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CONTRACTION

Crossover Prog • Canada


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Contraction biography
One of the most important Progressive rock albums coming from La Belle Province was Dimension M (released in 71) from frontman FRANK DERVIEUX, and his back-up band happened to be the group that would call themselves CONTRACTION after Dervieux's sickness that would eventually take his life at a tragically low age. Not only was he all too young, but Dimension M is one of the defining albums for the coming prog tsunami that would flood Quebec throughout most of the 70's and it helped the Quebecois cultural revolution. Most musicologists would agree that after ROBERT CHARLEBOIS daring to sing with his Joual accent from the late 60's onwards, the few early rock groups around in the early 70's also dared singing in French (OCTOBRE, OFFENBACH, DYONISOS, LES CHAMPIGNONS) whereas many others still sung in English (MAHOGANY RUSH, MORSE CODE TRANSMISSION etc), and Frank's Dimension M was one of the most influential in that respect (although it has yet to be reissued on the Cd format) and gave a boost to many other groups.

Sooo, DERVIEUX's backing band decided to remain together and recorded their self-titled debut album, which was released in early 72 in both French and English version (there was still that temptation) with that famous arresting artwork depicting a baby curled up in an ear, artwork which hinted at the upcoming birth of a prog boom. The group evolved around songwriting bassist Laferriere and keyboardist Lachapelle, but had a very charming stage presence due to Christiane Robichaud's sensual and suave vocals. Robichaud's vocals would leave a definitive influence on Quebec's female vocals in the rock realm. This debut album consolidated the group in its endeavours. During 73, the group got mixed in with the VILLE EMARD BLUES BAND, a jazz-rock adventure that would last less than two years, but reunited almost everyone in the Quebec scene.

But this was nothing yet, compared to the group's following album released in early 74 called La Bourse Ou La Vie, which would create a real frenzy, causing all sorts of groups to start up that year, including HARMONIUM, MANEIGE, MORSE CODE (switching to French singing and dropping the "transmission"), TOUBABOU, OPUS 5, SLOCHE to all release their debut albums with the next 18 months. La Bourse Ou La Vie is an excellent indefinable mix of influences where a slight jazzy prog-rock seems to be the prime ingredient, but hardly the only one. The album's name is a reaction to the heavy pressures of their reco...
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Buy CONTRACTION Music


La Bourse Ou La VieLa Bourse Ou La Vie
Import
Imports 2007
Audio CD$21.96
$45.38 (used)
ContractionContraction
Import
Imports 2005
Audio CD$12.92
$8.50 (used)
Live 1974Live 1974
Import
Imports 2009
Audio CD$21.49
$54.16 (used)
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CONTRACTION discography


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

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

3.57 | 8 ratings
Frank Dervieux - Dimension
1971
2.97 | 24 ratings
Contraction
1972
3.87 | 24 ratings
La Bourse ou la Vie
1974
3.86 | 9 ratings
Jacques Blais - Thèmes
1975
3.08 | 5 ratings
Yves Laferriere - Yves Laferriere
1978
2.17 | 5 ratings
Yvan Ouellet - Le Chant des choses
1979

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

3.02 | 6 ratings
Live 1974
2009

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

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

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

CONTRACTION Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 La Bourse ou la Vie by CONTRACTION album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.87 | 24 ratings

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La Bourse ou la Vie
Contraction Crossover Prog

Review by maryes

3 stars In Canadian progressive rock scenery from the 70's certainly, CONTRACTION are "framed" in the same style of another Canadian band OCTOBRE. However, this "La Bourse Or La Vie" ( that I consider their best work) isn't not in the same level from "Survivance" ( in my opinion the best album from OCTOBRE), neverthelessi is a good work, full of beautiful female vocals and some jazzy influences. The best tracks are: track 2 "L'Alarme À l'Oeil" ,track 5 "Joes Coeur (fermeture) and track 7 "La Bourse or La Vie!" the most really progressive tracks . My rate is 3 stars -Good but not essential- with the reservation that this album figures in my collection !!!

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 Frank Dervieux - Dimension by CONTRACTION album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.57 | 8 ratings

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Frank Dervieux - Dimension
Contraction Crossover Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars A cult figure of the Quebec Prog scene, Franck Dervieux was the keyboardist of well-known singer Jean-Pierre Ferland.He was unfortunately diagnosed with cancer and once he regained his strength he went on to record a solo album completely dedicated to his doctors.''Dimension M'' came out in 1972 on Columbia with the participation of Yves Laferrière on bass, Christiane Robichaud on vocals, Michel Robidoux on guitars, Christian St Roch on drums, Terry King on violin and Michel Seguin on percussion.

