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Maneige Les Porches album cover
4.27 | 292 ratings | 28 reviews | 43% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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Studio Album, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Les porches de Notre-Dame: (19:14)
a) Ouverture (3:03)
b) Suite I (2:34)
c) Suite II (0:45)
d) Suite III (3:25)
e) Désouverture (2:48)
f) Les Porches (6:50)
2. La grosse torche (1:24)
3. Les aventures de saxinette et Clarophone: (15:41)
a) Chapitre I, épisode 1 (3:47)
b) Chapitre I, épisode 2 (5:16)
c) Chapitre II, épisode 1 (1:31)
d) Chapitre II, épisode 2 (2:34)
e) Chapitre III (2:33)
4. Chromo part I (2:36)
5. Chromo part II (1:37)

Total Time 40:32

Line-up / Musicians

- Alain Bergeron / piano, flutes, saxophone
- Jérôme Langlois/ piano, guitar, clarinet, string arrangements
- Yves Léonard / electric bass, tuba
- Gilles Schetagne / drums, percussion
- Vincent Langlois / percussion, piano solo (1e)

- Denis Lapierre / electric guitar (3)
- Raôul Duguay / trumpets & vocals (1f)
- Peter Schenkman / violin
- Albert Pratz / violin
- Walter Babiak / violin
- Bill Richards / violin
- Paul Picard / bongos & xylophone (3a, 3b)

Releases information

ArtWork: Charles-Henri Duclos

LP Harvest ‎- ST 6438 (1975, Canada)

CD ProgQuébec ‎- MPM25 (2007, Canada) Remastered by Reggie Thompson and Jérôme Langlois

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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MANEIGE Les Porches ratings distribution

(292 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(43%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(38%)
Good, but non-essential (13%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

MANEIGE Les Porches reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by loserboy
4 stars MANEIGE along with HARMONIUM and FLAIRCK were part of Canada's 70's Quebecois prog-folk-classical artists who managed to release a few albums with "Les Porches" standing out as another magical album for consideration. "Les Porches" is a 4 piece suite featuring lush symphonia and a wide arsenal of instrumentation including glockenspiel, contra bass, flutes, saxes, vibes, xylophone, marimba. Unlike some of their other albums this one has vocals (sung in French) which are used sparingly and still work well on the album. Overall sound is quite unique with a lush folk-symphonic charm. A great album for sure.!
Review by Sean Trane
5 stars Recently reissued on the Cd format by the great ProgQuebec team, this album (and its predecessor) had been all too long ignored and denied a second life by the Harvest label. Oddly enough with the bulk of reserve material still waiting to be released back then, the CD reissue offers no bonus track, but the album alone is much worthy by itself. The last paragraphs are dedicated to the review being re-written after its reissue.

Old review: How to describe this absolutely masterful and orgasmic music? Except for this lone LP where one number is sung, Maneige is an instrumental group that lets you know right from the start that they will take full advantage of this and will not allow you one second of inattention. The group mixes acoustic and electric instrument with such dexterity that they make it look easy and sound simple. NOT SO!!! Although people will classify this group in the fusion section , this is only partly correct as there is some jazz & folk , but there is an uncommon percentage of classical music but nothing stolen from the historical composers.

This album and the debut as well as the recently released live 74-75 are highly indescribable melange of all sort of academic musics. If I must name one band of this site to come close to Maneige, I will tell you a cross between Univers Zero and Gentle Giant for the construction complexities but Maneige is so much more melodic and harmonious to your ears, that GG is rather distant cry from them.

"Why have you not heard of this band before?" you ask. My theory is that they got black listed because of their Quebecois origins at the time when Quebec was overtly menacing of separation from the rest of Canada because of the English compatriots refusing to recognize Quebec as a distinct society. This made Quebec groups unable to play freely in the rest of their country along with Harmonium (a little success), Pollen (just one superb record and disband), Aquarelle (I am not even sure they released something outside Quebec) and even the Franco-Ontarian band Cano, so they had real problems of exposure. This lasts still today except for Harmonium that does get international recognition. Is the best proof of this not that only three albums of this great band are on CD? As they are still relative unknown, your hunt for the vinyls should not be that difficult or expensive, but man, it is definitely worth it. Max: can you give a sixth star just for the sake of it?

New review: The 19-min+ title track suite (written by wind player Bergeron) is grabbing by the throat from the first notes, and never letting it go of its grip through its six movement, with its constantly evolving composition and so many different acoustic instruments taking over the previous one and even a rare sung section, whose lyrics were reprinted in a weird fashion on a loose sheet alongside the inner sleeve. The first side closes on a short symphonic (a quartet really) piece that is not as inspired as the rest of the album. Indeed, La Grosse Torche sounds out of place on the Cd (this was less evident on the vinyl).

