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NOETRA

Jazz Rock/Fusion • France


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Noetra biography
Masterminded in the mid 70's by guitarist/composer Jean Lapouge, this all-instrumental French band mixes rock, jazz and chamber music while never completely going into any one style. Inspired by the Canterbury movement of the day, they used STRAVINSKY and DEBUSSY as their influences and sprinkled them with subtle touches of rock and jazz (HATFIELD AND THE NORTH, SOFT MACHINE, WEATHER REPORT, OREGON, EBERHARD WEBER). Failing to strike up a deal with ECM, however, they didn't release any albums and ended up dissolving in the mid-80s. In the early 90's, however, Musea gathered material that had been recorded between 1979 and 1981 and released two quality NOETRA CD's plus a solo album by Lapouge ("Hauts Plateaux").

Both NOETRA albums, "Neuf Songes" and "Définitivement Bleus", feature a large cast of musicians whose tasteful and restrained playing create an intelligent, sophisticsated, almost impressionistic type of music based on beautiful electric guitar and delicate drumming. The mellow, almost melancholy tunes are embellished by classical instruments like the violin, saxophone, cello, trumpet, clarinet, trombone, flute and oboe among others. Never falling prey to avant-garde excesses, the music does have its occasional sharper edges but nothing ever approaches the darkness of UNIVERS ZERO, for example. The pastoral jazziness may require some focused and dedicated listening, but the listener's patience is definitely rewarded as the albums unfold.

Especially recommended to fans of JULVERNE, but fans of TERPANDRE, CARPE DIEM and SHYLOCK as well as Canterbury enthusiasts in general (both connaisseurs and neophytes) should also appreciate.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

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Buy NOETRA Music


...Résurgences D'Errances...Résurgences D'Errances
Import
Musea 2013
Audio CD$12.06
$24.67 (used)
Définitivement Bleus...Définitivement Bleus...
Import
Musea 1982
Audio CD$8.99
$14.79 (used)
Neuf SongesNeuf Songes
Import
Musea 1981
Audio CD$12.94
$22.19 (used)
Live 1983Live 1983
Import
Musea 1983
Audio CD$12.82
$22.86 (used)
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NOETRA discography


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

3.50 | 6 ratings
Neuf Songes
1992

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

4.00 | 1 ratings
Live '83
2010
3.00 | 1 ratings
...Resurgences D'Errance
2011

NOETRA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

3.68 | 3 ratings
Definitivement Bleus
2000

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

NOETRA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Live '83 by NOETRA album cover Live, 2010
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Live '83
Noetra Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

— First review of this album —
4 stars French ensemble NOETRA was first and foremost the creative vehicle of composer and guitarist Jean Lapouge. Active in various line-ups in the late 1970's and early 1980's, Noetra was the band that almost made it. ECM were initially interested in signing them, but as more material was produced the interest declined, and while the band did carry on until 1985 they never managed to release anything when active. Enter Musea Records, which some years later managed to convince Lapouge that the material recorded back then was worth releasing on CD. At the time of writing the end result of this process has been that material for three full length productions have been salvaged from Lapouge's archives.

Noetra's self described swan song, while somewhat more limited in instrumentation and due to that overall scope when compared to the previous two releases, is still the most interesting of the three archival albums containing material by this band. Generally better recording quality elevates the total experience a notch, and the performance by all instrumentalists is quite excellent. To my mind, this album comes across as the best one to explore if you want to get familiar with Noetra, and while that may be given recommendations go out to fans of chamber rock and jazz rock, with the former crowd arguably the ones who'll find this production to be most to their interest.

