Chronique Sea of tranquility, août 2004

Quebecois progressive-fusion label Unicorn Records tosses forth a group that indulges in both styles, sometimes at once. Hailing from France, Alkemy is a promising new band, and Da 63 Projekt is a promising new album. Guitarist Aurélien Budynek also sings [in English] for this quartet of fusionaries, and while his voice isn’t amazing nor amazingly bad, some tracks may have been better off as instrumentals. Keyboard jockey Aurélie Martin cops quite a few solid lines on the dexterous end of the spectrum, but considering the band he’s playing in, some nice analog/digital synth sounds would have balanced the cartloads of electric & acoustic piano that dominate throughout. While Martin, bassist Philippe Sifre and drummer Lionel Bertrand faithfully find themselves in elliptical orbits ‘round Budynek’s lead guitar role, they demonstrate ample chops and even take moments to funk things up, as with the opener “Underwater.” Rock is the soup of the day, however, and that’s what the majority of these eleven tracks do. Cues from both Return To Forever and Dream Theater assimilate into new guidepoints on the awkwardly-titled “Sick Seekers,” which finds Martin punching in his organ sound. Bertrand’s approach is mildly Zonderrific and he & Sifre play a good chunk of the more interesting stuff, in spite of Budynek’s crunchy leads. One instrumental, “Inner Pulse,” supplies an interesting Moraz-esque keylead, and another, “Turtle Soup,” makes a swell showcase for Budyneck’s jazzified axework. In all, not bad. Not bad, at all. Let’s see what they cook up next.

Elias Granillo

Chronique Hairless Heart Herald, août 2004

Like many a good wine, Alkemy hails from Bordeaux, France. From the band's formation in 2000, many gigs followed and they finally got around to recording their debut album, da 63 projekt, in 2003 which has been released by Unicorn records in 2004.

Initially, Alkemy consisted of of a trio (vocals/guitars, drums, bass) but after a year of gigging, found a keyboard player.

da 63 projekt is an unlikely mix of jazz fusion and progressive metal, a mix Alkemy pull off with amazing ease and dexterity. All the more amazing as Lionel Bertrand (drums), Aurelien Budynek (guitars, vocals), Aureli Martin (keyboards) and Philippe Sifre (bass, background vocals) are barely in their twenties.

It is rare these days to find vocals with this style of music and jazz fusion fans may wince at the thought of of it, yet Aurelien's voice is good and unobtrusive, comparable with some southern UK coastprogger bands and goes with the flow. The sound has a north American feel with a hint of Canterbury at times. The band's stated influences of Dream Theater, Queensryche, Chick Corea Electric Band, Miles Davies and Pat Methany are all there in the sense that they are placed in a cocktail shaker then served at room temperature with an olive. In other words, the colder edge of prog metal does not affect the overall warm feeling of the album.

The funkiness of the jazzier moments spills over into the more aggressive metal sections which makes for a smooth transition but the album has an equal measure of coarse and smooth, like the extremes of 'wet and dry' paper grades, yet the music is devoid of 'rough' edges.

There are no certainties in life and a band can be here today and gone tomorrow, but if Alkemy stick together and continue the way they have started, they could well be a prog household name in the years to come.

Jem Jedrzejewski

Chronique Aural Innovations, juillet 2004

Damn... these guys really remind me of someone and I just can’t place it right now. Anyway, the band are from Bordeaux, France and are a four piece who draw influences from RUSH and Queensryche, but mix this with a more jazzy approach and take the laid back sounds of Pat Metheny and Chick Corea to balance out their sound. This is excellently illustrated by the second song on the CD, Turtle Soup. Some of the music reminds me of stuff from David Chastain’s Next Planet Please release. This is an excellent CD for those into rock-fusion with a melodic edge, despite quite heavy guitars at times. I wonder if the band are playing still, as they have not played a concert since July 2003 according to the web site???

For more information you can visit the Alkemy web site at:
Da 63 Projekt is distributed by Unicorn Records. You can visit their web site at:

Reviewed by Scott Heller

Chronique ProgNaut, juillet 2004

This album is a fusion of rock, metal and progressive jazz with some blues thrown in to get a wider range of styles to work with. Alkemy is another great addition to the growing Unicorn Records roster. They combine the best elements of the bands on that label so far with some modern metal sounds. In some ways I hear them as the vocal version of Liquid Tension Experiment with a fusion edge. For the most part the music on this cd is complex with an improvisational quality that most bands of this genre don’t explore often.

Also, for those that aren’t into vocals in this style of music, I must say that they are very well done and don’t take away from the instrumentation, Surprisingly for me, since I’m somewhat of a newbie in this genre, I think Alkemy and their debut should be talked about in bigger circles. This is another highly recommended release from Unicorn Records. Go now and buy this gem!

Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on July 24th, 2004

Chronique Progressive Ears, juillet 2004

Member: Reginod
Date: 7/4/2004
Format: CD (Album)

I'd imagine that Da 63 Projekt (d63p) by French quartet Alkemy would pique the progressive listening interests of a respectable number of music lovers. The band's bio sheet proclaims the influences of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, Chick Corea Elektric Band, Miles Davis and Pat Metheny Group.

Those influences are sifted finely through Alkemy, and perhaps channeled through the person of Aurélien Budynek. He composed all the pieces on d63p, played 6 & 7 string guitar, sang, and did the engineering and mixing as well. The other players took a hand in the arrangements and production: Lionel Bertrand on drums and percussion, Aurélie Martin on keyboards, and Philippe Sifre on fretted and fretless basses and background vocals.