The flipside starts with Saxinette and Clarophone's wild adventures and the opening minute could make you think of Genesis' The Lamb on the second disc But this is quickly forgotten as the two instruments share literally everything mixing blood, trading licks, making love to each other. Bergeron's sax and Langlois' clarinet are not just the stars of the show, they eclipse the sun for the duration of the track from shining so hard. Vincent (Jerome's brother) Langlois' electric piano solo draws chills in your back, until a weird animal meows like an elephant and the tracks veers into a wild goose chase ending in a chaotic crowd and dying a slow death! Du très grand art, monsieur!! The closing track Chromo is a much funkier track that will indeed remind what was coming ahead in NV.NN, which would be a much jazzier album.

The amazing thing is that obviously at the autumn of the group's first career (the Jerome Langlois years, if you wish), the group had loads more music that was still waiting for a proper studio recording and release. Most of these tracks can be found throughout the three live albums that have been released since 98. And from these albums, it's easy to see that Maneige's first line-up could have released a third album that would have easily matched their debut and Les Porches. So as Chromo sort of announces the new Maneige, Jerome Langlois will leave the group to concentrate on the long-standing project that he had tried to get of the ground with his previous group Lasting Weep. Le Spectacle de L'Albatros would then see the light of day in early 76 with both Lasting Weep and Maneige playing alongside, but this is another superb ProgQuebec chapter of the marvelous musical adventures of Progresson.

Review by Carl floyd fan
5 stars This is quite the cd. I never expected Canada to produce such fine music but this cd really floored me. It is a beautiful blend of classical and jazz. Rock and folk elements are few and far between and add to the overall atomphere, with amazing mood swings. Some of the segues felt a little awkward. You go from a nice jam to near silence to something completly different almost, all kind of unexpected. But because of the various pace changes you don't get the sense of one long jam or over indulgence and noodling. Overall, a lost gem.
Review by belz
5 stars 4.6/5.0

I discovered this album when I and a friend were doing a prog music show in college. I was totally blasted away, even if it sounds weird to say that about such a quiet, melodic, unpretious and smooth masterpiece. I remember when we used to play "Les Porches" and people were coming to us asking what was playing and saying it was great. Well, they were impressed by the special collaboration of Raoul Duguay on the lyrics. Duguay is well known for new-age music but on this one his deep weirdo voice is great!

Ok, so how to describe this for a newcomer? Well, I would classify this as a mix of Maneige and Harmonium; the first group for the xylophon and the percussions and the other one for the folk ambiance and the theme album. Honestly, this is a bit closer to Maneige.

This is a great jazz-prog-folk album with one of the best saxophone solo I ever heard at the end of the first track. This is a masterpiece, no doubt about this one! 4. 6/5.0

Review by hdfisch

Well what else could I add to all these praising reviews here? As said already this album is like their debut (that I still have to get) only available on vinyl but I was lucky to find a copy by download. Before I only knew the two albums following after which were very good as well but "Les Porches" tops those ones by any means. And unlike on their later records the music here reveals a considerable portion of classical compositions. The record consists of two long pieces each subdivided into five movements plus one shorter track on each side, the final one in two parts. My favourite is the " Les porches de Notre-Dame" - suite but actually it's really hard to say since the record in its whole is just awesome. Both composition and musicianship are absolutely top notch. Fantastic flute, piano, trombone and saxophone playing! The instrumentation is really extremely versatile and there's also the only track with vocals I've ever heard from them.

Comparisons are really hard to be drawn to this great record, possibly a little bit to "Clearlight Symphony" with more Jazz input. I just can recommend it to anyone who likes to listen to really excellent and wonderful sophisticated music no matter which particular style he/she usually prefers. There are very few other records that really deserve the full score!

Review by avestin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars There is much injustice in this world. In the world of music and particularly in the realm of progressive music one such injustice is the anonymity and lack of appreciation towards this brilliant Quebecois band and its beautiful and excellent albums. Les Porches is an album that should be owned by any progressive music lover, as it is such an amazing album that will surely be adored by everyone who listens to it. Melodies are beautiful and incorporate within them several styles (classical music, jazz, rock). Comprised of two lengthy tracks one of which is a short tune and the other is an ending "regular" length track.

What talent. To create such a beautiful chamber music resembling a small symphonic piece filled with instruments such as flute, clarinet, piano, xylophone, trombone and at the end of the track the guitars, saxophone, drums and vocals join in. Including 5 chapters, this magnificent masterpiece revolves around a musical theme presented at the beginning and which is developed and more layers and musical ideas are added to it. It is not strictly classical music, but also has a folk sound to it as well as more jazz rock at the end of the track when the band resumes modern instrumentation and plays their hearts out. The vocal at the end are powerful and moving, filled with sorrow and make me feel hopeful and sad at the same time. The saxophone solo at the end is a brilliant tour de force accompanied by the rest of the band's exquisite performance. On the second track they create a short but good classical-like tune with their wide range of instruments. The 3rd track is more in the jazz rock field with the clarinet getting in the beginning its rightful place in the center as does the xylophone later on. This track has too 5 chapters and has as well a musical theme that is presented and then taken even further on musically and improvised on. More musical themes are introduced as the music carries on. The choice of instruments here is one of the highlights of this musical piece. The 4th track continues in a way the previous one and shows more of the band's chamber music abilities.

