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Catharsis - Volume I - Masq CD (album) cover

VOLUME I - MASQ

Catharsis

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

2.73 | 20 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!

Catharsis is one of those French pioneering groups that forged ahead and paved the way for many of their compatriots. Their first album was recorded early spring 71 , but apparently there was a lot more material put on tape than just this album. Actually when their second album was recorded in Dec 71 (with a fairly reduced line-up), there was also much left out of the two records, that it turns out they released at least another two albums from these very sessions (71), but released in 75. Most of the tracks are written by keyboardist Bosquet and two of the guitarists (deRoubaix & Moulia).

Four long tracks on this debut album from a group that had their own distinctive sound, even though they were obviously Floyd-inspired, but with some more symphonic touches than Pink had. Indeed outside the strange ethereal female vocals, courtesy from Charlotte, but the groups was a septet. Through a percussive and gradual start, the track develops into an interesting psych rock, over which Charlotte's vocals (sometimes joined by the others) are soaring, then bizarre effects and percussion derail the progression of the title track and render its outcome unpredictable. We are going thru a few Bolero (Ravel) measures, than joined scats vocals, then an uncertain landing. Rising from that shaky ground and with baffling percussions and effects, 4 Art 6 develops slowly, remaining a bit irritatingly on low dynamics that when they finally come to acceptable level, there are some very weird (even a bit objectionable) vocals.

Actually the main interest of this album is also its flaw, because the scat vocals are over-used throughout the duration of the album. And starting the flipside, Cantique is not about to change that with Charlotte's scats taking on a mystical or liturgical note and if the male pagan chants coming just after, then superposed to Charlotte's. tunnel Extatique is hust more of the same that youy'fe so far abnd even induce a slight boredom or irritation.

By the time they would be recording their second album in December, Catharsis was only a quartet, having lost Charlotte, one keyboardist (Geoffroy) and a guitarist (Brown) along the way. Reputedly their best album, Masq is certainly a charming album that does bear the era that saw it born, a rather enjoyable piece of symphonic psychedelia, but repeated listening could prove somewhat difficult if one is not entirely comfortable with Charlotte's aerial scats.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |

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