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Ange - Ange En Concert 1970-71 CD (album) cover



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2 stars This is an early recording of some pre-Ange concerts recorded in 70-71. The band was against its release in 1977. I can understand why. The sound is of an old boot quality (you can imagine) ! Some of the numbers are taken out from "La Fantastique Epopée du Général Machin" a rock opera written by Christian Décamps in 1969.

The first number called "Zup" here will be actually the opening number of their debut album "Caricatures" better known as "Biafra 80".

"Atome" is a long suite (almost thriteen minutes) which is not that bad actually. Rather psychedelic I must say. Not brilliant but some nice vocal part are very welcome. We can hear a rather hesitant Christian in its introduction. He will admit that it was almost the first time they were playing in front of an audience what he will call : an intelligent subject that could be understood by a large number of people but it is not yet a piece of cake ! I bet you !

"Opus 69" is a very short instrumental (2'35") and obviously the last number of a concert. This live album, will be recorded at different venues at one year interval.

"General Machin" is again rather violent and psychedelic. Very much Vanilla Fudge oriented. "Assis Sur L'Univers" is a spacey and short instrumental. But really powerful, even bombastic.

I have the impression that each time the audience is applauding at the end of a track that they are fake, as if one had mixed some studio recordings with audience participation. But it can't be that way when you listen at the poor sound quality.

We'll get back to the old psyche mood of the early live Floyd recordings with "Professeur Flouze". One of the best numbers here. "Messaline" is a pure rock song, completely different than what Ange will produce later on. But remember, this is not yet Ange. The finale sounds more as a jam than anything else.

The psyche mood fully prevails in "Cauchemar". They can hardly hide their source of inspiration. It is amazing how Christian Descamps will switch from full psyche to the most brilliant symphonic music in two years time.

The last piece of this album "Prophétie" will be a very looooooong and dull psyche jam. Almost twenty-two minutes. Nothing essential, believe me. The "track" will evolve to a jazz session folowed by a nice little flute passage which, of course, reminds me of Tull. But it is too short to make this track interesting (actually only the last six minutes are OK).

On some songs, Christian Décamps is not even on the lead vocals in these early days. This role is devoted to Jean-claude Rio.

The rather irreverant, anti-establishment and anti -militarist lyrics of Ange are already well present here. A short example : "Napoleon, during a capricious day converted a whore into a empress. In the army, one is less demanding, out of a bastar d, we'll make an officer" !

During the first live representation, the audience (a packed 1,000 people in their home town of Belfort) could hardly believe what they were seeing. Pysche French music.

They will be so successful that they will be playing their "opera" no less than seven times, always in Belfort where the local press was really praising them a lot.

They will be the winner of an important contest in a Parisian theatre "Le Golf- Drouot" in July 1971 and will be able to record a single. This will be their second one since they have already released "Israël" bw "Cauchemar" from ""La Fantastique Epopée du Général Machin".

The new single "Tout Feu, Tout Flamme" bw "Docteur Man" (available on the remastered edition of "Caricatures" as a bonus track). This secong single will sell more than 25,000 copies in two weeks thanks to the support of a radio programme planner : Jean-Bernard Hébey, producer of an excellent programme called "Poste Restante".

How many evenings did I spent in the early seventies to listen to this programme ! I discovered YesSongs there in November 1973 (it was the album of the week). Thanks a lot Jean-Bernard.

If one excludes the long and boring "Prophétie" this album is not bad at all. It is a pity that the only audio material from these days is so poor in sound quality. But at that time, there were no financial means for Ange to record it in a more professional way and no one could ever imagine at that time how big the band would be (at least in France).

This recording is of course not essential, but it shows how the early Ange sounded in those prehistorical days. I have been rather astonished by the result I must say. Still, this one can only be of interest to die-hard Ange fans. Two stars.

Report this review (#122890)
Posted Sunday, May 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars By the time they'd record their debut album, Ange has been around a while (they were already around in 69) and had already developed some ambitious music (including a rock opera) and played many concerts. This album dates from 78, but features concert tapes from 70 and 71, but Ange was against its publication, but somehow they were released, but not on Phillips, but on RCA. Actually, it's relatively easy to understand why Ange was opposed, since not only is the sound execrable and really unfit to publish as an official product, but their music was a little too derivative and paled in comparison to their professional releases. Don't get me wrong, the music is fine and the sound is not that bad (some official releases like Earthbound are worse than this), but this is not to be regarded as an official album of theirs. The recordings come from two different concerts, the first (on the disc) in March 71 with the classic line-up, while the second predates it by two months (Jan 71) and had a different line-up (no Haas, but an extra guitarist)

Sooo back in the early days, Ange had written a rock opera called La Fantastique Epopée Du Général Machin, written by the Décamps brothers and it was already a rather complex and ambitious oeuvre. What's great about this "album" is that most of the material is unheard elsewhere, with a possible exception of the opening Zup, which reminds me a track on one of their first two official album. The short concert extract opens on the afore- mentioned Zup, but the main course is a 17-mins Atome track, one that sounds halfway between Genesis (Cryme-era) and Floyd (Saucerful-era) with a touch of Who (Tommy-era) and even an Amon Duul II (Yeti-era) feel - most likely some of these influences were fortuitous. Quite interesting a track, I wished they had a better-sounding version somewhere, just to catch Ange in a psychedelic mood. The third extract Opus 69 is a short dynamic instrumental, reminiscent of a giant hogweed nature. I'm not sure why, but the last track of this double vinyl (but single Cd, which I am reviewing) is also from this line-up, but I've got no idea why this 22-mins Prophetie track is separated from the rest of its companion piece. Actually this monster track is much like Atome, but a bit more elongated and with Tull-influences (This Was-era) and the same Floyd-Genesis-ADII and Who influences, the latter though the Entwistle-like horn-blowing. Prophetie is a very enjoyable jam track, with many fun moments.

The second concert is more complete and features bits of the Général Machin rock-opera, starting with an ambitious presentation and digging right into the heart of the subject with the short title track, the much longer Assis Sur L'Univers (sitting on the universe: most likely the general's ambition) and the other tracks from this set are not quite as proggy and sound quite different: more guitarey, R'nB, the flute sounding like a toy and even less-well recorded than the first part of the release. Only Cauchemar seems more elaborate in terms of songwriting.

Personally I'd give the classic line-up concert (with Atome and Prophetie) an easy three stars , despite the poor sound, but I'd only give the first line-up's Général Machin rendition a two stars, tops. Well, if you're only a casual Ange fan, you'd better steer clear of this "album", which received two Cd reissue by Spalax (94) and Musea (97). On the other hand if you love Age, this is more likely a must-own, even if you won't listen to it so much after the initial discovery.

Report this review (#278939)
Posted Thursday, April 22, 2010 | Review Permalink

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