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Symphonic Prog • Canada

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Morse Code picture
Morse Code biography
Founded in Montreal, Canada in 1967 (as "Les Maitres") - Disbanded in 1990 - Reunited in 1995 and again in 2018

This Quebecois band has three phases. First came the psych period under which they were known as MORSE CODE TRANSMISSION and made two psych albums in 71 & 72 sung in English. Highly collectible but somewhat out of the scope of this site. The second phase saw their names shortened and with the Quebec prog explosion under way decided to switch to French singing. The three albums that followed are real gems of progressive music oscillating between GENESIS and BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST but the French texts (sometimes highly impressive) gave them a sound of their own. Of those three albums, 'Procreation" is the better one but badly represented in the compilation - the only CD release so far. They disbanded, as the disco wave became a Tsunami in La Belle Province only to reform in 83 to make a best-forgotten English-sung album and again in 95 for a much better one again in French.

MORSE CODE is really recommended to fans of symphonic rock but the albums are somewhat hard to find (but not too difficult either) in vinyl. Plans are to release the three classic albums in the not-too-distant future.

: : : Hugues Chantraine, BELGIUM : : :

See also:
- WiKi

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Marche Des HommesMarche Des Hommes
Extra tracks
Progquebec 2007
$74.19 (used)
Extra tracks
Progquebec 2007
$40.29 (used)
Je Suis Le TempsJe Suis Le Temps
Progquebec 2007
$22.33 (used)
Je Suis Le Temps by Morse Code (2007-06-12)Je Suis Le Temps by Morse Code (2007-06-12)
Marche Des Hommes by Morse CodeMarche Des Hommes by Morse Code
Code Breaker by Morse CodeCode Breaker by Morse Code
Procreation by Morse CodeProcreation by Morse Code
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MORSE CODE discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

MORSE CODE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.94 | 14 ratings
Morse Code Transmission
3.34 | 16 ratings
Morse Code Transmission II
3.92 | 62 ratings
La Marche Des Hommes
3.58 | 54 ratings
3.31 | 27 ratings
Je Suis Le Temps
1.79 | 11 ratings
Code Breaker
2.91 | 15 ratings
D'Un Autre Monde

MORSE CODE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

MORSE CODE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

MORSE CODE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.13 | 10 ratings
Les Grands Succès de Morse Code

MORSE CODE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Procréation by MORSE CODE album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.58 | 54 ratings

Morse Code Symphonic Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This Quebec band started long before the great prog explotion of the mid-70's. Their first two albums under the name Morse Code Transmission (1971 and 1972) are psychedelic rock sung in English. La Marche des Hommes (1975) introduced their new style favouring organ, Mellotron and rhytmic complexity. The thick sound resembles the Nursery Cryme -era Genesis. The next album, Procréation, is perhaps more uneven, but it also contains the band's finest moments.

The instrumental opener 'Précréation' has those sharp Tony Banks -like organ notes and also a lot of room for guitar and flute. A promising start, if not yet anything very significant. The second track of under 5 minutes approaches more epic atmosphere on the unsung parts while the vocal parts stay less inspired. The brief instrumental 'Nuage' concentrates on the circulating organ melody without really taking off. 'L'eau tonne' (notice the word play; l'automne, autumn) is a melodic and light-hearted song, a curious mix of proggy instrumentation and a composition reminding of entertainment vocal music. For the vocals, I have to say that they lack any charisma. The hi-hi-hi-hi and ha-ha-ha-ha in the song 'Des hauts et des ha!' i actually irritating. Frankly, up to this point the album would hardly be worth three stars.

The real treat comes on the second side of the LP, the three-part title epic. In the sung first movement an instrumental passage already shows glimpses of something more impressive, but the song per se feels a bit uninspired. The rest of the epic wanders deeper into progressive unpredictability and wide dynamics. Now the little vocal parts succeed to increase the interest unlike earlier on the album. This is a pure prog epic in the vein of 'Supper's Ready', even if it naturally pales in comparison to such masterpiece. Oooh, that Mellotron sound! The final movement is the clear highlight, being very progressive in itself. A beautiful, meditative section starring Mellotron and flute is followed by a return to the grandiosity.

If only the whole album was as good as the second side... Unfortunately it isn't, and I feel that three stars is the most honest rating I can give. If you enjoy the French prog with the Genesis influences (Ange, Mona Lisa, ...), Morse Code is definitely worth checking out.