The album kicks off with the bizarre eponymous Avant/Psych/Prog instrumental, which has a nice abstract organic sound before turning into a Psychedelic Rock guitar instrumental.The following ''Atlantide'' is simply beautiful, based on Dervieux'es work on grand piano and offering a starting jazzy flavor, before turning into complex Symphonic Rock with organ on the forefront and a solid rhythm section and ending with Robichaud's Parisienne wordless singing, as the singer grew up in Paris.''Hyperborée Civilization'' is another fast pace piano-driven fiery instrumental with some wordless vocals, featuring the great violin soloing of Terry King and Dervieux'es excellent performance on piano.The long ''Concerto Pour Les Mondes Perdus'' starts with a very haunting groove characterized by deep bass lines, obscure vocals, pounding drums and even harpsichord before melting into a soft Classical-inspired piano performance by Dervieux and lifting again up with King's stormy violin work and Robidoux'es psychedelic guitars.''Orejona, Mater'' is a smooth piece of acoustic instrumentals,filled with mellow violins, piano and vocal lines to calm things down before the closing grandiose ''Present du futur'' and its powerful organ intro, followed by a piano/organ interplay, having a strong Classical inspiration, and Dervieux delivering also some great electric piano parts, a nice track of Proto-Fusion stylings with a very rich and dynamic sound.

Sadly Dervieux did not make it, as he died shortly after, while his back-up band went on to form the progressive group Contraction.Several of Contraction's members were also part of the legendary Ville Emard Blues Band.

A nice early entry of the Quebec scene into Progressive Rock with a dark, haunting atmosphere for most of its part.Recommended for fans of VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR or GNIDROLOG but also to all lovers of demanding music trips...3.5 stars.

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 Live 1974 by CONTRACTION album cover Live, 2009
3.02 | 6 ratings

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Live 1974
Contraction Crossover Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars "During the Winter of 1974, CKVL-FM presented a Progressive Rock concert series entitled "Performances", recorded live at Studio Tempo in Montreal.That night, we shared the bill with the British group GENTLE GIANT. It was a memorable evening. Due to technical problems having delayed the English group's concert,we only began to play at around 1:00 AM in the morning, in a state of advanced fatigue !" I really enjoyed their studio album called "La Bourse Ou La Vie" in fact I would rate it better than this live release and I noticed that Hugues has the same feelings. It's not that this live performance isn't a good one, but I do have issues with it especially early on. Christiane the singer reminds me a little of Joni Mitchell and she sings in French and English during this concert. My problems with the early part of this concert is that she seems to get show-cased. It's all about the vocals until the fifth track, and that's disappointing because I love the instrumental work of this band which seems to be more the focus on the studio album I own.

"We Made It" is one of those songs with the focus on the vocals but we do get some nice relaxed guitar led sections. "Chat Bruinne / Star-Child" is another mellow tune with Christiane taking the spotlight. "Solid Shine" is more of a pop song. "Le Temps Fuit Comme Une Ombre" is led by vocal melodies and guitar early before the drums and piano join in. It turns jazzier after 6 1/2 minutes.This is the first track that I really enjoy. "Trois Ou Quatre" is even better and a top three for me. It comes to life after a minute and we get a great sound 3 minutes in.This is more like it ! This continues right to the end. Nice. "42 Nord" is a short pastoral track with vocal melodies. "Pixieland" is a top three as well with the prominant bass to start as it builds quickly.Guitar and piano lead a minute in. Excellent sound here.

"Sagesse" is like the earlier tracks with the focus on the vocals. "La Bourse Ou La Vie" is the almost 18 minute closer and my favourite.Vocal melodies come to the fore 1 1/2 minutes in and the guitar follows leading the way with piano and drums.The guitar is lighting it up before 4 minutes. It then settles back 5 1/2 minutes in but then slowly builds. A calm before 8 minutes as a laid back sound with vocals comes in. Another calm 11 1/2 minutes in then solo piano takes over.Vocal melodies join in at 13 1/2 minutes. It starts to kick back in after 15 minutes. A nice ride.

I think fans of Folk would like this one a lot because there's so much laid back music with the focus on the vocals. Like Hughes I have to give 3.5 stars.

