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OCTOBRE

Crossover Prog • Canada


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Octobre biography
One of the major bands spawned by the French-Canadian or Quebecois folk rock renaissance of the early seventies along with Harmonium, Offenbach and Maneige. While not achieving quite the legendary status of their peers Octobre`s thoughtful approach to local socio-political issues combined with complexities in musical structure gave them a sound which was more parallel to contemporary progressive rock bands from the UK particularly Gentle Giant, Genesis as well as early King Crimson. After two brief experiments with cover bands 18 year old mastermind vocalist/keyboardist Pierre Flynn collaborated with bassist Mario Légaré and drummer Pierre Hébert in 1972 to form a permanent prog trio with guitarist Jean Dorais, a cousin of Flynn`s with whom he had previously played , joining shortly thereafter. The band derived its name from a political crisis which enveloped their home province of Québec, Canada in October of 1970. Their self titled album, released in late 1972 was a scant 28 minutes in duration but contained the essential ingredients for the Octobre formula which would endure for the next 7 years: 4 superbly talented young musicians which included a charismatic frontman who had a bone to pick with the system who oddly enough chose prog-rock stylings in order to convey their messages.

A haunting figure from a bourgeoisie upbringing, Flynn's intellect was deeply rooted in Québec culture and wasn't afraid to speak his mind on sensitive local social and political problems, particularly in the Montréal region, and the music of Octobre spoke to the plight of the Québecois working class albeit in a sophisticated manner both musically and lyrically. One song from the first album entitled "La Maudite Machine" (The Damn System) became an anthem for many young people in the province of Québec and launched Octobre into Québec music folklore. Yet, with their prog-rock influences which included the standard organ/electric guitar interaction with a solid rhythm section their emotionally charged lyrics found the band as somewhat of an anomaly with their idealistic messages only having real impact on audiences within the borders of Québec. This however did not detract from their exceptional musical prowess and their second album, "Les Nouvelles Terres" (The New Worlds), contained forays into the realm of jazz-rock was released in 1974. By this time the band had earned the distinction of opening for UK prog-rock outfit King Crimson on two occasions as well as hea...
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Ultime rock progressif du QuebecUltime rock progressif du Quebec
Box set
Gala Records 2008
Audio CD$34.98
l'autoroute des reves LPl'autoroute des reves LP
CBS
Vinyl$20.00 (used)
Paolino Parc - France LPPaolino Parc - France LP
Pathe Marconi-EMI
Vinyl$12.00 (used)
clandestins LPclandestins LP
KEBEC DISCS
Vinyl$15.00 (used)
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OCTOBRE discography


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

3.24 | 8 ratings
Octobre
1973
3.38 | 10 ratings
Nouvelles Terres
1974
3.96 | 14 ratings
Survivance
1975
3.16 | 6 ratings
L`Autoroute Des Rêves
1977
2.21 | 5 ratings
Clandestins
1980

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

4.07 | 6 ratings
"Live" Chants Dans La Nuit
1978

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

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

4.08 | 4 ratings
Octobre 1972-1989
1995

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

OCTOBRE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Octobre by OCTOBRE album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.24 | 8 ratings

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Octobre
Octobre Crossover Prog

Review by Sheets of Blue

4 stars Progressive rock can have many kinds of subjects: from war, fantasies of the medieval times, as well the tarot cards. Hell, it can even be about a tale of two brothers in New York City. However, one subject in Canada was practically rarely discussed: the government itself. Octobre, named after a local political crisis in their hometown of Quebec, would come to the front out of the many bands spawned by the French-Canadian/Quebecois folk rock renaissance of the early seventies (along with Harmonium, Offenbach and Maneige) to go against the higher-ups relentlessly. Led by an eighteen year-old vocalist/keyboardist from a bourgeoisie upbringing, Pierre Flynn had a bone to pick with the government along with other band mates, and oddly used the genre of progressive rock to voice their discontent with the political situation of the time.

