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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 I am both amazed and honored to be the first reviewer of this superb prog release. Fiori-Seguin was a one-shot collaboration between Serge Fiori of Harmonium fame and Richard Seguin who contributed backing vocals on Harmonium's final studio album, L'Heptade. Deux cents Nuits l'Heure will instantly appeal to fans of that album, and in many ways is almost like the "lost" Harmonium album: Many of the same musicians appear on both titles, the same art-rock feel is present, and obviously the songwriting contributions of Fiori link the two. Side by side, I would probably be unable to choose a favorite; both L'Heptade and Deux cents Nuits l'Heure fall short of the perfection that is Harmonium's Si On Avait Besoin D'Une Cinquime Saison, but are equally very good in their own right. Having just signed a huge contract with CBS and recording what was(at the time) the most expensive album in Quebec music history, the expectations were undoubtedly high for Fiori-Seguin and sales did not disappoint. I surprised there is not more awareness of the album, I myself just having learned of its existence last month. Deux cents Nuits l'Heure is essential for art-rock aficionados, but not necessarily Prog Folk or general Prog collectors. Fans of Harmonium, Supertramp, late-era Pink Floyd, and Steely Dan will definitely need to put this on their short list.

The title track will sound very familiar to Harmonium followers - "Deux cents Nuits l'Heure" sounds strikingly like L'Heptade in terms of production. In fact, this is one of the best sounding discs in my entire collection. The studio shimmer is slick but not overly so; every instrument is just well recorded and mixed in a balanced way that attracts you to the music rather than detracting from it. Fiori's voice hasn't changed a bit and the professional accompaniment is tasteful. Seguin's 12-string guitar is not utilized until the end of the song, which transforms to an Americana or country/western feel. Overall, the song is a very pleasant start to the album. "'a Fait du Bien" uses a different approach and soothes the listener with a soft jazz sound; the female backing vocals and flute runs are a particularly nice touch to the song. The last three minutes are a symphonic feast, evocative of Harmonium's best work and really the first moment on the album that feels special. The next such moment is not far off: "Illusion," for me, is the album centerpiece and a 5-star no- brainer. Awesome, heavy vocals and sinister drums, swathes of fluid lead guitar and a sense of purpose contribute to the best song on Deux cents Nuits l'Heure.

"Viens Danser" reminds me a bit of "Dixie" from Si On Avait Besoin D'Une Cinquime Saison, as its bouncy tempo and upbeat feel is very much in the Prog Folk realm; this provides a nice contrast after the foreboding "Illusion." "Chanson pour Marthe" is a bit sugary for my tastes, but still a palatable ballad and quite good for a more commercial offering. The Fiori-penned "La Moiti' du Monde" features sax and plenty of funky drumming to create an AOR impression, but this is all but gone by the three-minute mark: A volcanic overflow of huge bass synths and pads keep the song firmly planted in Prog. Despite the state of the music industry in the late seventies and the enormous pressure Fiori-Seguin must have been under to create a hit, the two never forget what got them here and always add just enough of these little creative nuggets to surprise the listener. "La Guitare des pays d'en haut" is opposite of the heavy "Illusion," but succeeds just the same. Fiori and Seguin sing in unison harmony for much of the song and do so with a natural intuition and never fight for prominence in the mix. Deux cents Nuits l'Heure is not perfect but a very pleasing listen that is better than good and greater than non-essential.

coasterzombie | 4/5 |


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