"A trip to the fair, but nobody was there…"- Renaissance, "Trip To The Fair" (Scheherazade & Other Stories, 1975)
Rock In Opposition. A misunderstood term to describe a misunderstood form of music. The original "Rock In Opposition" concert was arranged in England by Henry Cow and their manager. It's raison d'etre was to bring together 5 bands from 5 different European nations to oppose "the music industry and the pressures of compromise over art". The term stuck around ,although today, RIO; as it's known to progressive fans the world over, is used to describe an eclectic type of music which uses elements of progressive rock with folk music, improvisations, and at times some radical experimentation. The movement took root in various parts of the world, including Québec. Miriodor have been making music which is definitely eclectic and borrows at times from Québecois folk. The band has been around since the mid 80s and their latest release, "Parade" , is the band's 6th disc. The group has never compromised in it's artistic approach nor in it's creativity and originality.
"Parade" is a logical follow-up to their highly acclaimed "Mekano" disc from 2002. Many things have been said about this band and its music, and many colourful analogies have been written to describe the "Miriodor sound". To me, their music evokes images of a twisted carnival. A surreal, dream-like fair where inanimate objects come to life unexpectedly. Imagine you're in the funhouse and suddenly you end up in a part of the building where things don't seem quite right. You think you are safe, but your adventure brings you to places which make you feel slightly unnerved. What seemed like a safe environment when you entered it, has become slightly nightmarish and discomforting. Still you plunge ahead, always curious to see what hides behind the next door. Some of the rooms make you laugh with delight, while others are just plain creepy. Miridor's music manages to awake these conflicting emotions within the listener. Mixing acoustic and electric instruments, the quartet (with guests) create music which is clever and whimsical one moment and dark, aggressive, and even oppressive the next. "Parade" is a 16-track excursion into the funny, the whacky, the bizarre, and even the disturbing. No need to write overblown epics to get the message across either. No track clocks at over 6:45, with some tracks being under the 1:00 mark. The band has no time nor need to dilly-dally with intros and crescendos ad nauseum. Each number has a starting point, a direction to travel in, and a destination. Then, we move on to the next musical idea and start over again.
As a bonus, we get the "Live From Nearfest 2002" recording on a 2nd CD. This critically acclaimed concert recording showcases mostly the band's previous 2 recordings (Jongleries Elastiques and Mekano) and demonstrates the band's prowess in pulling off their "wild carnival of a music act" in a live setting. Of course, just hearing the band play is a small consolation to seeing them perform; but this is a great sounding live recording and an excellent addition to what is already a stellar release. I realize that we're only in August, but I'll be hard-pressed to find a better progressive release in 2005. If you've been a fan of this band through the years, you've already got this disc. If you're new to the band, this is as good a place as any to introduce yourself to their unique style. Highly recommended.
- Pyramide (Pyramid) 3:38
- Scarabée (Dung Beetle) 3:24
- Caramba ! 0:50
- Uppsala (Sleepwalking In Uppsala) 5:49
- Tartine (Toast) 1:33
- Contrées Liquides (Liquid Lands) 5:45
- Polar (Film Noir) 6:32
- Boite à Surprises (Jack-In-The-Box) 4:06
- Checkpoint Charlie 3:20
- Talrika 4:59
- Le Cruciverbiste (Crosswords) 5:27
- Gavotte Chétive (Skinny Dance) 1:57
- Bonsai Givré (Frosted Bonsai) 6:45
- Boite à Rebus (Garbage Can) 2:00
- Préparatifs De Vacances (Getting Ready) 1:17
- Foret Dense (Deep Forest) 6:17