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Syncope biography
A septet that originated from across the river of the same name as the Ottawa capital, in a suburb of Hull, the same whereabouts of the CONNIVENCE collective (that recorded two excellent prog folk albums) came from. The group was formed in the second half of the 70's, during the outstanding Quebec prog boom, even though by the time SYNCOPE released their sole self-titled album, this movement had largely waned. Unfortunately, this was to be the group's sole album and unless the label ProgQuebec reissues this album, it'll likely unfortunately remain a very rare obscure prog gem. A real shame because those liking CHICAGO, LIGHTHOUSE, IF and to a lesser extent Blood Sweat & Tears would love this album.

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SYNCOPE discography

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3.49 | 7 ratings

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Showing last 10 reviews only
 Syncope by SYNCOPE album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.49 | 7 ratings

Syncope Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Syncope was a collective of Canadian musicians, based in the city of Hull, Quebec.The band's activities seem to start around early 1975 with several contests following, in which Syncope won a handful of prices.They were led by keyboardist Francois Groulx and other members were singer/trombonist Bernard Grenier, bassist Robert Villeneuve (also a participant on Connivence's first album), guitarist Serge Ippersiel, saxophonist Sylvain Soucy, drummer Jean Dumontier and singer Yves Lacroix.They recorded their only self-titled album at the Ottawa Studios between September 79' and May 80' with the help of Serge Mercier on trumpet and Michel Allaire on glockenspiel, privately pressed and distributed in 1980.

The style of the band was a CHICAGO-influenced dreamy Fusion with certain progressive overtones and clean, French vocals.Lots of brass instrumental parts, plenty of ethereal keyboards and electric piano and some lyrical depth in the process completed an airy listening experience, which was a bit too soft at moments yet contains impressive progressive interplays and stretched instrumental actions.Sounding nothing like an 80's album, ''Syncope'' is fairly grounded in the Quebec Prog fundamentals, they made careful use of expressive vocals, they added some Pop flavors here and there and they let their jazzy influences surface to create an enganging style, filled with smooth instrumentals, melodious themes and pompous brass echoes.The sound is very well balanced between keyboards, guitars and trombone/saxes, the eponymous track, clocking at about 10 minutes, is an excellent proposal on jazzy Canadian Prog with soft jazzy sax, marching trombone, guitar technique in display and efficient piano lines, but again there are pieces like ''Le bleu d'Hull'', which sound very dubious and accesible, despite maintaining an artistic profile.In general the album lacks the complexity and drama of pure prog products, but passes through as a creation of shiny jazzy Prog Rock with melodic overtones and positive vibes.

The underground distribution of the album and the choice to release it at the dawn of the 80's had a negative impact on Syncope's fame, the band apparently disbanded sometime later.This is still a lovely and optimistic approach on dreamy, jazzy Prog Rock, highlighted by its mellow still professional interactions.Recommended.

 Syncope by SYNCOPE album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.49 | 7 ratings

Syncope Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars Not much is know about Syncope an its sole album is not only very rare, but almost damn well impossible to gather info on the web, if only by this superb ProgArchives' entry, courtesy of collabs Alain and yours truly. Needless to say that unless ProgQuebec decides to release it, you'll not be able to score the vinyl easily either. Hiding behind a poetic musical dawn artwork, this septet is a very brassy affair, presenting a bit like a Quebecois version of Chicago through seven tracks ranging from four to six and a half minutes and one splendid mini-epic nearing eleven minutes.

The aptly-named septet develops some excellent syncopated prog-enhanced brass-rock, that sounds very Quebecois, not least through the relatively accent-less duo French vocals (often close to Opus-5), bar the swingy blues Bleu d'Hull track, which sticks out a bit too much from the rest of the album. Indeed the four tracks of the opening side sound like a calm and thoughtful version of Chicago or a less-kitschy Lighthouse without being derivative, the main difference being in the double vocals and an uncompromising songwriting. The flipside opens on the album's centrepiece, the instrumental self-titled mini-epic lasting almost 11 minutes, often running quite complex and even symphonic (grandiose intro on a church pipe organ), but never needlessly so. After an average mainly-sung track, the album closes on two splendid tracks, the first Cible (target) sounding like a brassy Opus-5 song, while the amazing instrumental finale of Rage features some wild Spanish-sounding horns that draws chills in the back of the neck. What an awesome way to finish an album.

If you'll make the exception of the sung-swing-song closing the A-side that ruins its cohesiveness, the album is a very impressive, filled with often-superb brass-rock that is probably more brilliant than the early Chicago classic albums. Actually while there are dozens of Quebecois prog album that have yet to still find way onto a Cd reissue, I can't find many that would deserves a more urgent job as Syncope's album, along Michel Madore's two albums. Sooo if Sean and Stephen happen to read this modest "baffouille"? hopefully they'll react.

Thanks to sean trane for the artist addition.

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