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Maneige - Ni Vent... Ni Nouvelle  CD (album) cover

NI VENT... NI NOUVELLE

Maneige

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.11 | 88 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Maneige is one of my absolute favourite prog acts from Quebec. Having started their recording career with two heavily chamber-influenced albums, their third one "Ni Vent. ni Nouvelle" finds them exploring their jazzier facet with a refreshed attitude. This is something that really helps their sound to achieve a renewed colorfulness all over the new repertoire, of which a large part is provided an uplifting spirit. The chamber stuff is still there, but notably more subsided in favour of the enhanced jazz factor. The instrumentalists' skill is showed but not showed off: the exquisite performances delivered by all six members (plus some occasional collaborators on string instruments) are cleverly constrained by the well-ordained musical ideas and perfectly integrated arrangements. Hither and thither you may find some influences from Gentle Giant, the jazz side of 71-75 Zappa, Canterbury, Weather Report, but nevertheless, it is true that the final result is not a dilettante mixture, but pure Maneige a voice of their own that shines above any external influences. The brief 'Le Gai Marvin' kicks off the album with a touch of slight picaresque, soon segued into the following track, 'La Fin de l'Histoire', a piece which starts with a solemn motif and ends with a delicate up-tempo jazzy coda, whose melody line is lead by vibes and piano. 'Les Folleries' includes a bunch of funky colors in the sonic palette, keeping and enhancing the subtle complexity and clever interaction that had been already present in the previous numbers: definitely, this is one of the album's most emblematic pieces, a privilege shared by 'Douce-Amere', 'Le Gros Roux', '11 Juillet' - all of them, perfect examples of the band's immaculate performing skills and rich musical vision. 'Les Epinettes' is a beautiful piece that keeps the listener attuned with Maneige's gentle side; and so does 'Mambo Chant' immediately after, with the band adding nuances of Latin jazz whose tones get increasingly intense near the end. Later on, this same gentle side in 'Au Clair de Prune', if only with an increased dose of sophistication. 'Time Square' closes down the album as if it were the soundtrack to a brief humorous sketch in a TV show: sheer simple joy at the end of the road, delivered with the exquisite finesse that has been present all around. I'm really enthusiastic about this album: this Canadian prog fusion masterpiece deserves a 5 star rating, and each individual musician involved deserves a gold medal.
Cesar Inca | 5/5 |

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