Band: Robert Beriau
Band Website: www.robertberiau.com
Label: Beriau International Records
Release Date: 2008
I always appreciate having artists get in touch because it’s amazing to hear the variety of music that is actually being produced, particularly in the world of independent artists. Sometimes they may be a little to commercial and other times maybe just a little too experimental, but it’s usually pretty interesting. Somewhere in the middle of those extremes is the new release from French-Canadian Robert Beriau, a progressive artist who chooses to display his mission in plain sight. By that I mean Beriau has chosen to make a $2 donation to charities to prevent violence against women and to homeless shelter organizations for every copy of his album bought or downloaded; commendable to say the least.
The album, Selfishness: Source of War & Violence as the title amply suggests is a very socially conscious disc of ten compositions, five of which are instrumentals and the other five dealing lyrically with a number of society’s ills. The songs can be short and too the point such as “Rats Leave the Sinking Ship” [4:05] or long and meandering such as “Hoping on the Next Generation” [10:28]. The music itself is an interesting mix and I hear three distinct influences: the vocals and general tone have a very Peter Hammill and Van Der Graaf Generator feel, then there are some softer acoustic moments that betray a little early Genesis and then some of the atmospherics hold a little Pink Floyd feel. It’s an interesting mix for sure, with compositions going from aggressive metal-tinged moments to softer orchestrated symphonics. There is a certain angularity to Beriau’s compositional style, that creates a kind of hesitant expectation over these tracks, and many times there isn’t the kind of resolution you might expect. The listener is left hanging, which isn’t bad and does create a unique writing style.
This is Robert Beriau’s second solo release, his first being the 2005 Falling Back to Where I Began. In addition he played on Qwaarn’s Aberrations. He handles most of the instruments here including bass, flute, guitars and keyboards but has assistance from Catherine Denis Gagnon (vocals #9), Elad Fish (drums) and Lee Levin (drums). If you are looking for something along the VDGG vein, something a little different, I’d urge you to check out Robert Beriau’s Selfishness: Source of War & Violence.