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Maneige - Live À L'Évêché (1975) CD (album) cover



Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars 4,5 stars really!!!

The release of this album came to me as a small surprise to me as I am normally aware of the Secret of the Gods in ProgQuebec, but I was not aware that this album would come so soon. Well it is only a half-new release (outside of the fact that these live recording date back in their very early career) as the three tracks that were available on the other posthumous release are actually included here, so we have 4 of the 7 tracks are completely unreleased be it live or in studio. Recorded around the time of the first album (before and after its release), they came to have a solid reputation, consistently blowing off stage the headlining Ekseption group and by the sound of these recordings it easy to see why they did so. More precisely the first 5 tracks from this disc are from a live broadcast for a radio station on Nov 22/75. The next two tracks come from a studio live broadcast on Jan 6/74. The four unreleased tracks that will hold most of my interest are rather short (all under 7 minutes) but I can tell you that it is a real pleasure to discover them as new tracks after all these years - well actually Les Epinettes will find its way on the first album as will Le Rafiot and 1-2-3-4-5-6, but as the first two studio release of Maneige have still not found a CD release, so this album can serve as an excellent introduction to the band since it is the only available Cd right now!. They develop a unique style of an almost instrumental fusion between classical music with rock rhythms and add a touch of jazz to this. Even so early in their career there are hints of the crazy rhythms (sometimes reminding you a bit of GG), but the incredible mastership of their respective instruments is awesome for a band with almost no prior recording experience.

If you do not own the previous live 74/75 recordings released in 98, this album is an absolute must and if you do own it, you have to acquire this one (and support ProgQuebec by the same occasion) and you might want to give the other album to a fellow proghead as an introduction to one of the best kept secret of our Archives.

Report this review (#54085)
Posted Monday, October 31, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is a complete gem. Most of it is recorded live at the club 'L'Eveche' in Montreal in November 1975, just a few months after "Les Porches" (their second album) was recorded, and before Jerome Langlois left. It contains a number of compositions never recorded in the studio. These include Langlois's very long epic "La Balloune", and Gilles Schetagne's "Bullfrog Dance", both of which were written for, but could not be included on, Les Porches. There is also the excellent "Les Epinettes", "Mambo Chant", and "1-2-3-4-5-6", wonderful music highly evocative of their first album. In many ways, this represents the missing Maneige album that should have followed Les Porches if only Jerome Langlois had not left. The sound quality is very good given the context (not excellent, but really good for a non-professional recording). Being a live recording, the performance is a bit more raw than in the studio, and there are a couple of wonky notes (in the guitar solos, an occasionally out of-tune-clarinet, couple of off-time drum fills, etc), but given this was never intended for release, it is actually quite remarkable, as the music is very complex. While all of the pieces here are great, the real treat is Langlois' 29-minute "La Balloune". This is similar in structure to "Le Rafiot" from the debut album, and "Les Porches de Notre-Dame" from their second album, largely based around themes played by piano and flute. Once again, a lot of emotive and playful themes, with some dark and dissonant passages, some light dances, some jazzy solos and improvs, even some "night in Berlin" la la vocals, and a lot of really amazing musical piano passages, all flowing together. Wonderful music! I think this may in fact be their best-ever composition. There are also two early pieces recorded and broadcast live at a Montreal radio station in January 1974, before their debut album. One is the long 'Le Rafiot' (which takes up the first side of their debut album) and the other is a short, but never-before released but really excellent (and a bit Canterbury-esque) "Manege" (not sure why the different spelling). While the sound quality is not as good on the live radio recording of "Le Rafiot" (cymbals are far too loud), these are still a very welcome bonus to a great live set. I actually find myself putting this album on more often than "Les Porches", which speaks to the very high quality of the music here. On the whole, I rate this 8.5 out of 10 on my 10-point scale (would have been even higher with better sound).
Report this review (#1696290)
Posted Thursday, February 23, 2017 | Review Permalink

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