donderdag 17 februari 2011

Ant Trip Ceremony - 1968 - 24 Hours

Ant Trip Ceremony 
24 Hours

1. Outskirts (1:38)
2. Pale Shades of Gray  (4:28)
3. Hey Joe (4:14)
4. Four in the Morning  (4:34)
5. What's the Matter Now? (2:43)
6. Elaborations  (7:14)
7. Riverdawn (3:33)
8. Violets of Dawn (4:30)
9. Locomotive Lamp (3:41)
10. Little Baby (3:01)
11. Sometimes I Wonder (3:48)
12. Get Out of My Life Woman (3:04)

GEORGE GALT gtr, vcls, hrmnca, bs A B
GARY ROSEN bs, gtr, vcls A B
MARK STEIN ld gtr, flte, bs A B

1(A/B) 24 HOURS (C.R.C. 2129) 1968 R4
NB: (1) reissued on Resurrection (R1). The vinyl reissue is exact and indistinguishable from the original except for the fact that it's on dark blue vinyl and must be held to a bright light to check. If you can't see colour through it, it's probably an original. (1) reissued on CD by Anthology (Ant 2311) 1995, with a newly designed cover. (1) reissued legitimately on CD by Collectables (Col-CD-0717) 1999 but with a different running order.

Steve Detray, a student at Oberlin College in Ohio, took a break in 1966 and early 1967 to spend time in Logan, Utah with his brother. While out there, he formed a band which he named Ant Trip Ceremony after a suggestion from a local English professor who had seen the term in a novel. The phrase was a description of modern human society and Detray thought it an appropriate name for his band. Before he returned to Oberlin for the 1967/8 academic year, Steve disbanded the band but retained the name when he formed a new electric rock band at Oberlin. Gary Rosen, George Galt, and Mark Stein had been playing together in a blues band. Stein was a flute major at Oberlin, Roger Goodman was also a student, and the only non-college member was the drummer, Steve Williams, a 16-year-old local kid who had some jazz-drumming experience.

The band mainly played gigs at Oberlin and were noted for long improvisatory jams. Their album was recorded in two sessions, the first in February 1968 and the second some months later. Steve Detray was only present for the first session as he left the College in the Spring of 1968. Technical faults affected the recording: the KLH deck used for playback had a faulty right speaker and the mixdown was affected as a result with vocals sounding further back in the mix than originally intended. The producer, David Crosby, was a fellow-student at Oberlin and contrary to legend is not the David Crosby of The Byrds/CSN&Y fame. Only 300 copies of the album were pressed and sold around campus.

A blend of folk, blues, jazz and Eastern psychedelia, the album is at its best on the more meditative pieces like Pale Shades Of Gray with it's eerily beautiful snakecharmer melody and What's The Matter Now which is based on on a reflective "Goodbye Pork Pie-Hat" riff. Four In The Morning and Riverdawn are also in this lullingly insistent vein whilst Elaborations is a lengthy raga-ish instrumental with some very effective flute. Some of the covers like Get Out Of My Life Woman and Eric Andersen's Violets Of Dawn are no more than adequate, but their version of Hey Joe is much more exciting.

The band disbanded as the members left college. Steve, George, Gary, and Jeff still perform while Roger is retired from teaching college. Steve Williams later played with such greats as Clark Terry, Al Hall and Herb Lovette, whilst Rosen was a Bluesbander prior to his conversion to folk music. Goodman came from England originally.

Anonima Sound Ltd - 1972 - The Red Tape Machine

Anonima Sound Ltd 
The Red Tape Machine

01. The Red Tape Machine (5:24)
02. The Last Debutante (5:12)
03. Window On The City (4:10)
04. Metro Song (4:57)
05. Dog's Life (4:13)
06. Triangle (7:00)
07. Freedom (3:19)
08. The Roofer (4:34)

Total time 38:53

- Piero Cecchini / bass, vocals
- Lamberto Clementi / guitar
- Peter Dobson / guitar
- Velio Galazzi / drums
- Richard Ingersoll / vocals, flute
- Massimo Meloni / guitar, vocals
- Claudine Reiner / vocals, percussion