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 Definitivement Bleus by NOETRA album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2000
3.68 | 3 ratings

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Definitivement Bleus
Noetra Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars French ensemble NOETRA was first and foremost the creative vehicle of composer and guitarist Jean Lapouge. Active in various line-ups in the late 1970's and early 1980's, Noetra was the band that almost made it. ECM were initially interested in signing them, but as more material was produced the interest declined, and while the band did carry on until 1985 they never managed to release anything when active. Enter Musea Records, which some years later managed to convince Lapouge that the material recorded back then was worth releasing on CD. At the time of writing the end result of this process has been that material for three full length productions have been salvaged from Lapouge's archives.

Noetra's second full length album, assembled and released 8 years after their belated debut effort, documents their repertoire as a jazz rock unit quite nicely. A subtle chamber rock orientation does remain, but rhythms, arrangements and instrument motifs are first and foremost geared towards jazz rock on this occasion. And as it turns out, Noetra was easily just as skilled in that department as they were when focusing on compositions with closer ties to chamber music. An album well worth checking out if jazz rock is your thing, and in particular if you also have a soft spot for chamber rock.

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 Neuf Songes by NOETRA album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.50 | 6 ratings

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Neuf Songes
Noetra Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars French ensemble NOETRA was first and foremost the creative vehicle of composer and guitarist Jean Lapouge. Active in various line-ups in the late 1970's and early 1980's, Noetra was the band that almost made it. ECM were initially interested in signing them, but as more material was produced the interest declined, and while the band did carry on until 1985 they never managed to release anything when active. Enter Musea Records, which some years later managed to convince Lapouge that the material recorded back then was worth releasing on CD. At the time of writing the end result of this process has been that material for three full length productions have been salvaged from Lapouge's archives.

While not without minor flaws, Noetra's "Neuf Songes" is a production that clearly merited a CD release. Fans of chamber music and chamber rock appear to be the main audience for this production, and in particular those with a taste for music of this kind closer to classical music than rock should find this album to be one that merits an inspection.

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 ...Resurgences D'Errance by NOETRA album cover Live, 2011
3.00 | 1 ratings

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...Resurgences D'Errance
Noetra Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

— First review of this album —
3 stars French band NOETRA was the creative vehicle of composer and guitarist Jean Lapouge, an active entity in the late 70's and early 80's, eventually disbanding in 1985 without ever releasing any material. But due to chance and circumstance some of their recordings were presented to Musea Records, which wanted to release this material. Since then four albums of archival recordings have been published. "Resurgences D'Errances" from 2011 is the most recent of these.

Released some 30 years after they were recorded, these live efforts of Noetra will most likely appeal to a limited audience. The music itself is generally pleasant and should have a broad appeal as such, but the lo-fi character of the source material won't be to everybody's taste. It is a nice documentation of a band defying genre conventions however, their blend of influences from classical, folk and jazz combining into creations that don't really belong in either of these categories, mostly pleasant, but occasionally showing glimpses of brilliance and true genius, and most profoundly so on concluding piece Noetra.

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 Neuf Songes by NOETRA album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.50 | 6 ratings

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Neuf Songes
Noetra Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars French band from Creyssensac, found by guitarist Jean Lapouge in 1976, at a time when he had sufficiently developed his composing skills.He was accompanied by his longtime follower Daniel Renault on drums along with bassist Denis Lefranc and Christian Paboeuf on wind instruments.A first demo was recorded in winter 1978/1979, followed by an album, ''Neuf songes'', which was handed to ECM in chase for a contract, that never became true.However the material along with some other recordings was collected by Musea Records and released in 1992 in CD format.

With an expanded line-up including seven guest musicians on brass/wind/string instruments and Lapouge presence always on the forefront, ''Neuf Songes'' explores the boundaries of Chamber Music, Jazz-Rock and RIO, around the time Lapouge was inspired by the music of HENRY COW, MAGMA and EBERHARD WEBER.One can find several different orientations in Noetra's arrangements.The guitar-dominated parts turn from energetic Jazz-Rock to harmonic Chamber Rock in a blink of an eye with the light support of violins, cellos and flutes, always offering some fine interplays and a deep atmosphere.But there is a strong tendency towards Modern Classical music among Lapouge's ideas with dominant use of trombones, saxes, clarinets and oboe, eventually coming up with a small orchestra performing delicate Chamber Music.But also much of the material stands somewhere inbetween the two styles, where a dynamic rock section with a jazzy edge leaves its place to the Classical-influenced solos of the string and wind section.Overall this is over 70 minutes of compelling and highly adventurous musicianship with a great technical level.