Considerable time was invested in this project. Recorded in April-June of 2002 in Kind Of Studio, France, d63p was mixed over several sessions from June 2002 to December of 2003, and finally mastered in January 2004 at La Maison. The CD was subsequently released to the public on the Unicorn Records label of Quebec.

The progmetal-fusion marriage works well on d63p. With an emphasis on composition and ensemble playing, as opposed to improvisation, a sense of cohesion and discipline is evident among the band. And the good news is that these are generally well-written pieces of music. A casual listen seems insufficient to appreciate the album's depth.

I've spent a few weeks playing d63p on a fairly frequent basis (there is much music to be heard, after all) and it has held up well overall. I'm not uncritical of it; d63p is indeed a vocal album, and that may spell trouble for some listeners. Budynek is a capable but not outstanding singer, and this music needs an outstanding singer. The 8th cut, "First Person Dreamer" particularly drags a bit, due mainly to the vocals. To my ears, in a few places, there's a certain "90's rock" feel to the drumming, and the use of a certain repetitive "double-pop" on the snare (specifically on parts of "Within my Prism" and "Inner Pulse") which I have always found especially annoying. And the rhythms on d63p are indeed quite heavy. Sometimes I personally wish to hear a little more swing and subtlety, just to vary things a bit.

These criticisms are of course subjective nitpicking. Despite all, d63p has grown on me somewhat, due mostly to its compositional and harmonic sensibilities and general inventiveness. Budynek has managed to craft some pretty cool pieces of music here; "Leaving Future" has some infectious riffage, and the aforementioned "Within My Prism" has a nice Metheny-esque melody. "Turtle Soup" is a great instrumental, "Inner Pulse" fleshes out well after all, and "My Eyes" throws in several instrumental twists to make for a strong closing track.

As the saying goes, your mileage may vary concerning Da 63 Projekt. Look again at the influences and perhaps get an idea of what you'll hear, but consider that Alkemy indeed has some promise. Here's hoping that they can continue to hone their skills, because they just may be on to something.

Interview, juillet 2004

Cliquez ici pour lire l'interview.

Chronique, juillet 2004

Your first official full-length CD is an exciting time. Everything you're all about is laid out for all to hear. You've worked hard and you want everyone to like it. These are usually songs you've performed live many times so you know them well enough. Moreover, live the crowd seems to like what they hear. The only question that remains is what does the wider audience think?

Alkemy is a band from Bordeaux, France that formed in the summer of 2000 as a trio consisting of Lionel Bertrand (drums and percussion), Aurelien Budynek (guitars and lead vocals) and Philippe Sifre (bass and background vocals). As a three piece, they gigged around France and other parts of Europe. Alkemy's initial foray into the studio resulted in a seven-track demo that was circulated around. The live gigs got larger and larger and then the group added the final touch to their sound with Aurelie Martin on keyboards in late 2001. As with most bands the live gigs continued as did the writing of new material until Alkemy were able to go into the studio to record their first full length CD in 2003.

The 11 tracks on "da 63 projekt" all in the five or six minute range (other than the eight-minute closer) display a strong jazz sensibility in that there is either a general business that runs throughout the composition or an airy suspension of notes. I suppose it would be more accurate to call it a Fusion influence although sometimes it's hard to tell one from the other. I call it a jazz feel because there are many times where a song starts rolling along with a deliberate intensity and then suddenly everything moves out of the way and all you have is a little snare work and some electric piano improvisation. You can almost see the band toiling away in the corner of a small smoke filled club. That is until everyone comes back into the mix and then there is very much a rock drive happening.

Alkemy list such diverse influences as Dream Theatre, Queensryche, Chick Corea and Pat Metheny. Interestingly enough you can actually hear all these influences all deftly blended in sophisticated arrangements that start and stop on a dime. Three of the tracks are instrumentals, although it must be said that while there are vocals, all in English at that, they don't seem to overpower or even detract from the skilled musicianship. The playing really rises to the top with Alkemy. When they're rocking, the guitar is nice and crunchy and when they pull back, the dominant keyboard is always the electric piano.

Alkemy have a lot to be proud of with their first release "da 63 projekt". A well-balanced blend of progressive rock and fusion that ebbs back and forth with enough intensity to maintain your interest over and over again. Not your standard fare but just right for when you're wondering what to listen to next.

Jerry Lucky

Chronique, juin 2004

Prolusion. ALKEMY was formed in Bordeaux, France, in 2000, and "Da 63 Project" is their first official release. They also have a 7-track demo "Stockholm Syndrome" from 2001. I haven't heard it, but I think it is possible that some of the songs from there are present on this album, too.