Octobre's self-titled album, released in 1973, would introduce many into the horrid situation Quebec was in at the time. Most notably the October Crisis of 1970, which would result in the assassination of Quebec's Labor Minister Pierre Laporte. These particular incidents, along with the reluctance of the local government to do much about the situation angered many; Flynn was one of the many.

Recorded on a shoe-string budget, Octobre was rather short, clocking in at twenty-eight minutes. As far it was concerned, that was more than enough time to convey the band's message, and left for absolutely no time to waste on the typical progressive rock tropes. The main focus was getting the point across, which was well done. Behind the message was the excellent work done by the band: Mario Legare's fluid bass work, as well Pierre Hebert's stunningly accurate drumming held the compositions by Pierre Flynn together. Not to mention the edge guitarist Jean Dorais brought to Octobre's music.

Songs such as La maudite machine (The Damn Machine), and Les Vivants (The Living), would show many the great anger welling within the band, and would inspire a younger generation of French-Canadians to speak out against the local government. Throughout the album, there are vague hints of folk-rock, most notably on Au fond de tes yeux (Deep in Your Eyes) and Bonjour (Hello), which brings up comparisons to fellow Quebec band Harmonium. There are also touches of influences by Gentle Giant and Genesis on tracks like Ca prend presque rien (It Takes Almost Nothing), which further displayed the band's intent on causing change in Quebec, one way or another.

With the exception of a few weak moments, Octobre made for a staggering debut unlike any other. The folk-rock influences would eventually phase out, but for the time being, it would have to remain while the band searched for their voice. The aggression of the band's music can only give a vague idea of what was going on at the time, and to make it more confusing to some, it was entirely in a foreign language. But language truly doesn't matter; only if you can immerse yourself into the world of Octobre will you understand what happened. And maybe the music will accompany you in discovering the story of the people of Quebec, and finally understanding the message the band tried to convey forty years earlier.

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 Survivance by OCTOBRE album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.96 | 14 ratings

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Survivance
Octobre Crossover Prog

Review by maryes

4 stars In my opinion, this third album of the Canadian band OCTOBRE entitled "Survivance" is his r best work, and t that is more to the level of the best and more significant disks of the progressive of that country. Unlike their previous works, this disk presents music with much more complex themes and instrumental passages in the "height" of the great names of the progressive. Besides, there is the most pronounced presence of instruments as the mellotron and the synthesizer (practically absentees in the previous disks). My highlights are the track 1 "Tendre Tortures", track 5 "Baptême Of L'air" (including of a feminine choir ) and the track 7 " L`Oiseau Rouge ". My rate is 4 stars!!!!

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 Nouvelles Terres by OCTOBRE album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.38 | 10 ratings

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Nouvelles Terres
Octobre Crossover Prog

Review by maryes

3 stars 3,5 stars!!! I found this second albun from the band OCTOBRE "Nouvelles Terres" (1974), a little different from his first work "Octobre" (1973), and that more called me the attention was a certain approach with jazzier themes and the use of other musicians' as guests (although there are not credits) in an attempt of "enriching" the melodic textures, as example of this, I can mention the orchestral attendance in the final passage of the track 4 "Ma Chanson", the brass section arrangement in the track 5 "Violence." However that "enrichment" (in my opinion) doesn't do a superior work in relationship to their first disk, I consider both in a same level.. The best moments of the disk are the track 1 "Nouvelles Terres",a track 3 " Quand La Nuit If Réveille" with interesting counterpoints among acoustic & eletric guitar and keyboards,and the track 6 "La Passe du Grande Flambeau" (the best moment of the disk) that reminded me in some moments GENTLE GIANT. My rate is 3,5 stars. Standing out (as in their previous work) that this also deserves a place in my collection!!!!

