Frederic L'Epee -
The Empty Room (2019)

(CD 2019, 61:00 , YM1905 Yang Music)

The tracks:
  1- Badong(7:00)
  2- Inevitable Traversee(4:27)
  3- Descending The Slow River(6:28)
  4- Amount Et Dissolution(3:32)
  5- Delta(8:26)
  6- Hymne Aux Ancetres 1(3:15)
  7- Treasured Wounds(6:48)
  8- Mist(4:53)
  9- Parle-Moi Encore(6:40)
10- Souvenirs De Traversee(5:45)
11- Hymne Aux Ancetres 2(2:05)
12- Wegschippernd(1:04)

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Frederic L'Epee is a Frenchman living in Berlin since 2013. He composes and plays all his own music. The album is completely instrumental, and you know, I don't miss the vocals for a second. The music is exciting, drawn out, very broad. You can clearly hear that Frederic is someone who has been in the music industry for years. In terms of background, he is classically trained, you can clearly hear that through the music. I personally find it an exciting hour of music. Something for everyone, that's for sure. Now and then you hear something bombastic as in classical music, cool though. For me, a new dimension has been added to the progressive music framework. Frederic called the album The Empty Room. He started writing 9 years ago, as a tribute'to the persons passed away'. It is dedicated to those who remain.

If I have to mention songs that stand out, the opening song. Nice structure in terms of tension, all the way to bombastic. Many styles and lots of diversity. However, sometimes this can be lurking, that no whole can be recognized. This is certainly not the case with Frederic. You continuously understand where it all goes. The third song opens with sounds that could have come from a singing bowl, I cannot explain it, but it sounds pleasant. The music that you hear is very fragile, but is does nestle in your brain, so subtle. You need a little patience for this music, it doesn't stick immediately, and that usually makes it good music. In the opening of the fourth song you hear and feel the pain that Frederic must feel when losing his loved ones. The guitar plays nicely and you can feel the tears sliding down your cheeks, beautiful song. The next one starts a bit more up tempo, which is welcome after all the sensitivity of the past one. It is also the longest one on the album and it takes the time to get going. The bass tunes that come along get stuck in your brain and are a pleasure to listen to, not because of difficulty, but because they are so wonderfully intrusive, you cannot get around it, and you don't want to. The guitar also has a lot to say, it competes with the bass for the front place, in that respect a nice duel. Very slowly a guitar solo emerges that also nestles in you brain, so beautiful and emotional. This solo takes the time to reveal itself to you, blissfully. Before you knot it, the song is over, while you have the idea that you have only inhaled and exhaled three times, wow. After this song, the album is halfway and showed you about thirty minutes of music, I need to push the pause button and let all that happened find it's way. Well, the sequel then.

The sixth song opens again very quietly, a little drumming, but with a hand on a kind of djembe. Then comes an instrument that I cannot interpret, but which produces very beautiful sounds. Tension builds up again and keeps you alert, but also makes you emotional. It is a beautiful musical experience, with occasional keys to complement the whole. In the end the drums are there again, fading away, the circle is complete again.

Emotional guitar sounds open the next one, after which beautiful keyboards grab you by the throat, oppressively beautiful and also melodic, ingeniously done. The title of this song is Treasured Wounds, and that's how the music sounds. You can dream away on this song. You want the sound to be loud, then it comes to you even more. A beautiful solo tells its own story, here I am not sure what kind of instrument it is, but actually I don't think that's important because it sounds so beautiful. The song feels almost healing, as if you are undergoing a process, and that within only 7 minutes.

Mist's intro reminds me of a Joe Satriani song, not a bad comparison of course. It brings nice rippling guitar work, some peace also.

The piano starts in Parle-Moi Encore, after which the guitar enters and takes over the song. This is a somewhat longer song and is completely taken up by the piano and the guitar, and in the sense that the piano is completely at the service of the emotion that Frederic puts into the guitar playing. It is a simple construction, but a very effective one.

The music of the 10th song has a positive vibe and has some sounds of a violin in it, yet another style in the music and it is more than welcome.

Only two songs remain. The bass in Humne Aux Ancetres II is the only instrument you will hear, it is a short song and it really fits. The last song is the shortest and is a kind of fadeout of the album.

What comes to mind is an appreciation of what our ears received as food for our musical heart and all the meaning that Frederic had with it. I really enjoy this album because it is such layered music, it moves deep inside of you and you will find your emotions, and that is music, emotion.

**** Michel Stolk (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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