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MANEIGE

Maneige

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
5 stars The great ProgQuebec label has finally come through in acquiring the rights from the Harvest/EMI label to re-issue for the first time ever in the CD format Maneige's first two astounding albums. Although the great new label had already released two albums' worth of early live recordings, fact was that the public really wanted to see these album proper get their due paid respect. Not only does the album restore the original window artwork, but it also some awesome artwork to depict pictorially some of the tracks featured here, most notably the Amerindian and the raft for Le Rafiot, and another I gather for the bonus track Tetdet(etc..) with the mushroom/horn artwork in an effort to marry both. So I will keep my own first review, but will write underneath the re-actualised review.

Early review: Maneige 's debut is an incredible one and the fact that they were not in studio for recording before this album makes it even more awesome. Before recording it , they had played together for some time before and recently has been released a live recording of previous stuff called Live 74-75 with the cover depicting the studio tape case. Three very impressive numbers (and one of 29 min) but full of improv sometimes directionless but impeccably played but slightly longish soloing.

Just four mostly instrumental tracks (there is some singing into one track and it sounds good also), of which Jean-Jacques is really the highlight but all of them shine hard and brilliant, solid and fluid. The style is very much, as its successor Les Porches, a sort of fusion but it really holds a great content of classical music, but nothing stolen from the historical composers. If it were not for the sheer power of this music, I could be talking of chamber prog, but this would be hard to see this played in a salon of the haute-bourgeoisie as the intensity of the music would blow away the glass windows even with triple glass. The only slight remark, I can say is that some solos tends to drag on a tad too long in here, something that will disappear with the next album.

Updated review: Although the lengthy Le Rafiot (the raft) takes up the whole first side, I wouldn't call this epic flawless as there are some repetitive moments, but overall it builds impressively from an improvised free-jazz intro into the Rafiot piano motif that will pursue Jérome Langlois' career for so long. The resulting almost classical music Chamber Rock is not only incredibly impressive, but quite entertaining as well even if there are some dissonant improvs and incredible contrast and dynamic movements (the screaming sax, just before the sweetest of flutes) which makes it easy to understand why they repeatedly blew Ekseption off stage at the time. Clearly throughout this disc, Gentle Giant, classic Tull, early Soft Machine and Zappa are at the heart of Maneige's inspirations.

The flipside is made of three shorter tracks, of which Une Année Sans Fin (Never-ending Year) starts of from dissonant onto such a sweet flute/vibe duo underlined by the three man rhythm section (Leonard on bass and Schetagne/Vincent Langlois on percussions). Excellent stuff. The shorter Jean Jacques is again picking up on a piano theme, but soon evolving to a sweeping piano-led full out classical-fusion-jazz. Another beauty!! Galerie III features Jérome's brother Vincent on piano, but to allow his brother more freedom. The track ends pretty much the same way the album had opened with Le Rafiot. According to Langlois, the group hazd some difficulties with studio works as they had to dissect their music in individual parts, so they could get a studio to record the separate musicians. They had been playing so much together these pieces

Coming with this reissue are two bonus tracks, both with Paul Picard (he had a full-time job in the Hamilton philharmonic orch) on percussion (and Vincent not present), the second of which presenting a fairly different version of Jean Jacques (and not worse than the album version), but more interesting is the Langlois piece Tetdetdetet, which is an absolutely perfect addition to the album and will be yet another highlight of the album. Actually the addition of these two bonus tracks will push this debut further out up the rating scale to rise up to Les Porches. AWESOME!!! Stephen and Sean and the rest of the team, un énorme merci, pour ces instants de bonheur!!!!