Synopsis. Archetypes: Progressive Rock and Hard Rock. Benefactor(s): uncertain. Creeds: Art-Rock, Jazz-Fusion, and Prog-Metal. Alkemy brings together a few different styles, bravely and effectively combining them with each other, at least in most cases. Whatever one may say, their sound is firmly rooted in the second half of the seventies. I can suppose with a high degree of certainty that the band has no idea of what Black Sabbath's "Never Say Die" (1978) is about. Nevertheless, the structure of most of the guitar riffs and piano passages here have rather much in common with those on the very first album representing a union of Prog-Metal and Jazz-Fusion. This factor becomes clearly evident after multiple spins of these albums and is especially obvious on each of the three instrumentals: Turtle Soup, Leaving Future-I, and Inner Pulse (2, 5, & 10), and also on the songs On the Very Day, Sick Seekers, and My Eyes (3, 4, & 11). No, there are no derivations or direct traces of anyone's influences on "Da 63 Project"! As you know, though, the ideas are in the air, and it is hardly possible in general to avoid all of the artifacts that are forever stamped in the world's information channels. The album's opener, Underwater, and Different Looks (9) are a bit more straightforward and, consequently, less diverse and complex than the other tracks. While the Jazz-Fusion-related parts on these (and they concern only independently played instrumental arrangements in this case) are practically as inventive and diverse as those on the aforementioned compositions, the heavy ingredient is prevalent here and consists of textures typical for a classic Hard Rock. The remaining three songs: Leaving Future-II, Within My Prism, and First Person Dreamer (6, 7, & 8) are rather noticeably different from the rest of the material, which is manifested by removing improvisations in favor of composed solos and the weight of the overall sound. Both complex and hypnotic, these three possess an almost physically perceptible magnetism and are just monumental compositions in general. The music is a truly efficient confluence of progressive Cathedral Metal and Symphonic Art-Rock and is notable for a pronounced dramatics, especially in the vocals that, by the way, are excellent. Sick Seekers and Leaving Future-I (4 & 5) are marked with a touch of magic, too. It turns out that the five best tracks here are located straight at the core of the album and, thus, are the real centerpieces.

Conclusion. Some stylistic inconsistencies of "Da 63 Project", and above all I imply the presence of two Hard Rock-related numbers here, doesn't mar the overall impression that the has album made on me. It just shows that the young band is still searching for different ways of further developing their music. Alkemy's debut is one of the best albums I have reviewed for this update.

VM: June 23, 2004

Chronique, juin 2004

Neste primeiro trabalho, a banda francesa nos brinda com músicas que aborda a fusão entre o rock, jazz, fusion e hard. Eles são relativamente novos (formados em 2000) e este primeiro trabalho já mostra que eles têm um bom futuro pela frente. Gostei bastante dos interlúdios entre piano elétrico, teclados e voz. Destaque também para as guitarras mais pesadas a la Queensryche. Fiquem de olho neles.

Composição e músicas - Bom
Produção e gravação - Bom
Músicos: Bom
Arte/Encarte: Regular

Cesar Lanzarini

Chronique Le, juin 2004

Originaires de la région de Bordeaux, ils ont à peine plus de 20 ans et pourtant une sérieuse formation musicale et une étonnante maturité artistique, ce qui les a poussés à s'engager dans les chemins tortueux et exigeants des musiques de fusion. Une démarche qui n'aura pas manqué, pour notre plus grand bonheur, d'intéresser, de l'autre coté de l'Atlantique, Michel St-Père, spécialiste du genre et directeur du label Unicorn.
Métissant sans complexe un prog-métal puissant à la Dream Theater ou Queensrÿche à des influences jazzy à la Chick Corea ou Miles Davis, alKemy propose une musique tout à fait personnelle, énergique et inventive et parvient véritablement à innover dans le monde du jazz-rock. Sur une base rythmique carrée, puissante, qui groove et se donne parfois des accents funky ("Underwater"), se développe un jeux de guitare rock, incisif, précis et souvent impressionnant, épaulé par des claviers subtils aux interventions toujours pertinentes et efficaces (on sent, qu'à l'instar des grands claviéristes du Prog, la demoiselle derrière les touches possède un sérieux background classique). Le chant, en Anglais, assuré par le guitariste Aurélien Budynek est bien en place, agréable mais sans fioritures. En tant que premier album d'un tout jeune groupe, da 63 projekt est une très belle surprise. Ne la manquez pas, ils feront certainement reparler d'eux.

PJH - Juin 2004

Chronique Mood swings, juin 2004

Verdict (& Rating): Jazz Fusion meets Prog Metal (70%)

Alkemy were formed during the summer of 2000 and are based in Bordeaux, France. They consist of Aurélien Budynek (guitars), Lionel Bertrand (drums), Aurélie Martin (keyboards) and Philippe Sifre (bass). Their influences range from Dream Theater, Queensrÿche to Chick Corea Elektric Band, Miles Davis or Pat Metheny Group. From that list of influences, it won't come as any surprise that their ambition is to fuse progressive metal and jazz fusion.
"Underwater" is an uptempo beginning that sounds like a progressive version of Talisman, mainly due to the bass playing. From the description above you might have been expecting an instrumental album, but Alkemy keep things from getting too introspective by having vocals to provide a structure to their tracks. Having said that, the next track, "Turtle Soup", is an instrumental with some heavy prog metal riffing (ala Dream Theater) and slick jazz fusion soloing. "On The Very Day" has a jazz funk vibe with occassional heavier riffs 'adding colour' rather than dominating.
On "Sick Seekers" and "Leaving Future" (Parts 1 & 2) there is an oppressive dark feeling to the music. "Within My Prism" highlights that the vocals on the album fall into the OK category, but don't meet the high standards of musicianship."First Person Dreamer" is a chill out slower number. If King's X decided to 'do prog-metal' they might produce something sounding like "Different Looks". On "Inner Pulse" the band let their jazz fusion hair down and give us a surprising listenable instrumental. "My Eyes" is the expected 8:00 m:s 'epic' that meanders and weaves it way through a number of different styles and tempos to conclude the album.
When I first started to write this review, I was all set to comment how Alkemy had taken Progressive Metal and given it a twist by adding elements of Jazz Fusion. However, now I'm more inclined to switch it around - Jazz Fusion with a twist of Progressive Metal. I think that description works better and I certainly got a btter overall impression of the album when I approached it from that viewpoint.

