Lurking in the shadows of Auvergne a few twenty years ago, this musical project has changed
many times for finally returning on its original grounds and coming out of the woods to occur in
Grandval, that’s progressive rock sung in French, even if the label evilly sticks to the hair bug!
One would be rather closer to “crossover prog”, so many pop, AOR, psychedelic, post-rock and
others elements being mingled with tracks that are never really “stocky” nor “epic”…
In that sense, one finds the influences of bands such as Porcupine Tree, Pink Floyd (Meddle
period), Styx, Gong, King Crimson, Asia, Beatles, and so on, to form a distinctive identity.
The name Grandval is itself charged with meaning: associated to nature, it indicates two places
in French Auvergne, as well as a big figure of the Resistance during Second World War. Lastly,
it plays on the obscure origin of the surname of the “alpha” wolf who leads the pack…
Focusing on French lyrics, A ciel ouvert… talks about nature (the true one and the human – too
human – one…), animals (wolves in particular), war, madness, love, difficulty of living in and of
thinking this world, all of which in a poetic and colorful language (inspired by French artists and
bands such as Ange, Atoll, Lazuli, Mona Lisa, Naos, Nemo, Michel Polnareff, Hubert-Felix
Thiéfaine, Gérard Manset…). Without being conceptual, the album has a guiding light, with
varied musical touches and atmospheres.
Musician for years, Grandval returned in Auvergne to finalize his project. Player of the musical
scene in Clermont-Ferrand during the Eighties and Nineties within bands like Keops, Fragile,
Taliesyn, Fracture or Street Rats, he somewhat broke away the musical world to devote himself
to sociology, edition of books and reviews, and so on, allowing somewhat necessary time for
the emerging of and the vital need for such a project.
On A ciel ouvert…, his first record ever, he sings all vocal parts, plays bass, acoustic and
electric guitars, keyboards and programming. To bring the album necessary complementary
colors, Grandval has brought some brave wolves together.
First of all, he chose “La Vallée” Studio (quite normal, you may say, for someone who likes
Auvergne, wolves and Pink Floyd…) to complete drums recording, redo some instrumental
parts, sing all the vocals, and finally mix the album.
Martial Semonsut (Marshmallow, Lorlanj, Yvan Marc…), a professional drummer, is behind the
kit for seven tracks. Involved in other projects (Snowy Owl, Hiver Pool), he brings an amazing
musical diversity from his studio located in Chambezon (43).
Then, the album could benefit from the involvement of four famous guitarists who had the
kindness to bring their know-how, energy and availability on six tracks. Jean-Pierre Louveton
(JPL, Nemo, Wolfspring) has posed his formidable guitars on two tracks (“Entendre les
engoulevents” and “A ciel ouvert”), leading them to an additional soul dimension. Steph Honde
(Hollywood Monsters, Paul Di’Anno) appears on two titles (“Crevé les nuages” and “Aktion T4”),
distilling particularly incendiary notes on the second one. Kevin Serra (Kevin Serra, Quantum
Legacy) brings its multiple sources of inspiration and technical playing on “Jongleur des 4
Vents”. Last but not least, Colin Tench (Colin Tench Project, Corvus Stone, The Ministrel’s
Ghost) slides subtle atypical waves on “Comment les loups changent les rivières…”.
Mastering has been carried out in Lisbon by Cris de Almeida. This stage was particularly
monitored in order to emphasize as well as possible the spatial dimension of the music, the
delicate touches of production, and avoid the participation in the exponential “Loudness War”
in musical industry.
Add to that a 12 pages in-depth booklet, a splendid cover photograph by Fabien Monteil
(http://fabienmonteil-photographies.blogspot.fr/) and a wonderful logo designed by Stan W. Decker
(http://www.stanwdartworks.com/), and you will get an outline of the almost 52 minutes musical
landscape produced by Grandval for Vallis Lupi…q