Maneige - Ni Vent... Ni Nouvelle

Year of Release: 2006
Label: ProgQuebec
Catalog Number: MPM 09
Format: CD
Total Time: 62:19:00

Maneige hailed from Quebec and had a major label deal in the 70s with both EMI (Harvest) and Polygram. Ni Vent ... Ni Nouvelle shows strong compositional prowess, combining classical, jazz, and rock structures into their unique sound.? Woodwinds and flutes often carry the melodies, with numerous other instruments (too many to list) filling out the songs. "La Fin De L'histoire" opens with violins, lending to a symphonic sound, but a sudden shift to xylophone adds a jazz flavor to the ending. "Les Folleries" shows an adept ear for dynamics, with the subtle use of flute moving to a heavier guitar/saxophone section.? The arrangements grow by adding additional instruments to existing melodies and the creation of counter melodies.

Maneige avoids that "soft" sound that often accompanies bands using such varied instrumentation; the rhythm section provides plenty of punch whether playing solid backbeats or complex time signatures. The haunting melody of "Les Epinettes" instantly captures your ear, with its only flaw being its brief three-minute length. The band uses a lot of subtle background percussion as evident in tracks like "Mambo Chant" and "La Grous Roux," adding a lot to the music, but you may have to really listen for it to get the full effect. "11 Juillet" rocks with a great backing rhythm, and the saxophone takes on the lead melody. The xylophone shows up in a number of spots, with its most prominent workout in the funky jazz section of "Douche-Amere (First Version)" which also includes a vocal section that adds a symphonic touch, and then an ominous short keyboard interlude leading into a guitar solo. This chameleon like approach that the band takes to writing, makes each song more diverse than most bands are on an entire album. "Bullfrog Dance (live)" (one of the four live bonus tracks) is really hot here, having more bite compared to the version on the Live A Leveche disc. It was also nice to hear guitarist Denis Lapierre step out front for a nice solo in "Etrange Hiver." "Un Certain Regard" has a loose jam feel at times, and features an uncharacteristic synthesizer solo closing out the disc.

All this really leads to what should be a simple two-sentence review. Maneige offers the listener an abundance of sounds, instrumentation and variety. Complex, melodic and thoughtfully structured material gives the listener a challenging yet completely enjoyable experience. How or why this band disappeared from the consciousness of the progressive community is a mystery, but it has become a constant in my iPod rotation, one of the best discs I have heard in awhile.

Le Gai Marvin (1:42) / La Fin De L'Histoire (3:17) / Les Folleries (6:05) / Les Epinettes (3:30) / Mambo Chant (5:18) / Douche-Amere (5:52) / Le Gros Roux (3:31) / Au Clair De La Prune (4:02) / 11 Juillet (4:49) / Time Square (1:35) / Bonus Tracks (live): Bullfrog Dance (6:24) / Etrange Hiver (2:49) / Douce-Amere (5:57) / Un Certain Regard (6:57)

Alain Bergeron - flutes, saxophone, piano
Vincent Langlois - percussion, piano
Denis Lapierre - guitars, synths
Yves Leonard - bass
Paul Picard - drums, percussion
Gilles Schetagne - drums, percussion, synths

Guest Musicians:

Denise Lupien - violin
Chantale Remillard - violin
Christian Lampron - alto
Jean Prefontaine - violin, cello
Andre Pelchat - soprano sax

Maneige (1975)
Les Porches (1975)
Ni Vent... Ni Nouvelle (1977/2006)
Libre Service (1978/2006)
Composite (1979)
Montréal 6 AM (1980)
Images (1983)
Montréal 1974/1975 (1998)
Live - L'évêch? 1975 (2005)
Les Porches Live (2006)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin CA

Added: April 23rd 2006
Reviewer: Eric Porter

Hits: 960
Language: english


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