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4 stars Inspired, intricate, complex; don't miss it.

Don't let the Avant/Rio label turn you away from Miriodor's latest creation. This is Avant- garde music at its best where melody and emotions are wrapped in intelligent and skillful compositions.

Miriodor is probably the best Canadian progressive group of recent memory. They have been around for almost thirty years and their pedigree shows strongly in their latest album Avanti.

The music is hard to describe; constantly changing, completely coherent and never dull. If you could visualize a floating, continuously shifting topography of sound dominated by three poles of Gentle Giant, Universe Zero and King Crimson (late period - 2000 to present) you would come close to comprehending Miriodor.

Since Avant/Rio turns many progressive music lovers off due to its hyper-complexity and lack of melodies. I want to talk about this aspect a little more. If you could equate melody with a shape then pop music would be like a circle or a square or a triangle. Simple but easily recognizable without any effort. General prog would probably be something like a polygon or a free-hand drawn shape. Miriodor's melodies are like the shapes you see in clouds. They are complex, live mostly in our imaginations and morph from one to another seamlessly.

In this recording it is very common to find soaring Pink Floydesque guitar solos morphing into deep dark dungeon of Universe Zero only to pop up on a sunny street hopping to a complex Gentle Giant rhythm. The smoothness and effortlessness of these transitions is what makes Miriodor extremely listenable to all Prog audiences.

While listening to Avanti you will not only be reminded of the three major poles of their universe but you will come to recognize inspired moments from Porcupine Tree, Kraftwerk, Djam Karet etc. only to vanish before you can register in your conscious mind what you've actually heard.

You'll listen to this record again and again just to get their complex but extremely pleasurable universe sorted out.

Having said all of this there is always another side to everything; generally represented by my wife's views. Her fist comment was "I am already bored! Sounds just like your music"

Well there you go.

Report this review (#219195)
Posted Sunday, May 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
Errors and Omissions Team
4 stars I don't know about their previous work, but if this is rock in opposition, it's a good style. Only problem with this genre is that it's always different. This is more like very, absolutely complex compositions done in style somehow similar to Beardfish (in a way of funny prog, playful, but yet nothing silly). It's little bit of mocking themselves, as they're aware of what they're doing, they still do it (and they enjoy it for sure a lot). This album devoured me completely and left me breathless when I first heard it. The same things now to be honest.

5(-), unique experience. I know, there's no stated mistake, or bad things about it, so maybe little bit of repeating is here. Not much.

Report this review (#253966)
Posted Wednesday, December 2, 2009 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars 4.5 stars. MIRIODOR are one of my favourite Canadian bands, they never disappoint.This is their seventh album and third of this decade.They also put two out in the nineties, and two out in the eighties. I must admit I was taken by surprise with this their latest album for a couple of reasons. First of all we get seven long tracks for the first time on a MIRIODOR album. They always have short songs and lots of them. Secondly the quartet of musicians who make up this band are on their own for about half of this album. Again they always have guests and usually on every track. There are three guest horn players. The sound here is less quirky and avant than usual. The guitar, bass and drums are the focus. So yeah this is a definite change in direction for the band.

"Bewitchment" is dark and ominous to open with lots of atmosphere. The music kicks in and it's dark and heavy. It settles in to a relaxing soundscape 2 1/2 minutes in. Very cool. The guitar is so liquidy before 3 1/2 minutes.The song changes around 5 minutes and the tempo picks up. Very intricate with all the se sounds coming and going. "Dare Devil" is brighter and we get some guest horns on this one as drums pound and bass throbs. I like the angular guitar that comes in. Horns blast away taking over for the guitar. A calm then it picks back up around 3 minutes as contrasts continue. I like the organ, bass and horns after 5 minutes. Vocal expressions late. "La Roche" almost sounds like a music-box melody to start out. Guitar before a minute followed by a calm. The tempo continues to change. Keys and bass around 4 minutes as it settles. Guitar before 5 minutes as it builds again. These contrasts continue. "Meeting Point" opens with a sample of a female opera singer who is uncerimoniously blown away quickly by the band (haha). Ethnic sounds then drums kick in. Guitar after a minute. The tempo and mood continue to shift throughout. Love the guitar on this one.

