting album bears little resemblance to its predecessor beyond the concept itself. Musically, the album is a synth-dominted mix of rock, pop and electronic sounds which, though still rather quirky at times, is overall a considerably less proggy affair.

 "Dies Irae" is the longest song which you can listen to on PA. Starts with backwards tape effects, then hymnal voices and music. Later goes into some start/stop playing. More hymnal vocals with organ. Then some Emerson-style organ playing. Guitar goes back and forth and then a symphonic rock part. Some harmony singing and then talking. After some cool 70s style hard rock before just cymbals. Then violin and female vocals. A slowed down version of symphonic part. Tempo increases.

"L'extra-Aventure de Villas-Boas" has French hard rock with a cool chorus featuring female vocals. Later acoustic guitar and violin. After some talking and female vocals going "ah-oh". Goes back to hard rock part but chorus is now male vocals. "Terre Larbour" starts with spacey synth and jazzy drumming. Magma-like talking and laughing. Then chanting, which gets louder and louder until there is just screaming. "Flatwoods Story" has lyrics in English. I think Flatwoods is either in the US or UK and was the scene of a famous alien abduction. Maybe not. Starts with storm noises. I like the chorus with narration and back up vocals going "ahhh".

"Nous" is mostly synths, violin and drums before just percussion and some vocals. Whole band then joins in and a violin solo. "Visitors" has ghost-like vocals and spacey effects to start. Then sinister clavinet and some funky Gentle Giant style guitar and violin playing in unison. Some female vocals. Music changes and then a violin solo. After a great part with call and response wordless vocals. Love that part. Goes back to the funky Gentle Giant part. "Le Retour des Dieux" has creepy monster-like whispering before some French hard rock. In the middle is a slow paced bass drum and snare with symphonic synth and violin. Then wordless vocals.

A great album. I would recommend it. Definitely not a masterpiece, but a great addition to your collection.



  2. Hola, noté que sos argentino y por eso no voy a esforzarme para escribir en inglés.
    Estoy como loco con JP Massiera, estuve buscando y buscando info que aunque sea poco la hay. Pero el tema con las letras es más complicado. No encuentro booklets por ningún lado ni una página que las tenga. Lo mismo sucede con Horrific Child. Creo que se pierde muchísimo de la oscuridad de la banda, más allá de su tremendo sonido, al no estar del todo claro lo que se dice. Por favor, si me podés ayudar (si tenés el disco con las letras) estaré muy agradecido, mucho más de lo que ya estoy porque me hayas mostrado esta ENORME cantidad de bandas increíbles.
    Desde ya, muchas gracias!

  3. No soy Argentino, aunqe si un avido coleccionista de rock portenio de los 70 (y algunas cositas de los 80), naci en Alemania, de familia Holandesa/Indonesa por parte de madre Cubano/Canaria/Judia por padre y vivi mas de 20 anios en Cuba, asi q mas q nada me considero Cubano. No tengo los textos, pero dejame ver si los encuentro, no se si conoces el sitio, pero has tratado en Discogs? un saludo!

  4. no hice algo básico (porque no estoy acostumbrado a hacerlo desde ahí) no miré el archivo. ahí están! disculpá que te haya molestado. MUCHAS GRACIAS!

  5. Puisqu' on parle toutes les langues sur ce blog, encore une fois merci, en français cette fois ci, de la part d'un visiteur fréquent et toujours heureux de trouver autant de merveilles sur ton blog.
    Mais y aura t'il un jour un peu de AIN SOPH?
    A bientôt
    Antoine de paris

  6. hmmmm.... Spanish, Dutch, English or Yoruba, those arethe ones I understand... Since we have people from all over the world coming by I usually try to keep it in english, so the most people possible can follow the posts... The only thing I got from your whole message was AIN SOPH. Not trying to be an asshole, I really do not speak a word of french... When people ask me if I also speak french I can go no further than doing The Mask impersonation and repeat the Pate/Croissant line ad look stupidly at the person asking

  7. im feeling very tempted to do a series of Japanese 80's prog posts... Ain Soph, Bi Kyo Ran, and stuff like that, I have already posted some Japanese stuff from the 80's... but yeah... Ain Soph most def on the list.

  8. i am a poor french man who only speaks his native idioma and English and spanish, quite enough anyway to go through the entire world of the music fans.
    Always a pleasure to come and visit your fantastic blog and many thanks was my message.
    And waiting for this japanese post, especially AIN SOPH who are my favourites in the canterburian style.
    So long
    Antoine de paris (France)

  9. lol!!! cd's ripped and on my hard drive for both ain soph and bi kyo ran... so coming up... any other suggestions?

    1. no suggestions, but waiting for you to make me discover some new bands.
      Antoine de paris