In Lapouge's biography the listener can find the reason this material was never originally released.It turned to be some of the album's technical flaws, but the general deep and ''difficult'' approach allows some.Thanks to Musea the album has seen the light over a decade later and comes up as an effort, which fans of the aforementioned styles are sure to appreciate.Recommended stuff.

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 Definitivement Bleus by NOETRA album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2000
3.68 | 3 ratings

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Definitivement Bleus
Noetra Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by victor77

3 stars NOËTRA´s second album offers this time a collection of songs recorded between Winter ´78 and May ´82, and is mainly a testament of this partiuclar band, project of Jean Lapouge, guitarist and composer. The general sound of the record is a kind of chamber jazz rock with some hinits of Canterbury, but not in a dark or aggressive way, because it is a kind record, a bit quiet sometimes, but that keeps ytour attention during all the listening. The album starts with "Mésopotamie", a very kind intro, with some spacey keyboards on it linking to "Qui est-il Qui Parle Ainsi?", intermediate section of this trilogy, playing very nice soft jazz (reminding me of CAMEL or HAPPY THE MANN), leading to "Reprise Mésopotamie", the main theme, closing this first section.

"Agréments Parfaitement Bleus (III)" is a very interesting piece, starting with light winds growing throughout the song and leading to a kind of chamber jazz crescendo, very interesting, reminding me of FRENCH TV. "Agréments Parfaitment Bleus (epilogue)" is mainly a string driven coda for the song. Great point of interest of the whole record

"Alpha de Centaure" is a very melodic canterburian piece, with great guitar playing by Lapouge that makes me think about HATFIELD AND THE NORTH. Also remarkable is the ending of the song because of the interlinks between violin and the wind section. "Venise" comes next as a kind of counterpoint, beacause this song is very MAGMA sometimes, starting with very zeuhlish strings which, after a guitar driven interlude, leads to a final crescendo, with great distorted bass by Denis Lefranc.

"Transparences" starts with a very sweet and folky intro that evolves into a guitar fusion development that ends in a chamber work, nothing stressful but quite warm. Another of the points of interest of the whole record, together with the next song, "Tintamarre". It has a kind of chamberistic intro, very zappaesque, but also AFTER CRYING (era "6" and "Show") comes to mind, that finally blasts into a canterburian groove reminding GILGAMESH or VOLARE, after a break it turns more jazzy, reminding MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA, excellent piece and one of the best of the album, despite I´m not a lover of fadin out endings. Superb.

After such a great amount of intensity, the relax comes with "Ephémère (a M.C.)", a very slow, almost atmospheric piece, quite different from the rest of the album, although the turn about minute 8 develops in a superb violin driven final, reminding ZAO. We are very close to the end of the record. "Forfanterie" sounds a bit folky, even medieval sometimes, before an almost free jazzy section with that personal chamber touch of the band breaks that pastoral atmosphere. Not bad, but not outstanding. The final song of the record is "Printemps Noir (final)". It starts with an obscure chamber intro with harmonium (although not credited, I guess so), followed by a drum solo linking the final section, but I suppose this song is not actuallly finished.

Rating a work like this is not easy indeed. Despite being played with great ability and the originality of some of the compositions, there are some ups and downs that don´t let me rate it as a 4 star record. It will be of interest for those who like the less radical side of Canterbury and R.I.O. or who love jazz fusion sounds, in this case blended with rock and chamber works. 3 stars (although for me it would be 3.5)

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