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Maneige - Maneige CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.11 | 155 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
5 stars MANEIGE were one of the numerous progressive bands from Quebec province of Canada in the 70s but rose above the pack by having one of the longest runs and providing an astonishing consistency in quality from album to album. The band was formed in 1972 by keyboardist Jérôme Langlois and flautist / sax player Alain Bergeron after the dissolution of another band called Lasting Weep and started as a duo who immediately began working on the first track on this album called "Le Rafiot" which is a 21 minute 22 second prog behemoth with a ridiculous amount of developing styles and genre fusions. As experiment after experiment ensued the band grew to the six members that appear on their eponymous debut release, the first of the year 1975 with no less than two percussionists who dish out everything from the expected rock drum rolls to xylophone, vibraphone, glockenspiel, bongos and even Mike Oldfield's favorites, tubular bells! Like all their albums the debut is also entirely an instrumental experience.

The first you hear on the first MANEIGE album is something you wouldn't expect. No jazz-fusion at all, in fact "Le Rafiot" is the French word for a fishing vessel and this long lasting track is divided up into suites which depict in sonic form the tribulations of this small ship on the ocean. Overall the similarities is much like Camel's "Snowgoose" in not only classically inspired developments but in symphonic leanings which predominate over the jazzy touches at this point. As the track begins it sounds more like a bizarre impressionists world more akin to Stockhausen and lasts for a frightening four minutes before a classical piano breaks through the brume and adds a melodic path into a more recognizable form of symphonic prog that twists and turns through the many themes and dishing out some of the most pleasant flute led melodies accompanied by an army of instrumental accompaniments.

Throughout the album of four tracks which is really like an album of eight or more tracks due to the fact the first track is more akin to several tracks separately composed and stitched together, the moods shift dramatically from bleak and scary to ecstatically happy with bouncy keyboards and the ubiquitous Jethro Tull folk inspired flutes dominating the soundscapes. Some of the other claimed influences range from Zappa's "Hot Rats" era, The Nice, early Soft Machine and early Gentle Giant but more than any of those the classical composers rule the influence roost especially in the melodic piano department while the other instruments while not entire subordinate fall under the gravitational forces of the keyboards with flutes adding an extra force that tugs them back and forth between them.

MANEIGE managed to score a recording contract merely by the strength of their live performances of playing extremely strong and intricately complex symphonic prog with jazz and classical elements at every turn. Like most of the progressive releases from 70s Quebec this one as well as the rest of the MANEIGE canon have been remastered and released on CD by ProgQuebec with bonus tracks two of which are found tagged onto the end and are live tracks from their days before releasing albums. The track "Tèdetèdetèdet" is a catchy bouncy little number not found on any studio release and the name simulates the rhythm of the flute which is extra fiery on this particular track. MANEIGE would gradually simplify their music into more digestible chunks but personally i find their debut to the be most satisfying experience of their stamp on symphonic prog / jazz / classical fusion. A perfect album in every way.

siLLy puPPy | 5/5 |


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