Report this review (#30697)
Posted Tuesday, May 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars I got this LP by mail from Canada yesterday. In my oppinion the most beautiful effort of Maneige. Truely important thing or in other words maybe the basement of this band (and so in music in general) is generous and juicy spectum of sounds (vibes, xylophone, timpani, gong, flutes, clarinettes, saxes, guitars, basses)... These longisgh compositions on this LP are usually gentle and kind, splendingly developed - with little culminations and sometimes a bit darker suspenses. Maybe listening to the second side of LP the intensity of music grows. What a bass guitar in the beginning of Une Année Sans Fin! Jean Jacques (not dedicated to Rousseau but seemingly to Beauchamps) continues good tension and the end of this composition (specially guitar and bass) proclaims Maneige's more jazzrock-orientated end of seventies (thanks for possibility to listen MP3 of Jean-Jacques - therefore I decided to order this LP from Canada!). Galerie III - the last piece - brings us back to the anticipation what we heard in the beginning of longside composition Le Rafiot. Great album and mellow walking up to Les Porches!
Report this review (#47958)
Posted Friday, September 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars A superb album given a welcome official release on CD by ProgQuebec. An album of lively classical-leaning symphonic prog well worth investigating. The CD release sports a well designed booklet including notes by keyboard player and clarinetist Jerome Langlois. The 2 bonus tracks 'Tedetedetedet' 6:42 and an unreleased version of 'Jean-Jaques' 4:29 are of excellent quality recorded 'live-in-studio' in 1974.
Report this review (#142087)
Posted Thursday, October 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars MANEIGE play Chamber music that is mostly flute and piano led with some dissonance and darkness.This band from Quebec is pretty amazing actually. When I say flute and piano led, don't think this is lightweight music because it isn't. The musicianship is top notch by the way.

"Le Rafiot" is the side long opening track at over 21 minutes. It's quite experimental and dissonant to start until we get a piano melody after 4 minutes with percussion. Flute and bass follow. This is very classical sounding at times with flute and piano usually leading the way. It turns dark after 13 minutes, then intense after 16 minutes as horns come in and drums go crazy. Dark again before 19 minutes before piano takes over again.

"Une Annee Sans Fin" features some harsh sounding piano early and flute. A good melody before a minute. Vibes and bass join in around 2 1/2 minutes but it's brief. Piano and flute take over. Great sound before 5 minutes. "Jean-Jauques" is my favourite track on here. Piano intro is joined by flute and drums. The bass that follows is impressive. Cool ending. "Galerie III" reminds me of Zappa early on. It then settles as flute and vocals come in. A heavy sound follows, but these guys are all over the place at this point. Some dissonant horns followed by vibes then a pleasant melody. It turns dark and spooky before 5 minutes to the end.

This is a very entertaining listen that will appeal to fans of Chamber music and Avant-garde music.

Report this review (#182607)
Posted Tuesday, September 16, 2008 | Review Permalink
apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars MANEIGE should be considered one of the most clever progressive rock bands in history and surely one of the top-3 coming out of the progressive scene of Quebec.The band was formed back in 1972 with main figures being the woodwind player Alain Bergeron and the keyboardist Jerome Langlois.The band at first started as a quintet but ended up as a sextet before releasing their first eponymous album in 1975.

Having a woodwind and a keyboard player as their leaders it is not surprising that MANEIGE's debut is dominated by the flute and the piano,resulting an almost chamber rock album.The album is totally instrumental and consists of a side-long 21 min.epic plus 3 shorter songs on the b-side.Do not expect that the tracks do differ very much in their sound despite the different running times,this is a heavenly structured mix of chamber music,folk prog,symphonic prog and jazz improvisations.Bergeron's flute is all over the place,while he is accompanied by Langlois' piano work at most of the times.With the right doses of bass lines,drums and percussion the final result is fabulous,combining the cleverness and the difficult to get into- complexity of GENTLE GIANT with the symphonic touch and darkness of KING CRIMSON in a more folkish and less electric way...Progressive rock...And where's the electric guitar?...If you ask me,after several careful listenings the only track I can remember hearing some electric guitar is the final one...But do not hesitate...This is progressive rock 100% despite the evident lack in electric instruments...

Coming to the end,it is just a shame for an album like that to have only 4 written reviews by this time.This is an album for all the open-minded progressive rock fans full of numerous interplays between rock and non-rock instruments,with an obvious ''classical feeling'' and superb-structured instrumental tracks.It is not the absolute masterpiece of progressive rock but it is at least an essential one for a decent collection...4 stars along with high recommendations!