Nigel Wilson

Chronique Tales of wonder, juin 2004

Gli appassionati di quella commistione di progressive hard-rock con sonorità jazz avranno nuovamente un motivo per gioire. Gli Alkemy provengono da Bordeaux, si sono formati nell'estate del 2000 e solo adesso sono riusciti a pubblicare questo debutto discografico per la canadese Unicorn. Le note biografiche ci informano che il gruppo è stato un trio fino al 2001 (Lionel Bertrand-batteria, Aurelien Budynek-voce+chitarre e Philippe Sifre-basso) a cui si è unito "per necessità" Aurelie Martin alle tastiere. Da moderato detrattore del genere proposto dagli Alkemy, devo ammettere che Il disco è nel complesso gradevole ed ottimamente suonato (anche se molto meno ottimamente cantato); ho apprezzato (ma sempre con moderazione) soprattutto i momenti dove la robustissima base di chitarra e basso di cui la maggior parte dei brani è dotata è inframezzata da raffinati interventi pianistici di ispirazione jazz e proprio per questo motivo ho ampiamente condiviso la scelta di inserire un tastierista nell'organico: in "Underwater", "Inner Pulse" e nella superba "Within My Prism" le partiture di tastiere e pianoforte ammorbidiscono una miscela sonora altrimenti troppo fredda ed ipertecnica. Inoltre il caso, forse, ha voluto che questi fossero anche i brani contenenti le idee migliori. Le note dolenti riguardano purtroppo le ampie porzioni di lavoro che dopo una manciata di ascolti annoiano: "On The Very Day", "Sick Seekers", "Different Looks" e "My Eyes" sono costruiti in maniera troppo rigida sul solismo della chitarra di Budynek e spesso la ripetitività e l'insistenza nella proposizione di alcuni temi finisce per infastidire.
Per un attimo ho cercato di immaginarmi questo disco privo delle tastiere, cioè come sarebbe stato suonato dagli Alkemy agli inizi della loro carriera e sono sicuro che la mia valutazione finale sarebbe stata meno positiva della sufficienza che, nonostante tutto, si meritano.
Luca Alberici

Chronique Antithetik, juin 2004

Même si c'est une misère que de ne trouver ce disque français qu'en import canadien, la musique du quartet bordelais a parfaitement sa place dans le catalogue Unicorn. Un label assez confidentiel qui aime les virtuoses à l'esprit aventureux. Ce type de projet, qui mêle progressif, metal et jazz-rock, entre autres, évoque d'ailleurs beaucoup un autre groupe du même label, Spaced Out. C'est le jeu des références qui permettra le mieux de décrire quel creuset complexe définit ce premier album : une bonne louche de UK, de King Crimson, un peu de Gno ("On the very day", et surtout ses couplets), du Dream Theater pour certaines lignes vocales… Et que le combo évoque aussi Chick Corea parmi ses influences n'est pas étonnant.
De bonnes références, mais surtout pas de la musique facile… Les quatre musiciens d'Alkemy possèdent un bagage technique de virtuoses, sans exception. Les structures sont riches, les mélodies alambiquées. Ca respire l'école de musique haut de gamme et le travail appliqué. L'originalité de leur son vient aussi de claviers presque toujours en configuration "piano" -très libres dans leurs interventions- alors que la guitare, qui évite souvent les accords simples, va souvent chercher son énergie dans le gros son metal (7-cordes en tête évidemment).
Sur ce cd, qui réussit à être très technique mais reste accessible, on trouve trois instrumentaux copieux : "Turtle soup", "Inner pulse" et l'intro de "Leaving future", des plages où les plans basse/batterie feront s'étrangler les apprentis musiciens. Les titres chantés manquent parfois de séduction, mais de jolies mélodies comme celle de "Within my prism" ouvrent la voie à une musique épanouie qui mérite une attention bienveillante.
En dehors de Gno et Kooma, la France n'accueille pas de formations aussi versatiles et inventives, et surtout révélant des musiciens brillants et exigeants. Soyez curieux et les portes s'ouvriront

David Taugis

Chronique, avril 2004

I surely talked a little two fast when I was listening to the last Unicorn's release 'Opinion' by UPRIGHT, I wrote that Unicorn records seems to be affect by a turnover toward a more Jazzier catalogue, maybe I say that because I was unhappy about the fact 'Opinion' is Jazz-rock, not more musically, not to professinnal! héhéhé. ALKEMY here, leaved an excellent progressive-hard-fusion, more, it's surely and album which should attract a lot of fans worldwide. I don't remember a french band doing this kind of music really. But leader Michel St-Père at Unicorn talk about influences from DREAM THEATER, QUEENSRYCHE, CHICK KOREA, MILES DAVIS and the PAT METHENY group. I myself found somewhere the same influences, but maybe much turn toward heavy-rock than metal and this is highly progressive in many moments as well as the basic of the compositions which change all time. Each song are somewhere more or less fusion and/or hard-rock with more progressive-rock influence on the peak times. Excellent recording this one, do not miss it.