This album has different musical styles and is so rich in sound that you feel as if you've been through a long musical road and experienced a much lengthier record than you actually did. Maneige has an ability to take musical ideas and develop them and do an excellent musical arrangement in terms of instrumentation. I can't praise enough this groups talent and abilities. Therefore it is very regrettable that they are not very known. It is a pity, since this album in particular is one of the finest pieces of music available.

More than just an excellent addition to your collection - a must album!

Review by Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This 1975 album is another gem of the Queboicois prog scene, although I don't rate Maneige quite as highly as I do Harmonium or Pollen. I also happen to consider it to be distinctly superior to the succeeding albums Ni Vent Ni Si Nouvelle, which is more in the jazz-rock vein, and the pop-inflected Libre Service - Self Service. The music on Les Porches is more symphonic, and much more pleasing to my ears. It appears that the difference lies in the shift of control of the band's creative axis. Les Porches was written largely by keyboardist/flautist/saxophonist Alain Bergeron while the next albums were penned by Denis Lapierre

The music itself is occasionally astounding, particularly the gorgeous 19 minute opener Les porches de Notre-Dame, a glorious mixture of Bergeron's delicate flutes and Yves Léonard's contrapunctual bass, and an intense blend of Baroque and progressive folk. As piano gradually takes over, and strings build up, it comes as a surprise to hear the mournful vocals of guest Raoul Duguay execute a passage of passionate pain on Désouverture, which is the fifth segment of the track ... it is followed by a superb trombone solo and an all-out rockish jam that is actually my favourite bit of Maneige music ever.

La Grosse Torche is a short lively Baroque instrumental lasting just over a minute, so the rest of the album is essentially the 16 minute excursion entitled Les aventures de saxinette et Clarophone ... xylophone introduces an exuberant electric piano driven form of jazz-rock that's topped off by the sax and clarinet (as one would expect given the title of the track) ... it's all quite Canterbury in fact. Until that is a vicious biting riff that would make Gentle Giant proud takes over at the 4 minute mark ... the percussive jam that follows is quite superb, and while the track goes through a number of further mutations it is sax and percussion that occupy centre stage. I must say though that the ending is a tad cheesy. The final track Chromo is a propulsive flute-driven percussion-heavy bit of jazz-rock that foreshadows some of the music on Ni Vent Ni Si Nouvelle.

My advice is go to Harmonium and Pollen first, and make sure that when you come to Maneige, you investigate Les Porches before its colder follow-ups. ... 70% on the MPV scale

Review by ClemofNazareth
4 stars Lots of flute, clarinet, and plenty of keyboards. That pretty much describes Maneige’s instrumentation. Throw in some very delicate and understated acoustic guitar, and a fair amount of varied percussion. But the flute and piano dominate nearly this entire album, which was only finally released on CD last year (at least I’m not aware of any earlier CD issue).

Maneige are probably most closely compared to Harmonium, or at least this album is. I’m not too familiar with the rest of their work. But this one is simply gorgeous. The piano passages are heavily inspired by classic composers, and both “Les Porches de Notre-Dame” and “Les Aventures de Saxinette et Clarophone” seem to go on forever. The other two short passages are little more than filler, but they do a nice job of joining the bookend epic compositions.

On the brass end are copious helpings of saxophone (on ‘Les Porches’) and clarinet on the final track, plus just a smidgen of trombone. ‘Les Porches’ also features a wonderfully robust burst of electric guitar in the final couple of minutes that belies the sedate tone of the rest of the album. As opposed to some of the band’s later and more boisterous post-rock Canadian countrymen, Maneige don’t build to a cacophonic crescendo in their songs. Instead they slowly (very, very slowly) build to a higher- tempo stage in the two longer songs with seemingly endless variations and diversions on the main theme, then bask in the glory of their work by cutting loose just a bit to close out each number. Rather novel and very well done.

Like Harmonium, these guys are hard to classify. Any time a flute enters the picture there will be those who instantly jump on the folk bandwagon, but other than that instrument the label doesn’t seem appropriate here. The shorter tracks smack of free- form jazz, especially “Chromo”, but neither of the longer works that dominate the album really fit into a jazz mold. Symphonic? Maybe, especially “Les Porches de Notre-Dame”, but take away the piano and other keyboards and the rest of the arrangement doesn’t hold up to symphonic scrutiny.

So decide for yourself, but regardless I would rate this as a solid four-star effort and highly recommended to just about anyone who is into symphonic rock or Francophile Canadian seventies art rock, or really just about anyone except possibly metal or RIO/ avant-prog fans. A very enjoyable and mellow record that has aged extremely well these past thirty-plus years.


