Friday, October 24, 2014

Lasting Weep - 2007 - Lasting Weep (1969-1971)

Lasting Weep 
Lasting Weep (1969-1971)

01. 29 Avril (11:39)
02. De mi à mi (9:02)
03. Magdalena (8:17)
04. Rien ne sert de courir, il faut partir à point (2:49)
05. Extrait de « Safari de pêche » 1 (2:41)
06. Extrait de « Safari de pêche » (25:50)
07. Bye-bye (live) (7:05)
08. Carmen Kétaine (live) (25:27)
09. Ma Thématique I (1:05)
10. Ma Thématique II (1:22)

- Alain Bergeron / flute, saxophone, vocals
- Jérome Langlois / guitar, piano, organ, clarinet, clavinet
- Claude Chapleau / bass guitar
- Mathieu Léger / drums, piano

Guest musician:
- Gilles Schetagne / percussion

This group is the first step to MANEIGE. Going as far back as 68 as a blues-rock cover (TYA and others) group, this guitar-less quartet (but with a wind player) played and progressed for a few years around recording some demos, but never finding a label to actually record and release an album. Lasting Weep took its name from a Verlaine poem (Les Sanglots Longs from Chanson D'Automne), and was working on a mega-ambitious project that was to be L'Albatross and unfortunately they never managed to finish it. They soldiered on until late 72, their career culminating in opening a show in Montreal for KING CRIMSON. Then Jerome Langlois left the group to found MANEIGE with fellow wind player Alain Bergeron.

When Jérome left Maneige, for musical differences, he was almost through writing his project L'Albatross (based on Sam Taylor's Rime Of The Ancient Mariner) and it was offered to him to perform it for a short series of shows at the Bibliothèque Nationale. So Langlois gathered his ex-MANEIGE fellows, reformed LASTING WEEP (for this project only) and added a bunch of local Quebec stars and started rehearsing the piece and building it into a multi-media event including a giant bird-like kite. The show was recorded under ideal conditions, but simply never released until recently under ProgQuebec's initiative.

Along with this release, the label also released the few demo tapes that LASTING WEEOP had recorded during their actual lifetime between 69 and 71 at the same time than the Albatross release.

Of the first of Lasting Weep's two posthumous releases of, this one is actually the only one that could be regarded as their only testament, made from five recording sessions between 69 and 71, two of them for soundtracks to films or images. LW was made up of future Quebecois greats flauter/saxman Bergeron and multi instrumentalist Langlois (both future Maneige), drummer Mathieu Leger (future Conventum and l'Orchestre Sympathique) and bassist Chapleau (found as a session musician on a lot of 70's records). Apparently these archives were found in one of musician's attic; and most thankfully these tapes can be finally made public.

As incredible as it may sound, if you are aware of Maneige's debut recordings, you'll find that the music developed in Lasting Weep sounds much the same as Maneige Chamber Rock and as far back as five years before. In some ways it is little wonder Maneige could never have found a rock label to release their music, simply because they were way too ahead of their time, even in terms of jazz realm too. Indeed their music was obviously fitting nothing ever heard before (and would unfortunately remain so until nowadays), and it is not hard to understand that most music publishers would be at a loss to actually sell this music especially in a lost place that Quebec was still back in the late 60's, kept under a heavy suffocating blanket of Anglophone domination. If the first signs of cultural uprising had already happened with the Chansonniers' rise, and Charlebois' turn towards rock music with the defying Joual overtones (the local dialect was still somewhat taboo on records) in 67, we are far away from the brilliant and vibrant scene from the 70's, and its fabulous progressive extension of the second half of the decade.

LW's music could not really help out carry out the revolution since theirs was of an instrumental nature, and of a "jazz persuasion" for lack of a better definition back then, so not only were they unnoticed, but (if they'll allow me to say so) also irrelevant - except retrospectively speaking. So apart from some approximate sound quality, the pure qualitative value of the music is amazing: soundwise you could think of Jethro Tull's Time Was with a much more progressive jazz-rock feel. Indeed these demo tapes are dazzling and very impressive at showing the quartet's individual virtuoso playing at their respective instruments.

The first of these sessions consist of three tracks that you guessed it were recorded on April 29th of that year. While the opening track gets us into a jazzy mood, reminding us a bit of Tull's Serenade To A Cuckoo, it is relatively clear that this tracks was not intended for release as such since it veers into a lengthy bass and drums solo session, taking up the last third of the track. De Mi A Mi (demi ami? >> half friend or From Miami?) is an almost hard rocker, where the middle section is taking us into a jazz-rock exploration that soon evolves in a "call and response" from the different musicians including the drummer. Magdalena is another beauty where Bergeron's flute seems to dominate, but Chapleau's bass work is so "all over the place" that it doesn't play second fiddle to none. The track ends up in a flute duo that could wink as Bourée or another Stand Up track. More or less can be included the short studio track Rien Ne Sert De Courir, recorded later that year is much in the same genre, but rougher and rawer. Safari De Pêche (fishing safari) is a soundtrack from a seldom-seen film, where the jazz dimension is greatly diminished in favour of a folkier and more classical and acoustic mood in the first version, while it reappears in the second one.

The next two tracks come from a live concert in Longueuil in 71, and this is where the sound issue gets a little "iffy", but nothing that shameful either, even if sometimes a bit limit; and they get the help of another future Maneige member Gilles Schetagne on percussion. One of the striking differences is how the group sounds so much more electric: Bye Bye gets an electric piano and guitar, but it is probably the weaker track on the album, in part due to the recording. The following 25-min+ Carmen Kétaine is certainly over-stretched, loses itself in overlong soloing, but this is a fine example of early Chamber Rock. But overall on stage, LW sounds like a much more progressive early Tull as they did in the studios.

The last two tracks (again a play on words, here) are from a soundtrack for a math children movie, are a bit anecdotic, but are very charming if understandingly uncomplicated. While this record is hardly essential, compared to the province's future truckload of masterpiece, I have enough respect to give it its fourth star, because of the group's precocious-ness and advance on their musical times.

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