Formed between 1979 and 1980, this French combo of friends and relatives had regular everyday lives, complemented by an amateur pursuit of music. A previous musical project, the folk group "Temple Ghost", formed the core of the new group, with members Jean-Paul Ansart (keyboards), Dominique Flachon (guitar), Didier Chas (drums) and Gilles Baud (guitars, bass). They were joined in the new group by Gilles Escoffier, on guitars, and Jean-Paul Ansart's wife and Gilles Baud sister, Bernardette Simonet, on piano. Influenced by groups like Ange, King Crimson and especially Pink Floyd, the new group chose the name Emeraude, a word reporting to a primordial esoteric tradition. The group's goal was to produce an album by themselves which they could leave as a legacy to their children.
With a bit of devotion (the band rehearsed at night after their hard days of work) and a good savings plan, they gathered enough money to rent a studio and record their compositions. So, on August 1981, their debut album Geoffroy, a wonderful display of space-folk, featuring two long compositions and three smaller ones, a sample of the dozens of compositions the band had penned. The album had a limited pressing, with the existing copies being sold by the band members themselves.
The recording of the album was followed by the departure of Gilles Escofier and Didier Chas, who were replaced by Bruno Catz and Guillaume Roatta, the latter being replaced months later by Eric Bollaro. This was the outfit that spent 4 years touring, between 1982 and 1986. During those years, the band also recruited singer Guy Marro. They played new compositions, featuring several music directions, as well as parts from the album Geoffroy. In the Spring of 1986, the group decided to call it quits after a great concert in Nice, and each member went its separate way, despite remaining close friends.
By the year 2000, Gilles Baud was playing with the blues band "Crossroad", when he showed some of EMERAUDE's masters to fellow band member Eric Delzard. The duo decided to revive the name EMERAUDE, and thus recruited an array of musicians for the recording of Voyageur, an album made by 10 medium length pieces, more rock-oriented than Geoffroy. Gilles Baud was responsible for the musical arrangements, while Jean-Paul Ansart contributed with the lyrics.
Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars It's a pretty cool story as to how this album came about as a group of friends and relatives got together to make an album for their children, doing this after work as they wrote the songs and practised while saving money for the studio time. This was released in France in 1981 with a dark and mysterious album cover and the music to match. This is very much a Prog-Folk album that is very sad sounding with melancholy throughout. The vocals are almost spoken and the music is fairly straight-forward sounding with little in the way of breakouts, and I love it.
"Boule De Plute" is the 4 minute opener as laid back piano greets our ears to start before it turns fuller before a minute. Such emotion here and i'm not sure why. A child starts to speak words in French 1 1/2 minutes in and when the words stop, drums then guitar lead the way as it continues to flow slowly and beautifully. Vocal melodies and bass late. "Pluie" is 1 1/2 minutes of instrumental work as acoustic guitar leads the way.
"Viking" is next at 12 minutes and I should mention here that the band were fans of Prog bands like PINK FLOYD and KING CRIMSON hence we get a couple of long tracks here. Male vocals to start as the music comes in. He then pretty much speaks the words as he tells the story of the Vikings in English. "The night was as bright as day, it was raining, it was storming, thundering but the sailors were not afraid". We get this steady beat with guitar and bass helping out. I like when the keyboards come in as it all comes across as understated. The tempo does change at times as it trips along with vocals coming and going in a relaxed manner. I like when it picks up after 5 1/2 minutes with the throbbing bass and upfront yet relaxed guitar. Such a cool tune. "Geoffroy" is the 16 1/2 minute epic. Back to the French vocals here as he sings in a reserved way with guitar to match. I like the spacey synths 9 1/2 minutes in and the guitar solo before 11 minutes that goes on for well over two minutes as the song continues to drift along. Just gorgeous. "Duo" is the short 1 1/2 minute acoustic guitar instrumental.
A very solid 4 stars for this special album. I'll treasure this one.
1. Boule de Plume (4:06)
2. Pluie (1:26)
3. Viking (12:02)
4. Geoffroy (16:30)
5. Duo (1:23)
Bernadette Simonet - piano
Jean-Paul Ansart - keyboards, lyrics
Gilles Baud - bass guitar, guitars, vocals
Dominique Flachon - guitars
Gilles Escoffier - guitars
Didier Chas - drums, percussion
Yann Baud - vocals (1)