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 Octobre by OCTOBRE album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.24 | 8 ratings

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Octobre
Octobre Crossover Prog

Review by maryes

3 stars 3, 5 stars !!! In spite of not could classify this first album of the Canadian band OCTOBRE as a work of the same "caliber" of disks of other bands of the same country (for instance: MORSE CODE "Procréation", POLLEN "Pollen" and etc...), even so I classify his work as worthy of being known by the community of prog fans. I say this, because, although it doesn't present many moments of virtuosity (nor instrumental, nor vocal) their music are "filled" of quite interesting themes and us which it is almost imperceptible some influence of any other band (I admit that I didn't get to notice any enough strong influence that it went worthy of note), what does with that his sonority is very particular. Besides, the disk presents many themes that make to deserve an audition, such as: the track 3. " Dans Ma Ville", track 4 "Les Vivants" with a "dialogue" among harpiscord & eletric guitar as main theme, track 7 "Bonjour" with beautiful work of hammond-organ and etc... Actually only I find lamentable the fact of this album it was not thrown in cd. My quotation is of 3,5 stars, emphasizing that this albun deserves place in my collection of progressive music!!!

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 Live, 1978
4.07 | 6 ratings

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"Live" Chants Dans La Nuit
Octobre Crossover Prog

Review by monkey in orbit

4 stars Legend has it Octobre almost stole the show when they opened for King Crimson in the early 70's in Québec (though the fact that they shared a common language with the crowd made it easyer for them to identify to the band probably came into play). Well, with this live performance recorded in Montreal in '78, we get an opportunity to hear what the fuss was all about.

From the point the show kicks off with a beautiful acoustic build-up version of Survivance till the closing classic piece la Maudite Machine, we are treated to an excellent show of musicianship showcasing many highlights of their career and adding a few instrumental pieces in the blend like the "holy grail" of Octobre fans, the long latin-beat; "Brazilia". A few songs, starting with Insurection, benefit from a full horn section and theres also a very nice orchestrations on "le Vent Se Lève" which was left aside on the cd reissue as was also "l'Oiseau Rouge".

Overall I'd recommend this to fans and newcomers alike. The only problem is to get your hands on an actual copy since the LP and CD have been long out of print (some rips have been floating about though). The sound quality is very good and the bands performance is at its peak.

It's not a small feat to be regarded by many as tied with Harmonium's "En Tournée" as the best live recording from a Québec prog group.

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 Survivance by OCTOBRE album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.96 | 14 ratings

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Survivance
Octobre Crossover Prog

Review by Thierry

4 stars Once upon a time... A Canadian prog band lead by Pierre Flynn, Octobre were one of the major progressive bands in Quebec more precisely. Despite a rather chaotic career and production, they released a pure gem, "Survivance" in 1975 which is still not available on the CD form. I'm still wondering why. French speaking fans will enjoy the gorgeous lyrics of 'Suvivance', close to Atoll's fabulous 'Le Cerf volant' (in "Tertio" 1977) or 'L'oiseau rouge'. The others a very personal kind of prog in the 'French tradition' showing other influences such as King Crimson, a superb melancholy singer and awesome instrumental tracks.

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 Clandestins by OCTOBRE album cover Studio Album, 1980
2.21 | 5 ratings

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Clandestins
Octobre Crossover Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

2 stars 2.5 stars really!!

After recording their live album in 78, and their drummer Hebert leaving, Octobre experimented with some theatre troupe and add saxman Gerry Leduc, played in France (where their albums never were released). At the turn of the decade, Quebec's cultural boom and the political emancipation programme were both in a coma (or at least a solid hangover), with Disco sweeping up the floor and a negative referendum, only a few pieces were left to glue back together. Most of the late 70's group from La Belle Province were now defunct or close to it. Octobre will actually manage to survive (survivance?) until 82 and record Clandestins on the small independent Kebek label, with Hebert returning to the fold. This album is clearly self-produced and "suffers" (but not really) from a less professional production job, but overall, the group managed it passably, but does not escape an end-of-era feeling. They did try to regain the spirit, bringing back the odd brass section arrangements and their early rock feel.