Denis_t 04/2004, All rights reserved

Chronique Progrésiste #35, février 2004

De tous les CD que j'ai eu à chroniquer ce trimestre, l'auto production de ces jeunes et talentueux français fut la plus agréable découverte. Que les amateurs du genre ouvrent les yeux pour lire ce qui suit et qu'ils tendent les oreilles, dès que possible, pour découvrir ce premier excellent opus.
Agés tous et toutes (Eh oui! Les claviers sont assurés par un efficace doigté féminin) d'une vingtaine d'années et travaillant leurs instruments respectifs depuis la moitié de leur vie, ce quatuor nous présente ici un album pour lequel une évidente question se pose : mais que font les responsables de labels ? Ce n'est pourtant pas tous les jours que l'on rencontre de bonnes compos mélangeant Joe Satriani, Dream Theater, Steve Vai et parvenant à créer une musique néanmoins personnelle et novatrice, même si elle présente de fréquentes similitudes avec Echolyn. Ce dont je ne me plaindrai aucunement.
Si le style est clairement défini et les sonorités de chaque morceau assez identiques, ces onze titres ne lassent pas une seconde et l'ensemble de l'album est plutôt bien équilibré d'un point de vue rythmique. Le mixage et les arrangements sont d'une excellente facture pour une production maison. Quant à la technicité des musiciens, il est incontestable qu'ils maîtrisent chacun leur partie et nous proposent une heure de musique cohérente, bien pensée et efficace sur laquelle la voix du guitariste de pose judicieusement et dans un anglais crédible. Trêve de sincères dithyrambes, et comme de petites notes valent mieux qu'une longue chronique, il ne vous reste qu'une chose à faire : visitez leur site et n'hésitez pas à vous procurer ce prometteur premier disque déjà très abouti.
M'est avis que les directeurs artistiques ont intérêt à ne pas trop traîner, faute de quoi, ils pourraient s'en mordre les doigts !

Jean-Luc Smets

Chronique "The Groove" - Berklee College of Music, mai 2004

Berklee guitarist and performance major Aurelien Budynek is to be congratulated. Rumors of him being a rock star somewhere far away have been circulating for more than a year. Now, with his band aLkemy's debut album in stores (...) with bookings to boot, that rumor has become reality.
Congratulations are in order because rumors fell short. Budynek is not just in a band that gigs in France. Budynek is the lone guitarist and the lead vocalist. And he writes all the songs. Oh, and he engineered the entire album as well. So there. The secret is out : Aurelien Budynek, musician, composer, and producer, has brought a very important project to fruition. The Groove said it first.
aLkemy is a (...) fusion/rock ensemble ensemble that hints at the mysterious vibes pioneered by the Mahavishnu Orchestra, reminds us slightly of less traditional side of Chick Corea, and clearly implies that while they are aware of their existence, every track does not need to be an homage to Dream Theater. And throw in a healthy mix of Vai-tones and Tears for Fears vocal stylings for good measure.
Sound like the bastard child of an unlikely orgy ? The blend works surprisingly well, and the musicianship is no less than outstanding at times. There is chemistry here that takes time to incubate; aLkemy may prove to be a lon distance relationship that was worth maintaining. Budynek has been studying (...) at Berklee while [the rest of the band] stay based in France. The [band] is already experiences with radio interviews and autograph signings, and dates supporting da 63 projekt are already booked for this summer, which looks to be a banner era for aLkemy.
Surprisingly, the album (...) is entirely in English, and while the language barrier seems to rpevent the music from reaching its full potential lyrically, we are at no loss for imagery. Budynek's words burst wtih color and resonate with DNA, and their innate disjointedness provides a vivid stream of consciousness. The production tends to detract from the finished product; the drums and vocals are painfully dry at times. It's too bad, but their impressive artistry shines through nonetheless.
In da 63 projekt, a promising first taste of a new voice in Euro-prog, aLkemy offers a solid piece of sophisticated rock, complete with seamless modulations of the metric nature and weird cover art. These guys will only get better, so remember the name (...).

Mike Reilly

Chronique Movimentiprog, mai 2004

Un buon disco dai francesi aLkemy, ovvero Aurélien Budynek, autore di tutti i brani del CD, alla voce e alle chitarre, Philippe Sifre al basso e ai cori, Aurélie Martin alle tastiere e Lionel Bertrand alla batteria e alle percussioni: si tratta di un lavoro prog rock con alcuni limitati accenni di metal, in particolare concentrati in alcuni assoli di chitarra.

Parlando in generale questo è un bel disco, per niente strambo come sembra suggerire il titolo. Infatti, ad essere sinceri, non c’è niente in questo “Da 63 Projekt” che sia del tutto sorprendente: è un semplice album di rock progressivo ben composto e suonato. Proprio il tipo di disco che la maggior parte degli appassionati di prog possono apprezzare. Non si tratta di un album terribilmente innovativo ma la sua struttura – del buon rock suonato su una base prevalentemente jazz – è qualcosa che non si sente in giro molto spesso, comunque non come la usano gli aLkemy.

I ritmi di batteria complessi e raffinati, non eccessivamente potenti, sono la base perfetta per i dialoghi di chitarra e tastiera chiaramente ispirati al jazz su cui poi la parte vocale si innesta senza mai esagerate. All’interno di tutto questo, il basso ricuce gli stacchi tra di loro e tiene il ritmo senza però limitarsi al “compitino”, anzi decorando ogni momento del disco senza mai essere eccessivo e fuori posto.

Bravi insomma gli aLkemy, e sicuramente da ascoltare “Da 63 Projekt”.