 Procréation by MORSE CODE album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.58 | 54 ratings

Morse Code Symphonic Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Let's see, what year is this album from? 1976? I think someone caught the Yes bug.

Morse Code's second album under the abbreviated moniker (formerly known as Morse Code Transmission) sees the band moving further into symphonic prog. Already on 'La marche des hommes', that chunky Rickenbacker bass sound was prominently in the mix, most obviously on the 11-minute title track. Here it stands out on the whole album. Add to that lots of Mellotron, some seventies synthesizer, some Steve Howe-inspired guitar runs, and a 26- minute title track, and things start to seem like a French Canadian Yes has been born. Though not exactly a clone (that award goes to Cathedral), when your music is this similar to Yes you have to expect comparisons. And yes, there are enough similarities to merit those comparisons here.

But let's take a look at the album for what Morse Code put into it. For starters, I find Morse Code to be a little heavier than Yes. Think 'Heart of the Sunrise' without the hurried intensity or parts of 'The Revealing Science of God' without that thematic feeling. The opening track 'Précréation' has some good melodies in it and works well as an introduction to the title track which comes later. There's some classically influenced organ playing and flute as the piece moves through different musical themes over the course of its five minutes. It's a very good start to the album.

'Qu'est-ce t'es v'nu faire ici' is quite different from anything Yes ever did and brings us closer to the previous album. That bass is still in there loud and proud, but the vocal style is softer for the verses and the guitar and organ more rock than most of classic Yes. 'Nuage' might at first bring to mind Rick Wakeman's 'Cans and Brahms' from 'Fragile' but this keyboard instrumental also brings in the guitar, bass, and drums in two parts. 'L'eau tonne' also keeps the band fairly deep in Quebec prog waters, perhaps bringing them closer to contemporaries Octobre or Dionysos, namely because of Christian Simard's strong French vocal (lower in register than Jon Anderson in case you were wondering).

'Des hauts et des ha!..." begins with some wonderful almost ominous and foreboding music and sounds like this is going to be the best track so far. But it turns a bit silly as Simard sings ''ee 'ee 'ee 'ee' 'ah 'ah 'ah 'oh 'oh 'oh' This passes and we return to some excellent progressive rock with a very active bass and a synthesizer solo followed by organ and more synthesizer. It works wonderfully until that laughing bit returns. Too bad because the music is tops. A short and simple musical number (sounds like it's from a musical!) follows and passes quickly thankfully. I'm not into 'De tous les pays du monde'.

This brings us to the 26:17 title track. Here's where the Yes comparisons will bite as surely as bedbugs. As with any long epic, it takes a few listens to digest. My conclusion is that it has a lot of terrific moments and good variety but doesn't reach the heights of 'Close to the Edge' or 'The Revealing Science of God' but is still better than some of the stuff on 'Tales from Topographic Oceans'. Four out of five stars for an epic over 20 minutes and home to a number of musical highlights on the album.

Two more tracks (bonus tracks on the ProgQuebec release, I think) remain to conclude the album: 'Punch', a funky and punchy short instrumental, and 'Image', a little more rocking but still slow and steady with a synthesizer that mimics an accordion.

It's hard to say which album I prefer of the two that I have by this band, but there's enough solid work on here to be worthy of adding to a prog collection if you're okay with French lyrics. If anything comes as a drawback, I find that the music introduces some excellent sounds that promise prog heaven but in the end something falls short and true bliss is rarely discovered. Still, this album has me feeling confident enough to buy the next album, 'Je suis le temps'. I believe that among these three albums an excellent playlist of songs can be achieved.

 La Marche Des Hommes by MORSE CODE album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.92 | 62 ratings

La Marche Des Hommes
Morse Code Symphonic Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Morse Code (previously known as Morse Code Transmission) shortened their name for this, their third album. This was also their first album in French and saw them moving away from their more psychedelic origins.

The title track opens the album and introduces a heavy prog rock sound not unlike a French-speaking cousin of Uriah Heep. Electric guitar, Hammond organ, piano, synthesizer, bass and drums along with lead vocals by Christian Simard carry the song through its harder rock course but not without interludes of piano and synthesizer-led instrumentals. About halfway through, however, the song takes an abrupt turn into Yes territory with a loud buzzing bass and more symphonic prog approach. The song is completely different with harmony vocals singing each line to the same melody in between lines of music and more short instrumental passages. There's a break with a long and slowly building passage led by organ and drums as bass and guitar join. This part releases back into the second part of the song with that loud buzzing bass. The whole track of 11:16 comes to a rather quick ending. This is a pretty excellent track by which to be introduced to the band.

