martedì, gennaio 25, 2011

Et Cetera - Et Cetera 1976 (can prog)

Et Cetera - Et Cetera

There seems to be way too many prog rock bands who release one album and then disappear. Most likely they no longer had the finances to move on to the next album, so they had to go back to their day jobs. Or those unlucky to get started in the second half of the '70s, they had to go against punk rock and disco which were at their peak in the late '70s. Quebec's Et Cetera was one of many examples. They released their only album in 1976 and disappeared, although apparently the male keyboardist went and threw his credibility right down the toilet by playing for (yuck!) Celine Dion (much like Pollen's Claude Lemay), while some others ended up in a Genesis tribute, if I'm not mistakened, keeping the credibility of those band members.
This group's only album was released on the Apostrophe label, apparently a private label ran by the band, since one of their compositions on the album was entitled "Apostrophe".

Well, if you're a Gentle Giant fan, give this album a try. This is very much the French-Canadian answer to that band: lots of similar complex instrumental arrangements and ingenious vocal harmonies that are undeniably Gentle Giant influences. But there's also some big differences, for one thing, they featured a female vocalist named Marie Bernard Pagé, who handles some keyboard work. She even handled an Ondes Martenot, an early synthesizer prototype from the 1920. Et Cetera is the only prog band I know to use one, it's more associated with avant garde classical and sci fi (including the female chorus you hear on the original 1960s Star Trek TV theme song). The rest of the band consists of what you often expect in prog: Minimoog, string synths, piano, electric piano, Hohner clavinet, guitars (both electric and acoustic), bass, drums, flute, and sax. While I'm not familiar with the music of Maneige, that was one band Et Cetera is often compared with. There is the occasional acoustic passage that reminds me of Pollen during their more acoustic moments or perhaps Harmonium, while the more jazzy moments remind me a bit of Sloche when the Gentle Giant influences show up in that band (perhaps because Sloche used a similar setup of keyboards and they too had two keyboardists).

Clone bands might get a few running away, especially those who had a bad experience with Starcastle or Triumvirat (I realize as excellent as those bands are, many don't take to kindly to those bands, not just certain prog rock fans, but less surprisingly, the rock critics), but Et Cetera really did a great job with the Gentle Giant sound with their own touches. Great stuff and highly recommended. 

From RYM (Proghead72)

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