Easy-Listening, Funky, Jazzy, Old School
"On a current theme, "Virtual Human" offers a progressive music based on a successful balance between assimilable pleasure and listening effort."
CALGEPO (29.01.2020)  
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Orion like Ange, Atoll, Tai Phong... is one of the depositaries of a French progressive rock which reached its peak almost from its birth in our countries without reaching the same fame that the genre still has in other European countries. While some have since disappeared from circulation, others perpetuate a style that they helped create and advance, or have become its legacies. 

Orion is a bit of both. Indeed, the band born in the 70s released a first album in 1979 ("La Nature Vit, L'Homme Lui Critique") followed by a long break until 2013. Since then, Orion, comprising Pat Wyrembski and Janusz Tokarz, its co-founders, has been constantly increasing its discography at a regular rhythm of one album every two years, while integrating a few new members like Ange did. But contrary to their colleague, Pat and Janusz have taken a step back for this new album and Orion presents "Virtual Human" in a 2.0 version. Indeed, the two founding fathers concentrated on the production, opening the composition to the newly integrated members. 

As it is often the case in this field, the album has the finery of a concept album, dealing with a world where relationships are becoming more and more virtual, dehumanized ... If the base remains common with the "old version" of the band, it is however somewhat shaken on its shape as much on the level of the lyrics, often in English, as on the level of the music. Indeed, far from being satisfied with taking the usual recipe, Orion draws from other inspirations to support his lyrics, which proves to be as surprising as successful. Where one might have expected a cold, robotic music, the combo chooses the opposite by proposing a warmer, organic and more direct music through soul, funk, accessible jazz fusion.

Jérôme Nigou's voice is also for something in this evolution, more singer than interpreter with a clear and warm voice. T.O.W.U.', for example, is close to funk à la Georges Benson, with a few small breaks in the construction. The progressive impulses are not however put aside with a 'Run For Life' that multiplies the lulling movements with faster moments typical of jazz fusion. Orion offers a small incursion into the luxury variety with 'Le Nuage', close to what Ange can offer in this kind, perhaps opening up to a wider audience. This track contrasts with 'Silicon Cirkus', more rock and darker, which is a bit like Porcupine Tree on some passages.

Is the digital revolution the corollary of a dehumanisation of our relationships? Do we have to sell our soul to the devil who would be embodied by progress to gain notoriety and sociability? If it doesn't bring a solution, the band questions this philosophical subject through this album and notably in the track 'Shagreen' (in reference to Balzac's 'peau de chagrin') which remains the most convoluted track of the album despite a luminous refrain, or the superb 'Silicium' with its bewitching guitar-piano passage. 

With this new album, Orion dares the choice to propose a more concise and coherent turn by refocusing on a more direct and accessible composition without denying everything that made its history. On a current theme, the band version 2.0 offers a music based on a successful balance between assimilable pleasure and listening effort.

More informations on

01. Virtual Human - 5:24
02. T.O.W.U. - 3:48
03. Run for Life - 5:54
04. Le Nuage - 4:31
05. Silicon Cirkus - 6:00
06. Silicium - 7:44
07. Shagreen - 7:01

Cédric Affre : Batterie
Eric Halter: Basse
Janusz Tokarz: Compositions / Production
Jérôme Nigou: Chant
Patrick Wyrembski: Compositions / Production
Paul Cribaillet: Claviers / Piano
Pierre-jean Horville: Guitares
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(1) COMMENT(S)    
L'album démarre très fort avec un Virtual Human de haute volée, porté par une basse vrombissante. Une basse qu'on retrouve mis à l'honneur dans le sympathique Silicon Cirkus. Après, il y a aussi des titres plus moyens comme Le Nuage, qui tourne un peu en rond, et Shagreen, qui ne trouve pas son rythme malgré un refrain de qualité. Du bon et du moins bon, donc, mais le potentiel est avéré.
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