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Presse A Complex Nature - Stewart Mason

Guitarist Frederic L'Epee has long been thought of as France's answer to Robert Fripp, ever since his '70s work with the clearly King Crimson-influenced progressive band Shylock. With his '90s group Philharmonie, his solo work and the debut album by his latest outfit Yang, however, L'Epee has moved far beyond. A Complex Nature, despite its forbidding and slightly pretentious title, is actually an entirely accessible instrumental project featuring a two-guitar (L'Epee and his former student Julien Vecchie) front line over the rhythm section of bassist Stephane Bertrand and former Philharmonie drummer Volodia Brice. The eight compositions were recorded quickly, giving them a less polished edge than the occasionally too-polite Philharmonie, and unlike L'Epee's solo work, each of them starts with a well-crafted melodic and rhythmic base over which the players develop some complex interrelations. The concise nature of the pieces — nearly all of which are in the four-to-six-minute range — means that the solos by L'Epee and Vecchie don't have time to veer off into unmanageable tangents, and showboating is kept to a minimum: Yang is definitely a group, with a rhythmic interplay that recalls great guitar bands like Television (especially on the dramatic ballad "Compassion") and, yes, King Crimson (particularly on the opening "Les Deux Mondes," which also features a terrific overdriven rhythm guitar riff by Vecchie that recalls Mission of Burma's telegraphic style). This is thoroughly enjoyable, straightforward instrumental art-rock with few of the style's usual drawbacks.



Babyblaue prog - Udo Gerhards

Eigenbandbeschreibungen von Plattenfirmen muss man in der Regel mit einer Spur Skepsis geniessen. Im Fall von Yang mag ich Cuneiform aber recht geben: die Namen King Crimson und Gordian Knot werden genannt, und das passt in etwa. Das Quartett um Gitarrist Frédéric L'Epée (Shylock, Philharmonie) bietet mit zwei Gitarren plus Bass plus Schlagzeug verspielten instrumentalen Prog, der in der verschränkten Gitarrenarbeit und der immer wieder aufblitzenden kraftvollen Rockigkeit ein ums andere Mal an die oben genannten Gruppen erinnert. Rotzig-verzerrtes findet dabei ebenso seinen Platz wie Introvertiert-balladeskes mit cleanem Klang.
Die einzelnen Nummern, obschon instrumental und soundmässig recht gleichklingend, bieten kompositorisch einigen Abwechslungsreichtum: mal wird beinahe Latin-artiger treibender Rhythmus zugrundegelegt, mal fast funky schrammelnde Rhythmusgitarren, mal wird einfach nur schräg-verzwirbelt gerifft, mal im Gitarren-Duo melodische Leadlinien zelebriert, mal fast jazzrockig gegroovt, mal stampfend gerockt. Nicht alles funktioniert dabei gleichgut: "Compassion" etwa, obwohl nur gut vier Minuten lang, zieht sich träge schleppend etwas zu lang: die Instrumentierung kann den hymnischen kompositorischen Ansatz nicht tragen.
Der oben erwähnte King Crimson-Einfluss schlägt in der Gitarrenarbeit, insbesondere dem Arpeggio-geprägten Spiel beider Gitarristen - Julien Vecchié ist ein Schüler L'Epées; dieser betreibt eine Gitarrenschule in Nizza - immer wieder durch. Kompositorisch sind Yang aber zugänglicher, harmonischer und wirken dabei menschlicher. Dies wird unterstützt durch den sehr direkten, natürlichen Sound. Man hört dem Album - in guter Weise - an, dass es in nur drei Tagen aufgenommen wurde: der erwünschte Eindruck von Spontaneität kommt rüber und sorgt auch ohne Publikum für Live-Feeling. Das wäre überhaupt eine schöne Idee: ich könnte mir vorstellen, dass Yang auch live eine sehr gute Figur abgeben. Vielleicht kann einer der einschlägigen deutschen Veranstalter die Franzosen für ein oder zwei Auftritte über den Rhein locken. Bis dahin müssen wir aber wohl mit einer sehr gelungenen Platte vorlieb nehmen.


