Apairys – Ni l’ Espace, ni le Temps (2024)


I have a kind of love-hate relationship with a lot of French prog bands and that might be because they regularly opt for whimsical and less easy understandable melodies. Sometimes that goes way too far for me, but I also like it very much on a regular basis. For example, I certainly love the latest album by Nine Skies, but I am also a big fan of Nemo's music despite the fact that it is not always easy to fathom.

Why this introduction?

The album reviewed here is by the French band Apairys and the above also applies to the music we can hear on their second album Ni l'Espace, ni l'Temps. For me, it rang a bell when I read the name Saens and indeed  Benoit Campedel, who was a contributing member, turns out to be one of the founders of Apairys. The other important pawn, Silvain Goillot, is also no stranger because he was part of Maldoror. The music of Saens (I once had both CDs) often went far beyond my ability to accept and was occasionally beautiful but often impossible to follow. I have to admit that I didn't know Maldoror's music, and after listening to it I have to say it is nice but not more than that.

After many listens, I have to admit that I am quite impressed by this album. I would almost say that I listened to some kind of Nemo "light". Lots of strange transitions and passionate vocals, you have to get used to that but it's doable. It is no coincidence that Chansons come from France, it is in their French genes I guess. The guitar work is very good and there are several wonderful solos on this long album and that also applies to the keyboard work, although it should be mentioned that Goillot has a clear preference for vintage sounds.

The 13 songs form a real concept and between the long songs there are 6 short interludes with the appropriate name Interlude numbers 1 to 6. These are nice little things on guitar and keyboards that function well as small resting points between the very varied songs because that's a fact, there's a lot going on.

Opener L'Horloge is one of those typical songs with all the elements that characterize Apairys, passionate vocals, in French, some acoustic guitar, bombast, guitar solo and strange keyboard riffs. Still, in terms of melody it doesn't go as far out of bounds as with Saens and I like that much better. It has a bluesy feeling. The second longer song L'Elan de Mains is even more beautiful and contains a flashy guitar solo in which Campedel shows that he has learned a lot. Here, too, you have to get used to the way in which Apairys connects the various pieces and admittedly, I have to be in the mood for that too. Where normally I might like some streamlined music a bit more, this is a nice album to be shaken awake, just like....., yes Nemo. Still, it's all a bit less heavy than with this big brother, but they do drink from the same source and it must contain that typical French water.

The interludes are amusing and give a feeling of unity and connection and if you listen to the album in one go it is very pleasant.

Passion Astrales en Ode au Present are great songs too and I especially like the guitarsolo in the last song.

I won't discuss all the songs separately but I do notice that I find some a little less appealing as I listen along, but luckily there is the last song, Je t'atendrais deja, which means as much as I was already waiting for you. And therein lies a small problem for me, my French is too limited to be able to follow all the lyrics. I do my best and can occasionally understand words and that indicates what it is about but the subtleties are missing. Anyway, back to the music and especially the epic mentioned above, because with almost 18 minutes you can call it that. If you listen to this song loud on a good pair of headphones, you can just feel the emotion and the great interaction between guitar and keys results in a wonderful duel with nice solos halfway through the song. The build-up to this is beautiful and after the aforementioned eruption follows a beautifully sung chorus, yes they can do that too, and the song gets the ending it deserves. This song touches me very much and closes the album with the absolute highlight and I love that.

In my reviews I always try to paint a picture of what one can expect from an album, but based on my personal taste, so not objectively. I think the people who read my reviews more often have an idea of what I can normally appreciate. Ni l'Espace, ni le Temps (neither space nor time) is actually a bit outside of this and yet I think it's a nice album for which I have to sit down for a while and open up a bit. You see, I'll learn.

Is it necessary to mention a few minuses? Yes, I think so.

In a number of songs (Origines, Sept) a deliberate choice is made for slightly dissonant melodies, which means that there is a chance that listeners will drop out and the vocals are probably not everyone's cup of tea. But apparently this was no reason for me not to enjoy listening to the album repeatedly. You can do this while admiring the beautiful cover in which I can see elements from the lyrics. Nowadays I can hardly see to what extent AI has played a role here, but that doesn't matter, beautiful is beautiful.

For those who, like me, swear by CDs, you will have to wait a while. For the time being, the album can only be heard as a download or via streaming. It's a shame, but after some inquiry, it turns out that they are looking at the possibilities to release the album on CD through a crowdfunding campaign and this will be soon I heard. I'll definitely participate!


Music 80

Cover 88