Report this review (#190738)
Posted Friday, November 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Maneige does indeed make lovely music. This is the least electric of the 4,but great never the less. I love Quebec prog like Cano and Harmonium also which is in the same sounding category of music. My problem with this album though ,is the first 4 minutes of the first track and a few bridges along the way. It sounds like the group strumming/tuning in avantgardish fashion,which in my ears just get totally annoying.I play this song the least because I just can't get bowwered sitting through the intro. Don't get me wrong,when the melody here is flowing, it is very special indeed. A big thank you to ProgQuebec for making these albums available.They say 'Non profit',but I do not find them particularly cheap.But ,I have no problem with that really ,because Maneige is a great band,and is nice that they are available. I rate this one three ,and the next Maneiges 4 * each. I will add though, that a proghead should at least own one Maneige.
Report this review (#190772)
Posted Friday, November 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The Maneige albums are special albums and each offer different musical perspective. On their debut album Maneige were an all instrumental psych-jazz-prog band who in many ways remind me of a mix of Ummagumma era Pink Floyd with pieces of Mike Oldfield, Jethro Tull and traces of Canterbury prog tossed in. Their music is captivating and like many of the 70's prog quebec bands carried a high degreee of musicianship and deep song writing ability. On this first album maneige mix a wide range of instruments with some great mallet work, flute, various percussive tones, woodwind and sax. This is my favourite of all the Maneige albums and an absolute essential album to own. In the summer of 2007 i got a chance to meet Gilles Schetagne (percussionist in Maneige) and got to tell him how much i have enjoyed thier music and thanked him for the music after all these years.
Report this review (#223805)
Posted Monday, June 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Intriguing avant-leaning fusion album with the occasional spooky, dissonant section adding a bit of ambient spice to the compositions, which otherwise lean more towards jazz than rock. I don't hear the Canterbury influence most others hear, but then again I don't detect the Zappa, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever or Weather Report influences of most other fusion bands of the era; Maneige's debut therefore establishes them as one of the true originals, coming up with their own unique fusion sound. This sound is delivered mainly by the prominence of flute and piano in the music - the flute, in particular, not having had much attention in fusion up to this point. A decent debut for a cornerstone of the Quebequois prog scene, though some of the dissonant sections outlast their welcome a little and feel like they are there simply to pad out the running time.
Report this review (#537217)
Posted Thursday, September 29, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars The debut from this great Canadian band.

Maneige is a very slow starting album which takes it's time to really get going. The emphasis is on avant-garde doodling at the beginning before the twentyone minutes long opening track Le Rafiot really comes to life. Half-life, that is. The emphasis is on a mix of pastoral folk rock and jazz. Fusion, but not as fusion used to be. And that is what the this album is. A fusion between jazz and folk music. Induce some classical music too and you get the sound of album.

I am not won over by this album, I have to admit. It has some great melody lines, but not many enough to really interest me that much. But it is a very creditable debut album and a very good one too. Hence my restricted praise for it.

3.5 stars

Report this review (#625762)
Posted Friday, February 3, 2012 | Review Permalink
Menswear
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars For those who want a challenge.

Maneige (french pun for 'My Snow' but also 'Roundabout') is an almost experimental music specialist in the prog world. They were (and still are compared to 90% of today's bands) way ahead of their time with songs that are more fit for a documentary about insects and critters.When the piano is melodic, it's pure bliss, an absolute match in heaven of flute, saxomofone, bass and inventive percussion.

Maneige is a very graphic band in a musical way: they name their songs like 'Le Rafiot' which is french for a very old and clunky boat. Well the atmosphere they create is so close to being on an actual boat it's uncanny, you could use that soundtrack to a movie anytime. My hit parade of capable musicians had Gentle Giant, Anglagard, Balletto di Bronzo, Yezda Urfa and Gryphon amongst, but these guys are above all that. This is art way, way, way above the latter names of my list.

Quebec's progressive rock is without a doubt ahead of it's time. Maneige's love for classical pieces is obvious, but also they possess the need to go further into a genre that flirts with chamber music, baroque, experimental and modern classical music. If you dig deeper into Quebec's repertoire, you'll find stuff that makes you realize how passionnate and intelligent musicians from this province are. Those guys are exceptionnally talented, and yet, their jobs were maybe to teach youngsters like me the passion for sounds and textures. It's a crime to let those albums rot on the shelf!

Absolute masterpiece of a sunny afternoon, a snowstorm and strong Quebec beer.

Report this review (#884135)
Posted Saturday, December 29, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Maneige are unique, and a difficult band to classify. While there are definitely tinges of jazz and progressive rock (with many odd time signatures and angular composing, improvising, and the occasional distorted guitars and fuzz bass), the predominant ethos is of modern classical music coupled with references to traditional French classical and folk music. While the music is very diverse - from sections that sound almost medieval, to beautiful emotive Rachmaninoff-like runs, to others that involve extreme dissonance and white noises, and everything in between - the music all flows together very well. While their later albums would become ever-more influenced by mainstream jazz fusion and Canterbury stylings, this album has fewer references to those. On these earlier albums, flutes, pianos and xylophones are the primary lead instruments. This is my favourite album of theirs. The compositions are completely original, always changing-never boring, and very musical (revealed only once you listen to them a number of times - the music is quite dense, making it absolutely necessary to give this multiple listens). One can tell a lot of effort went into composing the pieces on this.

