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Contraction - Live 1974 CD (album) cover

LIVE 1974



Crossover Prog

3.02 | 9 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

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

It is the unearthing of such archives that renders our 00's so endearing to this proghead and I can never thank enough Sean & Stephen for creating their label. Indeed if Contraction was a central part of Quebec's prog scene, their production of only two studio albums didn't show it as clearly as VEBB's huge line-up (sharing a few Contraction members) was. Soo finding a radio broadcast that took place between their two albums' release is one small miracle and will make for a legit third Contraction album, even if there are only four previously unreleased tracks on it.

Using the band's debut album's back cover, as front artwork for this live album, ProgQuebec chose the sensible way as most of the tracks are from that album, anyway, but it's too bad there are not more pictures of them live (except one in their second album's reissue). . Soo end of Jan 74, live in Studio Tempo and aired a few days later on a Montreal radio station (amazingly enough, not the famous CHOM-FM), these tapes laid forgotten for 35 years. The group was closing a Gentle Giant double-header, so most likely the GG broadcast is lying around somewhere too. Please not that Contraction is a sextet here, when they claimed an octet (and more) on the first studio albums.

However what strikes is that not only is the sound excellent, but Contraction's music was even better live than in the studio, being more energetic and having another life on stage. After the nowhere-else-available slow-evolving We Made It (most likely from the English version of their debut album) and the more up-lifting Chat Bruine (Star Child probably being the English version) Contraction surely builds in intensity. When nearing the two successive previously-unreleased tracks, it's probably not hard to guess that Solid Shine was probably a left-over from the English version of the debut, while the fantastic 9-mins Le Temps Fuit Comme Une Ombre is a real gift, the closing section even having an Allman's Whipping Post feel. The group then returns to the French version of their debut and send three faithful versions of 3 Ou 4, 42 Nord and Pixieland. Then onto another previously unreleased track, close to country music, but the real gift of the album is an almost finished version of La Bourse Ou La Vie, the 17-mins epic that graces their second album. a slightly different version than the studio version, but what a way to finish the broadcast. Fantastic stuff!!! Has been added another track, a bonus studio and instrumental version of Sagesse, played in its sung version just before the epic, but offering a slightly less country-like atmosphere and more Classic-influenced in its instrumental version ? there are still scats from Robichaud.

While I wouldn't call this album as essential as their studio counterparts, it's clear that this Live album is almost as important to confirmed fans.. Hopefully the next Contraction- related album that ProgQuebec releases is Frank Dervieux's Dimension M, because in terms of bei,ng essential, that one caps it all off, from those unearthed Quebec gems that have yet to find a Cd release. In the meantime, we get to sink our teth in this juicy piece of music.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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