"To Be Determined" has this faint almost spacey intro as bass and cymbals come in. Vibes too. Organ before 3 minutes as the sound gets fuller. It settles then builds. Accordion after 5 minutes and a great sound follows. Horns before 7 minutes and they get dissonant too. Piano late. "Avanti !" Opens with odd sounds then drums come in followed by a full sound. The guitar around a minute sounds amazing. Some distorted vocal expressions as the bass throbs. Intricate angular guitar 3 1/2 minutes in and i'm thinking Sweden. More incredible guitar after 4 1/2 minutes. What a great sound 7 minutes in. "Shadow Of The Alarm Clock" is experimental to open. It kicks in around a minute then settles back to those experimental sounds again. The tempo picks up then settles again as contrasts continue. The guitar is excellent after 5 1/2 minutes to end it.

This is close to being 5 stars for me. What a year for Progressive music. This one is a must.

Report this review (#254306)
Posted Friday, December 4, 2009 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Canadian act Miriodor, following their habit for grandiose music, have once again delivered a mesterful piece of contemporary progressive music: "Avanti!" is a manadatory member of my personal 2009's Top 5 , and indeed, it shows the band more focused on the greyish aspects of their nuclear R.I.O. framework. This might be the darkest Mirodor album so far! After some years playing as a six-pice that included wind and violin players, the band nowadays consists of the usual suspects Bernard Falaise (guitars, fretless bass, mandolin, banjo, keyboards), Pascal Globensky (keyboards, piano), Rémi Leclerc (drums, percussion) and Nicolas Masino (bass, piano, keyboards), with occasional guests on saxes and horns (including alumna Marie Chantal). 'Envoutement' opnes up the album with a slow display of sonic density in which the heavily psychedelic airs are dominated by the powerfully distorted bass lines. Once the track arrives at its second section, it shifts toward agile moods where the gentle use of dissonant developments pretty much sounds like a mixture of Gantle Giant, Maneige and Univers Zero. This sort of immense architectonical precision does not stop the piece from revealing candid airs here and there. 'Bolide Debile' follows up evolving on a solid jazzy cadence, which allows the band to capture extroverted moods - the closing guitar solo has to be one of the best tributes to Fred Frith ever (not that I'm implying that Falaise lacks any musical personality, which is clearly not the case). 'La Roche' tends to be more constrained, even sounding melancholic at times. The somewhat calm thyrhmic structure allows the track to persevere in its soft spirit, despite the momentary emergence of some Zappa-esque ornaments and the presence of some creepy moods in places. Once again, teh strong influence of Maneige and Gentle Giant has to be mentioned, plus some Canterbury-inspired elements (Hatfield & the North, National Health). 'Ŕ Déterminer', with its 10 ˝ minute span, stands out as the longest piece in the album. This track bears a mixture of contrained energy and dense mistery, with an overall majestic wrapping that the band delivers in a very muscular fashion. The final section is playful, full of fancy through the display of elegant neurosis that had preceeded it consistently. The last two tracks complete the perfect climax for this album. The title track is very jazz-oriented, not unlike Sloche, with patent traces of King Crimson's archetypical madness and GG's colorful sophistication, as well as some impossible musical figures that bring Zappa to mind right away. The closing track 'Réveille- matin' is quite different, very evocative, even dreamy at times: its melodic core bears exotic nuances in a most exquisite way, managing to portray a robust ceremonious mood. "Avanti!", as a whole, is a demonstration of how vivid and strong the pattern of R.I.O. remains in the new millennium thanks to the intense creativity delivered by bands such as Miriodor.
Report this review (#257323)
Posted Tuesday, December 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Quirky and challenging effort from this Canadian act.

With more than a few nods in the direction of 70's art rock in general and Gentle Giant at their quirkiest Miriodor have put together a strong collection of pieces here. Playful, seemingly staccato sequences is just as much utilized in these numbers as wandering melodic segments, and sophisticated dissonant elements are found just as often as subtle disharmonies. The compositions are well constructed too, and changes in stylistic expression, pace and intensity evollves naturally without altering the flow or helped by extended usage of breaks.