The first four minutes of the album (of the first composition - the 21-minute Le Rafiot) contain probably most dissonant sounds in Maneige's discography. But once you get through that, the main themes of Le Rafiot emerge on piano, flute and marimba, and these are very beautiful and emotive, followed by some sections that are very playful and memorable (although completely different music, some remind me of Tchaikovsky's themes from the Nutcracker). The piece constantly shifts, moving between contemplative broodyness, jazzy improvisations, fast dramatic piano lines, and playful or dramatic themes. The second side (of the original vinyl album) contains three shorter pieces (between 4-8 mins), with sonic textures one might be more accustomed (with the drums, electric bass and guitar more prominent, for instance) but otherwise similar intricate arrangements and intense musicality. The CD re-issue by ProgQuebec contains two bonus live tracks, one of which is otherwise unreleased and really excellent. All in all, highly recommended, a true original of Canadian music. I give this 8.9 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which is just shy of the threshold for 5 stars, so 4 PA stars (really more like 4.5 stars).

Report this review (#1696266)
Posted Thursday, February 23, 2017 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
5 stars MANEIGE were one of the numerous progressive bands from Quebec province of Canada in the 70s but rose above the pack by having one of the longest runs and providing an astonishing consistency in quality from album to album. The band was formed in 1972 by keyboardist Jérôme Langlois and flautist / sax player Alain Bergeron after the dissolution of another band called Lasting Weep and started as a duo who immediately began working on the first track on this album called "Le Rafiot" which is a 21 minute 22 second prog behemoth with a ridiculous amount of developing styles and genre fusions. As experiment after experiment ensued the band grew to the six members that appear on their eponymous debut release, the first of the year 1975 with no less than two percussionists who dish out everything from the expected rock drum rolls to xylophone, vibraphone, glockenspiel, bongos and even Mike Oldfield's favorites, tubular bells! Like all their albums the debut is also entirely an instrumental experience.

The first you hear on the first MANEIGE album is something you wouldn't expect. No jazz-fusion at all, in fact "Le Rafiot" is the French word for a fishing vessel and this long lasting track is divided up into suites which depict in sonic form the tribulations of this small ship on the ocean. Overall the similarities is much like Camel's "Snowgoose" in not only classically inspired developments but in symphonic leanings which predominate over the jazzy touches at this point. As the track begins it sounds more like a bizarre impressionists world more akin to Stockhausen and lasts for a frightening four minutes before a classical piano breaks through the brume and adds a melodic path into a more recognizable form of symphonic prog that twists and turns through the many themes and dishing out some of the most pleasant flute led melodies accompanied by an army of instrumental accompaniments.

Throughout the album of four tracks which is really like an album of eight or more tracks due to the fact the first track is more akin to several tracks separately composed and stitched together, the moods shift dramatically from bleak and scary to ecstatically happy with bouncy keyboards and the ubiquitous Jethro Tull folk inspired flutes dominating the soundscapes. Some of the other claimed influences range from Zappa's "Hot Rats" era, The Nice, early Soft Machine and early Gentle Giant but more than any of those the classical composers rule the influence roost especially in the melodic piano department while the other instruments while not entire subordinate fall under the gravitational forces of the keyboards with flutes adding an extra force that tugs them back and forth between them.

MANEIGE managed to score a recording contract merely by the strength of their live performances of playing extremely strong and intricately complex symphonic prog with jazz and classical elements at every turn. Like most of the progressive releases from 70s Quebec this one as well as the rest of the MANEIGE canon have been remastered and released on CD by ProgQuebec with bonus tracks two of which are found tagged onto the end and are live tracks from their days before releasing albums. The track "Tèdetèdetèdet" is a catchy bouncy little number not found on any studio release and the name simulates the rhythm of the flute which is extra fiery on this particular track. MANEIGE would gradually simplify their music into more digestible chunks but personally i find their debut to the be most satisfying experience of their stamp on symphonic prog / jazz / classical fusion. A perfect album in every way.

Report this review (#1731828)
Posted Friday, June 9, 2017 | Review Permalink

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