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Solstice - Mirage CD (album) cover

MIRAGE

Solstice

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.09 | 8 ratings

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

A Quebecois jazz-rock group that managed two albums at the end of La Belle Province's prog boom, both being quite obscure , having never received a re-issue under any format whatsoever, and to my knowledge, they've never been pirated as well. Despite that it appears that solstice two albums are still accessible on the second-hand market, but be careful, because there are at least two other more recent bands with the same name, included a prog band just above or below in the database. Anyway, this quartet develops a certain kind of instrumental fusion that could be inserted between Pastorius-era keyboards-less Weather Report, their Qu'becois fellows of L'Orchestre Sympathique and are certainly quite complex in terms of composition (mostly Guitarist Lafrance) and definitely jazzier than rock.

Their general soundscapes are axed towards the high-pitched clarinet Marineau and electro- acoustic guitar of Lafrance, but feature an ever-strong bass, and the drumming is not too shabby either. Well-executed and well recorded, all six tracks are rather pleasant, but definitely not to be used as background music. If you're going to spin either Mirage or Espresso (their last), you'd better do just that: forget other Mirages and plunge into your Espresso coffee and concentrate on them, because the music will often require your full attention due to the complexity of the compositions - sometimes maybe overly complex for their own good. Indeed Mirage is an acquired taste, and it should not be investigated before you've acquired a bit of experience in this field of music. If however, you're not a fan (like yours truly) of the late-70's synths that ruined many albums of that era, Solstice might just be your thing, even though their music is never full-speed-ahead type of JR/F despite some ethnic-funky tendencies (never overbearing, though), but some of these slower numbers, like the closing Nu-Pieds (barefoot) is quite hypnotising and easily the album's highlight, as it fades out on percussion around the 10-mins-mark.

Not for every pair of ears, but this should ravish many experienced progheads looking for obscure JR/F. Not essential, but definitely worth investigating.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |

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