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Nord (North)

by Philharmonie

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Badzie thumbnail
Badzie Guitars go in search of a place where they don't sound like themselves and succeed in establishing a colony of wild, free string instruments somewhere in a north where winter never comes. Favorite track: From the North.
Carsten Pieper
Carsten Pieper thumbnail
Carsten Pieper And now for another gem I would hardly have discovered without Bandcamp in general and, once more, without Cuneiform Records' great weekend-specials!
A quartet with two guitars, a Chapman stick and drums? Doesn't that strongly hint at the 80s incarnation of the Crimson King? In fact, much of the (completely instrumental) music here reminds me exactly of that, but in a very good way without being copist. Minimal music or 70s Ashra are other comparisons that came to my mind. Favorite track: Un Sacrifice (A Sacrifice).
Deidre House
Deidre House thumbnail
Deidre House gentle and relaxing progressive music
John Cratchley
John Cratchley thumbnail
John Cratchley Lovely interplay and momentum going on here with a touch of Guitar Craft thrown in for good measure.
Cuneiform are really great at documenting some of the lesser known European bands who should,in retrospect,achieve greater recognition perhaps...Heldon,Univers Zero et al.
Their catalogue is full of wonderful surprises like this...
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Delta 04:15


I consider Philharmonie to be one of Cuneiform's great discoveries of the 1990s! They started their life as a guitar trio, led by Frédéric L'Epée, formerly of the 70s progressive rock favorites Shylock. They released two albums as a guitar trio (one on their own and one on Cuneiform) featuring tight, well-written, obviously very Fripp-influenced, pointillistic compositions, performed by 3 total guitar masters.

For this, their 2nd Cuneiform release, they added a drummer with an excellent, light touch, who gives them an even broader array of musical color.

"Philarmonie's Nord is pure beauty. With already two albums released as a trio (Frédéric L'Épée and Laurent Chalef on guitars, Bernard Ros on Chapman Stick), the band decided to expand its sound with the addition of drummer Jean-Louis Boutin...The album includes the beautiful and very quiet "Vers le Nord" ("To the North"), indisputably their best recorded piece, and the 16-minute long "Prélude, Marche et Lamentations" ("Prelude, March and Laments"). As far as guitar-oriented instrumental prog rock goes, Nord is the best album ever recorded."
– AllMusic / François Couture

"Conceptually, it suggests what an inspired meeting of Steve Reich and King Crimson might sound like...masterfully weaving together lush melodies, minimalist tendencies and heavy rock overtones."
– Innerviews

"Technically remarkable..."
– Guitar Player


released January 1, 1994

Frédéric L'Epée : guitars & fretless guitars
Laurent Chalef : guitars
Bernard Ros : Chapman Stick
Jean-Louis Boutin : drums

Composed and performed by Philharmonie.
Recorded and mixed at Studio 26 – Antibes, France.
Sound engineer : Frédéric Bétin.


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Cuneiform Records Washington, D.C.

Cuneiform Records is an independent record label releasing adventurous, boundary-bursting music by artists from around the world.

Founded in 1984.
Based in Washington D.C.

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