While most efforts come across as strong, and opening number Envoutements is a brilliant piece of work, this production never seems to truly grab me. It's not a flawed or weak effort by far, but not a truly superior one either as far as my perception goes. Fans of challenging, sophisticated art rock of the instrumental variety should love this one though, and this effort is highly recommended for anyone who feel that description is a good fit to their musical taste.

Report this review (#261605)
Posted Tuesday, January 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album clearly proves Miriodor is still capable of making excellent music

Miriodor is one of my favourite bands from Québec. The quartet consisting of Bernard Falaise on guitars, Nicolas Masino on bass and keyboards, Pascal Globensky on keyboards and Rémi Leclerc on drums is once again making great and accessible music, even if they are classified as avant-progressive. I do get why they are classified as such, but for a newcomer to this genre, it would be a fine way to start, I think. At least, for me it was. Just to give an idea of the music they make, I will write a short description. They make an eclectic mix of chamber rock, progressive, jazz, avant-gardism and rock. They cite influences as Frank Zappa, King Crimson, Van der Graaf Generator, Gentle Giant, Univers Zero / Present and Mahavishnu Orchestra, notably.

On Avanti, Miriodor makes even more accessible music than usual, but still has its unique side.

Except from still being accessible, the music here is different than on the other albums. Instead of doing a lot of short pieces, it focuses on long ones, on progression. The pieces develop instead of having a general idea that develops idea the album. Each tune can stand as a whole.

The moods in this album vary from strange and intriguing to powerful and aggressive, from majestic and moving to dark and quirky.

I really suggest Avanti to lovers of challenging (for the newcomer), unique and fascinating music. Miriodor has achieved to impress me once again, and I am already excited for their next album.

Report this review (#263436)
Posted Friday, January 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars Released before the posthumous release of Live 89, this album is pretty well what the group played in their FMPM appearance in Sept/09, the very gig that made possible that Live compilation. Sounds complicated? Nevermind. It had been a while since Miriodor had not graced our ears with a studio album, and Avanti was much awaited. Most likely the Avanti album surprised sonically most fans, but visually as well. Gone are the klezmer/circus music and the baroque artworks. We now get a B-movie thriller movie artwork in the subway and musical-wise we're hovering between retro-prog and Gentle Giant and sometimes (less surprisingly?) Univers Zero. Quite a surprise, uh?? Line-yup wise, it is still the same quartet since Falaise (and Massino) joined forces with the Sabin-less Miriodor fro Jongleries Elastiques, but this the group's first real change of direction (to my knowledge anyway). The usual guests provide the brass instruments when needed.

As usual, talking about a Miriodor album isn't easy, partly because the group defies any valid written description. While I feel like taking a shortcut and say that this might their most "symphonic" album to date, but I can't tell you that it is any less complex than their previous effort and the songs are much longer than usual. It is more accessible yet darker than the previous albums. Right from the first very heavy drones, beats and hisses of Envoutements, you know that you're still with Miriodor, but by the half of that track, the group has veered towards Gentle giant-like music. Bolide Débile is much in the same GG line, but there is a sort of Scandinavian feel to it, not far away from a cold melancholic and electric Univers Zero. The album-lengthiest A Determiner does look back at the previous albums, including a wild sax that seems to have seeped out of an Ambiance Magnetique labelled album. The title track is probably the most enjoyable and jazziest of the abum, IMHO The closing Reveille-Matin is more of the same.

Some of you are going to send me to the asylum after this next "revelation" of mine, but while playing this album, I can't help but thinking at Anglagard. Certainly Miriodor's most un-Miriodor-like album, Avanti still holds all of the group's qualities and it is a pure joy to listen to and remains so after repeated listen. I want for proof that I waited almost 8 months before writing this review, even if as I said before Miriodor is a very difficult review for its art defies description.

Report this review (#265366)
Posted Thursday, February 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
5 stars I might as well come out and say that I find most of Miriodor material difficult to digest and it usually takes me more than 15-20 spins for an album of theirs to even begin settling in. Still, unlike other similar acts like NeBeLNeST or Guapo, their music has a definite appeal to me that makes this time consuming investment feel less straining than what it otherwise might have felt. In other words, I could probably get just as much enjoyment out of NeBeLNeST or Guapo records, in the long run, but I just can't handle the tedious process!

