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Saturday, February 13, 2010


320 KBPS

Recently reissued on the Cd format by the great ProgQuebec team, this album (and its predecessor) had been all too long ignored and denied a second life by the Harvest label. Oddly enough with the bulk of reserve material still waiting to be released back then, the CD reissue offers no bonus track, but the album alone is much worthy by itself. The last paragraphs are dedicated to the review being re-written after its reissue.
Old review: How to describe this absolutely masterful and orgasmic music? Except for this lone LP where one number is sung, Maneige is an instrumental group that lets you know right from the start that they will take full advantage of this and will not allow you one second of inattention. The group mixes acoustic and electric instrument with such dexterity that they make it look easy and sound simple. NOT SO!!! Although people will classify this group in the fusion section , this is only partly correct as there is some jazz & folk , but there is an uncommon percentage of classical music but nothing stolen from the historical composers.
This album and the debut as well as the recently released live 74-75 are highly indescribable melange of all sort of academic musics. If I must name one band of this site to come close to Maneige, I will tell you a cross between Univers Zero and Gentle Giant for the construction complexities but Maneige is so much more melodic and harmonious to your ears, that GG is rather distant cry from them.
"Why have you not heard of this band before?" you ask. My theory is that they got black listed because of their Quebecois origins at the time when Quebec was overtly menacing of separation from the rest of Canada because of the English compatriots refusing to recognize Quebec as a distinct society. This made Quebec groups unable to play freely in the rest of their country along with Harmonium (a little success), Pollen (just one superb record and disband), Aquarelle (I am not even sure they released something outside Quebec) and even the Franco-Ontarian band Cano, so they had real problems of exposure. This lasts still today except for Harmonium that does get international recognition. Is the best proof of this not that only three albums of this great band are on CD? As they are still relative unknown, your hunt for the vinyls should not be that difficult or expensive, but man, it is definitely worth it. Max: can you give a sixth star just for the sake of it?
New review: The 19-min+ title track suite (written by wind player Bergeron) is grabbing by the throat from the first notes, and never letting it go of its grip through its six movement, with its constantly evolving composition and so many different acoustic instruments taking over the previous one and even a rare sung section, whose lyrics were reprinted in a weird fashion on a loose sheet alongside the inner sleeve. The first side closes on a short symphonic (a quartet really) piece that is not as inspired as the rest of the album. Indeed, La Grosse Torche sounds out of place on the Cd (this was less evident on the vinyl).
The flipside starts with Saxinette and Clarophone's wild adventures and the opening minute could make you think of Genesis' The Lamb on the second disc But this is quickly forgotten as the two instruments share literally everything mixing blood, trading licks, making love to each other. Bergeron's sax and Langlois' clarinet are not just the stars of the show, they eclipse the sun for the duration of the track from shining so hard. Vincent (Jerome's brother) Langlois' electric piano solo draws chills in your back, until a weird animal meows like an elephant and the tracks veers into a wild goose chase ending in a chaotic crowd and dying a slow death! Du très grand art, monsieur!! The closing track Chromo is a much funkier track that will indeed remind what was coming ahead in NV.NN, which would be a much jazzier album.
The amazing thing is that obviously at the autumn of the group's first career (the Jerome Langlois years, if you wish), the group had loads more music that was still waiting for a proper studio recording and release. Most of these tracks can be found throughout the three live albums that have been released since 98. And from these albums, it's easy to see that Maneige's first line-up could have released a third album that would have easily matched their debut and Les Porches. So as Chromo sort of announces the new Maneige, Jerome Langlois will leave the group to concentrate on the long-standing project that he had tried to get of the ground with his previous group Lasting Weep. Le Spectacle de L'Albatros would then see the light of day in early 76 with both Lasting Weep and Maneige playing alongside, but this is another superb ProgQuebec chapter of the marvelous musical adventures of Progresson.

1. Les porches de Notre-Dame
a) Ouverture
b) Suite I
c) Suite II
d) Suite III
e) Désouverture

2. La grosse torche
3. Les aventures de saxinette et Clarophone
a) Chapitre I, épisode 1
b) Chapitre I, épisode 2
c) Chapitre II, épisode 1
d) Chapitre II, épisode 2
e) Chapitre III
4. Chromo part I
5. Chromo part II


Steve Lafreniere said...

Absolutely wonderful. It sounds great here in snowy western NY.

Thank you!

Yvo said...

Excellent! ... but there's only 4 tracks ... where's "Les aventures de saxinette et Clarophone" ?
Anyway, Merci beaucoup for all this beautiful music & for french singers ...

Mr Moodswings said...

It's actually there, it's the tracking of the songs that was wrong in my rip. Here's how it should be:
1. Les Porches de Notre Dame
2. La Grosse Torche
3. Les Aventures de Saxinette et Clarophone
4. Chromo (part I & II)