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metrognome
Post subject:   PostPosted: Sep 05, 2007 - 09:37 PM
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chewy wrote:
Hey Metro,
If you ever find a cheap copy of Horizons by the group The Greatest Show On Earth,I highly recommend purchasing it.It is one of my favorite prog lp's.


Somehow I doubt that will happen, but I'll keep it in mind. This is an expensive LP, is it not?

As for Nitro's breath, well, I don't even want to think about that!

Give me a litte time. I'm really sorry that I haven't done more reviews lately, I just have so little time to write an intelligent review. Having a 2-year-old saps my time and energy.
 
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Post subject:   PostPosted: Sep 05, 2007 - 09:41 PM
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Sometimes you can score a cheaper copy if your lucky.I think there is one on ebay now but i'm sure the price will go up.Item number: 120156937520

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Post subject:   PostPosted: Sep 05, 2007 - 10:35 PM
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Hey! Review a Disney record!

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metrognome
Post subject:   PostPosted: Apr 13, 2009 - 09:53 PM
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Metrognome’s Prog Picks Number 14

Maneige
Maneige
Harvest, ST-70035
1975

Rating: 4 out of 5
Rarity: Rare outside of Canada
Expect to pay: $20-$25
Available on CD?: Yes






Unbeknownst to legions of Celine Dion fans – and probably most other people – the French-Canadian province of Québec hosted a rich music scene at least as far back as the early ‘70s, though it’s largely unknown outside Canada and perhaps largely ignored within the English-speaking parts of that country.

Too bad, really, as the Québécois music scene, of the ‘70s at least, was on par with that of most of the European countries at the time and included some incredibly talented bands that seem to finally be gaining some recognition outside the confines of that province. Québec produced a surprising number of quality progressive rock groups during the ‘70s. Among the best known are Pollen, Harmonium, Morse Code, and of course, Maneige.

Maneige released a series of albums in the second half of the 1970s and the very early ‘80s. Always instrumental, they rather quickly progressed from genuinely avant-garde “chamber rock” to fairly commercial jazz rock, but they produced a few great albums and managed to sell a surprising amount of them along the way. The first two albums were the most ambitious due to the presence of composer and clarinetist/keyboardist Jérôme Langlois, who soon left the band to write scores for film and television.

The self-titled debut from 1975 is one of the most challenging for the record collector and the music fan alike. It’s a difficult listen – especially the side-long piece that opens the album. It’s also not easy to find outside of Canada. It does appear on Ebay semi-regularly, but it’s vastly outnumbered by later albums like Libre Service and Montreal 6 a.m., and it’s almost only ever listed by Québécois sellers who want at least $20 for it, despite the fact that this record can and does pop up in Canadian thrift stores with some regularity (so I am told).

The music on this album is startlingly original and reveals the three-year-old band to already be surprisingly mature and their musical direction to be fully formed. By 1975, most of the best progressive rock had already been recorded, so Maneige had a rich well of inspiration from which to draw influence. Of course, the fact that all the members of the band were classically trained did not hurt. Though they often get compared to Gentle Giant for their prolific use of tuned percussion, it’s pretty obvious that Maneige’s strongest influences came from outside the world of rock music, probably including free jazz, classical and lots of other things I can’t identify.

The aforementioned album opener, “La Rafiot” is an uncompromising 21-minute manifesto outlining most of the rest of the band’s career. Little would be added over the years, but much would be taken away. As the sustained sound of bowed cymbals and other creaky, ghostly, atonal washes of sound slowly fade in for the first three minutes of the track’s duration, it’s obvious this is not going to be your average rock album. After about three minutes this finally gives way to the first in a series of seemingly disconnected motifs where piano and flute trade dainty, complex melodies only to stop on a dime and turn into something else -- all the while, threatening to descend into atonal weirdness again. Gradually the rest of the band fills in with bass guitar, drums and various percussion, and the music becomes more dynamic and muscular. It never, ever reaches the realm of true rock music though. Chord progressions, not to mention guitars, are virtually nowhere to be found. After seemingly infinite short tangents in dozens of directions, the track finally ends, perhaps mercifully, with a fleeting reference to the well known children’s song “Frère Jacques.”

Side two is a bit more accessible. It’s in much the same style of music divided up into three shorter pieces with increased emphasis on melody and more conventional structure. This is actually some of the best music Maneige ever did in my book, but many may disagree. The last track, “Galerie III” even includes an electric guitar (briefly) and contains some of the most stirring melodies of the album. This is part of what elevates this album above a morass of unlistenable avant-garde noise. Maneige had a way with powerful, sometimes even a bit trite melodies that, when juxtaposed against their more outré moments, sounded like the sun breaking through the clouds after a long period of rough weather.

There’s also a hint of playfulness in this music, and the weirdness never lasts too long. This playfulness would increase on later albums, perhaps reaching its pinnacle on 1978’s Libre Service, which is excellent, but there’s something about the debut that I find very exciting and admirable despite (or perhaps because of) the challenge of it all.
As far as I know, the LP has only ever been released in Canada. It has been issued on CD once or twice, most recently in 2007 by the excellent ProgQuebec label with bonus tracks. See their Maneige biography and discography here: http://www.progquebec.com/maneige.html

This record comes housed in a fairly simple single cover made from a finely textured paper. The back is decorated with a photo of the band. The front sports an oddly charming surrealistic illustration that seems to exemplify 1970s/very early ‘80s illustration and graphic design techniques and reminds me of the illustrations in just about every early elementary school book I ever had. I have seen one copy of this record on Ebay with a poster enclosed. I believe this must have been a promo-only item, and I now kick myself for not bidding on it. If anyone runs across one of these posters and doesn’t want it, you know who to contact!

I would only recommend this album to those with an open mind and daring tastes. Others would be better directed toward a later album, like Libre Service. Either way, Maneige deserves more attention.
 
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Post subject:   PostPosted: Apr 14, 2009 - 12:18 AM
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thanks Metro, look forward you to keep this going again! Very Happy
 
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NitroOffline
Post subject:   PostPosted: Apr 14, 2009 - 10:31 AM
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Nice metro! Got an extra copy?

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to make that long link short "[url=" (no quotes) paste link, follow with ]my link [/url]"
 
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metrognome
Post subject:   PostPosted: Apr 14, 2009 - 02:25 PM
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Man, that really pulled you out of the woodwork! Hope all is well, Nitro.

Sorry, no spare copies.
 
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Post subject:   PostPosted: Apr 14, 2009 - 02:28 PM
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Nice Scott - I doubt I will find one of those over here but on the other hand who knows?

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Post subject:   PostPosted: Apr 14, 2009 - 04:18 PM
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COOL Cool
I agree with Peter. It will be nice to see this thread going again.
Great indepth review on the LP.

Nitro? Where have you been hiding? Deep in Woods?
Kimmo? I haven't forgotten about you either. Check your email.

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metrognome
Post subject:   PostPosted: Apr 14, 2009 - 08:23 PM
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You're Mr. World Traveler, Peter. Surely you get to Canada once in a while. Right?

When you do, I have a list of requests I'd like you to pick up. Wink Maneige is just the tip of the iceberg! Cool
 
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