Review by kenethlevine
4 stars Maneige's "Les Porches" demonstrates what can result when skilled musicians and composers decide to do what they do best without worrying about exactly what will result. This genre busting work would still merit that appellation even if came out today, as it virtually floats in time and space. Its largely pastoral nature is suffused with nostalgia and idealism for a time we all imagine but rarely experienced. Despite coming out during the peak of progressive rock in Quebec and abroad, and about as progressive as anything you will hear, it deftly eschews the excesses of its time.

The buildup to the title track, and one of the few vocal sections, sung brilliantly by Raoul Duguay, is nothing short of masterful, taking as it does nearly a side of lilting piano and flute interludes. Once Duguay has sung his piece, we are treated to a further progression in the form of a folk inspired and wind expressed theme, finally taken over by saxophone and lead guitars, ultimately erasing any memory of the pastoral beginnings. It's full of Quebecois joie de vivre.

The other major highlight is surely "Les Aventures...", which is more immediately lively than the side 1 material, a peppery brass mix with notable percussion. The piano work is one of the common links on this album, as it is prominent here once again, and some electric piano is thrown in to thicken the jazzy atmosphere. In the end, parts of this side sound a lot more like a jam than the title track, but it's all relative.

While I can't quite stretch to give this one 5 stars, that does not take away from its status as an essential album of the Quebec scene.

Review by TGM: Orb
5 stars Review 30, Les Porches, Maneige, 1975

StarStarStarStarStarHeart The delights of this album are at heart surprisingly simple ones. Maneige have drawn no artificial musical lines in writing and performing this and clearly had enormous fun in doing so. Add to that that all of them are great musicians, capable of both improvisation and planned playing, as well as having two extremely talented composers in flautist/pianist Alain Bergeron and clarinet/guitar/piano player Jérome Langlois. The classical, avant-garde, jazz and rock elements are all fused into two masterly suites. Les Porches De Notre Dame itself is in my indeterminately long list of 'all-time-favourite-song-ever-except-for-the-other-ones-on-the-list'. This masterpiece is crafted by both a host of musicians and a host of guest musicians, so I usually have very little idea who is playing. I may thus avoid my usual tactic of 'throw in a band member's name so it seems like I know what I'm talking about' in this review. Extremely highly recommended to anyone who can take a dose of classical or jazz ideas in their high quality prog, and should at least be tried.

Gentle clarinet and flute, accompanied by some of the percussion characteristic of Vincent Langlois and Gilles Schetagne throughout the album, begins the gorgeous Les Porches. The two instruments gently tease each other to prepare for the tingling glass-like percussion and a slight, gradual escalation, with a tad of accompanying bass or perhaps oboe.

After the gentle romance of this overture, the piano sets in, cold and clear, intelligently moving, backed up by a rather menacing hum. A high, chilly flute plays a number of beautiful melodies, while stretching percussion, marimbas included, only enhances this crystalline feel.

The second section of the suite is begun by avant-garde cowbell-clanging, and has a rather more homely, yet still delicate feel, with a clarinet being most prominently featured.

The third section of the suite is again full of piano and glockenspiel, as well as a throbbing bass and warm tubular bells. An almost bird-cry-like effect gives rise to a gorgeous section with multiple pianos and the same rich percussion sound throughout. Rather warmer, and the lush clarinet and flute provide the feel of a day dawning, and sun streaming in through the stain glass windows of a Parisian church. An equally cheerful section leads us up to the crashing gong and the piano solo.

I don't know my classical music well enough to describe the piano solo in a way that will be of any meaningful help to a serious musician, but I know that this solo is one of the most moving moments of music I have ever heard, with a warmth, beauty and a sense of loss and nostalgia that gets me on every listen.

Following the beautiful conclusion of this, Les Porches proper sets in with a gorgeous mellotron-like background sound, piano, amazing vocals with appropriate lyrical ideas from guest Raoul Duguay, snatches of rock drumming that carefully foreshadows the full explosion of the piece, some stunning bass solos and several beautiful piano parts. A clarinet brings the piece back from the vocals, and suddenly the best conclusion of all time begins, with a warm, heart-felt masterfully polyphonic combination of everyone involved. Electric guitar sears through the eardrums, saxes swirl, conveying the full light of the day, the drumming is life in its purest form. Additions from piano appear from nowhere, the bass runs around dissolutely, but connected to the rest. The guitar and sax launch out on their own, contributing solos finer and more vibrant than anything from Howe or Hackett. It brings itself to a natural conclusion, in a fairly bluesy style. The perfect musical interpretation of life and of the day.

The lively La Grosse Torche, a basically classical composition, with an enormous versatility of ideas on piano, flute, percussion and a string quartet handled perfectly and emotively in the space of only a minute and a half. The only way you could continue the album from Les Porches without disappointing.

