The Bodhisattva Beat
Music and Life

Aphélandra

Aphélandra: 1976 / 2001

Aphélandra: 1976 / 2001

Philippe Grancher – piano, organ, electric piano, mellotron, clavinet, synthesizer
Pierre Videcoq – vocals, flute, tenor sax
Gérard Perret – electric guitar
Philippe Herbin – bass
Dominique Iroz – drums, percussion
Clément Duventru – drums


Special Guest Musicians;

Didier Lockwood– violin

Cyrille Verdeaux – piano, synthesizer

Many tears have been shed over legendary bands like Änglagård, who wetted our appetite with greatness, and left us wanting for more. Well, there should also be a few sniffles for APHÉLANDRA. When everything in prog was starting to change, this French band recorded some of the most creative, and captivating classic Symphonic Prog I have ever heard. There is the definite influence of the French theatric scene, but the queues are manly taken directly from the classical music masters.

They strut their stuff right from the start, with an eighteen-minute epic. This piece has it all. “Airs” opens with the sounds of blowing wind, and then goes into a cloud parting choral, drum, and piano movement. The mood changes as it punches up-tempo, and the violin starts jamming. Then it slides into a beautiful piano segment, with an equally lovely flute accompaniment. The mood changes again with some eerie keyboards, and cryptic vocals. By the end it is in ’70s prog glory, with tasty keyboards, but that fantastic piano is still very present. It’s a piece that many bands could have only hoped to come close to.

The next few tracks seem to be there as demonstrations of versatility.

“Belladonne” runs through a bit of jazz, and then some space styling.

“Pat” brings out gothic church organ, and dabbles in some menacing avant territory.

The title track starts out a bit Floydian, gets more like “Airs,” and then breaks into a funk (yes funk) groove.

“Corinthe” closes it with some more gothic tones, and the return of our cryptic singer.

This is a very rare gem. Recorded in 1976, and not released until 2001, there was little chance for a follow up. It is wonderful stuff, and something every Symphomaniac should seek out.

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