Chronique ProgGnosis, mai 2004

In reading the bio on this French band, I was immediately taken by this description provided at the Unicorn Records site - Their influences range from Dream Theater, Queensrÿche to Chick Corea Elektric Band, Miles Davis or Pat Metheny Group. How could I not be intrigued by such a reference list. With some of my favorite artists as influnces this was bound to be a good one. After getting the cd, I found that the music had an immediate upside, and best of all, they were a band that really dedicated themselves into expanding generally accepted musical boundaries. The idea of mixing fusion and progmetal is not a new thing, bands like Planet X, LTE, and Stride are just a few of the bands that have attempted the variation of fusion, yet aLkemy really sounds like none of those bands, in fact, I am convinced that aLkemy has touched on a new genre tag altogether.

It took more than a few listens to fully appreciate the intricasies and nuances of this band's curious music. First, they do have vocals, so this gives the music a personality outside the strickly instrumental market. Second, these guys are great musicians, and really let it hang out. Third, how they have included funk, jazz, progmetal, and progrock together is truely a nice and unique take on a new progressive music. I guess the band has a debut cd as well, and now after hearing this one, I NEED to get that one I guess. I know that there are more than a few folks like myself who enjoy the wider varieties of progressive sub-genres, yet with aLkemy, you get a lot of them lumped together.

The only thing that seems suspect are the vocals, they are adequate, but don't compare in terms of talent and virtuoso as compared to the musicianship. But the good news is that the band doesn't depend on the vocals for the overall impact of the cd. And again, they are not going to repulse anybody, they do suffice and give enough of a delivery to be effective for the bands intent.

In an attempt to provide a different reference apart from the one provided by the Unicorn site, I'd compare this band to a few other bands in combination, the bass work in this band is very impressive, something that seldom stands out in a band format, so Spaced Out, becomes a comparison for that aspect. This band can also get some heavy sounds going on, so the Dream Theater reference, while a stretch, has some merit. I also hear some fantastic keyboard work, which hints at the classic progbands like ELP, Yes, etc. So now you have to use your imagination to put those pieces together and imagine this band, better yet, check out the sound files provided at Unicorns' site, or better yet, get the cd.

Chronique European progressive rock reviews, mai 2004

"Alkemy were formed during the summer of 2000 and they are based in Bordeaux, France and this is their first album. After a year playing as a power trio they soon expanded the band to include a much needed keyboard player after which they soon began to play on bigger stages and also larger venues such as the Moliere Theatre and Barbey Theatres in Bordeaux and also playing at large outdoor festivals including the Zenith Arena in Pau."
This album is a fusion of rock and progressive jazz with hints of blues. It opens quite promisingly with the lively "Underwater", with superb vocals from Aurelien Budynek; this is actually one of the highlights of this album. It has a blues edge to it with some tremendous mellow jazz rock surfacing especially from the piano. The equally special "Turtle Soup" follows but this time the electric guitar takes centre stage with the keys adding a thoughtful backdrop. Thankfully, for the most part, the nerve jarring, complex, tuneless improvisations of most bands of this genre are kept at bay, give or take a track or two i.e " Inner Pulse" and parts of "My Eyes". Other than those, this a very good melodic album as far as jazz albums go, especially the tracks "Within My Prism" and the classic "Different Looks". Also, the vocals are first rate and add to the enjoyment and quality of the whole album. Quite simply, it's one of the best jazz rock albums I've heard. It does have a slight retro feel to it and this certainly helps as it gives this album an overall melodic edge that is sadly missing from most albums of this category. This is highly recommended for fans of the melodic side of jazz rock. 80%

Chronique Ragazzi, mai 2004

Alkemy ist die jüngste Band unter den Fittichen des kanadischen Progressive Rock Labels Unicorn Records. Wieder einmal hat das Label ein feines Gespür bewiesen, Alkemy ist eine ausdrucksstarke, eigenständige Band.
Lionel Bertrand (dr, perc), Aurélien Budynek (g, lead-voc), Aurélie Martin (key) und Philippe Sifre (b, back-voc) spielen Metal-verwandten Jazzrock. Sie legen viel Wert auf technische, ultrakomplexe Kompositionen und ein etwas kühles, bisweilen überheißes Arrangement. Insgesamt sind die 11 Stücke sich nicht sehr unähnlich, die Band hat sich tief in ihre Songs eingearbeitet - und andersherum die Stücke Note für Note ausgeklügelt, bis jede Betonung, jede Harmonie, jedes Solo saß. Nicht ganz uneitel, sich so gestylt zu präsentieren. Die Einflüsse der Band reichen von Dream Theater und Queenrÿche bis zu Chick Corea und Miles Davis. Dieser Spagat macht sich in den Songs bewusst und ist hervorragend gemeistert. Die kompositorische Struktur ist zumeist dem Jazz verpflichtet, während der instrumentale Ausdruck Kraft und Dynamik aus dem progressiven Metal zieht. Trotzdem geht die Band nie zu hart vor, sondern lässt sich von den Jazz-Figuren führen. 3 der 11 Songs sind instrumental, auch in den anderen Stücken gibt es jede Menge Raum für mal improvisative, jazzige und fest strukturierte, metallische Ausflüge. Die Arrangements sind etwas trocken, gewollt trocken, das transportiert die komplizierten Rhythmen und aufwändigen Harmonien hervorragend. Überhaupt ist "da 63 projekt" sehr durchdacht, bis ins I-Tüpfelchen von strengen Musikeraugen durchforstet. Da finden sich keine Hänger oder Lücken, die Struktur ist bestens ausgefüllt.
Doch genau da liegt der Hase im Pfeffer. Die Überproduktion macht die Musik zu kalt und nimmt Dynamik und Lebendigkeit. Manche sehr ambitionierte Jazzrock-Produktion verlor schon durch alleinig technisches Kalkül. Technischer Ausdruck ist im Jazzrock Pflichtprogramm und durchaus in hohem Maße erwünscht, aber das darf keine einschränkende Wirkung auf den musikalischen Genuss haben. Im Prinzip ist das hier auch nicht der Fall. Die Musik ist gut genießbar, hat unglaublich Kraft und rockt vital. Doch etwas angestrengte Ernsthaftigkeit lässt sich vernehmen. Trotzdem: absolute Empfehlung, insbesondere für die Jazzrocker dieses Sonnensystems. Für werdende Musiker ein Paradebeispiel, wie kompliziertes Liedgut zu knacken ist.

