It’s a testament to Pierre De Gagné’s talents as a composer and conceptualist that changing the name of his project from Dragon-Off to Meteorange hasn’t slowed his creative development. Making that sort of move three albums inro a project’s discography requires a leap of faith that you can’t make if the bottom line is your chief concern. That isn’t the case here. Metrorange’s album is the first in what De Gagné envisions will be a series of four releases and any listeners paying attention will hear in this release that he has a clear vision for the work.
It flows without a bump along the way. The opening ambient piece “Tribal Sunrise” segues without a hiccup into the gentle instrumental “Morning Bird”. Violin has a big presence during this work, never omnipresent or overwhelming, and the arrangement is tailored extraordinarily well. Meteorange weaves multi-tracked choral vocals into the track “Cosmic Folk” and additional violin work outstrips the outstanding playing in the preceding track. Francois Boucher’s talents are a crucial force powering this composition and it’s clear that De Gagné’s classical roots run deep.
“Monkey Moon Shine”, however, turns in a different direction. Meteorange’s affinity for synthesizers is every bit as strong as it is for other instruments but, more importantly, his discernment is as clear as ever. There’s a quasi-narrative quality surrounding the progression of these tracks – it’s akin to a travelogue through the earth’s day. Listeners will hear that early on if they’re paying attention, and moments such as “Monkey Moon Shine” is one of the best moments in Meteorange’s “storytelling”.
“Breakfast at Noon” has much of its beauty springing from the guitar playing. Adding acoustic guitar in such a notable way to the work’s musical arsenal is a shrewd and natural move and he avoids the pitfalls such instrumental touches potentially pose. It is another one of the sections in the larger piece where transformation is the order of the day; the composition’s shifts and variations are among the album’s richest.
The Celtic strands of “King Crispy” aren’t a first in Bubble 1, but they are arguably the most dazzling expression of that style. The composition’s percolating energy from the beginning pays off in a variety of ways over the course of the performance. “Sea Gull Moon Rise” travels into New Age territory again, he hasn’t really revisited it since earlier in the release and incorporating the sounds of a sea gull during the piece is a mixed blessing. Some may find it a tad too obvious.
DIGITAL THE ALBUM: https://meteorange.com/store/bubble-one-digital-download
It isn’t improper to honor his ambition more than the album’s actual achievement. This will be a take it or leave release for many music listeners, but the redeeming grace of any conceits you find during the course of Bubble 1 is that Meteorange remains focused, first and foremost, on the music. Everything is second fiddle in comparison. It helps give the release an abiding quality that invites you to keep listening and discovering the full gamut of its rewards. There will be more to come from Metorange, but this will more than do for now.
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