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Fiori-Séguin - Deux cents nuits à l'heure CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.80 | 52 ratings

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4 stars Review Nº 430

Fiori-Séguin was a Canadian progressive folk band, a collaborative effort by Québec singer-songwriters Serge Fiori and Richard Séguin. They made only an album in 1978 called 'Deux Cents Nuits À L'Heure' (Two Hundred Nights Per Hour).

In 1977 the two singers and guitarists Serge Fiori and Richard Séguin got together to realize their own project. Fiori was previously one of the leaders, if not the main band's leader of the progressive band Harmonium, which had temporarily ceased its activity in 1977. Séguin, together with his sister Marie-Claire also had their own band called Séguin, which had already broken up in 1976. He also participated with backing vocals on the last Harmonium album 'L'Heptade'. The joint efforts of the two musicians resulted in their one-off work 'Deux Cents Nuits À L'Heure'. Several other Harmonium musicians were also involved in the recording. In 1979, Fiori reactivated Harmonium for few concerts and then withdrew from the music business for few years in the new decade. Séguin then worked as a soloist, mainly in the folk field.

'Deux Cents Nuits À L'Heure' was a huge album at the time. It sold more than 200,000 copies, spawned a number of hit singles, and garnered three Félix awards at the inaugural ADISQ gala in 1979, for the best album of the year and best group of the year. Séguin and Fiori wrote two songs apiece separately and three songs together for 'Deux Cents Nuits À L'Heure', which still sounds remarkably fresh, even in our days, and that is very much in the same vein of the last album of Harmonium, 'L'Heptade', which was released in 1976. So, in other words, 'Deux Cents Nuits À L'Heure' is a folky singer-songwriter album mixed with some progressive rock flourishes, all tied together by Fiori and Séguin's unmistakable voices. Curiously, the project was supposed to be a Québécois supergroup with the vocalist of Beau Dommage, Michel Rivard, as the main band's singer. But, Rivard dropped out when he fell hard for a woman in Belgium.

'Deux Cents Nuits À L'Heure' has seven tracks. The line up on the album is Serge Fiori (vocals, 6 and 12-string electric and acoustic guitars, Fender Rhodes and tambourine) and Richard Séguin (vocals and 12-string acoustic guitars). The album had also the participation of Monique Fauteux (vocals), Robert Stanley (guitar), Jeff Fischer (synths and organ), Neil Chotem (Yamaha piano), Libert Subirana (flute, alto and soprano saxes), Michel Dion (fretted and fretless basses), Denis Farmer (drums, cowbell and tambourine), Pierre Cormier (congas) and Michel Lachance (tambourine), as guets.

It was conceived as a group's effort. All the players were involved in the arrangements. Instead of the high concepts of 'Si On Avait Besoin D'Une Cinquiéme Saison' and 'L'Heptade', Harmonium's last two albums, 'Deux Cents Nuits À L'Heure' is a bit more accessible and covers a wide range of styles and tempos, incorporating many of the sounds and stylings familiar to the fans of Harmonium, including the extensive use of the 6 and 12-string acoustic guitars, flute and saxophone. It relies on vocal harmonies, is plenty of acoustic guitars, and occasional progressive rock developments.

About the tracks, the title track 'Deux Cents Nuits À L'Heure' is of Fiori and Séguin. It's very familar to Harmonium fans. This is a great opener to the album with a very good instrumentation and where the voice of Fiori sounds nice as is usual. 'Ça Fait Du Bien' is also of Fiori and Séguin. It's a bit different from the title track. It sounds jazzier and the use of female vocals on the back adds a beautiful touch to the track. 'Illusion' is of Séguin. It's probably one of the two best tracks on the album, if not the best. It has very impressive vocals and a great guitar work perfectly supported by some very interesting drumming work. 'Viens Danser' is of Fiori. It's very much in the prog folk vein. This is another great track that brings a nice and interesting contrast with the previous track 'Illusion'. 'Viens Danser' became an FM radio staple in the Francophone countries. 'Chanson Pour Marthe' is of Séguin. It's another song that contrasts on the album, making of it a diversified work. This time we have a good and pleasant balad written in a more commercial vein. 'La Moitié Du Monde' is of Fiori. It's another great track on the album. It has an impressive musical performance performed by several intruments. Especially the use of the sax and synts make of it a great prog track. 'La Guitare Des Pays D'En Haut' is of Fiori and Séguin. It's probably the second best track on the album with 'Illusion', despite both are two different tracks. The harmony is amazing and 'La Guitare Des Pays D'En Haut' closes the album in a high note.

Conclusion: 'Deux Cents Nuits À L'Heure' offers an elegant and melodic music, lavishly orchestrated that doesn't differ much from that is found on the aforementioned Harmonium album, 'L'Heptade'. It has great instrumentation, a rich and cozy production that perfectly integrated the solos, the round but never shallow melodies and the complex looseness. The pieces sound more electric and modern and the keys are a bit more clearly in the mix. Electric and acoustic guitars and the characteristic, expressive French singing of the two main protagonists are in the foreground of the mostly extensive compositions. It's a great album that gentle closes the heyday of prog rock in Québec at the 70's.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 4/5 |


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