Path of Ilya are three musicians who reside in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of France and consist of bassist André Marques, Bruno Chabert on kit and Jean-Joseph Bondier on guitar and turntables. Turntables? Heterostasis is the band’s second album and the follow-up to their eponymous debut released in early 2018. Anyway, this basic information can easily be gleaned from their Bandcamp page, along with this statement: “Path of Ilya is an instrumental trio who take you on a musical journey unconstricted by a particular style but its own”. Interesting to see if they deliver of this bold assertion.
Album opener, Kleptocratic Joe, takes part of its title from a Greek word which translates as ‘rule by thieves’, which postulates the idea of deep-rooted political corruption, where the elected members embezzle money for personal gain (surely a fictitious notion 😉 ). No idea who Joe is. The track itself is tight and funky, but edgy at the same time and immediately grabbed the attention. The guys take a couple of minutes to set the scene before moving into an atmospheric, experimental, mid-section. Once again, the pace picks up and Jean-Joseph Bondier provides a blistering solo, before the trio shift up yet another gear, this time with incisive metal riffage from the guitar and bass. Bringing the whole track together is Bruno Chabert’s precise and complex drumming. Is there more? Yes… the riffage later becomes cocooned in a sea of choirs. An impressive start and Path of Ilya have my attention!
Chronologically, Palitana Sarando opens with drones and South Asian vocalisations before the band kick in. And those flavours of the Indian sub-continent remain with the instrumentation – nifty bass and again intricate but tight drumming. A brief but tasty guitar break precedes the scratching turntables, which in turn introduces an extended, exploratory middle section. It’s an intense and demanding listen, however the band do ebb and flow, which maintains the momentum. Palitana Sarando is followed by the perhaps self-explanatory The Stoned, the Stoner and the Stonest, which despite some misgivings and the obvious musical implications, turned out to be a strong, stomping, down tuned, bluesy rocker, with numerous twists and turns along the way.
Three tracks in and the band are delivering on their statement as each track displays a different facet to their collective muse. Continuing, the delightful Flamenco infused Mambaroux is a prime example – it’s a bright and breezy, ever-shifting romp, and as might be expected, the rhythm section are on the money from the start. Guitarist Jean-Joseph Bondier’s rhythm work captures the mood, and later he delivers some stunning fretboard work. However, this wouldn’t be Path of Ilya if the atmosphere didn’t shift, and around the halfway point the track gets darker, heavier and ‘mathy’. Is there more? Yep, there’s a gritty jig to take us out.
I appreciate I’ve gone into a fair amount of detail on the tracks covered thus far, however it does confirm that Path of Ilya have firmly backed up their Bandcamp statement, and this talented trio have covered numerous genres, styles and influences, whilst putting their own indelible stamp on the music.
The final exploration into the album’s tracks is reserved for the wonderful Saltimbancos d’Amareleja. ‘Saltimbanco’ was one of the Cirque du Soleil shows which ran from 1992 to 2006. Although there are several connotations to the name, perhaps a plausible interpretation for the track might be tumbling, acrobatic street performers, based here in the northern region of Portugal, namely Amareleja. This would certainly capture the ever-changing elements of the piece. Given the title it’s not surprising there’s a Flamenco vibe, with Jean-Joseph Bondier opening on Spanish guitar, accompanied here by ‘crackling’ record sounds. Building gradually over its ten minute duration, with percussive palmas (handclapping) and light strings, which sit nicely against André Marques’ splendid, deep and guttural bass. It’s a great track and one that keeps giving – a deep synth solo, which I’m guessing comes from the bass guitar, more impressive guitar fretwork as the piece takes on a jazz-fusion feel. Are they done? No, there’s a lengthy Floydian instrumental section to take the track out…
Are they finished? Probably not, but I am…
So in conclusion, Path of Ilya have done exactly what they set out to achieve, and whilst there are a multitude of diverse elements to be found on Heterostasis, collectively they have created their own, rather unique, musical path.
01. Kleptocratic Joe (6:25)
02. Palitana Sarando (6:10)
03. The Stoned, the Stoner and the Stonest (7:19)
04. Giboulées Ahurissantes (7:37)
05. Mambaroux (7:08)
06. Saltimbancos d’Amareleja (9:46)
07. Spóros (5:25)
Total Time – 50:50
André Marques – Bass
Bruno Chabert – Drums
Jean-Joseph Bondier – Guitar, Turntables
Record Label: Independent
Country of Origin: France
Date of Release: 10th June 2023