domenica, marzo 22, 2009

Ungava - Ungava 77(prog)


Opus-5 - Contre-courant (1976 simp. prog)

well folks... i've noticed that this album is posted also on superb blog ezhevika fields with another host service...take a look! (one kiss to Lisa!bye!)

Opus 5 were sort of a standard symphonic fivepiece from Quebec, Canada. Contre Courant is a very strong album, full of surprises, that takes a few listens to appreciate. The players are all very accomplished, and they clearly spent a lot of time perfecting these five songs. One interesting weakness, though, is that, although the arrangements are both complex and very professional sounding, the underlying songs are often quite simple, and I wish they could have spent more time refining what they were playing rather than how it was being played. The album sounds great though, with a symphonic but very active approach. The musicians here were all top-notch, especially the flautist and the drummer, and there’s a lot of great interplay. The album’s first song is “Le Temps des Pissenlits,” which starts rather inauspiciously with a trite-sounding flute melody that thankfully only lasts a few bars before a slightly less trite-sounding flute melody begins. One immediately noticeable plus is the drumming, which is energetic and thoughtful, and higher in the mix than usual for an album from the 1970’s. The song then proceeds to enter some new parts which sound better than the beginning, and it becomes clear that this band’s strength is the frequency of shifts in the arrangements, though the underlying song remains quite consistent; in fact it sometimes wears out its welcome in spite of all the variations. The second piece is the 12-minute “Il Etait Magicien” which is more fulfilling from a compositional standpoint than the album opener. It contains several sections and numerous instrumental breaks, often of a complexity approaching counterpoint, but not getting quite that far. It ends somewhat strangely with a long and quiet instrumental interlude on acoustic guitar and flute. “Les Saigneurs” begins with a long acoustic guitar intro before the wordless vocal sections announce the beginning of the song proper. I can’t help but be reminded of the Argentinian group Mia’s album Cornonstipicum here due to the distinctive “La”’s in the voice and, to a lesser extent, the active flute playing in the following section. The song features several examples of the band’s trademark trading-off, with two often very different sections following an ABAB pattern. Unfortunately, the main part of this 9-minute song is based on a somewhat cliché four-chord sequence upon which are constructed some elaborate arrangements, but again the underlying weakness makes those arrangements seem overdone to me. The last two pieces are the shortest ones on the album. “Le Bal” has some harpsichord on it and probably the most typically symphonic section on its album near its ending, which is lush and romantic, featuring a string synth. The actual ending of the piece is an upbeat piano-based coda that stops abruptly. The last song, “Contre Courant” is a short but fun active piece that reminds me a little bit of The Enid, but only superficially. This album definitely has a sound of its own. It’s one of those albums where the dramatic range of styles on all the songs (but lack of distinguishing features on any particular song) make it difficult to differentiate one track from another, and the entire album seems like one entity itself much more so than any individual song. I certainly don’t mind that quality, though. Overall this is one of the best Quebecois prog albums, not quite as great as the Pollen album, but at least as good as Harmonium or Maneige.


1 commento:

andre ha detto...

A very Intressting Album the Uganva,Bit Jazzy -nice Guitar playing.Good!

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