Present are a Belgian ensemble formed by guitarist/composer Roger Trigaux. In 1974 Trigaux co-founded the chamber rock group Univers Zero with drummer Daniel Denis. Trigaux left Univers Zero in 1979 to form Present with pianist Alain Rochette. Denis played in both Univers Zero and Present. Bassist Christian Genet played on the band's first LP, Triskaïdékaphobie (fear of the number 13), recorded and mixed between January and May 1980 and released later that year by the Atem label. Ferdinand Philippot played bass on the second LP, Le Poison Qui Rend Fou (the poison that causes madness), which was recorded in late January and early February of 1983, but due to label and touring difficulties, did not see release until Cuneiform Records head Steve Feigenbaum heard a tape of the album and decided to issue it on his imprint in 1985. Meanwhile, the bandmembers had gone their separate ways, with Present existing only as a duo project, featuring Trigaux and percussionist Pierre Narcisse, that recorded an unreleased demo in 1986.
After being dormant for years, Present was re-formed by Trigaux in the mid-'90s; subsequent lineups have included some of the band's original members as well as Roger Trigaux's son Reginald on second guitar and expat American drummer Dave Kerman of 5uu's, U Totem, and Thinking Plague. The music of Present has a dark feel similar to Univers Zero, but is often more relentlessly arpeggiated and rock-oriented, despite the post-millennial introduction of varied instrumentation including cello and saxophone into the band. Present's recorded output has been released mainly by Cuneiform and Carbon 7, although 2010's impressive two-disc set Barbaro (Ma Non Troppo), featuring a CD with newly recorded (and re-recorded) material and a DVD featuring live festival appearances and archival footage, was released by Ad Hoc Records. In 1989 Cuneiform reissued the first two Present albums, Triskaïdékaphobie and Le Poison Qui Rend Fou, on a single-disc compilation, and in 2014 the label again reissued the albums, this time in separate expanded editions (including live bonus tracks), digitally restored and remastered by Udi Koomran and featuring vintage photographs and historical essays by Aymeric Leroy and Renato de Moraes. ~ Jim Dorsch & Dave Lynch