Formed in 1964 in the Italian city of Urbino, ANONIMA SOUND were a beat-pop trio that recorded four singles, including the hit single "Fuori piove", released in 1967. In 1970, lead vocalist and guitarist Ivan Graziani left to pursue a career as a solo artist, which would see him become one of the most popular Italian singer-songwriters of the Eighties.
At this point, after having recruited new members, the band changed its name in ANONIMA SOUND LTD. After the release of the single "Io prendo amore" in 1971, they became a seven-piece that included one English and two American musicians, and completely changed their musical orientation. In 1972 they released an album, "Red Tape Machine", entirely sung in English and influenced by British psychedelia and progressive rock. It's an interesting effort, featuring obvious JETHRO TULL influences: the singer tries in places to imitate Ian Anderson, and one of the main instruments used by the band is the flute. However, ANONIMA SOUND LTD. were also one of the most distinctive-sounding bands on the Italian prog scene of the early Seventies.
This album contains 8 songs around and a total time of 40 minutes, there is just one song above 7 minutes, the other ones goes from 4 to 5 minutes average. It starts with the title track Red Tape Machine, since the first vocals you will find that this is not the typical Italian band, despite it features some nice flute making that sligh folkish tone, this is mostly a psych song with nice guitar riffs. The Last Debutante is a catchy song, well actually i may say a poppish song which could have been a single hit in the UK charts of the 70s, i insist, no Italian sound over here. Window on the City for some reason reminds me a bit to Jethro Tull, this is an acoustic guitar driven song with some acid organs and nice bass lines and some flute here and there. Metro`s Song, again an acoustic guitar driven song, this time with a bluesy sound at the beginning. Then it turns faster just in order to return to the same sound as in the beginning a plain song in my opinion. Dog`s Life follows the same bluesy line again reminding me to some Tull passages, nice guitar riffs. Triangle is the longest song of the album and i think its interesting in a way, i mean it caught my attention so there has to be something there, the music actually its pretty similar to the English bands of the late 60s early 70s, so this is nothing original, but interesting anyway. Freedom actually its like the 2nd part of Triangle, the guitar sound is really similar, so are the vocals, but it suddenly becomes into a song with a happier feeling. The Roofer at last the last song of an album which lacks of originality and progressiveness, this song is maybe the heavier of them, psychedelic oriented music.

Annexus Quam - 1970 - Osmose

Annexus Quam 

1. Osmose I (4:15)
2. Osmose II (3:11)
3. Osmose III (10:36)
4. Osmose IV (18:20)

Total Time: 36:22

- Uwe Bick / singer, vocals, percussion
- Jürgen Jonuschies / bass, vocals, percussion
- Werner Hostermann / clarinet, vocals, percussion
- Peter Werner / guitar, vocals, percussion
- Hans Kämper / guitar, vocals, percussion
- Ove Volquartz / saxophone
- Harald Klemm / flute, vocals, percussion, trumpet

Another fine jazz influenced krautrock band which delivers ambitious, inventive sounds. As it was said, the geographical roots of the band are from Kamp-Lintfort near Düsseldorf back to 1967. At this time the musicians were connected with a local religious brass band and then they decided to form a "cosmic" rock band to expand their own musical ideas and to put the stress on the jazziest side of their music. Very interlocking their first album released in 1970 for the ohr label definitely represents the fusion between "cosmic" music and jazz rock. Their strange, psych improvisations are mixed with weird space / electronic effects. Wind instruments (mainly the flute and the trumpet) are associated to the electric organ and conventional electric guitar parts. These combinations offer a tasteful musical ensemble. Recorded in 1972, their following album is maybe more elaborated, more evident with a very accomplished improvisatory approach. Consequently two remarkable efforts which contributed to the development of the Krautrock scene.
Starting out as early as 67 under the name of Ambition Of Music, AQ is one of those early 70's wonder in Krautrock, all the more legendary for having their two albums released on the famous Ohr label, even if both are fairly different from each other. On this debut album, AQ is a septet with most of the members being multi-instrumentalists, and their debut contained four unnamed tracks (two short and two long ones), the whole thing packaged in a many foldout artwork sleeve making this album rather expensive in its vinyl form. Not everything is perfect on this album, especially in the numerous fade-outs (some in-built in the tracks), but overall the album is a pure joy to have.
The music presented on this album is strange form of psychedelic jazz-rock (a bit like if Nucleus met the Saucerful-era Floyd), which reminds me a bit of Missus Beastly's early albums. The first two tracks are the short ones but not necessarily the easiest to cope with, far from it, really!! The first is a very-slow track that is unbelievable heavy which freaks out completely into heavy spacy-echoed sounds. Grandiose. The second track is a much faster three-minute affair, which stands a bit alone out of line with the rest of the album's style, but it is absolutely nothing shocking. This is the rockiest and least jazzy track on the album and the weakest. The first of the long tracks (rounding up side one) is an altogether different affair with its almost 11-mins and its Nucleus-styled brass section cross with an organ that you'd swear is played by a certain Mr Wright, while the wordless vocalizings is reminiscent of a raunchier Wyatt on Third. This is, along with the leadoff track, Osmose's apex.
The second side is taken up by the sidelong 18-min+ track, which bases its sound on the previous tracks but it has some lengths, especially in the percussion passage about two thirds of the way into the track and losses itself.
As their following album will follow two years later, under a fairly different line-up, being much more improvised free jazz, Osmose is from far AQ's best works and very much essential to early Krautrock history. All I have seen so far is a Spalax label reissue of this album (which I heard is OOP), but hopefully this will be reissued with the Kollodium bonus track on the Ohrenschmaus sampler album. Much worth the eavesdropping even if it is flawed.