Chronique Babyblaue - progreviews, avril 2004

"Da 63 Projekt" ist erstens ein reichlich seltsamer Titel und zweitens das Debüt einer jungen französischen Band. Sämtliche Mitglieder des Quartetts, das im Jahr 2000 zunächst als "Power-Trio" startete, sind kaum über zwanzig. Die Gruppe scheint bei ihrem Namen übrigens die Schreibung "aLkemy" zu bevorzugen.

Die unvermeidliche Schubladisierung macht mir ein paar Probleme. Alkemy bieten nach eigener Auskunft "a unique blend of rock and fusion". Der Vertrieb rät dementsprechend: File under Progressive Rock/Fusion. Fusion - das hieße, es müsste auch gewisse Jazzanteile geben. Die finden sich auf "Da 63 Projekt" aber allenfalls in homöopathischer Verdünnung, sprich: unterhalb der Wahrnehmbarkeitsschwelle.

Einige der perlenden Pianopassagen (gespielt vom einzigen weiblichen Gruppenmitglied Aurélie Martin) erinnern etwas an Lyle Mays von der Pat Metheny Group. Letztere wird von Alkemy neben Miles Davis und Chick Corea zu ihren wichtigsten Jazzeinflüssen gerechnet. Trotzdem - der Platte geht ein jazziges Feeling völlig ab. Drummer Lionel Bertrand spielt typische Rockdrums, Aurélien Buydinek lässt seine Gitarre nahezu ununterbrochen bratzen oder in rockig-rasanten Melodielinien jaulen, und der Bass von Philipe Sifre ist zwar in einigen Passagen etwas funkig, aber ebenfalls nie wirklich fusionesk. Erst recht ist der Gesang ohne jeden Jazzanklang.

Aus der Abteilung Rock zählen Alkemy Dream Theater und Queensrÿche zu ihren Anregern. Das lässt sich weit besser nachvollziehen, denn irgendwo im Schnittpunkt zwischen Heavy und Progmetal ist ihre Musik anzusiedeln. Es handelt sich um ein sehr professionell, teilweise mit beträchtlicher Fingerfertigkeit gespieltes Album (die Einschränkung "für eine so junge Gruppe" muss man gar nicht machen). Lediglich die Vocals lassen noch Wünsche offen.

Übermäßig verwickelt ist die Musik nicht. Man traut es sich kaum zu sagen, so abgedroschen klingt der Vergleich, trotzdem beißt kein Mäuschen einen Faden davon ab: Einige der Gitarrenlinien erinnern massiv an Deep Purple. Ähnlich wie Aurélien Budynek seine Riffs packt auch der derzeitige DP-Gitarrist Steve Morse das alte und neue Material der Hardrockveteranen an.

Fazit: Als Fusionalbum m.E. ein Totalausfall. Für Freunde knackiger hard- bis heavyorientierter Musik mit Progmetalanteilen jedoch durchaus eine Empfehlung. Nicht so verwickelt, dass nicht auch Non-Progger daran Spaß haben könnten, beinharten Avanthörern aber sicherlich zu simpel. Als Debüt die ziemlich gelungene Visitenkarte einer bereits recht versierten Band, die ihre größte Aufgabe aber noch vor sich hat: sich ein unverwechselbares Profil zu geben.

Chronique avril 2004

Alkemy est un groupe de jeunes musiciens français de la région de Bordeaux. Ce quatuor a la particularité d’évoluer dans un registre rock fusion progressif, un créneau encore timidement occupé au sein de l’Hexagone. Après avoir remporté le tremplin rock de Blanquefort en 2001, les artistes s’attèlent à leur premier album Da 63 Projekt qui est arrivé dans les bacs cette année, sous le label canadien Unicorn Records.

