Renaud Louis-Servais Group – Epic Circus

Renaud Louis-Servais Group - Epic Circus

French guitarist and composer, Renaud Louis-Servais and his group return this year with their sophomore full-length titled “Epic Circus,” an album which sees the band pushing the hard-edged fusion sound even further after the previously released “Iluna” (2011). With only bassist Henri Dorina taking part for the second time in the group’s line-up, “Epic Circus” features contributions from drummers Virgil Donati and Aurel Ouzoulias, and keyboardists Philippe Saisse and Christophe Cravero.

Comparing “Epic Circus” with “Iluna” instantly brings the term “progress” on mind, what is witnessed through a strong fusion-y feel and powerful rock rhythms. Every track on the record confirms Louis-Servais’ guitar proficiency. The player shows that he is one of the most underrated guitarists on the scene, but his form hints that there is plenty of space for the further progress and recognition.

Epic Circus” starts with an emotional guitar solo on opener “Carry’n” that carries on towards the end, accompanied with acoustic power chords, distorted bass and pulsing rock rhythms, which together send a signal of intent about the album. “Freedom” as its name suggests, is more free in spirit, and is adorned with mathematically precise rhythm section and Louis-Servais’ electric guitar solos that build on powerful acoustic guitar power chords. The song includes keyboardist Philippe Saisse for the first time on the album. Being employed on Fender Rhodes, Hammond organ and piano, he opens it for Renaud’s one of the many blissful moments.

The title song, with its over six minutes, is a showcase of masterful performance by the band. It features Virgil Donati on drums, who gives it what is known for- the sense for making a drum kit speaks, rather than providing patterns that fill the space on a content-demanding piece. The song indeed gives away a feeling of being in a circus, where in any given moment something’s going on; there is no time for rest, and the band does it all with a feeling of smoothness.

Long Breath” with its laid back vibe offers the other side of the band’s unpredictable arsenal of tricks- a performance that is emotional, rather than technical. The technicality however is not absent; the group knows their way of touching one’s heart by masterfully camouflaging their prowess.

Zaku Patatu” is the only number on the album that is credited to Philippe Saisse as a composer. It features keyboardist on vocoder, while changing keys from mini-Moog, Hammond, Wurlitzer, and Clavinet. The seventh tune “All Minor Blues” is a piece that pushes the creative envelope of the group to new levels; Louis-Servais once again masterfully demonstrates his definition of jazz-rock, fusion and blues in the mix, although artfully refined to maximise melody and lyricism.

Techno City” is the second track, out of two, that features Virgil Donati on drums, who also signs it as an arranger. The tune embraces the technology by parts that are programmed by Louis-Servais, but with still present grooving fusion vibe.

Epic Circus” is a record that has a lot to offer; it proves that after two strong releases under his belt, Renaud Louis-Servais has evolved to a point where the sky is the limit. The combination of musical personalities has a stability and power that is all too rare. Seeing this all live? Invaluable experience.

The album is available from iTunes, Amazon and Deezer. Upcoming concert: RLSG _ Sept. 19, 2015 _ Sunset Club, Paris, FR


01. Carry’n
02. Freedom
03. Epic Circus
04. Long Breath
05. Zaku Patatu
06. When You Got Nothing
07. All Minor Blues
08. Techno City
09. The Beauty of Life


* Renaud Louis-Servais – guitars, compositions
* Virgil Donati – drums
* Aurel Ouzoulias – drums
* Philippe Saisse – keyboards
* Christophe Cravero – keyboards
* Henri Dorina – bass


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