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Connivence - Connivence CD (album) cover

CONNIVENCE

Connivence

 

Prog Folk

3.60 | 12 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars First record of a group that is more of an amalgam of artistes linking under the Connivence name in order to make an album, this relative uncommon procedure delivered three albums that are worthy of the proghead's interest, especially so if he is into Folk Prog. Basically a blend of folk-duo Nous Autres and jazz rock group Oasis, it also includes some solo English-speaking songwriters (but French-singing) who are playing with those two groups. Sounds confusing? Well, Kinda! But these guys were all acquaintances from the Ottawa river valley, just across the federal capital of Ottawa.

After reading the first paragraph, you'd have to believe that this album would be very eclectic, uneven and with a wide spectrum, but actually, the album is fairly focused and most of the tracks are folk, folk rock or folk-derived prog. So eclectic this album is but for its own good: they folk-jazz-rock is sometimes head-twirling, at times virtuosic and all the time very charming.

The opening progressive instrumental jig (aptly called Gigue) is calling your ears to attention right away, with the hippy-folk idealist Dans Ta Fenętre being a stark contrast in sobriety. With Boyau De La Liberté reminding you of the opener (minus the open jig) and its violin reminiscent of Kansas' Robby Steinhard, the album is made to please even the most demanding proghead. Even if Grande Valse is fairly cheesy, Sable De Lucerne is modern classic-influenced and the tracks sounds like a RIO marriage between Univers Zero and early Maneige. And with the superb Villageoise track closing off the first side of this Ottawa voyage, you realize that once again, Quebec still has many hidden gems still waiting for Cd releases.

But with the second side to go, opening strangely with Happy Endings (an instrumental symphonic-jazzy jig) which is like a cross between Maneige and Aquarelle, again the second track is leading us in a very sober folk couple of tracks written by folk duo Nous Autres, one of which can be likened to Anthony Phillips' works on his "private parts and pieces" series. The album closes on a head-twisting pastoral symphonic Lapin, which fittingly ends this great album.

While not a real masterpiece of Quebecois music, the first Connivence album is very worthy of any proghead's interest and it is a shame their albums (no Cd re-issues and vinyls getting scarce) are getting hard to find, because even most Quebecois seem to have forgotten about this amalgam of artistes, which will release two more album under the same formula, but with different participants.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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