Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10
There are souls out there that can captivate you with their wit and unassailable charm, that just seem to have the ability, the passion, to find the best way to turn art into majesty, into the unconsidered desire and one that will make anyone reflect upon the music as a skill as much as they would going into the finest art gallery and contemplate the meaning and the purpose of life as they stand infront of Van Gogh’s Starry Night.
Frédéric Benmussa, the man behind the revelation with his musical endeavour Antigone Project, is perhaps best considered the missing link between fellow French artist Jean Michelle Jarre and Britain’s astonishing Mike Oldfield, such is the range of instruments, the depth of planning that has gone into the album Stellar Machine, that the comparisons are unavoidable and fully warranted. There is a difference though, especially between Mr. Benmussa, the toast of Paris, and the man who brought multi instrumentalism to the European fore and that is humour, intact, subtle, reaching out and intellectually placed humour.
The album’s heady mix of Progressive, of finding the right balance between electro filled magnetism and the right lyrics to fill the moments is unnervingly superb, it soars above what is expected and leads the listener to a new path, a way of thinking that is honest and pure but also rampant and epidemic, it is infectious, a sense of beguiling mystery that unfolds like Le Carré novel and is just as eager to bombard you with intentional facts that will impress beyond measure.
In tracks such as Schizopolis, The Black Widow, Cardio-Machine, the album’s title track and Pretty Pain, Stellar Machine takes off to parts unknown, the flight plan not available to the listener, they just have to sit back and rely on the imagination of the Captain, the man with all the answers and with the talent to provide a trip that is full of scenery, of explosive cool and yet is as down to Earth as foot treading softly upon the sand or a hand gently touching the waters of the Seine.
A colossal album, Stellar Machine is truly the Antigone Project’s most precious gift.
Ian D. Hall