Sea of Tranquility - Greg Cummins

Yang are a four piece outfit from France that had its roots back in the early 70’s when anchorman, Frederic L’Epee’ carried the band Shylock into the realms of minor stardom with their highly revered but tragically unknown duo of albums entitled “Gialorgues” and “Ille De Fievre.”
After the demise of Shylock, Frederic began his next project which would take him through the 80’s and 90’s with his new band, Philharmonie, that would become considered just as accomplished as King Crimson’s more aggressive styles that were featured on albums like “Red.”
With a heavy and throbbing drone, Yang kicks this CD off with a bang and weaves their way inside your eardrums without letting go. While the main theme of this song is based around the driving sound of the menacing guitar, the bass work from Stephane Bertrand in particular, possess a subtle tone that must be listened for carefully to appreciate its underlying importance. The two opening tracks are in fact more improvisational in nature, concentrating more on a level of sonic freedom that only a truly gifted guitarist could achieve. Having said that however, pay attention to the additional guitar work throughout the album from Julien Vecchie as he helps maintain a interesting perspective along with the dynamic drum work from Volodia Brice who was also recruited to play with Philharmonie on some of their previous work.
The track entitled “Innocent Seducer” is a far more structured piece and may remind of Jan Schaffer or even Pat Metheny while the following song returns along similar lines to the first 2 with a slightly more eclectic edge to the playing.
“Impatience” has that slightly funky up-tempo style epitomized so well by legendary greats of the Metheny camp and engages the listener with a jagged and more raucous sound until the closing moments when Frederick attempts to pacify the ears with some delicate scalar runs along the fret board. This piece alone showcases how clever Frederic’s songwriting skills are without necessarily being too excessively self-indulgent. He certainly is the master of style, compositional difficulty and originality.
The closing track, “Pride” is probably the rockiest song amongst this set of 8 well composed pieces of busy, slightly frenetic and avant-garde style of playing that will surely remind the listener of some of Robert Fripp’s more adventurous work. Join the ranks of the coalition of the willing and you’ll soon immerse your ears in some sonic originality that will please a wide variety of fans.


All about jazz - Maurizio Comandini

A Complex Nature del gruppo Yang (pubblicato dalla Cuneiform) è la testimonianza preziosa del lavoro di quattro musicisti francesi che cercano di trovare una strada personale all'interno del filone del rock progressivo. Il punto di riferimento all'interno del gruppo è certamente Frederic L'Epée, chitarrista con alle spalle una lunga militanza in gruppi di rock progressivo (Shylock, Philharmonie) che hanno lasciato il segno anche fuori dai confini transalpini. Al suo fianco, per continuare l'avventura già intrapresa coi due precedenti gruppi, L'Epee ha chiamato un giovane chitarrista, Julien Vecchié (che è stato suo studente), il bassista Stéphane Bertrand e il batterista Volodia Brice che già era con L'Epée nel gruppo Philharmonie. L'obiettivo di ritrovare una nuova energia è stato pienamente raggiunto e la componente rock prende decisamente il sopravvento su certi barocchismi che rischiavano di ancorare al suolo la navicella precedente. Il paragone con i King Crimson non può essere evitato e il gruppo sembra non essere affatto infastidito da questo e anzi sembra crogiolarsi sul rapporto delle due chitarre che chiaramente richiama il gioco di Robert Fripp e Adrian Belew. Dalle sei corde, moltiplicate per due, cola fuori materia lavica che si solidifica velocemente in solide strutture che si mettono al centro della costruzione e tutto sembra ruotare attorno a loro. Un gioco di specchi dal quale emergono assoli interessanti e idee compositive di buon livello, seppure chiaramente derivative. Ma nel mondo del rock nulla si inventa e semmai tutto si rimette in gioco, magari rendendo semplice la natura complessa delle cose.