"Le pays d'or" is a short piano-based song that is slow and light and though not particularly memorable to me, it provides a strong contrast to "La marche des hommes". It does include a bit of Mellotron and some scratchy, straining, weepy guitar as the song builds in emotional power. Some may like it more than others.

"La ceremonie de minuit" features acoustic guitar and alternates between a simple but space rock-styled part and this acoustic part with a wavering Hammond sound. A good inclusion for this album.

"Cocktail" is a grooving danceable instrumental piece with a flute solo and an uplifting melody played first on Mellotron and then on synthesizer. The piece has such a groove to it that the record company had them remix it so that it could be released as a dance single for clubs. I don't find any extreme differences between the two versions (both are included in the Prog Quebec reissue of this album) and simply enjoy it for its very blatant mid-seventies sounds.

The final three tracks see the band continuing to write with different approaches: "Une goutte de pluie" sounding a lot like 69/70 era Pink Floyd, slow and dreamy with organ and piano but some flute too; "Qu'est-ce t'as compris" another grooving rocker with a great proggy intro but a rather simple song melody with simply grooving rock; and "Probleme" which sees more of the band's softer but powerful side

This is quite a noble effort, using a pretty full but standard spectrum of seventies prog instruments: flute, organ, Mellotron, synthesizer, and acoustic and electric guitars along with a lead vocalist and harmony and backing vocals. The album shows a strong variety of songs without being incongruous. The only points I find detracting from a truly excellent album are the unfortunate standard rock number that "Qu'est-ce t'as compris" collapses into and the somewhat forgettable "Le pays d'or".

Though frequently compared to Genesis, I feel Morse Code are less like Genesis here than they may be to some other bands other reviewers have mentioned.

An excellent addition to any seventies rock collection and a very good addition to any prog collection. Three and a half stars rounded up.

 Procréation by MORSE CODE album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.58 | 54 ratings

Morse Code Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars During the fall of 75' Morse Code were enjoying a great amount of recognition.The group performed all around the Quebec and New Brunswick areas, breaking attendance records and gigging next to Harmonium, Offenbach or Octobre, while their lives were supported by a theatrical show.The following year Vallee was voted best bassist and Simard best keyboardist of the Quebec region (next to Octobre's Pierre Flynn), while the band had already starting performing live their most ambitious piece ''Procreation''.After a single on Capitol Records, the album of the same name was eventually released in September 1976.

The sound of Morse Code was no more enigmatic.They had fully become a bombastic Symphonic Rock act with strong GENESIS, YES, E.L.P. and ANGE influences, making space for long instrumental themes and delivering plenty of poetical moments.The first side of the LP contains six tracks of short length, that explore the Classical inspirations and complex arrangements of Rock music, based on organ interludes, grandiose Mellotron showering, smooth but complicated guitar playing ala STEVE HOWE by Daniel Lemay and deep bass work by Vallee.The addition of the theatrical vocals make the ANGE comparisons quite reasonable, while a strong array of keyboards, including synthesizers, offers impressive textures full of melodic interludes and adventurous solos.The lack of personality is still an issue though.

The flipside of the original LP contains one of the longest Progressive Rock suites ever writen by a band of the Classic Prog era, the three-part ''Procreation'', clocking at over 26 minutes.The first part is a nice mix of GENESIS and GREENSLADE stylings with dominant use of Hammond organs but also plenty of dual keyboard themes, backed up by the jazzy guitar moves of Lemay and the nice, lyrical voice of Simard.The second part is closer to a cross between E.L.P. and YES, full of complex guitar chords, haunting Mellotron washes and striking Classical interludes on Hammond organ, while the vocal parts obtain an extremely romantic atmosphere.Entering the third and longer part the listener will meet series of instrumental interplays, again with an evident YES vibe on the bass and keyboard parts but with a more HACKETT-like touch in the smoother guitar lines, which will slowly lead to the romantic, dreamy and deeply atmospheric ending of the track.Simard's powerful Mellotron and Vallee's pounding bass open the gates to a YES-like outro with wordless vocals and strong symphonic-inclined musicianship with organs, bass and calm guitars in the forefront.

