Dawn Of Light
Hidden Movie
Somewhere In July
Viva La Revolucion
Twim Dam Do
Memory Of Love
Mecanique Du Temps
Sleeping Beauty
03.10.2007 • CD • C.Zen Prod • CZP 2007092807614
• CD • C.Zen Prod • with limited interview disc (CD-R • AKH Records • AKH 10071-2)

Music composed by Francis Rimbert.

"Mecanique Du Temps": F. Rimbert, P. Rondat, P. Pelamourgues.
"R.B.F.": F. Rimbert, P. Pelamourgues.
"Twim Dam Do": F. Rimbert, P. Pelamourgues, Angy Line.

Featuring: Patrick Rondat, on "Apocalypse" and "Mecanique Du Temps".

Vocals: Lina Panova, on "Memory Of Love".

Recorded at Studio Frédéric.

Mixed by: P. Pelamourgues.


Even though he's mostly known for being a key musician for Jean Michel Jarre since the 80s, Francis Rimbert has also composed his own music since 1979.

Snap Shots is his latest album (released October 2007), and unlike some of his older albums, this is an artistic work based on his personal experiences, rather than work for hire. Snap Shots offer 11 tracks of mostly instrumental electronic music.

The album opens very strong, with three excellent poppy tracks (Dawn of Light, Victory, Hidden Movie) that have nice melodies and lively production; Dawn of Light is quite bombastic, as an overture, with Patrick Rondat on electric guitar and a female synth soprano creating interesting contrasts. Victory is perhaps the classic track of the album, with an irrestiable main theme and a very Jarre-esque bassline. Hidden Movie is quite cinematic (hence it's title), and features sounds and influences from jazz, orchestral soundtracks and Spain, while being contained in an electronic soundscape. So far, I am impressed.

The next track, Somewhere in July, breaks with the upbeat electronic mood that has been established, as it's mainly a piano, trumpet and (electronic) harmonica piece. However, the relaxed loungy atmosphere works well once you get into the track. Rimbert wanted to reflect the various emotions you go through in a day, so after work you'd want to wind down, and this track, with less electronic emphasis, serves it's intended function. It would not be misplaced on Jarre's jazzotronica album Sessions 2000. (Out of curiosity, I sent an MP3 of Somewhere in July to one of the world's finest harmonica players, Sigmund Groven, who commented about the harmonica part; "This is very surprising for being synthesized harmonica. Both the playing style, vibrato and phrasing sounds quite natural. The harmonica is one of the most difficult instruments to replicate electronically because it's a very personal instrument, but this is among the better I have heard." Sigmund Groven is the harmonica's answer to Jarre, so a statement like that counts!)

Viva la Revolucion sounds to me a bit too much like Harold Faltermeyer of the 1980s, and the song's composition and structure isn't top notch either. Twim Dam Do is another "acoustic" piece with piano and guitar, and a women singing the nonsense words of the title. Quite relaxed and sweet, but nothing important, and more Richard Clayderman than serious electronica, to be blunt.

Then follows two bigger-scale tracks; Memory of Love starts in a dramatic way, and is a slightly darker and cinematic, with female words and chants adding nice sonic and contextual layers. The track does not quite reach the proposed climax, but the production is nice and more epic than the other tracks on the album. Apocalypse follows in the same darker vein, and sounds a little like Pink Floyd, with it's slow orchestral rock influences. This track shows Rimbert's best overall compositional skill on this album, as it's focus is more on structure than melodic moments and beats. Electric guitar (by Patrick Rondat again), brass instruments, synths and drum programming (sounding quite organic and live) work very well together.

Mecanique du Temps blends Serge Blenner-esque orchestral samples with synths and Rondat's hard rock guitar, and it all works out a little simple, until the last minute, when some cool guitar and synth arrangements are introduced. Unfortunately, too little and too late to save the entire track.

The last conventional track, Sleeping Beauty, features electronic strings, oboe and synths, and inspite it's soundtrack-like quality (I do enjoy orchestral movie soundtracks) the melody becomes a little too much Clayderman again, with traces of Kitaro. The final track of the album is the opposite; R.B.F. is a highly rhythmic techno/dance influenced track with anthemic melodies and a very cheerful production. Perhaps thought of as an encore to a concert or sport event theme? The melody is too simple and the track soon gets annoying, with it's hyper production and early 1990s synth sounds. I consider this track almost a remix, added to the end of the album as a bonus, but not part of Snap Shots musically. As one of the many emotions one might experience in a day it fits the concept, but I think the dance urge could have been released with more subtlety.

The album no doubt reflects Rimbert's strong musical and sound design skills, and there is no wonder why he's Jarre's trusted "partner in crime". But I feel the album lacks some overall cohesiveness or structure. And there are perhaps too many half weak compositions to fulfil the promises from the first three or four tracks. There is a handful of excellent or good tracks, but another handful does not live up to the potential that Francis Rimbert puts on display. The album is also quite traditional, and reminds me of Jan Hammer albums of the 80s and early 90s, and mid-90s Tangerine Dream (but with better sound engineering). I was hoping for something a little more contemporary or innovative, so maybe I just had my hopes up too much.

Rating: 7 of 10

30.10.2007. Glenn Folkvord / Origo Sound