Frédéric L’Épée - The Empty Room - 2019


... a tribute to absent people ...


Maybe you don’t know his name but of course you will know one of his projects. He is the founder and guitarist of the bands Yang (present time), Philharmonie (90’s) and Shylock (70’s). But this music composer is also a solo performer. “The Empty Room” is his 9th solo album and is featuring musicians from his past and present formations. Frédéric L’Épée started to compose “The Empty Room nine years ago during a painful period of his life. The album is a tribute to absent people. This album is independently released on his own Yang Music.


Frédéric L’Épée - Electric and Acoustic guitars, fretless guitar, keyboards, sound programming, percussion; Laurent James (Yang) - erhu guitar; Nico Gomez (Yang) - bass; Andre Fisichella (Shylock) - drums; Volodia Brice (Yang) - drums; Oliver Innocenti - bayan (accordion)


In Frédéric’s own words; “This album has been built from grief to grief and took all that time to be completed. An album with music that hopefully can help people who, like me, are experiencing or experienced the loss of someone close. “The Empty Room” is about mourning, but it doesn’t make it a sad album. It is more a questioning about loss, about letting go or handling pain, about how grief can turn into a vessel of serenity and peace. Though we all have to face it one day or another, the process is different for each of us.”

The opener “Badong” sets the overall mood of the album. Most of the music has a slow pace and is full of melody. Towards the end the music is becoming more complex when the tension of the music is rising. I see this ending as the feeling of being angry ... one of the many intense feelings in the roller coaster of grief. “Inevitable Traversee” has a more relaxed atmosphere with delicate played guitar melodies. The percussion in the opening of the slow song “Descending The Slow River” has an Eastern or Asian atmosphere. I find it difficult to describe the music. Would expect this kind of music on a release of the German quality label ECM Records. A label that in particular is releasing contemporary jazz albums. “Amour Et Dissolution” is a slow song with beautiful and delicate played guitar melodies. With a duration of more than 8 minutes “Delta” is the longest track of the album. It has mysterious and repeating patterns and the tension of the music is slowly building up. The guitar is soloing over stacked layers of sampled guitar patterns. “Hymne Aux Ancetres I” is like “Hymne Aux Ancetres II” inspired by an ancient Chinese piece in tribute to Confucius. On those tracks Frederic try to imitate the Guqin, an ancient Chinese seven strings zither used in traditional Chinese music since almost three thousand years. These pieces are intriguing and atmospheric tunes. The second one has in my opinion the most Chinese atmosphere. The central piece of the album is “Treasured Wounds” that is directly linked to that painful period of Frederic’s life. Personally I think that this is also one of the highlights of the album. While listening to this album, and especially when listening to this song I had think of the work of David Torn. Please see this as a complement. This is followed by another highlight. In Mist we can enjoy beautiful guitar and fretless bass melodies. The atmosphere is a little bit more uplifting than the previous tracks. The second part of the album is also strong. Just listen to the modest played “Palle-Moi Encore” or “Souvenirs De Traversee” with it’s repetitive guitar patterns. The album ends with “Wegschippernd” a short outro with a Dutch sounding title.


Well this album that has been build around the theme of grief and the concept of loss, letting go and the handling of pain, is probably not everybody’s cup of tea. It is an instrumental album full of melancholy. But it is not a sad album. In overall it has a relaxed atmosphere. An album for a quiet evening ... remembering absent people.

author - date - rating - label

Douwe Fledderus - September 2019 -   - Yang Music