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Ex Vitae - Mandarine CD (album) cover

MANDARINE

Ex Vitae

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.65 | 17 ratings

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Igor91
4 stars Ex Vitae were a French band playing a Canterbury influenced progressive jazzrock that self-released their only album in 1978. The band's music on "Mandarine" show a clear influence from their fellow countrymen Moving Gelatine Plates. Another point of reference would be the other band late to the Canterbury party, The Muffins. It must be noted, however, that The Muffins released their debut LP the in same year, making it less likely that they were a direct influence on Ex Vitae.

"Mandarine" is a wonderful album full of progressive, jazz-infected rock of the highest caliber. The instruments employed on this sonic adventure are the violin, acoustic and electric guitar, bass, saxophones, clarinets, flute, vibraphones, drums, and keyboards. As mentioned above, there is a strong Canterbury influence on the LP, but the band incorporates synthesizers in parts that sets it apart from those who came before. A few sections featuring the violin even remind me of Mahavishnu Orchestra. There are only a few sparse vocal parts (in French) on the album, essentially making it an instrumental work. There are only four songs on "Mandarine," ranging from 6 to 15 minutes, with each one having various changes in mood, tempo, and style.

It's hard to believe that Ex Vitae were not able to find a record label to release this gem. My only thought is that by 1978 many record companies were no longer risking investing in progressive and experimental bands. Luckily, it has been recently reissued on CD and LP by French label Musea for those who like physical copies of their music (like me). The only downside is that I believe the original master tape was lost, for on my CD copy I can clearly hear the "snap, crackle, and pop" of vinyl in spots. This is a great progressive rock album and really should be heard, especially those liking progressive jazzrock and/or Canterbury style music. Highly recommended: a solid 4 stars!

Igor91 | 4/5 |

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