(13 April 2003) The most recent album by Luc Marianni was recorded under
the moniker 'Seltae Beat' and is a progressive epic
entitled Up And Down (Musea (France) FGBG 4185.AR,
1996). Although released as far back as 1996, it is a
timeless work with as much appeal today as when originally
released. A keen Renaissance Mk I and Yardbirds fan,
Luc also writes of their work in today's music media.
Seltae Beat is fronted by the lovely Caroline Crozat as
their lead vocalist. In addition to writing credits that
he shares with Paul Putti, Marianni provides a significant
contribution as the outfit's keyboard player. The lineup
is completed by Pascal Mulot (bass), Erci Cougand (drums),
Gilles Fegeant (guitar), Patrick Rondat (guitar), and Denis
Vendermeersch (acoustic guitar). Up And Down remarkably
clocks in at precisely one hour--60 minutes exactly!
Up And Down is a classic progresive concept album
with a story that plays out on an oil rig in the future.
Gently arranged the lyrics alternate between several languages
with the majority of the sung parts presented in English.
Further information on the storyline has been covered in
earlier reviews in both printed and internet media. While
the individual songs are appealing, it is the collection
of progressive material and stunning vocals that makes the
album most appealing.
Influences are multi-faceted but rooted in artists'
prior influences. Caroline Crozat is a superb vocalist,
with power and emotional delivery reminiscent of Tracy
itchings but with a broader and more crystalline range
that some might equate to Annie Haslam at times. Layered
vocal harmonies add texture in chorus structures of
several of the songs. While the material is clearly
progressive with rocking bits and tempo changes that
one expects, jazz influences both in songwriting and
As the 1990s came to a conclusion progressive music
began to include more significant metal edges. Marianni
took advantage of this through contributions of Patric Rondat
who is also known for is for metal work. But on Up And
Down, this only emerges in spots; it never dominates.
The lush keyboard textures, more reminscent of classic
progressive bands are more pronounced with guitar work
shining in the solos and echoing melody traditionally.
A variety of musically derived sound effects contribute
to the delivery of the storyline.
Highlights of the album clearly are the writing and
keyboard contributions of Luc Marianni and the stunning
vocal work of Caroline Crozat. Her soaring evocative
French-accented voice is immediately appealing. The
material's recurring musical themes make the album work
as a whole--with repeated listens these become even
more pronounced and enjoyable. We especially enjoyed
the album's production and treatment of Caroline's
vocals which ride atop the instrumentals and are never
outweighed by them. The vocalise parts only further
illustrate her virtuousity.
Read further reviews, listen to soundbites and order
the album at amazon.com
here. While Caroline Crozat has remained active musically
(our feature on the singer is planned for publication
during 2003) since the
Up And Down album with a
variety of projects, our curiousity why further albums
by Luc Marianni's Seltae Beat did not emerge remains.
Clearly worth a trans-Atlantic journey, this album is
a must listen!