This is an excellent example of well-crafted Symphonic Rock by one of Quebec's major acts.Almost flawless and pretty professional musicianship with nice instrumental ideas and a very rich sound, that is being hurt by the endless references to the major names of the scene.Still, this is a must have for all Sympho-maniacs ot there.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

 La Marche Des Hommes by MORSE CODE album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.92 | 62 ratings

La Marche Des Hommes
Morse Code Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars A hard-edged symphonic album from Morse Code, this incorporates exceptional keyboard playing from Christian Simard. The compositions often take on a heavy, foreboding, doomy edge to them, with La Marche des Hommes in particular sounding rather militant, though not to a Zeuhlish extent. This compelling release, along with strong releases by Maneige and Harmonium, should be enough to convince anyone that 1975 was truly a great year for the prog scene in Quebec, though to be honest I personally find both Maneige's debut and Harmonium's classic Cinquieme Saison are a bit more compelling to this one. (In particular, the vocals seem to be the band's weak point here and certainly do nothing for me.)
 La Marche Des Hommes by MORSE CODE album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.92 | 62 ratings

La Marche Des Hommes
Morse Code Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Although this album is not praised by critics as much as its follow up, Procreation, I´ve got say I like this one better. Maybe because the classic symphonic side of the group is more evident, specially on the 11+minute title track. Excellent vintage keyboards all over (organ piano, mellotron), very good guitar parts, versatile rhythm section and very good french sung vocals. I guess the vocal parts are the most insteresting part of the whole band appeal, quite unique. Those harmonies are quite charming and deeply rooted in the traditional french music, it was quite ahead of its time (only french band Arrakeen would explore furthermore this fine combination, but in the early 80´s).

For the instrumental part, which is less original, but again very good and very well performend, the influences seem to to be early Genesis, Yes and other prog acts of the 70´s like Nektar or Eloy. One of my favorite tracks is Cocktail with its joyful rhythm, great flute lines and creative use of the clavinet. But clearly there are no weak tracks and the band shows their versatility and ease of creating catchy songs. Nothing too adventurous, of course, but still unique and very good. Production is top notch.

Conclusion: if you like something different, but not too spaced out, with fine mixtures of styles and a strong french element, this band from Quebec might be for you. I was quite pleased to find this album. Four strong stars.

 La Marche Des Hommes by MORSE CODE album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.92 | 62 ratings

La Marche Des Hommes
Morse Code Symphonic Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars My first intro to these Canadian legends.

It is my understanding that this is the first foray into symphonic prog from this band and their third album overall. They started out as a space rock band and their past is pretty obvious on this album too. The music on this album though is a mix of space rock, The Nice, ELP, Genesis...... well, symphonic prog. Add some PFM & other vintage RPI influences too and you get this album.

The music is tangents based with some guitars included too. The vocals are pretty good and they are thankfully sung in French. It is always nice with some variations from the usual fare of English vocals.

The quality throughout this album is good throughout. There is no real outstanding pieces of music here though. But I suspect this album is a late bloomer which will only reveal itself after ten listening sessions and some years. Hence, it has been put in my colletion of late bloomer and this review may be altered in five years time. But as it is now, I cannot really say this is a great album. It has a lot of good melody lines and clever hooks though. But not throughout the album. It is a very good album though and somewhere between 3 and 4 stars.

3.5 stars

 Procréation by MORSE CODE album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.58 | 54 ratings

Morse Code Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Well, I had never heard of this obscure symphonic band from Canada until recently. I was surprised with the high ratings I found here on PA and I begun to seek one of their CDs until I finally found this Procréation. When I started to listen to it I had a quite bad first impression: it sounded good musically although lacking any original ideas. The first track, Précréation, for exemple is an instrumental that sounds like a mix of Genesis, Yes and Focus. It is ok, but a bit too short for this kind of music. The remaining tunes followed suit although some parts are downright bad (Des Hauts et des Ha!). It seems the lyrics have a kind of quirk type of humor, but since I know very little french I got nothing of their meaning. Vocals are average.

The highlights of this CD to me are the two last tracks: De Tous Les Pays du Monde is an early Genesis carbon copy alright, yet I loved it because it is so well written and performed. The 25 minute title track is another one that grabed my atention because it followed the symphonic rock cliches in almost every single aspect. It should be a great work, but although I found nothing wrong in it, it also failed to generate any real excitement or enthusiasm. It´s the kind of song you like it when you hear but you don´t actually want to listen to it all over again once it is finish, if you know what I mean. There are far better symphonic epics out there, specially at the time of this release. Small wonder they never really made it.

Production is quite good and the my CD copy sounds very clear and crisp.