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 La Bourse ou la Vie by CONTRACTION album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.87 | 24 ratings

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La Bourse ou la Vie
Contraction Crossover Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars CONTRACTION are one of the many incredible bands to come out of Quebec in the seventies.The band was formed by singer Christiane Robichaud and bassist / composer Yves Laferriere, both of whom had been part of Frank Dervieux's band.The significance of this was that Frank's album "Dimension" was considered by many to be the first Progressive album to come out of Quebec as it was released in 1971. Franck had sadly been diagnosed with cancer hence these two going out and forming this band called CONTRACTION.This is their second album and by this time Frank had passed away so they dedicated this record to him. Lots of female vocal melodies in this melodic yet sophisticated and intricate release. This was a pleasure to listen to.

"Jos Coeur (Overture)" is a short intro track with vocal melodies. "L'alarme A L'oeil" is a mood altering track because it's so upbeat and has plenty of those vocal melodies too. A change after 1 1/2 minutes as piano joins in then it settles after 2 minutes with more vocal melodies.Themes are then repeated. Cool. "Claire Fontaine" is very laid back with sparse piano and faint vocal melodies. A light beat and intricate guitar joins in.Vocals 2 minutes in. Nice bass when she stops singing. "Sam m'Madown" puts more emphasis on the vocals and she puts on a show. "Jos Coeur (Fermeture)" opens with faint sounds then it starts to come to life before a minute.Vocal melodies follow then it picks up around 3 minutes with the guitar leading.Vocal melodies then return. "Vent Du Sud" is a short dreamy tune.

"La Bourse Ou Le Vie" is slow to get going then vocal melodies arrive 1 1/2 minutes in before it kicks into gear. Great sound here with drums, guitar, bass and keys standing out. It settles after 5 minutes but it's still powerful. It picks back up at 7 minutes. A calm before 8 minutes as reserved vocals, bass and piano take over. It picks up some 10 minutes in. A calm again 12 minutes in with piano only.Vocal melodies before 13 1/2 minutes then vocals before 15 minutes as the sound builds. Nice guitar before 17 minutes. "L'ame A Tout Faire" has a good heavy sound to it to start. It settles right down before 2 minutes with vocal melodies then she starts to sing words as it builds. It kicks in again after 3 minutes.

If your a fan of the Quebec Prog scene of the seventies (who isn't) you need to check this band out.

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 Contraction by CONTRACTION album cover Studio Album, 1972
2.97 | 24 ratings

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Contraction
Contraction Crossover Prog

Review by debrewguy
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

1 stars As previews reviews have stated , this is not the album that would have gotten Contraction into PA's database. Indeed, having bought the LP and listened to it a number of times before I wrote this review, I had to come back & read their bio page and the other reviews to see just what was so prog about the group.

It's not before the 4th song (if you start from side 1 to side two) , Trois ou Quatre, that you get to a somewhat prog track. And even at that, it seems like a pale, kind of jazzy soft rock version of Pink Floyd's Great Gig. Although a buddy of mine joked that it sounded like music that you found on a soundtrack for a 70s porn film .

Pixieland comes across as a Steely Dan throwaway without the hired hand guitar virtuosos that the Dan employed on their albums.

Most of the rest , well ... if I may ... the best that I can say is to imagine Karen Carpenter fronting a 70s soft rock outfit with that era's mediocre jazz rock noodlings.

Interesting only as a document of the emerging RPQ scene, and for its' membership. And worth all of the $3 that I paid for it, if you take into account the $1 I got back in cash when I sold it back to Spin-It.

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 La Bourse ou la Vie by CONTRACTION album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.87 | 24 ratings

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La Bourse ou la Vie
Contraction Crossover Prog

Review by loserboy
Prog Reviewer

4 stars As you know I am a huge fan of the 70's Prog Quebec scene and certainly one of the greats were Contraction. "La Bourse ou la vie" (money or life) was their second release and further expanded Contraction's sound into a more progressive camp. On this album is also wrote and recorded a superb 18 Mins epic title track which in itself is worth the admission ! Fans of Harmonium and Beau Dommage will love this album. Contraction blend ethernal flutes, with great guitar and great bass and drum interplay and mixed in is the lovely voice of Christiane Robichaud. Musically this band offer some great musicanship and creative song writing which will please all prog rock fans.

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 Yvan Ouellet - Le Chant des choses by CONTRACTION album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.17 | 5 ratings

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Yvan Ouellet - Le Chant des choses
Contraction Crossover Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

2 stars Although Ivan was a member of Ville Emmard Blues Band and Toubabou, both recording all their stuff by the end of 75, Yvan's only solo album came out in late 79, and with the help of ex-Contraction members (hence his entry in their page), but his career had started as soon as 72 , co writing one of Quebec most poignant classic song Le Plus beau Voyage.. So by the end iof the 70's, he met the Contraction crowd and let their bassist/producer convince him of recording a solo album. Soo while there are only four Contractionists (not present all the time either), it's definitely an album that bear the palm of Laferrière (with one of the Perrotte brothers in the engineer booth and the other on the drum stool, and the delicious Christiane on three tracks) but this has limits.