Les Aventures De Saxinette Et Clarophone is also extremely interesting, versatile and continually a plain joy to listen to. It is divided whimsically into three chapters, two of which are split into two adventures.

From the strange get-go with its combination of freely used percussion and a slightly precursor to the bass that will hold together the first episode, Chaiptre I is distinctly eclectic, with a tapping, lively feel. A barrage of drums, including marimba, prepares for soulful, and surprisingly edgy saxophone-clarinet interplay. A warm bass part changes the thoughts to a darker, more pensive mood to conclude the episode with a cliffhanger, presumably.

The second episode kicks off with something instantly punchy but alien to my ears and added glockenspiel or something of a similar nature as well as a soulful, dark, foreboding piano, a great drumming part prepares for the piece's full explosion into first scorching sax and then building up into a superb polyphonic section, complete with electrics. The glockenspiel and percussion lead up gently, with the anarchic piano accompanying, to another of my favourite guitar solos ever, this time with a rather more bluesy edge (presumably from guest Denis Lapierre). A warm clarinet concludes the first chapter.

The second chapter begins with a snarling clarinet, more percussion everywhere, and the sax and the clarinet exchange thoughts and ideas. This is very much a theme throughout the rest of the piece, including more avant-garde percussion ideas and something that sounds like a spoken conversation, utterly hectic in nature on the second episode of this chapter with a rather eery, haunting atmosphere caused by the screeching duo. Suspense waiting for our instrumental heroes to confront the villain, whose arrival is signaled with a crash.

The third and final chapter of our story is begun with a bass theme and (yes, you guessed it!) bizarre percussion, and a brief exchange of taunts leads to the final confrontation, with a brief engagement resulting in the inevitable victory of the triumphant clarinet and saxophone. It shimmers gently out, rebellious, yet heroic.

Chromo abruptly tells us that we haven't yet reached the end of the album, even if the sheer amount of great music we have heard might give us that impression. A constant bass riff dances throughout the album, and, more than ever, we get the impression that the band is just having fun with a full workout, drums, flutes and clarinet playfully spotlighting themselves. Although the bass remains pretty constant throughout, everyone gets the opportunity to throw in an idea at any point. A rather mechanical bass-and-accompanying bits-and-bobs duo gives both suspense and a cheerful atmosphere at different times, and the skill and brevity with which they move from dark moods to very uplifting ones can only be admired. A surprisingly good end for the album.

The album as a whole needed a bit of listening time to expand and grow on me until it reached its current level of consistent delighting, so I suggest not writing it off if at first you're less amazed than this fawning review suggests you should be. A full five stars, and absolutely perfect. Also, I think the sound quality's stellar on the remaster, even if I don't know what I'm talking about, and haven't heard the original.

How many albums do you know that can express not only an insightful understanding of the day and life's essence itself, but also convey a fictional, free-to-interpretation comic-book, without a single word, and do so with so little distinction between the borders of jazz, classical and rock music? Its description as fusion is the only one possible, but inadequate to express exactly what the album is, and even if Chromo doesn't grip you (I feel that it's not really representative of the album's majestic longer pieces), I am certain that something from the two longer pieces will. Five stars.

Buy this album

Rating: Five Stars

Favourite Track: Les Porches De Notre Dame

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars "Les Porches" is similar to the debut but without the dark passages and avant moments. So for my tastes the debut is much better. This is so well played and arranged though, very impressive. The music has a strong classical flavour and it is for the most part melancholic. This album consists of two long tracks and two short ones.

"Les Porches De Notre-Dame" is classical and pastoral with lots of flute and piano for the first 13 minutes. My favourite part of the whole album is the final 6 minutes of this song. First vocals come in and they are fragile, almost quivering but I like them. Sax before 15 minutes leads the way while bass impresses. Guitar takes over before 17 1/2 minutes and it's just fantastic ! Six minutes of these guys letting their hair down and showing some passion. "La Grosse Torche" is very classical with strings.

"Les Aventures De Saxinette Et Clarophone" is mellow with some atmosphere for a couple of minutes then a melody arrives. Piano and an uptempo melody before 4 minutes. I like the guitar after 6 1/2 minutes then it settles with percussion and vibes as the piano continues. Guitar is back 8 1/2 minutes in. A change after 9 minutes as horns come in. It's chaotic 11 1/2 minutes in. Great track. "Chromo" features lots of wind instruments,bass and drums. A calm before 3 minutes and it stays fairly restrained the rest of the way.

This really is like feasting at a gourmet meal. So many flavours to enjoy and experience. Easily 4 stars.

Review by Menswear
5 stars Long live Quebec Prog!

Oh Quebec, home of the Nordiques, Bonhomme Carnaval, Caribou and some of the most complex jazz fusion ever: Maneige, Uzeb, Morse Code. A huge province in the middle of Canada, my home and my prog.