Opening on the Springsteenian Pour Te Retrouver (find you again), the album has to wait for the title track to find life, with newcoming Leduc sounding like Supertramp's Helliwell. Both tracks are close to overstaying their welcome, though. Imposteur is almost a brass-rock track, where the arrangements are flawless in the previous ADR album's mould. The aptly-titled Je Veux Rouler (I wanna roll) is just that: a meaningless rocker that is quickly forgotten. Not much more successful is Prière D'Asphalte (asphalt prayer, but it feels like they drank it instead of praying it). A good deal of the tracks would've been fillers on previous albums, and only L'Imaginoir manages to stand out of a relative mediocrity. Flynn wrote that on a Paris trip and the music does resemble what he would've written in Survivance's era and I really believe it is of the same excellent accabit with a great sax solo. The prophetically-titled closing instrumental Bout De La Ligne (end of the line) is a correct instrumental, but doesn't have the strength of their previous works.

Octobre manages to save this album from catastrophe, relying on their professionalism and almost succeeds to hide their failing inspiration, but to those knowing the group, Clandestins is really a half-hearted effort, where they shine all too briefly for two tracks. Best avoided, although confirmed fans will likely beg to differ.

Following this album's release, the group will embark a big semi-national 50-dates tour (from Ontario to Atlantic provinces), but obviously the group is standing on its last leg (this writer saw the group on that tour and was relatively unimpressed), lasting until August 82. The group will reform for a one-time reunion concert in 89, from which will be recorded four tracks available on the two disc compilation set.

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 Survivance by OCTOBRE album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.96 | 14 ratings

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Survivance
Octobre Crossover Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars Third album from the Flynn-lead Octobre, named after a made-up word (survivance would mean ability or aptitude at survival), and by now Octobre is at the top of its game, as was starting Quebec's progressive rock boom. Offenbach, Maneige and Octobre will found a short-lived partnership to play more gigs, then play with Harmonium (who was to become huge in their home province) and Beau Domage. This lead to recording Survivance, recorded again at Studio Six at the end of the summer of 75, with another non- committing artwork sleeve.

Starting out on the superb (and relatively lengthy) almost-instrumental Tendre Torture (sweet/soft torture), Octobre shows that Flynn's songs were not their only strength, and the ever-changing track is a small tour de force. Christiane Robichaud's choirs are to be heard on both instrumental, each starting the vinyl sides. In this regard, Baptême De L'Air (aerial christening) is another stunning instrumental that shines like the sun. At the time, Quebec's political conscience was in full bloom, and the artistic/cultural revolution in full prime, and En Famille celebrates a festival where 100 000 partied on the Mont Royal and celebrated like a family feast, but something is brewing in Flynn's mood as not right. La Valse à 11 Temps is definitely one of Octobre more "prog" tracks, sounding like Crimson would had Fripp been from La Belle Province. Of course, you understood that the track is in 11/4, no doubt a remnant of their concert with King Crimson headlining.

L'Oiseau Rouge (red bird) is one of the best-produced tracks where the group's full dynamic range is emphasized, and they sound like Supertramp (Asylum) meeting Mahavishnu Orchestra, if you can picture that. The closing title track is Flynn's more personal text on the album about his feeling in the music industry, and Hebert's excellent drum rolls save the track from sinking in cheesyland. Another filler is Encore Ce Soir, no doubt inspired by the whining of Flynn's girlfriend.

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 Nouvelles Terres by OCTOBRE album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.38 | 10 ratings

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Nouvelles Terres
Octobre Crossover Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

Octobre 's second album Les Nouvelles Terres (the new grounds. to be broken) came out the next year, and was definitely more adult, but not less Flynn-esque. Better produced (recorded at the same Studio Six), with greater means as well (guest musicians), with a weird artwork (those flashy red lipsticks marks), it is a bit unfortunate that the album's title is more ambitious than the resulting music, but nevertheless this album is the worthy successor of their debut. Right from the starting blocks with the catchy opening title track to the lengthy closer (6-mins+, but this is a max for Octobre at the time), you understand that musically the album will be more refined, but maybe a bit too over the top for true rockers.

