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Maneige: ni vent…ni nouvelle

The first set of releases for 2006 from the folks over at the ProgQuébec label finds them continuing their noble quest of digging into the past to garner recognition for local Québec artists who never received their due the first time around. This gem called ni vent…ni nouvelle from the group Maneige, who were comprised of some of the finest classically trained musicians to ever come from the province of Québec, was the group's third release back in 1977. The bands first few albums were put out on the Harvest label and highlighted their flair for creating long epic songs in keeping with the progressive style of the bands of the time. This album was significant due to the fact that it would be the first album without longtime keyboardist Jérôme Langlois who left the band due to issues with the bands new direction, which was to shorten their songs in the hopes of receiving more commercial attention.

This disc finds the band taking a funkier approach rhythmically with their songs, something that is immediately evident with the opening two numbers "Le Gai Marvin" and "La Fin De L'Histoire". "Le Gai Marvin" is a short minute and half track which features some funky rhythm guitar lines from Denis Lapierre, dancing around underneath brilliant flute work by Alain Bergeron. "La Fin Histoire" adds guest violinists who bring a real fullness and depth to the overall sound as the song builds and builds in some great moments of tension and release before as keyboardist Yves Langlois continues the remainder of the track with some jazzy keyboard work. Things really begin to heat up instrumentally by the third track "Les Folleries" as the percussion and drumming of Gilles Schetagne propels the rhythmic attack along while the listener is treated to tradeoff sax and guitar solos. In fact the whole song comes off as a real ensemble piece and one which gives each member a chance to show off their chops on their respective instruments. Throughout the whole CD the band employs many different types of instrumentation from vibes, glockenspiel and piccolo which just adds layer upon layer to the bands sound and really makes the songs on this disc a wonder to behold. It's worthy to note that Jérôme's brother Yves really rose to the occasion and challenge of playing all the keyboards on this album and he has many highlights interspersed throughout.

All of the music on this CD is exactly what you want from a great progressive band, it's cerebral, complex and engaging but at the same time it also has moments of wistful introspection as well. I must admit that coming from Québec, I immediately felt proud to hear what these guys had to offer back in a time when music like theirs was flourishing everywhere. Good music is universal and transcends things like language and geography and these musicians should have been elevated to the very top of the progressive heap. The guys at ProgQuébec have done a fantastic jog with this disc, taking great care in the overall packaging and making sure first and foremost that the artist's wishes are respected. If you are a true fan of progressive music I would strongly suggest you check out this CD and the rest of the bands music, not to mention the ProgQuébec website for more information on their roster of artists. Also worthy of mentioning and a nice touch as well is that there are 4 bonus live tracks tacked onto the end of the original album which were taken from the bands 1979 full length live album called Composite.

Track Listing
1) Le Gai Marvin
2) La Fin De L'Histoire
3) Les Folleries
4) Les Épinettes
5) Mambo Chant
6) Douce-Amère
7) Le Gros Roux
8) Au Clair De La Prune
9) 11 Juillet
10) Time Square
11) Bullfrog Dance (live)
12) Étrange Hiver (live)
13) Douce-Amère (live)
14) Un Certain Regard

Added: April 30th 2006
Reviewer: Ryan Sparks
Related Link: Official Record Label
Hits: 3010
Language: english

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