Black Noodle Project, The - Dark & Early Smiles,
When I was first in contact with Jérémie Grima back in 2005 I wasn’t aware that he had already released an album under guise of The Black Noodle Project called ‘Dark smiles..”, but it was really a collection of demos to gain the attraction of record labels. It did the job as he was soon working with Musea and put together a proper band to record the music, and hence their album ‘And Life Goes On..’ was released. Fast forward a few years and it was felt that the time was right for a double disc compilation of the demos that formed that album plus more, so the result is a two CD set of cuts from 2003 – 2005. One has to say that they do not sound at all like rough versions as these could all have been released in their own right. Back then I asked Jérémie what his main influences were, and as well as citing the obvious Pink Floyd he also pointed to The Gathering and to movie soundtracks. He stressed that he wanted to be thought of as a musician that could use just a few notes to convey emotion as opposed to thousands and mentioned Slash and Tommy T. Baron (from Swiss metal act Coroner).
As with all of TBNP’s albums, there is a wash of symphonic keyboards a la Floyd but the guitar cuts right through all of it in an extremely heavy manner, providing a dynamic all of it’s own. It may be too rocky for fans of Floyd, but for me this really hits the mark. This is prog with a passion, and this should not be viewed as a set that is only of interest to those who are already fans but instead is a great way to start listening to them as these two discs show a band that even in their very early days were hitting the ground running. These guys are easily my favourite current French prog act.www.theblacknoodleproject.com