I still remember the day back in 2014 that Eden posted a link to an album in the Heavy Blog staff group and proclaimed something to the effect of, “Guys, I honestly don’t know what to make of this thing, but I think I’m in love with it.” He was, of course, referring to Contrast, the sprawling progressive debut full-length solo album from affable French multi-instrumentalist (“multi” is perhaps a lacking term to use for someone who basically plays all the instruments) Clément Belio. That album became a quick obsession around our parts, and since then Belio has built up a respectable following. It’s been five long years though since he put out any follow-up to it though, with only his contributions in the band Itzamna serving as his sole publicly musical output.
That’s set to change next month, however, as Belio’s sophomore solo LP, Patience, is set to be unleashed upon the world. We’ll have plenty more to say about the album as a whole in time, but based on the track we are premiering today, “Alive and Well,” it is easy to hear how Belio has only widened his already grand musical scope with time. Listen to that and watch the gorgeously-vivid video directed by Benjamin Evaristo below!
Of the song and video, Belio had this to say:
It was shot in the Pyrenees, lost somewhere in the mountains between France and Spain, near my grandparents birthplace and where I literally spent all my childhood summers. I obviously insisted to shoot in nature and not in a studio for this specific track, which I chose to use as the ending of the album. Starting on a very intimate mood at first, reminding the main theme, and then closing it as gloriously as possible, but still keeping that organic vibe with the strings section, organic percussions and mountains/waterfall samples that I captured during the shooting.
It’s funny how this specific track inspired the album front cover, which inspired the music video aesthetic, which inspired the track again… My first time going full circle between the music and visuals.
I rarely find myself moved or affected all that much by music videos, but the combination of the sheer simplistic beauty of the imagery with how wonderfully it works with the symphonic grandiosity of the track itself really struck me. As for the actual music at hand, “Alive and Well” is simply huge and musically broad in the best sense, taking its central progressive pop theme and squeezing every ounce of juice and emotion out of it. It is far from the most musically-dense or complex or even best overall track from Patience, but it is the perfect synthesis and capstone to a piece of work that is positively exploding with big ideas and equally big heart.