Starting with the attention-grabbing title track chorus, the album starts strongly with Légaré's funky bass play, Flynn's vocal moods changing like Queen's Freddy mercury could, Dorais' searing guitar. Le Chant Du Guerrier (warrior's path) represents a facet that separated Quebec's spirit from the rest of Canada: they felt for the Amerindians. This track is highly dramatic and ambient, where the electric piano dominates and there are Magma-like choirs. The instrumental tour de force of Passage Du Flambeau (passage of rites/flame), where the group is in full progressive flight, where Dorais' electric 12-string guitar shines behind Flynn piano. The longest Generations (this used to be the group's centrepiece of their live shows as it could climb up to 12 minutes) where there are some brilliant instrumental passages is a suitable closer, ending surprisingly abruptly, but with full right.

There are some less perfect tracks where Flynn shows his lounge singer instincts. Violence shows that Flynn has not lost his sense of rebellion, even if the track is filled from cheesy string and choir arrangements, which will come to full fruition in 76's Autoroute Des Rêves album. The dramatic piano-laden Voyage En Mer (sea trip) is also filled with some synth-string arrangements and it only convinces the listener partially.Finally there are some more meaningless songs like the light-hearted Quand La Nuit Se Réveille (celebrating Montreal's lively nightlife >> this writer checked that almost every WE ;-) and the embarrassing filler Ma Chanson.

Although Octobre will never break out from the Francophonie (trying Ontario and later, France) and the group's success will remain a bit confidential (although they will play at several high-profile gigs/festival including opening for Crimson), this album shows Octobre close to their apex and although there are a few "fautes de gout", the musicians are all top-notch. Octobre's second album is not different than their other, and just like them it is an acquired taste and not likely to please those not mastering French enough to get the lyrics.

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 Octobre by OCTOBRE album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.24 | 8 ratings

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Octobre
Octobre Crossover Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

Octobre's debut album came as a slap in the face to almost everyone in Quebec in late 72. Recorded at Studio Six, but spartanly produced and enveloped in the blandest artwork possible, the quartet (your standard prog line-up with the keyboardist as the singer) was made up of a pair of cousins (Flynn and Dorais) and their longtime buddy bassist Légaré came from high-school blues rock groups Gladstone and Maelstrom. Behind the song format "à la chanson française", there were some real superb musicianship (usually not expected in that genre), a very "rock feel" and some incredibly thoughtful text from Pierre Flynn that had the lyrical and philosophical depth of the greatest Jacques Brel or Brassens. Indeed, kids identified a lot to those lyrics that sweated the asphalt and transpired vandalized bus stops, reeked of boondocks apartment buildings, soaked of hot city nights etc. It just talked to them just as if it was themselves thinking it. Aside from Octobre, the only other group that managed this IMHO was Harmonium, even if the later was much more ideal and hippy dream. Flynn's text were written mostly as a teen ager and later in his life would cause him a it of awkwardness as he was an adult

Those lyrics really absorbed a big part of the attention paid to Octobre, but Hebert's drumming was always excellent, Légaré's bass sinuous and fluid at wish, Dorais's guitar always discreet when needed and blistering when expected. But more than anything, Octobre was Pierre Flynn's cargo ship for the truckloads of ideas he came up with, both musical (he was the main composer and a very good keyboardist) and lyrical (he was the singer).

From the opening organ line of their first single Si On Partait (if we left) to the closing of future hit single La Maudite Machine (damn machine >> the society), you will subjected to great music, with plenty of prog characteristics, but you shouldn't expect flashy virtuoso solos or extended intros and outros. The music is at the service of the song and texts, but let that not deter you either: there is plenty to hear for the proghead.

From the opening "if we left" segueing Ca Prends Presque Rien (it takes next to nothing. to become alienated) than sidestepping for the weaker Dans Ma Ville (describing the urban hell to be fled), then into Les Vivants (the alive ones., which depicts those who are not or faking it) and on the flipside Viens Vivre (come live), you can see the the way the "thematic subject was heading for. A rather accurate if a bit cruel description of our bleak future that one just had to avoid serving La Maudite Machine, which swallows innocence, chews life and spits out wasted lives.

Octobre's music is of course very much axed towards the French lyrics,, so it is rather hard to really recommend the group to those who don't have a good mastery of the language, but the texts alone are interesting enough to want to learn the language. A real classic, although I wouldn't call it all that essential for progheads, unless having lived the plight sung by Octobre.

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