It's certainly been a long time coming that I would finally acknowledge Avanti! as the masterpiece that it is. The road here was both rough and bumpy, but pleasant and completely mesmerizing in the long run. My first encounter with this album was a highly unpleasant experience and it took me almost a whole week before I even bothered to give this release another chance. My next few encounters were not as unpleasant, in fact they were slightly... dare I say it... enjoyable. But I was still unconvinced that this release was as excellent as many others claimed it to be. I tried to find reasons for my discontent but blaming it on Miriodor's change towards the expanded song format where every track was at least 6 minutes long just wasn't that effective. I then tried to give it my usual excuse for lacking in the composition and arrangements departments, ŕ la Guapo and NeBeLNeST, but deep inside I knew that this was not true. Acceptance came only once I ran out of excuses and my grieving process elevated to the next phase.

Even though I must have listened to this album at least 15 times, I still couldn't instantly recognize any of the compositions based solely on their titles and instead was only able to gasp certain themes and moments. This was also the time where a few track favorites began to emerge out of the shadows. But even though I haven't yet grown weary of the material, I suddenly stopped listening to Avanti! all together, for a period of almost three month, and picked it up again during the summer vacation with a completely new outlook on things. Not only did this record feature audible compositions that I could pick up instantaneously, but there was an overall feeling of satisfaction on my part after listening to it! Could it be, I asked myself?

It has now been another 5 month and I can with all certainty claim that it was! I guess what I'm trying to say here is that we should not write off anything based on the first, second or even fifth encounter and instead give the music enough time to grow. How much time we're actually talking about here depends on many different factors, among these is the listeners music experience and ability to gasp the content, so I'll leave the time frame entirely up to you. Just make sure you don't jump in for one or two visits and then forget all about it, since it won't be a time well spent.

***** star songs: Dare Devil (8:44) Standard Deviation (6:39) Avanti! (8:18) Shadow Of The Alarm Clock (7:54)

**** star songs: Bewitchment (9:16) Meeting Point (9:17) To Be Determined (10:29)

Report this review (#336590)
Posted Saturday, November 27, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Excellent! One of Miriodor's best, most musical, albums.

Avanti, for me, is the album on which Miriodor shine brightest. Their quirky, complex and sometimes atonal music can seem cold and calculated, and on some other albums it leaves me a bit cold, but on Avanti it is put in the service of creating great compelling music. On this album, every track is special, the music flows really well, and I am always drawn to listen to the whole album all the way through - I can't turn it off actually. Miriodor have added guest horn players on this album too, and there are more solos on this one than most Miriodor albums, giving this album a lot more soul and warmth (even when the music is meant to be intentionally cold). The music shifts effortlessly between riff-based themes, to math-rock interlocking electric guitar patterns, fair-ground atmospheres, some really difficult time signature-based lines, and dark distortion-drenched sonic landscapes. While the album gets off to a great start with 'Envoutement' (bewitchment), the quality of the music here remains remarkably constant (high) throughout. Also, on this album, the melodies are a lot more memorable than on many other Miriodor pieces. The horn lines on the second track (Bolide Debile, or Dare Devil) for instance, are highly memorable while adding some jazzy guts to the album (as does the guest trumpet solo on this track). The fourth track ('Ecart-Type', or Standard Deviation) combines a funk shuffle beat with a punk ethos, math-rock interlocking guitar-key lines, and popcorn-like electric guitar melody that sticks in the head. Very musical. 'A determiner' (to be determined) builds quietly to great seemingly out-of-time jazz-cantebury jam before breaking into quirky electronic funk six minutes in with an excellent guest sax solo. The last two tracks (the title track, Avanti!, and Reveille-Matin, or Alarm Clock) provide some great dark atmospheric moments, with distorted guitars, quirky RIO-like runs, and Crimson-like building chord progressions. All in all a very musical and original album. This is the Miriodor album I would recommend picking up first. I give it 8.7 out of 10 on my 10-point scale. An excellent addition to any collection.

Report this review (#1820458)
Posted Wednesday, November 8, 2017 | Review Permalink

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