Iris (France) - Crossing The Desert

edited August 1 in year-1996

Iris is the instrumental prog rock brainchild of Sylvain Gouvernaire of Arakeen and Casino fame.

Iris (France) - Crossing The Desert
ARTIST: Iris (France)
ALBUM: Crossing The Desert
LABEL: Self Released
YEAR: 1996

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image image
LINEUP: Sylvain Gouvernaire - guitar, piano, keyboards * Pete Trewavas - bass * Ian Mosley - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 War * 02 Indian Dream * 03 Train De Vie * 04 Memory Of Eagle * 05 Tap on Top * 06 Obsession * 07 Crossing The Desert * 08 Ocean Song



Iris is the instrumental prog rock brainchild of Sylvain Gouvernaire of Arakeen and Casino fame. First off, before we delve any further, I have to say, for an independent release this has great production values giving the album a really full sound. It's obvious that this has not been put together on the cheap.

The Songs

The album begins quietly with 'Indian Dream', which has a film soundtrack quality with its slightly ambient feel. However, when Sylvain's guitar makes its first up-front appearance, it becomes a whole different animal - a sprawling piece of 'classic sounding' prog rock. This track really is Sylvain's piece, the guitars right at the fore in Steve Hackett fashion. I'm guessing that the ex-Genesis man has been an influence, as Gouvernaire's style of playing has definite similarities.

Also leaning towards an epic prog sound, 'War' proves to be another of the album's high points. I hear elements of IQ here, which is never a bad thing. The big draw with this number though is definitely the spot-on performance in the rhythm department from Marillion's Mosley and Trewavas. The drum style here is what I call 'classic Mosley', as it's unmistakable.

'Train de Vie' captures the band in full flow and Gouvernaire, Trewavas and Mosley seem very much at ease when playing together. The arrangement here is far more in common with jazz-rock fusion than prog rock. Sylvain's guitar playing here is far more aggressive and although it's excellently played he seems to lose out against a very frantic rhythm section.

It's been a while since I've heard Pete Trewavas play bass like this, it's like he's grown some extra fingers! Mosley attacks his kit and he's very much at home playing within a jazz-rock frame (for more proof, check out his 'Postmankind' project with Ben Castle). For me, it's probably the album's title track which works best of all here. At over ten minutes, it's another lengthy piece, but it's a great showcase for both the Mosley-Trewavas rhythmic partnership and the lead work from Gouvernaire, which makes good use of light and shade.

In Summary

'Crossing The Desert', as an album, although instrumental, has enough variation between its eight pieces of music to hold the listener's attention. Definitely one which should appeal to most fans of the genre - and maybe a few other people too. For further information, merchandise etc, check out the website.

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