Le premier titre « Underwater » prend des allures de funk metal. Le morceau est plutôt bien fait et bénéficie d’un joli solo de guitare. Il faut attendre l’instrumental « Turtle Soup » à l’ambiance plus jazz rock pour percevoir clairement les influences progressives du groupe. Dream Theater mais aussi Toto et Steve Vai viennent alors à l’esprit. C’est l’occasion de voir que le guitariste (et chanteur) Aurélien Budynek possède une technique suffisante pour nous donner des soli tout à fait intéressants ! Le phrasé du jeune homme rappelle celui d’un Andy Timmons ou d’un Steve Lukather, et ses mélodies s’installent facilement dans la tête. Les autres musiciens ne sont pas en reste, et l’auditeur sera heureux de constater que tout ce petit monde possède un très bon niveau ! Au fur et à mesure, la musique d’Alkemy se fait plus attrayante. Les titres deviennent plus alambiqués, mélangeant pour la plupart rock/metal progressif et funk agrémentés par une couleur jazzy des plus agréables. Entre les interventions de piano très classes d’Aurélie Martin (« Sick Seekers »), les rythmes syncopés, groovy et carrés exécutés par la paire Sifre/Bertrand (basse/batterie), le chant assez bien maîtrisé, force est de constater que le groupe possède de nombreux atouts. La voix d’Aurélien rappelle celle de Steve Vai, avec un timbre un peu âpre, plutôt plaisant. Il lui manque cependant un peu de nuance et de puissance pour s’exprimer de manière optimale. La production est très bonne dans l’ensemble, mais aurait profité d’un peu plus de brillance.

Proposant des compositions de bonne facture, Alkemy montre un potentiel prometteur avec Da 63 Projekt. Il faudra surveiller ces Bordelais de près !

Greg Filibert

Chronique Harmonie magazine numéro 50

Groupe originaire de Gradignan (France), aLkemy possède un style très travaillé entre rock progressif et jazz fusion. Cette maquette présente une formation talentueuse et relativement créative, jouant à saute-mouton entre les atmosphère apparentées à Dream Theater (Underwater), Steve Vai (Leacing future, part 1) ou Toto (Inner pulse). Les diversses influences des musiciens expliquent ces originalités, et la cohésion demeure. aLkemy parvient, en outre, à éviter les morceaux trop démonstratifs, quand bien même sa musique possède un plus grand intérêt instrumental que vocal. En effet, le lukatherien Aurélien Budynek joue de ses deux cordes vocales en plus des six cordes que comportent son instrument mais semble être plus familiarisé avec l'expression guitaristique que laryngienne.
La section rythmique comporte un batteur au jeu très jazzy, un bassiste au jeu jazz-rock et une claviériste (et oui, ce sont des doigts féminins qui dansent sur les touches) plutôt classique : une alchimie fusionnelle presque parfaite ! Enfin, l'enregistrement et le mixage du disque sont également appliqués.
Ainsi le groupe, toujours à la recherche d'un label, ne devrait pas éprouver de grandes difficultés à voir da 63 projekt dans les bacs sous peu.
(note : le groupe n'était pas signé à l'époque de la réception du CD)

Chronique Koid 9, octobre 2003.

Pour leurs débuts, les jeunes français de aLkemy nous offrent un album plein de promesses !
Avec à sa tête une section rythmique dynamique et inventive, et un guitariste versatile et inspiré, le metal-prog largement teinté de fusion du groupe est passionante tout au long du disque. Une fusion largement entretenue par ses claviers qui, s'ils sont utilisés parcimonieusement, le sont toujours avec goût, et enrichissent les morceaux d'harmonies moins immédiates que celles que l'on trouve en général dans ce style musical.
Alors bien sûr, l'autoproduction manque parfois de puissance, en particulier dans les passages les plus agressifs, mais elle ne cache en rien le réel talent qui se dégage de ses 11 compositions, toutes dues au guitariste du groupe, Aurélien Budynek. On pourra aussi regretter que ce dernier pousse lui-même la chansonnette. Sa voix manque à la fois d'expression et de puissance, et l'on ne saurait trop conseiller au groupe de se mettre en quête d'un chanteur pour compléter un line up musicalement irréprochable.
Augmenté alors d'un nouveau membre, il y a fort à parier que aLkemy s'imposerait sans peine sur une scène metal-progressive française en manque de porte drapeau (surtout depuis la disparition de Regency). Quoiqu'il en soit, ce premier effort s'avère extrêmement prometteur, et devrait titiller la curiosité de nombreux amateurs friands de cette musique. Ce groupe mérite toute l'attention qu'on peut lui porter, et "Da 63 projekt" vaut le détour.

Daniel Beziz

Article "Ensemble Gradignan" décembre 2000

Le 17 novembre dernier, de jeunes Gradignanais ont fait découvrir leurs meilleures compositions devant un public enthousiaste.

Trois groupes de jeunes musiciens : ALKEMY (rock progressif), IMPACT KRONIC (rap) et TSUNAMI (ska jamaïcain) se sont produits en concert. Une spectacle très réussi où 150 jeunes sont venus bouger au rythme des instruments. Organisés une fois par trimestre par l'équipe d'animation, "ces mini-évènements sont l'occasion d'une réelle rencontre de styles musicaux" nous confie Christophe Bach, animateur des musiques amlpifiées. Platines, éclairages, décors, totu était prévu pour faire de cette soirée un évènement mémorable. Grâce à ces manifestations, les rappeurs, rockeurs et autre chanteurs se sont confrontés à un public de leur âge, seul jury du travail effectué durant le reste de l'année. Mieux qu'un passe-temps, la pratique musicale permet aux jeunes de s'investir totalement dans une activité et de se retrouver à la MJC, chaque samedi pendant 1h30, le temps d'une répétition. Des projets pleins la tête, l'équipe d'animation du Bourg fait découvrir aux jeunes, depuis 5 ans, le son de ces musiciens au travers de concerts. Autre projet en cours : l'édition d'un CD, en 2001, qui réunira plusieurs groupes de la MJC, de styles différents. Rendez-vous le 28 avril 2001 à 14h00 à la MJC Bourg, pour le festival "LES SENS DU SON" afin de découvrir de nouveaux titres musicaux.