Esthesis – Watching Worlds Collide

2022 (Misty Tones)

1: Amber (6:46)
2: Place Your Bets (7:23)
3: Skimming Stones (5:12)
4: Wandering Cloud (6:00)
5: Vertigo (5:00)
6: 57th Street (12:00)
7: Through My Lens (8:07)

Esthesis is a relatively new progressive band from France and it pleases me to provide this group with a platform. The band from Toulouse was founded by keyboardist/vocalist Aurélien Goude who is also coincidentally the composer and lyricist of the songs. In terms of style Esthesis falls into the same category as French band Air with dreamy progressive art rock filled with sparkling, jazz-tinged piano. In the case of the album being discussed here there are also some brass instruments added to their sound. In 2000, the they debuted with “The Awakening” and two years later “Watching Worlds Collide” was released. Esthesis manages to create a perfect balance between accessible and idiosyncratic experiences on these albums. That’s how we like it.

Esthesis creates music on this album that captivates on all fronts. Whether it’s the power of opener Amber, the restraint of ballad Skimming Stones with its shimmering violin, or the dynamic instrumental track Vertigo, Esthesis is always good. Aurélien Goude himself plays his socks off and he also sings quite pleasantly. Guitarist Baptiste Desmares presents everything in an attractive light with playing that ranges from psychedelic to exuberant and the rhythm tandem consisting of bassist Marc Anguill and drummer Arnaud Nicolau plays so well you want to devour every note which becomes evident in a song like Place Your Bets.

Goude knows how to handle the concept of repetition in his compositions. For example, in 57th Street, you remain wide awake for twelve minutes while it teems with repetitive structures. The maestro is also highly skilled in the realm of color palette, as fantastic brass instruments add more meaning to the dark music. With a lustful tenor sax, a vibrant trumpet, and an euphoric trombone in the arrangement, you’re in for a treat. And if you sprinkle in elements like violin, banjo, and various samples, you become an auditory benefactor.

I’ve seen bands steal my heart for less.

Aurélien Goude: keyboards, vocals, lap steel guitar (4,6), guitar (2), harmonica (7), drum/FX programming (3), bass programming (6)
Baptiste Desmares: lead guitar
Marc Anguill: bass guitar
Arnaud Nicolau: drums
P-Horns section: (1,2,4,5,7)
Maceo Le Fournis: tenor saxophone
Axel Foucan: trombone
Yannis Beugré: trumpet (3,8)
Mathieu Vilbert: Violin
Vincent Blanot: Banjo, electric banjo, mountain dulcimer, percussions (4)

© Dick van der Heijde 2022