Rating: I found Procréation very hard to give a fair rating. The musicians are very skillful and if you like old fashioned symphonic prog rock chances are you might like this record. After several spins over a month period I found that the CD has its merits. It is good, alright. Sometimes even very good, but not enough to warrant an excelent (4 star) rating like many of my fellow reviewers did. So I guess it is a matter of taste. Listen and judge for yourself.

 La Marche Des Hommes by MORSE CODE album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.92 | 62 ratings

La Marche Des Hommes
Morse Code Symphonic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I am so impressed with this album and the follow-up "Procreation". Tough for me to pick out which one I like better between the two. Lots of mellotron once again in these excellent Symponic tracks.This is has been a pleasure to listen to.

"La Marche Des Hommes" opens with spacey synths before the organ takes over and powerful outbursts come and go until they stay as the vocals join in before 1 1/2 minutes. Mellotron floods in with a calm before 3 minutes. It's building with vocals and drums.The pulsating organ before 5 minutes with the guitar is very GENESIS-like. Love the sound before 6 1/2 minutes with vocals and mellotron. It returns later around 10 minutes. Beautiful. "Le Pays D'or" opens with piano and reserved vocals. It's fuller 1 1/2 minutes in.The mellotron and guitar are outstanding after 2 1/2 minutes to end it.

"La Ceremonie De Minuit" opens with intricate guitar as drums and vocals join in with pulsating organ. Great sound before 2 minutes as it gets fuller.The guitar starts to solo over top 3 1/2 minutes in. "Cocktail" is a great sounding track with flute. The bass and drums are so impressive. Mellotron blows in too. "Une Goutte De Pluie" has this light beat with reserved vocals as the organ floats in. A fuller sound 1 1/2 minutes in as the drums get louder and piano and mellotron join in. "Qu'est-Ce Que T'as Compris ?" is more dynamic with drums and bass standing out. Vocals and mellotron before a minute as it settles. It kicks back in quickly with organ that starts to pulsate.The guitar after 2 1/2 minutes is excellent. Organ's turn a minute later. So good. "Probleme" opens with the drums building then the vocals, mellotron and bass join in. Guitar follows.It settles late to end it.

The album cover is as stunning as the music.

 Procréation by MORSE CODE album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.58 | 54 ratings

Morse Code Symphonic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The province of Quebec just seems to be more artistic than the rest of Canada. How else do you explain the healthy Prog scene that seemed to flourish there in the seventies. So many great bands from this province and MORSE CODE were definitley near the top of that list. I have enjoyed this album so much.The bass is probably my favourite thing about it followed by the mellotron and drumming.The sound is crisp and the music is quite powerful and dynamic. Check out the freaky album cover as well.

"Precreation" builds until it's full with some good pulsating organ. It settles with flute before 2 minutes then kicks back in just like before.The guitar 3 minutes in sounds really good. Mellotron before 4 minutes. "Qu'est-Ce T'es V'nu Faire Ici" opens with guitar and spacey sounds.Vocals and a beat take over. It kicks in before a minute. Organ too. Contrasts continue.The guitar solo after 3 minutes is excellent. Mellotron follows. "Nuage" is an instrumental just like the opening track. Organ to start then it kicks in before a minute. Chunky bass too. It settles back with organ to end it. "L'eau Tonne" is kind of lazy with vocals. The bass is powerful though. Keyboards 2 minutes in as the vocals stop briefly. "Des Haunts It Des Ha !..." opens with organ as loud outbursts including drums come and go. Vocals join in. The organ sections are powerful.The vocals are far from it though. Haha. Synths before 3 minutes.

"De Tous Les Pays Du Monde" starts with organ and reserved vocals. Drums after 1 1/2 minutes. The vocals become more passionate then we get a full sound with mellotron. Powerful stuff. The title track is divided into three parts and is a side long suite. "Procreation I" opens with guitar as drums,bass and organ join in. Reserved vocals follow. It picks up with pulsating organ and drums. Chunky bass too. A fantastic rhythm section here. Mellotron before 4 minutes and the guitar follows. Themes are repeated then it turns spacey and blends into "Procreation II". It kicks in at a minute. Killer sound. It then settles back with mellotron.Vocals before 3 minutes. A calm before 4 1/2 minutes. Fragile vocals join in. It kicks back in before 6 minutes. Nice drum work here then the vocals return. Mellotron to end it as "Procreation III" arrives. The organ and sound to start sounds Swedish but that changes quickly when the vocals arrive. I like the synths after 3 minutes, they remind me of RUSH. Mellotron follows. It kicks back in after 6 minutes then the vocals return. A great rhythm here.

Just an incredible album that I can't recommend enough.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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