The opening title track is already a song that had appeared on the second Toubabou album, that time sung by Lise Cousineau. I have a hard time preferring one version to the other, Ouellet's piano is always solemn, often romantic, sometimes drowned under orchestral arrangements (the instrumental St Pierre), but at times it feels like a piano bar (St Pierre again). The album's centrepiece is obviously the 8-mins Sagitaire, but it sinks relatively quickly into a huge pot of cheese fondue Clipperton is more of the same. Just soft pudgy easy-listening stuff, which was probably aimed at another public than the rock crowd. The only track to pull us out of our sleep-induced torpor is the Beatles's Fool on The Hill, but even then, you'll sink back quickly as it is a two-piano part only, and at a full six minutes, it's overstaying its welcome. The presence of Raoul Duguay and Marie Séguin is due to Ouellet's prior collaboration with them, and here they pay a polite visit, but their presence doesn't change the outcome of the music. Certainly not one of Quebec's better album (or is it that prog for that matter??) and signifying that Quebec's prog boom was all but over and even Contraction couldn't do much about it. I don't want to be pessimist, but I don't see this album climbing up the sales charts of our friends at PQ. As a matter of fact, I'd probably advise them to advertise this one to a different crowd of people than the progressive one, if this album is to hit the target at someone.

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 Live 1974 by CONTRACTION album cover Live, 2009
3.02 | 6 ratings

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Live 1974
Contraction Crossover Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

It is the unearthing of such archives that renders our 00's so endearing to this proghead and I can never thank enough Sean & Stephen for creating their label. Indeed if Contraction was a central part of Quebec's prog scene, their production of only two studio albums didn't show it as clearly as VEBB's huge line-up (sharing a few Contraction members) was. Soo finding a radio broadcast that took place between their two albums' release is one small miracle and will make for a legit third Contraction album, even if there are only four previously unreleased tracks on it.

Using the band's debut album's back cover, as front artwork for this live album, ProgQuebec chose the sensible way as most of the tracks are from that album, anyway, but it's too bad there are not more pictures of them live (except one in their second album's reissue). . Soo end of Jan 74, live in Studio Tempo and aired a few days later on a Montreal radio station (amazingly enough, not the famous CHOM-FM), these tapes laid forgotten for 35 years. The group was closing a Gentle Giant double-header, so most likely the GG broadcast is lying around somewhere too. Please not that Contraction is a sextet here, when they claimed an octet (and more) on the first studio albums.

However what strikes is that not only is the sound excellent, but Contraction's music was even better live than in the studio, being more energetic and having another life on stage. After the nowhere-else-available slow-evolving We Made It (most likely from the English version of their debut album) and the more up-lifting Chat Bruine (Star Child probably being the English version) Contraction surely builds in intensity. When nearing the two successive previously-unreleased tracks, it's probably not hard to guess that Solid Shine was probably a left-over from the English version of the debut, while the fantastic 9-mins Le Temps Fuit Comme Une Ombre is a real gift, the closing section even having an Allman's Whipping Post feel. The group then returns to the French version of their debut and send three faithful versions of 3 Ou 4, 42 Nord and Pixieland. Then onto another previously unreleased track, close to country music, but the real gift of the album is an almost finished version of La Bourse Ou La Vie, the 17-mins epic that graces their second album. a slightly different version than the studio version, but what a way to finish the broadcast. Fantastic stuff!!! Has been added another track, a bonus studio and instrumental version of Sagesse, played in its sung version just before the epic, but offering a slightly less country-like atmosphere and more Classic-influenced in its instrumental version ? there are still scats from Robichaud.

While I wouldn't call this album as essential as their studio counterparts, it's clear that this Live album is almost as important to confirmed fans.. Hopefully the next Contraction- related album that ProgQuebec releases is Frank Dervieux's Dimension M, because in terms of bei,ng essential, that one caps it all off, from those unearthed Quebec gems that have yet to find a Cd release. In the meantime, we get to sink our teth in this juicy piece of music.

