I was as surprised as a lot of people, I imagine, to hear that Pulsar, a semi-obscure but much talked about space rock band from the late 70s, had reformed to record again, with the original musicians. I was very curious to hear what the 21st century version would sound like.
I'm pleased to say that Pulsar's modus operandi has not changed a bit. The band specializes in languid, beautiful melody-making, the foundations of the sound being spacy guitar and layers of synths. The title suite is a four part piece that doesn't really change much throughout its length, although it does go briefly mid-tempo in part 3. Gilbert Gandil's guitar playing is tasteful and emotional, and he has wisely decided to sing in French on this recording, although vocals are very sparsely used.
There's not much else to say about the piece, except that it works just as well as ambient music as it does rock. It reminds me of the Egyptian Kings album that was out recently. Great meditational, reflective music.
The album is rounded out by two pieces, Monks and Respire. Monks features some samples of Gregorian chant and may stray too close to Enigma territory for some, but it is a pleasant listen. Respire is a quiet piece that gives Gandil yet another opportunity for some emotive soloing.
My only quibble is that the drums on this album are mixed a little high (a standard modern practice), and the snare is a little thuddy. There isn't much variety in the drumming, or the compositions in general, but then there never was on Pulsar albums. It's mood music, take it or leave it...I'll take it.
This is a welcome return by this venerable band, a classy album that lovers of the symphonic modern Camel, and the Egyptian Kings, Hawkwind and other space bands will enjoy, as well as fans of Pulsar's old classics like Halloween and Strands of the Future. http://www.progarchives.com
Track Listing: 1. Memory Ashes / Part I (7:52) 2. Memory Ashes / Part II (7:58) 3. Memory Ashes / Part III (4:50) 4. Memory Ashes / Part IV (5:24) 5. Monks (10:45) 6. Respire (8:54)
The Band: - Gilbert Gandil / guitar, lead vocals - Jacques Roman / keyboards - Victor Bosch / drums - Roland Richard / sax, flutes, clarinet, whistle