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Ergo Sum

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Ergo Sum Mexico album cover
3.58 | 26 ratings | 5 reviews | 15% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1971

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Mexico (3:26)
2. I Know Your Mother (8:50)
3. Albion Impressions (5:24)
4. Lydie (1:00)
5. Night Road (3:05)
6. Unparalleled Embrace (3:05)
7. John's Nightmare (3:50)
8. Faces (6:20)
9. Second Rebirth (4:07)
10. All's So Comic (5:55)
11. Tijuana (3:40)
12. It's Me (2:02)
13. Mexico - Instrumental Version (1:00)

Total Time: 51:44

Line-up / Musicians

Tracks 1-10 et 13 (enregistred on august-september 1970):
- Lionel Ledissez / vocals, percussion, sleigh bells
- Jean Guérin / flute, Wurlitzer, Steinway, Rhodes piano, Hammond organ, whistling (1)
- Michel Leonardi / electric & acoustic guitar, vocals (3)
- Roland Meynet / violin, acoustic guitar (4)
- Max Touat / bass, acoustic guitar (6 & 7), double-bass (4)
- B.B. Brutus / drums, congas, maracas, percussion
- Laurent Thibault as " El Tibo " / acoustic rhythm guitar
- Dominique Blanc-Francart / moog (5)

Tracks 11 et 12 (enregistred on january 1972):
Lionel Ledissez, Jean Guérin, B.B. Brutus, Roland Meynet & Marc Perru / guitar, xylophone
- Edouard Magnani / bass
- Unknown musician / percussion

Thanks to Sean Trane for the addition
and to ProgLucky for the last updates
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ERGO SUM Mexico ratings distribution

(26 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(15%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(38%)
Good, but non-essential (42%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

ERGO SUM Mexico reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars Sole album from one of the early wave groups (along with Moving Gelatine Plates, Sandrose etc) that progressively rocked France, Ergo Sum's music is sadly a bit over- looked, even by specialists. Their music was a rather unique genre of rock, jazz and so many other ingredients (but I would not call them a jazz-rock group proper), helped out by a violin, a flute and percussion instruments and weird-voiced singer.

From the Spanish-sung average title track (this song was not the opening track on the vinyl, Musea purposely changed it) to the rest of the tracks sung in English, the main danger is Ledissiez's voice (which sounds like Family's Roger Chapman), but past that feat, the rest of the group's oeuvre is really a must-hear for the era. The lengthy (almost 9-min) I Know Your Mother is probably one of the best-sung jazz-rock tracks written in France with Leonardi pulling a superb guitar solo towards the end. Albion Impressions is definitely more conventional prog rock and followed by the short flute interlude Lydie. Night road is a harder rocking track with a guest playing the Moog providing "strings" (less credible than the Mellotron) and other quirks that ends in a chaotic fade-out.

There is an underlying Spanish feel (almost Flamenco) on the following Unparalleled Embrace, while John's Nightmare glides on a Traffic-like groove. The lengthy Faces is not as good as most of the rest of the tracks, because it tries an Italian singer (Ramazotti or Zucchero) trick (and fails) but Leonardi's guitar saves the day. Second Rebirth's violin might recall a certain Jean-Luc, but the funky bass is stealing the show by teaming with the electric piano.

Bonus tracks include a Sampler album track All's So Comic (almost Caravanserai's Santana-esque in its ambiances, very very much in spirit with the album), the next year's single Tijuana/It's Me (the first having a déjà-entendu feel, while the latter has good b-side value) and an expandable short instrumental version of the title track. Overall these add to the album's general excellent quality. Although I'm not thinking that this album is indispensable or even essential, it is a very excellent album that will furbish your rock collection.

Review by ClemofNazareth
3 stars Listening to this album it is easy to hear why the band has been classified as everything from jazz to folk to Zeuhl to sometimes psych. There’s maybe a little bit of all of those here, except Zeuhl which I think is sometimes attributed to the band because of personal connections some of the players have with Magma more than the music itself.

The first thing you have to adjust your frame of reference to with this music is the fact that this is a French band. Most of the vocals are in English, the album title is ‘Mexico’ (sung in Spanish), and there are a handful of tracks with a Latin vibe to them (particularly “Unparalleled Embrace” and both bonus tracks from the CD reissue).

And the second is that this is not jazz or folk or sometimes psych, and really can’t be compared to or categorized with nearly anyone else, or at least anyone I’ve ever heard. Except the opening track Lionel Ledissez’ vocals (which can take some getting used to) bear some small resemblance to Polish jazz/folk sometimes psych artist the late Czesław Niemen as well as to Pat Moran from another early seventies act, Spring. But I could see a reasonable argument that he shares some attributes with Joe Cocker as well. Anyway, the vocals are different and will likely grab your attention before the actual music will, but that’s where the true beauty of this album lies.

Violinist Roland Meynet is a master of his instrument and manages to not only accent the mood of each song perfectly, but does so without dominating anywhere as that instrument can have a tendency to do in cases like this where they are the only classical strings. Same goes for Jean Guérin on flute, although he definitely is a major player on keyboards of all kinds from Wurlitzer to Hammond organ to piano.

