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Sloche: J'Un Oeil

" I have an eye (j'un oeil) on the people here. They listen to songs which speak of their aspirations and their daily lives. I realize that they can also recognize themselves within a form of music created here, in the image of a technological civilization, which is now their own. I have an eye (j'un oeil) on a universe where the liberty of chromatic sounds and sudden atmospheric changes seek an unbalanced harmony. I have an eye (j'un oeil) turned towards sound." - Sloche (Liberal translation of liner notes)

When ProgQuébec came into existence with the goal of re-releasing classic Québecois progressive rock of the 70s, one of the first band names to cross everybody's lips in anticipation was Sloche. It took a while as the label had to go through plenty of red tape to get the rights to the band's two releases, for you see, the rights to these albums were owned by every progger's favorite label: Sony. Finally, all the "i 's" were dotted and all the "t's" were crossed, and these two albums were allowed to be remastered and re-released by the one label who was in the best position to do this right.

"J'un Oeil" is the band's debut disc which was released in 1975. The band itself dates back almost 5 years earlier, but through various line-up changes, never got around to recording anything until a few years later. One constant throughout the personnel changes has been that the musicians have all been graduates of the Québec Music Conservatory. This album presents the type of music the band envisioned from the start. They wanted to incorporate elements of British progressive rock, jazz, and even a little classical music into a coherent amalgam of sound. Tracks can begin in one genre to suddenly shift into another genre, and then return to the original sound or veer off in yet another direction. This may give the impression that the music might merely be a mish-mash of incoherent ideas, held together by a musical thread, but it's anything but that. These guys studied music theory at the Conservatory, after all. "J'un Oeil" truly is a fusion of contrasting styles and sounds done in such a way as to create a fresh musical alloy.

So what of the music itself? What do we "hear" when we play the disc? The band is a 5-piece outfit featuring primarily a bevy of analog keys, courtesy of no less than 2 keyboard players. Acoustic piano, Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Minimoog, Hammond B-3, Clavinet, Celestica, etc.. . all swirl in and out of the mostly instrumental numbers, punctuated by some jazz-influenced guitar playing, and jazzy/funky Rickenbaker bass. When the band does engage in vocals, they're primarily multi-part harmonies with every band member contributing. The tracks range in length from 4:44 to 10:53. All contain exquisite musical passages and all end in a different manner than they began. There's no formulaic songwriting present here. This record embodies the musical pioneering spirit of the era and region which spawned it.

This is about as good as it gets for Québecois progressive rock of any era. Sloche are arguably the finest band La Belle Province has ever produced. "J'un Oeil" is one of the brightest jewels in ProgQuébec's impressive crown.

Track Listing:

  1. C'Pas Fin Du Monde (8:54)
  2. Le Karême D'Eros (10:53)
  3. J'Un Oeil (4:44)
  4. Algébrique (6:31)
  5. Potage Aux herbes Douteuses (7:11)

Added: October 21st 2009
Reviewer: Yves Dubé
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Hits: 2725
Language: english

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