Maneige (litt. 'my snow') is scoring an epic album with les Porches de Notre-Dame, entering immediately into history, without much background though. Kinda like Adrian Brody winning the Oscar for Best Actor in the Pianist. But the songs are so homogenic! Such a maturity in writing, it's uncanny.

When it comes to clarinette, bass and percussions, it doesn't get better than this. On top, we have vocals by Raoul Duguay, crazy LSD guru of the 70's in Canada. I can say that his performance is the only stain on the perfect shirt; his vocals can be compared to a cross of Jacques Brel and a sheep. A VERY dated way of singing I might say.

Fans of Gentle Giant and Gnidrolog won't be disappointed.

Be good to yourself, and taste what Quebec Province has to offer. Different, and heck yeah, it's good.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Turning their hand to an epic style of fusion which drifts heavily towards symphonic prog territory, Maneige here produce a unique and captivating album in which a dizzying interplay of keyboards (from no less than three keyboardists!) buoys up equally virtuoso performances from the rest of the band. Veering towards the sort of territory that would be explored by the ECM stable, as others have pointed out, this is a fascinating and forward-thinking album which still sounds fresh and new to this day, with plenty to offer fusion and symphonic prog fans alike. I defy anyone not to be captivated from the first haunting flute and piano lines on the opening track.
Review by b_olariu
4 stars Maneige - one of the most intresting progressive/jazz fusion bands from Canada, more specific from Quebec zone and aswell one of the bands that deserves more attention from us. The second album from 1975 named Les Porches often considered their best release is a very fine work, jazz fusion with a clear direction towards avant prog with folk influences. Only 4 pieces, two of them quite long with adeventurous passages and very demanding arrangements. The musicianship is excellent for sure, with 3 keybordists, string section added folk influences with a pastoral feel over jazz fusion arrangements the result is this album is a winner.. From the next album they optain for shorter pieces and entirely instrumental. This album stands the test of time very well today showing what great and inventive music was in that part of the world. Not among my fav bands or album but for sure desearve 4 stars because the instrumental arrangements are great, I'm not so attached on vocals
Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars French jazz fusion band Maneige's most highly acclaimed album opens with a superb side-long epic, "Les Porches de Notre-Dame" (19:06) (10/10) but then falters a little with two brief pieces that feel more like practice études and one other strange epic, "Les aventures de saxinette and clarophone" (15:39) (8/10). The opening epic is so refined and majestic--opening with a section that feels as stately as a Russian nationalist song. The mid section is so gorgeous--and so French! Like Ravel, Fauré, or Debussey--with its piano, flute and tubular bells/vibraphone trio format. The section is topped off with a vocal addition in which a quite unusual male voice sings--but the effect is even more romantic and emotional! Then the song wends its way into a three-chord major-minor-minor "Stairway to Heaven" end progression and pace while piano, electric guitar, trumpet, and, later, saxophone weave their individual noodling to the song's end. Awesome! The second epic, however, is far more straightfoward jazz--and B-level jazz at that--with a prolonged opening section in which nothing is really established or developed. The middle section finally establishes a structure rhythm and repeated chord over which vibes, saxes, and clarinets take turns soloing. Then the song gets really weird--with some crowd noises--before a section which feels as if the listener is shut in a closet--to avoid the crowd? To think? The thoughts may provide one great idea, but that idea is quickly forgotten and left behind in lieu of the usual banal patterns and habits of the day. Weird. A fine effort full of character, wit, beauty, and creativity, but, personally, I prefer the band's self-titled debut album over this one.
Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars In a very prolific year for Maneige, talking about 1975, the Canadian group recorded (again at Manta Studios in Toronto) and released a second album, entitled ''Les Posches''.Paul Picard and Denis Lapierre appear this time as guest musicians in the liner notes, while no less thah five additional members are credited in violin, trumpet and vocal duties.Among the names listed appears to be Raôul Duguay of the Chamber/Avant Jazz act L'Infonie.

The 19-min. suite ''Les porches de Notre Dame'' opens the album in a virtuosic way.This is intricate Folk/Psych/Symphonic Music with excellent use of pianos, flutes and trumpets, changing from melancholic themes to more adventurous territories, featuring extended interplays and smooth orchestral passages.The later part of the track is added some more energy after Duguay's vocals, evolving into a synth-based texture, which leads to an almost R.I.O.-esque ending theme with trumpets and electric guitars producing some good melodious soundscapes.The Classical nature of Maneige's music is even more strengthened through the short orchestral outro ''La grosse torche'' of side A.Another long suite will open the flipside, the almost 16-min. ''Les aventures de Saxinette et Clarophone''.The title says it all, this a more Fusion affair of Progressive Music with extended use of clarinets and saxophones, always delivered in a structured way, nicely supported by Jerome Langlois jazzy piano lines, and featuring decent interplays, although some of the performances sound a bit stretched.Again the ending of this piece is very close to adventurous R.I.O. with xylophones, clarinets and saxes in full collaboration with a quasi-Chamber atmosphere in general.''Chromo'' is a weird closer.Somewhere between traditional Folk and Jazz/Fusion, this one features a nice amount of breaks in short time, developing from flute-driven rhythms to dramatic textures with clavinets and saxes in evidence, very close to CONNIVENCE's delivery.