The only track here that I would consider an unqualified jazz/fusion composition is the nearly nine minute “I Know Your Mother” which is both exquisite and hypnotic. I could play this one almost every day without tiring of it.

“Faces” is another lengthy fusion-like number, but this is also one of the tracks where Michel Leonardi (guitars) and Max Touat (bass) take charge, and probably where some people get the idea this is a psych album. “Albion Impressions” also has some great guitar, although here it’s acoustic and much mellower and interspersed with strings.

“Unparalleled Embrace” and “John’s Nightmare” are two other numbers that lean toward jazz with intricate violin and keyboard work and rather complex tempos, while “All's So Comic” which closes the original album is also jazz but heavily keyboard-driven with few vocals.

This isn’t really my cup of tea when it comes to early seventies music, but the reissue is extremely well- done, there is quite a bit of information and photos of the band, and the music is original enough to pique one’s interest at least. I’d say this is easily three stars, and if someone was a jazz freak they’d probably give this four; but I’ll stick with three but on the high end. Recommended to most fans of obscure early seventies music.


Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars This is one of the early Progressive bands to come out of France. They were the first band to be signed to Laurent Thibault's label, and the album itself was released in 1971. Singer Lionel Ledissez grew up in Mexico so that's no doubt where the album's title came from.The biggest surprise was seeing a young Jean-My Truong on drums here. He would later go on to play with ZAO where he impresses me to no end. I must say he doesn't really get a chance to showcase his talents on this album like he does with ZAO. The biggest complaint for me are the vocals. He reminds me of David Clayton-Thomas just not as good. He's dificult to digest unfortunately, taking a lot of enjoyment out of it for me.

"Mexico" opens with bass followed by cymbals and guitar. It kicks in with the vocals. Sax before a minute as it settles.Themes are repeated. "I Know Your Mother" opens with violin followed by flute and vocals. Piano and bass stand out after 3 minutes. Violin is prominant on this track. A laid back guitar solo late. "Albion Impressions" is fairly mellow with reserved vocals, flute, gentle guitar and piano. Some violin later. "Lydie" features flute and acoustic guitar throughout this short instrumental. "Night Road" starts off like the previous track then vocals, drums, sax and bass join in.

"Unparalleled Embrace" is led by vocals, violin and bass early as flute comes and goes. "John's Nightmare" is catchy with strummed guitar, violin, drums then vocals. Flute before 1 1/2 minutes and electric guitar a minute later. "Faces" has some nice guitar late but other than that we get the usual vocals, piano, violin, drums and bass. "Second Rebirth" starts off with violin and drums then the tempo picks up as vocals, bass and piano join in. "All's So Comic" is different with sounds coming and going with no melody until after 2 1/2 minutes. "Tijuana" has these vocal melodies as acoustic guitar, drums, flute and violin play on. "It's Me" contrasts drums and violin with vocals and guitar. "Mexico" is the closing 1 minute instrumental that has a great rhythm.

So a good Jazz flavoured album with not so good vocals.

Review by GruvanDahlman
4 stars Sliding through the doors to Saloon Zeuhl by way of Magma's first album, I was trying to find my bearings and delve deeper into the pleasure of said genre. Thus I came across this album, supposedly being just that. Zeuhl, that is. I wasn't disappointed by the songs, though slightly confused. I would not say that this album is zeuhl in any great sense of the word. Rather it is a concoction of jazz, rock and just a hint of zeuhl. It is barely traceable but it simmers somewhere beneath the surface.

The vocals. Ah, yes. The vocals. Many a reviewer speaks of this harsh, roaring and belching vocals. Roger Chapman of France? Well, okay. It's fair enough. The vocalist do have a certain resemblance to Chapman. It is wild singing. Crazy, if you ask me, but I like it. It isactually very competent and I have had no quarrel what so ever.

From start to finish this is an album of emotional and charged jazz-rock. It has everything from all out bashing to really sensitive and beautiful songs. It is quite balanced, actually. Mostly sung in english it also holds similiarities to british jazz-rock of the period. Just listen to "Albion impressions", a song of outstanding beauty. Maybe that is logical seeing that Albion is an ancient word for Britain. Anyway, great stuff. The longest track, "I know your mother", is also one of the best. It keeps on going without losing focus nor nerve. Brilliant!

I hold this album very dear and I return every now and then. If you are anything like me, into jazz-rock of the early 1970's, this is a must for you. It is a gem to discover and something to marvel at. To me it is an easy four stars.

Latest members reviews

4 stars This is an underrated French band, often wrongly included in the Zeuhl wave. In "Mexico" Ergo Sum play indeed an original mix of folk-rock-blues with a jazzy touch, and the rough vocal of Lionel Ledissez adding something more. The nine album tracks show an eclectic and very gifted band. The guit ... (read more)

Report this review (#115346) | Posted by armapo | Friday, March 16, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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