June 1993 A4 40 pages
DOME: BRUCE GILBERT
& GRAHAM LEWIS -
Experimental Music of
original (last 51 copies)
Nice was a great place for French progressive rock. Indeed, Visitors, Atlantide, Shylock, Step Ahead were all formed there, as were Carpe Diem who presented a very original music with a personalised sound.
After the demise of Jocy Joyce (this band toured the French Riviera with Martin Circus, Triangle and Alice), two of its musicians - Alain Faraut (drums) and Claude Marius David (saxes) - took a share in the Monacan band Outlaws (who recorded a single at Abbey Road Studios in 1969), then later in a band called Recitall.
On his side, Christian Truchi (keyboards) formed, in 1969, the band Deis Corpus who played Jethro Tull and King Crimson covers. When Deis Corpus broke up Christian Truchi and his drummer Claude Mechard took into partnership with Alain Berge (bass) and Gilbert Abbenanti (guitars) and formed Carpe Diem. After some months, deciding to obtain a much more jazzy colour, Carpe Diem called on Claude M. David and his wind instruments. Shortly afterwards Alain Faraut was brought in to replace Claude Mechard. With this new look, Carpe Diem played largely a progressive rock with jazz or classical touches, obliged by the main composers influences: Prokofiev, Gershwin and King Crimson for Christian Truchi; Soft Machine, King Crimson, Charlie Parker and John Coltrane for Claude David.
During the following five years, the band consolidated its own sound, its own identity. Signing up with Arcane Records they recorded their debut album EN REGARDENT PASSER LE TEMPS (Arcane 913051) in August 1975. The four mainly instrumental tracks present simultaneous chorusing between the sax and electric guitar, along with splendid arrangements, they unite in harmony and tempo in a very melancholic atmosphere (much like Le Orme in Italy) where the melodic aspect is developed over the long compositions. On the contrary to many other French bands, Christian Truchi's vocals are pleasing and perfectly suited to the music, the lyrics (in French) are, very short!
Rock & Folk magazine wrote: 'Musically, one of the best debuts from a French band of this generation.' Christian Truchi tells me that he has an unreleased 18 minute version of Voyage de non retour realised in 1974 with Claude Mechard on drums. Maybe an interesting track to add to the issue of their unreleased third album (see later).
At this time Carpe Diem frequently meet Shylock, with whom they help each other (loan of material, van, etc.) and many concerts are given like the one at Grenoble in December 1975, with Ash Ra Tempel, or the famous French tour "Le Rock d'ici" organised by Crypto (the new name of Arcane) and Best magazine.
In December 1976 appeared their second album CUEILLE LE JOUR (Crypto ZAL 6403). Their quality for complex compositions, observed in the debut album, are always there, the colour and the characteristic climate of the band being perfectly preserved. The first track is Naissance, which was their first piece of their "Le Rock d'ici" performances, Divertimento was very different for Carpe Diem, a nice classical piece featuring just sax and acoustic piano (like Turning Point's Green Tranquility), and the B side consists of a long suite Coleurs whose tempo is far removed from the first LP's fiery energy.
Around the same time, their debut LP was released in Canada under the title WAY OUT, AS THE TIMES GOES BY (Sterling ST 4806), but thankfully still with French lyrics!
Determined to get the best recording conditions for their third LP, the band broke its Crypto contract due to them being offering only ten studio days for the next LP. Alain Berge took over as their new manager, and was therefore replaced on bass by Georges Ferrero, whilst Gerard Macia (guitar, violin - future member of Step Ahead) took over from Gilbert Abbenanti. This new formation recorded, between late 1977 and early 1978, all the tracks for the third LP, the recording sessions taking place in a crypt in the Nice countryside. Unfortunately, the Punk movement closed all the record label's doors for Carpe Diem (as was the case for Shylock - see Audion #12, pages 9-10), and so the band split in 1979, ironically after a 20 minute TV broadcast that was totally dedicated to them.
In the same year, the band supported the singer Jean Louis Caillat on his album LES CHIENS, but the Carpe Diem sound is not at all recognisable, because of the lyrics being all too important. After this, Christian Truchi, Claude David, Gerard Macia and Alain Faraut formed Vilain Tinin - a very short-lived band, then Truchi and David joined up with pianist/vocalist Claudie Truchi (Christian's sister) together they composed the music for the theatrical company Lou Pantaï (like Pulsar for the Compagnia du Theatre de la Satire on the BIENVENUE AU CONSEIL D'ADMINISTRATION album).
In 1982, Christian Truchi wrote the keyboard arrangements for Step Ahead's album, but being unavailable during the recording session it was his sister Claudie who played on the record.
Of all the Carpe Diem members, only Christian Truchi and Claude David have continued in the music industry, Christian as sound engineer in a music studio, and Claude, now a music teacher, had played with the African band Dady Mimbo and later Kraotal (who recorded a maxi single).
Carpe Diem left us two superb LP's which are due to be reissued by Musea in early 1994, as well as the unpublished third album. So long to wait...!
Article by Jacques Toni, edited by Steve Freeman
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