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15 Mar 2017

Visitors "Visitors" 1974 France electronic Prog












Visitors  "Visitors" 1974 France electronic Prog
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The brainchild of Jean-Pierre Massiera, much travelled record producer and musician (see "Behind The Scenes" section for the full story) who had the vision to create his own supergroup who would be the epitome of French progressive rock. The cast was certainly impressive, and the music was inspiring, yet the music (to these ears at least) doesn't sound so French, but much more like the psychedelic/progressive sound of Italian bands like Formula 3 or New Trolls, powerful with real guts and very complex too, with great use of Vanilla Fudge styled vocal harmonies. I suppose the Formula 3 similarity is not so surprising when one considers that the album opens with a stunning rock rendition of "Die Irae" given the same spirit as the earlier version Formula 3 recorded. Sometimes it is totally French however, with buzzing synthesizers, space-rock and jazz-fusion intermixing as only the French know how. 
Closely related to this are the albums by Horrific Child and Atlantide. There's also a later band called Visitors under the aegis of Jean-Pierre Massiera, however that was a much more conventional rock album closer to his JPM & Co. project............by.......ultimathulerecords.............

Visitors was a project of French producer Jean-Pierre Massiera. He hired musicans to play on this album, the most famous of which is violinist Didier Lockwood who played with Magma. There would be one more Visitors album in 1981, but it's more New Wave sounding. The music here is very 70s, but not extremely dated. A mix of different prog styles at the time. Nothing truly original but a good and consistent album. This is a concept album about extraterrestrials visiting Earth. The majority of vocals are in French. 
"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. Definately not a masterpiece, but a great addition to your collection. 4 stars......... by zravkapt ............

A desperate cry from the universe is the legendary Visitors LP and as all distant signals from the cosmos, was outdated before it was ever audible to our ears, even in 1974. But the cognoscenti are right about this one; it is a beaut of progressive psychedelia with tons of character and flavor. 
As is so common with the best of the great unwashed, Visitors has a power all its own, an urgent need to document what would undoubtedly be a brief moment of clarity, vision, and friggin great rock music that if left unrecorded would never see any daylight at all. Somehow during the craziness of the industry in '74, singer/composer Jean-Pierre Massiera and friends got it done. There is no doubt the session possesses a muddy, obscured sound the finest techs in the world probably couldn't do much for. Massiera had produced it on the go with little time and a huge roster of twenty+ musicians & vocalists, others not slated but sitting-in, and happenings unplanned but welcomed. But like the dusty-tube atmosphere of a surf band's rehearsal basement in 1959, sometimes what we don't hear is just as important. Heartsick prog requiem 'Dies Irae' is a gorgeous eight-minute rock orchestration heavy with guitars, swirling organs and basses, Didier Lockwood's single fiddle, all walled by the druidic Spaghetti Western vocals six & seven deep. The extraterrestrial theme is apparent for tortured 'Terre-Larbour', odd 'Flatwoods Story' features an orator in English and funny golden age sci-fi sounds, but 'Nous' is rather modern for its time as reflected in the MiniMoog of Jean-Claude Tarin. Wonderful histrionics and some very cool violin/guitar/organ playoffs in the title (with a subtle nod to Brubeck) and the short but satisfying set caps with 'Le retour des dieux' reflecting more of the cinematic Ennio Morricone influence. 

Under the circumstances of its production and the tiny window available to implement it, the record is quite an achievement and, it should be no surprise, did not sell. The players all went their separate ways - Lockwood to Magma and later Zao, Massiera producing prog band Atlantide - but fortunately did not squander the time and motivation to leave behind this little rock daydream... by Atavachron ...........

Line-up / Musicians 
- 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

Tracklist 
A1 Dies Irae 8:03 
A2 L' Extra-Aventure De Villas Boas 4:37 
A3 Terre-Larbour 3:00 
B1 Flatwoods Story 3:25 
B2 Nous 3:27 
B3 Visitors 3:43 
B4 Le Retour Des Dieux 5:00

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..