[Review] Gabriel Keller – Clair Obscur

Gabriel Keller is a French poly-instrumentalist in love with the sounds of bands such as Pink Floyd and The Beatles, which inspired him in his debut album. Titled “Clair Obscur” it contains 10 tracks that mix Prog Rock, Pop with a lighter first part and a darker second part just as the title describes. The opening track “Tumulte” is characterized by an intro with atmospheric sounds and a sweet guitar arpeggio, a track that increases in intensity with the flow of the munuti. With the entry of the rhythmic session, the melodies develop with fine interweaving of guitar and keyboards in a musical crescendo that accompanies us to the finale with good solo inserts. The following “Time” mixes the more Pop traits with the soft Prog ones, with a good mix of guitar and keyboards on which Emi B‘s vocal stands out. In the central part it increases the intensity with good instrumental phrasing and an orchestral background, the vocal for the last verses and the track closes gently. “Train To Resolution” is a mainly acoustic track, with a dreamy atmosphere made of guitar arpeggios and the sweet vocal of Emi B. In the central part a soft drumming enters and the track ends with a musical crescendo and fine electric guitar inserts at the end. A good mix between guitar and keyboard develops “Open Arms” which always sees the participation of Emi B on the voice, who interprets the song with passion. A good guitar solo in the central part enhances Gabriel‘s technique, and the song with the return of the vocal accompanies us at the closing. More melancholic in the atmospheres of the previous ones, it is a passage full of pathos with an excellent songwriting. Sung in French “Melancholia” and an intense vocal interpretation by Charlotte Gagnor, it is a melancholy and sweet track at the same time. Skilled the artist and create this combination of emotions, with deep bass lines and good melodic interweaving of guitar and keyboards. The piano and the orchestrations characterize the intro of “Sonate Au Clair Obscur” which develops with a change on sounds that mix classical music with the hardest Rock. the rhythmic session is enriched by continuous tempo changes with accelerations that almost touch Metal, while the intertwining of Heavy guitars and Symphonic orchestrations is of exquisite workmanship. an instrumental track well composed and performed with the choral vocal and the excellent piano textures of Clément Barou which turn out to be an added value. Always on harder sounds “Nothing Human” in which the voice Maïté Merlin participates, is characterized by a darker atmosphere than the previous ones. The combination of Metal and softer strokes is good, with an intense guitar solo in the central section, which also extends into the second part. the guitar riffs are heavy and well structured and the rhythm session solid with great tempo changes. “Out Of My Life” has harder and harder traits, with granite guitar riffs and the excellent vocal interpretation of Maïté Merlin, creating a track that mixes Symphonic Metal and Prog with ease. The tempo changes and the intertwining between the guitar and the keyboards are remarkable, with heavier parts that intertwine with the symphonic openings, for a track in continuous evolution, very engaging. Metal-inspired “Honey” with an excellent duet of distorted guitars and a fresh and modern vocal interpretation by Marine Poirier. A song that follows the most recent sounds of Prog Metal, showing how the artist is skilled in exploring all the facets of the genre from the softest to the heaviest ones like these. Solid and intense, enriched by tempo changes and winning electric guitar riffs, with a good solo insert in the finale. The album closes with the shorter track “Accalmie” characterized by guitar arpeggios that are intertwined with a deep bass, guiding us to the end of this pleasant listening. An excellent album that we could divide into two parts, the first more Pop and soft, the second that in a musical crescendo reaches the Prog Metal of the final tracks. A very intense listening that enhances the techniques of the artists involved and the compositional skills of Gabriel. Recommended for all lovers of modern Progressive sounds, an escalation of emotions and an excellent journey that starts with Pop Prog and ends with Prog Metal.


01. Tumulte (Feat. Charlie Henry) (03:26)
02. Time (Feat. Emi B) (05:01)
03. Train To Resolution (Feat. Emi B) (04:27)
04. Open Arms (Feat. Emi B) (05:12)
05. Melancholia (Feat. Charlotte Gagnor) (03:50)
06. Sonate Au Clair Obscur (Feat. Clement Barou) (06:42)
07. Nothing Human (Feat. Maïté Merlin) (05:35)
08. Out Of My Life (Feat. Maïté Merlin) (06:50)
09. Honey (Feat. Marine Poirier) (04:44)
10. Accalmie (02:58)


Gabriel Keller / Guitars, Percussions, Bass, Backing Vocals
Lucas Biguet-Mermet / Drums (1, 6, 7, 8, 9)
Simon Rebuffat / Drums (2, 3, 4, 5)
Charlie Henry / Guitars
Clément Berthie / Guitars
Anthony Barbier / Guitar solo (4)
Marius Marin / Guitars (9)
Lucie Lacour / Cello, Backing Vocals
Emi B / Vocals, Backing Vocals
Anne-Marguerite Solt / Backing Vocals
Charlotte Gagnor / Vocals, Backing Vocals
Marine Poirier / Vocals, Backing Vocals
Maïté Merlin / Vocals
Julien Mailland / Bass
Clément Barou / Piano
Jean Charles Montibert / Strings arrangements
Quatuor MajusculeS / Strings
Jérôme Aubernon / Solo Violin (6)
Sos Section / Brass Section (8)
Pierre Lagache / Brass arrangements (8)

Gabriel Keller |Official Website|Bandcamp|Facebook Page|Instagram|Spotify|YouTube Channel|

Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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