Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Connivence - 1977 - Connivence


01. La Gigue
02. Dans Ta Fenêtre
03. Le Boyau En Liberté
04. La Dernière Grande Valse
05. Le Pit De Sable De Lucerne
06. La Villageoise En Ville
07. Happy Endings
08. Blanc-Blême
09. L'eau De La Vie
10. Lapin

- Paul Pugnaire / guitars, composition, vocals
- Marc Sommer / bass, vocals
- Jean-Luc Gotteland / keyboards, vocals
- Thierry Durbano / drums, percussions
- Lionel Dugas / vocals, guitars

Never really a full group of musicians per se, Connivence was more of a collective name for artistes, solo or groups from the same region: Hull, just across Ottawa opposite the river and into Quebec land. These artistes actually found easier to share recording costs and release in 77 on the same record their personal tracks, but also playing on each other's works. From single artists Legault, Soucy to the groups Oasis (jazz-rock) and Nous Autres (sometimes close to Anthony Philips), this Connivence name housed dramatically different styles but most of them worthy of a listen to progheads. The "group" will produce three albums (until 84) with different line-ups and the second one will be heavily induced by Syncope (another prog group). The third one is more electrified or electronified and jazzed-up.

Sadly none of the three albums have been released under the Cd format and their vinyl records are not that easy to find, either.

 First record of a group that is more of an amalgam of artistes linking under the Connivence name in order to make an album, this relative uncommon procedure delivered three albums that are worthy of the proghead's interest, especially so if he is into Folk Prog. Basically a blend of folk-duo Nous Autres and jazz rock group Oasis, it also includes some solo English-speaking songwriters (but French-singing) who are playing with those two groups. Sounds confusing? Well, Kinda! But these guys were all acquaintances from the Ottawa river valley, just across the federal capital of Ottawa.

After reading the first paragraph, you'd have to believe that this album would be very eclectic, uneven and with a wide spectrum, but actually, the album is fairly focused and most of the tracks are folk, folk rock or folk-derived prog. So eclectic this album is but for its own good: they folk-jazz-rock is sometimes head-twirling, at times virtuosic and all the time very charming.

The opening progressive instrumental jig (aptly called Gigue) is calling your ears to attention right away, with the hippy-folk idealist Dans Ta Fenêtre being a stark contrast in sobriety. With Boyau De La Liberté reminding you of the opener (minus the open jig) and its violin reminiscent of Kansas' Robby Steinhard, the album is made to please even the most demanding proghead. Even if Grande Valse is fairly cheesy, Sable De Lucerne is modern classic-influenced and the tracks sounds like a RIO marriage between Univers Zero and early Maneige. And with the superb Villageoise track closing off the first side of this Ottawa voyage, you realize that once again, Quebec still has many hidden gems still waiting for Cd releases.

But with the second side to go, opening strangely with Happy Endings (an instrumental symphonic-jazzy jig) which is like a cross between Maneige and Aquarelle, again the second track is leading us in a very sober folk couple of tracks written by folk duo Nous Autres, one of which can be likened to Anthony Phillips' works on his "private parts and pieces" series. The album closes on a head-twisting pastoral symphonic Lapin, which fittingly ends this great album.