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Ergo Sum - Mexico CD (album) cover

MEXICO

Ergo Sum

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.55 | 15 ratings

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ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars Listening to this album it is easy to hear why the band has been classified as everything from jazz to folk to Zeuhl to sometimes psych. There’s maybe a little bit of all of those here, except Zeuhl which I think is sometimes attributed to the band because of personal connections some of the players have with Magma more than the music itself.

The first thing you have to adjust your frame of reference to with this music is the fact that this is a French band. Most of the vocals are in English, the album title is ‘Mexico’ (sung in Spanish), and there are a handful of tracks with a Latin vibe to them (particularly “Unparalleled Embrace” and both bonus tracks from the CD reissue).

And the second is that this is not jazz or folk or sometimes psych, and really can’t be compared to or categorized with nearly anyone else, or at least anyone I’ve ever heard. Except the opening track Lionel Ledissez’ vocals (which can take some getting used to) bear some small resemblance to Polish jazz/folk sometimes psych artist the late Czesław Niemen as well as to Pat Moran from another early seventies act, Spring. But I could see a reasonable argument that he shares some attributes with Joe Cocker as well. Anyway, the vocals are different and will likely grab your attention before the actual music will, but that’s where the true beauty of this album lies.

Violinist Roland Meynet is a master of his instrument and manages to not only accent the mood of each song perfectly, but does so without dominating anywhere as that instrument can have a tendency to do in cases like this where they are the only classical strings. Same goes for Jean Guérin on flute, although he definitely is a major player on keyboards of all kinds from Wurlitzer to Hammond organ to piano.

The only track here that I would consider an unqualified jazz/fusion composition is the nearly nine minute “I Know Your Mother” which is both exquisite and hypnotic. I could play this one almost every day without tiring of it.

“Faces” is another lengthy fusion-like number, but this is also one of the tracks where Michel Leonardi (guitars) and Max Touat (bass) take charge, and probably where some people get the idea this is a psych album. “Albion Impressions” also has some great guitar, although here it’s acoustic and much mellower and interspersed with strings.

“Unparalleled Embrace” and “John’s Nightmare” are two other numbers that lean toward jazz with intricate violin and keyboard work and rather complex tempos, while “All's So Comic” which closes the original album is also jazz but heavily keyboard-driven with few vocals.

This isn’t really my cup of tea when it comes to early seventies music, but the reissue is extremely well- done, there is quite a bit of information and photos of the band, and the music is original enough to pique one’s interest at least. I’d say this is easily three stars, and if someone was a jazz freak they’d probably give this four; but I’ll stick with three but on the high end. Recommended to most fans of obscure early seventies music.

peace

ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |

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