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Etcetera - Etcetera

Click on the album cover to hear a RealAudio sample.

Comments:
Man, these guys were really into Gentle Giant! If you can imagine a French version of Gentle Giant, with a female singer, then you pretty much know exactly what these guys sound like. This 5-piece band released their only album in 1976. Along with the traditional rock set-up, a few of the musicians also play flute, sax, vibes, and even an Ondes Martenot(an early synth also used by Edgar Varese). Although I'm always looking for some originality from these obscure prog bands, I have to admit enjoying many of the clone bands. The music here reaches the technical heights, and quality, of the mighty Giant.

Compositions: 9/10
Vocals(in French): 8/10
Recording Quality: 9/10


Harmonium - Si On Avait Besoin D'une Cinquime Saison

Click on the album cover to hear a RealAudio sample.

Comments:
Basically, the masterpiece here is the 17-minute suite entitled Histoire Sans Parole. The epic starts off with one of the most beautiful flute, mellotron, acoustic guitar themes ever recorded, followed by countless beautiful themes for the remaining 15-minutes. The other songs on the album don't really match the quality of the epic, but they are nothing to complain about. I really like "Dixie", a fun song drenched with early American-jazz influences. The one thing that most listeners will catch is that Harmonium didn't have a drummer, yet the lack of drums doesn't take away too much from the music due to the increased interaction between flutes, saxes, acoustic guitars, piano, and mellotron. I would say that Harmonium were inspired by early Genesis, and the calmer moments from early King Crimson. Overall, what a perfect album to start your French Canadian prog collection with!

Compositions: 10/10
Vocals(in French): 8/10
Recording Quality: 9/10


Pollen - Pollen

Click on the album cover to hear a RealAudio sample.

Comments:
Pollen is a hard album to describe because every song offers something different. For example, one track is clearly influenced by Gentle Giant. Some of the other songs have more in common with Ange. And the remaining songs have a mellow folk-influence. The vocals are in French, with a slight French-Canadian accent(you will notice it if you are only familiar with pure French). Pollen is apparently out-of-print, but I'm sure there are some copies left somewhere(Syn-phonic, Laser's Edge, etc) for those interested.

Compositions: 9/10
Vocals(in French): 8/10
Recording Quality: 9/10


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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