Although I prefer Maneige's excellent debut over this album, ''Les porches'' is an extremely professional release, maybe a bit too academic for some listeners, however there is a good amount of perfect executions and themes in here, that will satisfy even the average prog listener.Warmly recommended.

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars One of the true gems of the Quebec prog scene.

The centerpiece of this jazz-heavy, lightly classically-influenced, album is the lengthy opening track, "Les Porches De Notre Dame", which alone makes the album worth buying. Meandering at first, the song develops very gradually. But by several minutes in, it starts to sink in and the music begins to engage, wrap around and embrace you. At a certain point, it'll seem hard to believe that music can get any more beautiful. But sure enough, it does. After a brief French vocal, the suite erupts into a romantic powerhouse of a song, providing a stunning canvas for emotive, yet thoughtful, interplay by the group. Wow!

The songs that follow it up are not quite to the same standard, but are all still excellent tracks. One song that may go overlooked by most listeners is the brief "La Grosse Torche". While some may be quick to label it as an interlude or filler, it's hard not to love this song for how authentically Quebecois it is. I can't help but picture a vibrant palette of autumn leaves in the Laurentians giving way to an inviting fireside as December's first snow falls outside. Definitely a personal favourite.

Perhaps this album's sole flaw is the track order. I personally would have made "Les Porches" the closer, but the beauty of modern digital formats is that you have the liberty to pick and choose track listings, so I won't hold anything against Maneige for that. Everything considered, I would not hesitate to give this beautiful work of art a 5-star rating. A true masterpiece for lovers of romantic music.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars I have to confess that every time is see the title LES PORCHES (which is exactly what it looks like it means, French for "the porches") i want to add "Swing" to the title which naturally leads to that famous moment in the Wayne's World movie where Wayne and Garth get all nerdy and yell out "SCHWING!." However i digress before i even start but hey these are the things i think about! MANEIGE of course was one of Quebec's top dogs in the prog world for the 1970s and often considered the best of the best and it's no wonder why after hearing the first couple albums that these Montealeans (is that the right term?) cranked out just after the peak prog years were waning. Yeah, prog was alive and well, just not anywhere where Sid Viscous was spouting his venom.

Formed in 1972, MANEIGE took a few years to craft their vision of what real jazzy symphonic prog should sound like. The band was so prolific that it released two albums in the year 1975 and if that wasn't enough there was even more material than would fit on the two albums and had to wait to find a home on the "Live Monteal" albums that wouldn't see a release until the late 90s with tracks like "La Balloune" having to wait to see the light of day. What should've been part of the third album was instead scrapped due to the fact that MANEIGE's first two albums, "Maneige" and LES PORCHES were much to complex and avant-garde for the changing times and starting with the third album "Ni Vent? Ni Nouvelle" a much more accessible style of crossover prog was adopted which the band would stick to until its ultimate demise in 1983.

LES PORCHES is a completely different album than the self-titled debut. The main differences result from the fact that the debut was chiefly created by Jérôme Langlois (piano, organ, clarinet, guitar) whereas LES PORCHES found the less avant-garde and more symphonic touches of Alain Bergeron (flute, sax, piano) in the driver's seat. The second album of 1975 consisted of only four tracks but two of which "Les Porches De Notre Dame" and "Les Aventures De Saxineette Et Clarophone" both containing several suites and both clocking in over the 15 minute mark. That only leaves the tiny little track "La Grosse Torche" which doesn't even hit 2 minutes and the save-the-best-for-last musical powerhouse "Chromo" whose two parts just squeak over the 4 minute mark.

The opening "Les porches de Notre-Dame" with its six suites is the longest track on board. This is the track that truly puts the symphonic pomp in the prog world and showcase wickedly wild virtuosic piano performances inspired by Back, Haydn and other classical wizards of the past but as exciting as the debut album was in all its predictability, this one may bedazzle the listener with incessant breakneck finger workouts but fails to evoke the same sort of wow factor. While not exactly a bad track, it unfortunately sets a disappointing tone for the album as it feels more singular in its approach."La Grosse Torche" only adds to the ho hum factor and provides a nice little walk into the world of Baroque paradise with a string quartet and a clear nod to Bach but really lacking any sort of original stamp.

