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Conventum -  l'afft d'un complot CD (album) cover



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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars While this debut album was released on Le Tamanoir label, it received two CD release both with the original stupendous debut album, but also the much weirder live show they held on April 17, 1977. For this album, Conventum presented themselves as a sextet, but were often enhanced by many more - including Kaczinsky, Forestier and Leger (Orchestre Sympathique). Their mostly acoustic sound is very impressive, highly cultivated (very inclined on semi-medieval and old folk music), half of it instrumental, and is best described as avant-folk-prog.

So this release could be presented as two different albums and actually are quite different. As much as the original album is superb, full of delicate ambiances and delightful folk and classic fusion and can be used by any proghead to clear his mind of his problem and escape into a wild world of beauty, as much as the live album is demented, demonic, weird, lurking, somber , macabre (at times), demented and frightful, but very impressive and theatrical.

After a short intro, where Coventum ask you if you are comfortable (you are in for one hell of a ride), a flood of guitar arpeggios is overwhelming you as the small piccolo flute and alto sax are accompanying the superb vocal duet (Les Criticotteuses is a superb play on words combining criticizing and knitting) when two violins are underlining this bed of desire: spine-chilling, yet, no-one will resist it. The following title track is much in the same vein, but become slightly more urgent and inquietant, but the lyrics are about as grandiose as Gabriel or Hammill could ever get, and the guitars oscillate between Anthony Phillips and Fripp's The Crafty League Of Guitarist. La Bataille (the battle), the next track is also the poignant theme track from a movie from a member of Le Conventum artistic circle. The mood is dark, grave and beautiful, with the strings setting such a splendid bed of dreams for the guitars to lay it on thick the drama. Le Pige (the trap) is also from the same movie, but is rather quieter but still quite impressive although, it is quite schizophrenic too, with its wild choirs appearing from nowhere, blowing up a storm and disappearing as quick as they came. The next three tracks are instrumental and still in the line of the album reaching from chamber music to slightly modified jigs. Last track was also a theme for yet another colleague's film and it is yet another flamboyant success around a very modified jig>> absolutely masterful.

The second part of the record is a live concert and presents a very different facet of Conventum, much more tense, nervous, slightly more aggressive, very theatrical, but also just as dramatic (if not more) than the studio album. Although still excellent, (but maybe less immediate without the accompanying images), these tracks suffer from the proximity and superb beauty of the studio album tracks. Here the mood is more to a nervous Stravinsky or psychedelic Prokofiev (Peter And The Wolf). Very impressive, but for this party, French language becomes almost mandatory, but their prose is impressively poetic. Clearly Conventum was a forerunner of sorts for future Quebecois groups such as Miriodor and Interference Sardines. Their capacity at making this acoustic chamber music but rendering incredibly rock with just a few ingredients is immense and Conventum deserves to be re-discovered to its true value.

Report this review (#78309)
Posted Tuesday, May 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is a review of the CD which also includes the live album.

This Canadian band released three albums in the 1970s or there about. Their music is by no means normal folk rock. This is chamber rock. Their music can be compared to Flairck a lot and also to Aranis. This is folk rock bordering to RIO at times. The instruments are the chamber orchestra instruments ones + acoustic guitars. There is also some added choirs which adds a lot of good spice to the music. The music is very good on this half of the CD.

The final part of the CD, the live part on the other hand........ The less the said, the better. It feels like a different band and a different galaxy. It is a bizzarre shouting match between the vocals and the instruments. Unfortunate; the vocals win. Just play the studio album and regard the live album as the unwanted cousin.

My overall impression is good though and fans of Aranis and Flairck should really pick this one up.

3 stars

Report this review (#576582)
Posted Monday, November 28, 2011 | Review Permalink

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