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 Jacques Blais - Thèmes  by CONTRACTION album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.86 | 9 ratings

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Jacques Blais - Thèmes
Contraction Crossover Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars Self-taught guitarist that played a few years on the local Quebec scene in various line-ups, , sharing stages with Octobre, Maneige, etc. Jacques Blais became one of Quebec's best guitarists (along with Frank Marino) and his reputation grew to the point of playing prestigious shows without having recorded an album (yet). Late 74, despite having his own and upon hearing Contraction's second album La Bourse Ou La vie, he asked the group's bassist Yves Laferrière to produce his first album, and soon enough most of the band was backing Blais, not only in the studio, but in the next few months' following its release in 75. With an ordinary picture as artwork, Blais' Thèmes album became a favourite and even gained some local award as "experimental album of the year", but rest assured, there is nothing experimental about this great funky jazz-rock album, where Contraction leaves an indelible paw on it, despite all tracks being written by Blais himself.

Musically besides being a worthy Contraction album, Blais' wonderful and warm guitar virtuoso and autodidact style is plenty more reason to fall under the spell of Thèmes, which appears to be a musical thematic album Starting on Robichaud's inimitable vocals, the "Theme" is a lovely quiet intro, moving on to a mid-tempoed piece where Blais' guitar takes the listener by the emotions soaring in the sky, before the closing section returns with Christiane's heavenly vocalizing. Sept Quatre is a 7/4 piece that was quite popular on the radio airwaves and features wordless vocals ala Wishbone Ash in Argus, but Contraction is blasting away, while Blais is now reaching the stratosphere. Le Matin is a Blais-sung track (accompanied by Chrstiane's brother on flute), but Blais' voice is certainly not his main feature. Ascencoeur (a clever pun associating elevator and heart) is a slow developing crescendoing piece dominated by Blais guitar, ending the first side and contrasting heavily with the flipside opener.

Indeed Vrai Ou Fou (true or crazy) is a schizophrenic piece contrasting between an evil guitar riff and more atmospheric moments, but in the end, the guitar histrionics win easily, Blais putting in a brilliant performance, although pushed to the limit by Contraction. T'as Des Nuages (you have clouds, but bunch of clouds if you remove the apostrophe) is another Blais-sung track, but neither outstanding, nor standing out Bord En Bar sees the discreet return of Christiane Robichaud, but the track is a Hendrixian guitar fest, while the closing Thèmes is a reprise of the middle section of the opening track.

After parting company with Contraction in July that year, the second part of 75 will see Blais enjoying major local success, sharing Festival stages with Offenbach, Aut'chose, Conventum and Michel Madore. By mid-76, Blais had formed a new duo called Fantasia, improvising very popular gigs, before performing for Mick Jagger's birthday (in Montreal to see the Olympics). Fantasia will grow, including members of Eclipse, Pollen and Pouls and will eventually release in 77 an album called Jacques Blais & Fantasia, produced by Harmonium's Michel Normandeau, but this is another story. In the meantime, Themes is an extremely fine album, one that was almost forgotten, but the fantastic duo of ProgQ ebec just unearthed this gem.

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 Frank Dervieux - Dimension by CONTRACTION album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.57 | 8 ratings

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Frank Dervieux - Dimension
Contraction Crossover Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars 4.5 stars really!!!

An album that Frank Dervieux made once very sick and made with his group that would go on as Contraction to records two further albums. From what I always gathered Dimension M is an almost- instrumental concept album of lost worlds, with Robichaud's superb scat voice, this album made quite mark on the provincial scene

Starting with the fantastic title track , with its middle almost free-jazz improv and taking a bit of a Canterbury slant, Dervieux shows everything he's capable of for a Hammond organ feast (Ratledge meeting Dave Stewart) but King's detuned violin are a slight flaw. The following Atlantide has Dervieux pounding the piano, where Christiane's scat voice des marvels. The Hyperborea is a quieter affair (all things relative) dying on a dissonant note, but overall it is another brilliant Dervieux piece. Just like the later contraction, there is a slight domination of the jazz element, but we're close to full-blown progressive rock, somewhere between Caravan and Camel at its easiest and as close to Gentle Giant in the more complex phases. Opening the flipside the Concerto, however is their most complex song with great dynamics, constant twists and changes. This 9-mins epic is a pure delight of funky guitar, booming bass (Laferriere's work were always indispensable part of Contraction), inventive drumming; St Roch is very much the unsung hero of side 2, but he gets much help from percussionist touche-à-tout Michel Seguin. The album goes on from enchantment to joyful surprises with Orejane Mater (where King discordant violin makes an almost brass-like interventiuon) and the closing Present Du Futur, where Robichaud's aerial voice and Dervieux's solemn organ give an almost liturgical twist to the track

Sadly Dervieux was not to outlive by long his album, he just managed to appear on Contraction's debut, before leaving us for good. Yet Dimension M is an essential piece of progressive rock in Quebec's prog history, often seen as Contraction's first album, and there are hardly any reasons not to. Essential and much more.

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Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to easy livin for the last updates

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