Luckily the album picks up with the second half of the album. The phenomenal "Les Aventures De Saxineette Et Clarophone" and its five segments deliver a stellar jazz-fusion workout that includes not only the symphonic touches that trade off with a seemingly infinite amount of variations, dynamic changes, tempo shifts and time signature workouts that are the wet dreams of progger's paradise, however it's the closing "Chromo" that gets my vote for best track on this sophomore release. Completely different than its predecessor's it mixes a beefy zeuhl-ish bass groove with a flurry of folky flute and clarinet with some jazzy sax attacks. Add to that some seriously challenging Henry Cow types of avant-prog harmonies and a wickedly wild ride of atonal turbulence that adds more excitement in this one track than much of the rest of the album combined.

LES PORCHES may be a step down in terms of creative free license but is nevertheless a beautiful album in its own right. While parts do tend to drag on a bit for the sake of symphonic excesses, the sheer skill of the five band members and seven additional guests ensure that this album will please the most hardened proggers who crave challenging workouts infused with creative harmonic approaches. At times this reminds me a lot of PFM's early years except the sugary sweet melodies are infused with more abstract jazz supplements with all the avant-prog rhythms and virtuosic outburst. MANEIGE dished out a worthy successor to the flawless debut but unfortunately this would end the prime years of this band. Soon after the release of LES PORCHES, Langois would leave the band while the rest of the members would carry on only in a slightly more commercial direction. While the following albums aren't bad at all, the first two are where all the major risk taking and flirting with ambitious complexities take place. All in all, 1975 was a great year for Quebecois prog and MANEIGE was one of the major reasons why that was so.

Latest members reviews

5 stars This mostly-instrumental, jazzy release from the Qu'b'cois group features some of their greatest moments - this album is the peak of their work. From the beginning, bells are established in the background of the title suite (a masterpiece in its own right); the instruments follow throughout the ... (read more)

Report this review (#2233249) | Posted by TheCrimsonPrince | Tuesday, June 25, 2019 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Maneige is one of my absolute favourite band. They were definitely one of the best bands to emerge from the fertile in Quebec, Canada. Formed in 1972, MANEIGE took a few years to craft their vision of what real jazzy symphonic prog should sound like. "Baroque-fusion" would be something that could fi ... (read more)

Report this review (#2202481) | Posted by nikitasv777 | Tuesday, May 14, 2019 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Maneige's second album is by many considered their best, largely on the strength of the first side-long composition ('Les porches de Notre-Dame') and the short piece that begins side 2 ('La grosse torche'). I also like this album, but I myself like their debut album better. The first half of the ... (read more)

Report this review (#1696274) | Posted by Walkscore | Thursday, February 23, 2017 | Review Permanlink

5 stars To me, this is the summum of music. Classical (baroque), folk and jazz prefectly blended together. The canadian prog-scene of the seventies is exactly what I'm yearning for. Bands like Harmonium, Sloche and Maneige manage to create exactly what moves me so much. This Maneige-album is really ov ... (read more)

Report this review (#1529860) | Posted by Kingsnake | Wednesday, February 17, 2016 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Well, have I ever heard anything........ ?? It did not take me many minutes to understand that I was facing a serious battle in my intent to do a review of this album. It is a special album, and in as many meanings as possible. The music comes across as a mix of baroque, prog folk, jazz an ... (read more)

Report this review (#261349) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Sunday, January 17, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Les Porches is certainly the best album of the Quebec scene, better than Harmonium albums and Sloche albums; a real masterpiece of untypical musical instruments, perfect instrumentation and a lot of folk, jazz and classical influences. Both long pieces contain real ecstasy moments (emphasis for c ... (read more)

Report this review (#200478) | Posted by Thiago Hallak | Saturday, January 24, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars After hearing stellar things about this album, and really enjoying the free sample, I was utterly horrified to discover that this release (and most of Maneige's other releases) was never re-released on digital format. And since my grandparents threw away their record player, I was without a method ... (read more)

Report this review (#132266) | Posted by Shakespeare | Wednesday, August 8, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I'm more of a jazz/classical oriented music lover (ECM stuff in particular). My introduction to progressive rock has always been "Lark's tongues in Aspic". I've only started to fully apreciate this music relatively recently. I've found a couple of LPs(used) from this group I didn't know anything ... (read more)

Report this review (#94543) | Posted by audiofil | Saturday, October 14, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars A couple of embarrasing moments here and there (like the 2 minute singing by a 'chanson' singer which clearly does not belong in here) but quite great for the most part. The music is a mix of very classicaly oriented with a bit of 20th century composer in there the obvious canterbury/ ... (read more)

Report this review (#79550) | Posted by | Saturday, May 27, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Oooohhh, what a beautiful music I am listening to just right now and writing a review in the same time! Amazing, Superb, Powerful - I can't find other words to admire this band because of my bad English.With the first ¾ of the #1 song Maneige has built a monument to himself in CLASSICAL MUSIC ... (read more)

Report this review (#47742) | Posted by Vasil Jalabadze | Thursday, September 22, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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