Tales, The Saskian Wars Somewhere in Time Records, SIT 2108, 2001 jlhb.free.fr firstname.lastname@example.org Jean- Luc Hervé Berthelot is one of the deepest space music artists in the new millennium. Recording as Tales, he has created some of the coolest thematic CD's. The Saskian Wars is based on a story by Tarkan Shinnerlord. It is Volume Two of The Interstellar Trilogy by Jean-Luc. Jean-Luc's sci-fi soundscape is full of atmospheres, sequences and experimental computer sounds. This is listening pleasure at its purest. The tale (written in the liner notes) and the titles tell the story. The music is the soundtrack to the adventure. This late entry is a top 30 candidate for 2001. It is one of the best pure space music albums of the year! - Jim Brenholts
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Tales: Interstellar Memories (CD, 59:34); SIT Records SIT 19803 Space-synther Jean-Luc Hervé Berthelot takes us on voyage across his universe in an all electronic extravaganza. His work is chock full of novel sounds. Each effect is precisely integrated into a believable aural excursion that tachyon drive propels, solar-sail glides, and gravity well rifts you right into the Ankaleryean system. This is ultra-high quality space music with a "created worlds" schemata that undergirds each track. We have alien synth vox, Jonn Serrie near infra-sonic bass drones, (!my house's return vent nearly vibrated loose in the adajcent room's wall!), Tim Blake embellishings sans New Age corn, ye olde T. Dream non-sequenced, dreamtime fugue passages, Constance Demby wordless choir, Tomita tweakings, and Mark Dwane's extraterrestrial leanings all present here. Berthelot goes a step beyond all the aforementioned and uniquely describes his very own cosmic mindset leaving all things Terran far behind. This is a fascinating one-humanoid show I want to hear more of. If I were a movie producer of sci-fi, fantasy, cross-genre adventure, I wouldn't hesitate to have Berthelot score my blockbuster or cult movie. This is the good ride you spaceheads. I guarantee it. Great CD liner notes and graphics! "Now calculating wormhole coordinates for Berthelotian FTL riptime-drive. I'll be back yesterday." And before I go, no tribal drums, no noodling guitars, and no blah-blah singing are found here. ~ John W. Patterson
Echoes from the Last Fairyland by Jean Luc Hervé Berthelot “Somewhere in Time” Records, 2000 http://jlhb.free.fr/tales This French import is quite a surprise. The packaging, with its hokey fantasy themes (“fairies, elves, and gentle wizards live in vast forests, where white unicorns and iridescent dragons frolic peacefully”…) leads you to think that this will be just more pretty-sweet New Age fluff. But ignore the words and listen to the music and you will find a surprisingly thoughtful and inventive set of synthesizer pieces. The musical language is the same basic repertoire as the famous Euro-synth players like Vangelis, Tangerine Dream, or especially Jean-Michel Jarre: modal harmonies, with a modal melody carried on smooth synthesizer lines, accompanied by a repeating synthesizer sequence as well as “special effects” sounds. In fact Berthelot, in places, sounds quite a lot like a somewhat more leisurely transformation of Jean-Michel Jarre.
But it’s worth going through to catch the unusual passages. Though Berthelot usually stays with a solidly modal harmony, every so often he swerves off suddenly into avant-garde atonality. From Vangelis to Stockhausen in two minutes! When Berthelot is in avant-garde mode, he’s very interesting listening. Like the German experimentalist, Berthelot uses heavily modified voices, speaking unidentifiable syllables that may or may not be derived from French or English. Track 3, “The Wizard of all times,” and track 4, “The perfect wand,” are a good example of this; they range from glassy, tinkling electronic ambient and perky, cruising synthesizer rhythms, to weird moments with spooky voices in incomprehensible dialogue.
Most of the album, though, stays fairly strictly with the familiar Euro-synthesizer styling we listeners are used to. Berthelot’s music, despite its modern instrumentation, is almost entirely derived from European culture – except for a very attenuated Indian raga-harmony in a couple of pieces, it shows hardly any influence from Oriental, African, Aboriginal, or American music. This Eurocentrism – which is not necessarily a disadvantage – holds true whether Berthelot is playing pop or avant-garde. It’s almost as if this were, in some ironic way, “classical music.” HMGS rating: 8 out of 10 1/16/01
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