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Harmonium - Harmonium En Tournée CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.21 | 89 ratings

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4 stars There are bands that supposedly made, or even makes, albums of the most extraordinary quality, bands that one (i.e. I) know more by name than by musical strengths. Harmonium is one of those. Their second album ranks as one of the finest among symphonic prog. It must be said that I have not spent alot of time examining that record but sure, it is sort of amazing. However, I would like to push for another of theirs.

Live albums are, for the most part, uninteresting or unnecessary. At least that is my personal opinion. Then it happens, a live album comes across your path that really gives you something just a little extra. Harmonium's "En tournée" is one of those examples.

Atmospheric. That is the word that most frequently spring to mind. Atmospheric, rich and varied. See, now there's three words and I do feel that each one of them fits like any glove bought directly from the most merited glovemakers shop. The opening track, setting "Introduction" apart, is one hell of a way to start. Seeing that this live album is made up of the entire "L'heptade", it may be no wonder that "En tournée" starts off just there, with "Comme un fou" but rather it puts the finger on just how amazing a track it is. Especially in a live environment. Everything keeps going after that. "L'exil" is obviously brilliant, as is "Lumiere de vie" or "Comme un sage".

The music is a weird but excellent blend of everything french and beyond. Just as with any band from any country, the music of Harmonium is very much of it's origins. Apart from the symphonic prog rock (which in itself is a vast ocean of sounds and textures, depending on your origin) there are chansons, folk and just about anything that in the musical field makes you think of France or the french speaking Canadian territories, from where Harmonium hails. It may be hard to digest at first, if you're squemish or particular, but I find that after a while it all falls in place. The result is a soundscape impossible to evade, if you were thinking of doing so. It really is spectacular.

The conclusion, then, is that "En tournée" is an album of extraordinary music. The grandest of epics, the most beautiful and haunting melodies and an atmosphere you can touch and feel in the very fibres of the soul. It is sort of sombre but never depressing. Though varied it sometimes seems an album made for reflection and soulsearching. Lovely!

Apart from the brilliance displayed, it came out in a time when progressive music was fighting for it's life and, better still, recorded in 1977, the year when punk rock (some say) brought havoc to the lands of Prog. A live album is never essential in my book but this is probably as close as it will ever get.

Four shining stars and two thumbs up.

GruvanDahlman | 4/5 |


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