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Up And Down CD Cover
Image Musea Records 1996 
 

(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 instrumental construction.

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!

 
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