Ange - 2003 - Par les Fils de Mandrin Millésimé 77

En Concert - Par les Fils de Mandrin Millésimé 77

01. Par les Fils de Mandrin (6:08)
02. Au Cafe Du Colibri (3:45)
03. Ansi s'en ira la pluie (10:03)
04. Autour du feu (3:53)
05. Saltimbanques (4:27)
06. Des Yeux Couleur D'enfant (4:07)
07. Atlantis Les Geants Del la Feme Lune (8:08)
08. Hymne a la Vie (12:26)
a) Cantique
b) Procession
c) Hymne

Bonus Tracks on Musea reissue (2006):
09. Exode (4:43)
10. Le Vieu de la Montagne (11:19)

- Jean Michel Brezovar / solo guitar, acoustic guitar
- Gerald Jelsch / drums, percussion
- Daniel Haas / bass guitar
- Christian Decamps / organ Hammond, piano
- Francis Decamps / organ special effects

his is a concert registration from 1977 documenting Ange's then latest release Par Les Fils De Mandrin. I've never been too fond of that album but this live document at least solved some of the issues I had with the studio version.
First of all, this live album has all the edge you would expect from an Ange recording. The sound might not be as thick and polished as in the studio, but to me that's an advantage. It rocks more and it sounds less aged. Another improvement is that some of the tracks are extended a bit, as such the musicians get more room to shine and the songs improve from the surplus of musical substance.
Most of the track extensions come from pieces of poetry that Dechamps recites in between the songs. They're not of much added value for me as my French these days is reduced to a minimal 'ordering food and drinks' vocabulary. But they sure don't sit in the way of the album flow.
The addition of Le Vieux De La Montagne as an encore is the true highlight here. For Ange fans that track alone makes it worth getting the album for. It was otherwise only available as a 4 minute something track on Mémo. In its 11 minute version here it's a treat, just like that other non-album track Le Chien, La Poubelle et la Rose that was released on the 1977 live album Tome VI.
This is a great live document, and a preferred choice over the Par Les Fils De Mandrin studio album.

Ange - 2000 - Rêves-Parties


CD 1:
01. Les piranhas
02. Approximatif Univers
03. Que deviennent les héros ?
04. Nocturnes
05. L'Orchestre
06. 3ème Étoile à Gauche
07. Quasimod
08. Les Nénuphars
09. Les sexe des anges
10. Selon Socrate et Copernic
11. Devine !
12. À bientôt sur la vie !

CD 2:
01. Bilboquet
02. Le rêve est à rêver
03. Présentation
04. Le soir du diable
05. Fou
06. Caricatures (poème)
07. Tout Bleu
08. Godevain le Vilain
09. Hymne à la vie

- Christian Decamps / keyboards, vocals
- Tristan Decamps / keyboards, vocals
- Hassan Hajdi / guitar
- Hervé Rouyer / drums, percussion
- Thierry Sidhoum / bass

Rêves-Parties is by far the least interesting live album from Ange. I have had a difficult ime to go through the whole of it for the purpose of this review. When you look at the tracklist, there is nothing real big to expect. Several songs come out Christian Descamps solo repertoire "Troisième Étoile À Gauche".
Actually, almost the entirety of disc one comes from this album. It sounds almost hard-rock; like what we could experience in their last studio album "La Voiture À Eau". Rather poor and uninspired. "Bilboquet" as well as "Le rêve est à rêver" com out of this album precisely. They are far from being great songs (but there were very few of that genre available on this weak album).
Fortunately the second disc will also hold some early Ange songs. I was quite enthusiast to see that "Caricatures" was featured on this live album; but I immediately have to change my mind since this "version" only last for hundred seconds. Actually, it is only a (too) fast recitation of the first part of the lyrics. What a pity to summarize this fabulous song to this masquerade.
Finally, if you want to know which ones of the songs are valuable on this double CD set, it is quite short to depict it : "Le Soir Du Diable", "Godevin Le Vilain" and "Hymne À La Vie" are the ones. Not more, unfortunately. I also would like to add that it is the third time that "Hymne À La Vie" is feautured on an Ange album. As if there are not sufficient material to choose from...

Ange - 1999 - La voiture à Eau

 La voiture à Eau

01. Le Rêve est à rêver (2ème service)
02. Psychosomagique
03. Eureka
04. Bilbocquet
05. Elle fait mes rides
06. Eureka in Extenso
07. L'Eau qui Dort
08. Archimède
09. Coma des Mortels
10. Quelquefois
11. Ethnies
12. Patisonges et Mentisseries
13. Mémoires de Jacob Delafon
14. Les voleurs de clés
15. La serrure ou la clé
16. Jardin secret
17. La voiture à Eau

- Christian Decamps / vocals, keyboards
- Tristan Decamps / vocals, keyboards
- Hassan Hadji / guitar
- Hervé Rouyer / drums, percussion
- Thierry Sidroum / bass

I have had big hopes with the great Ange come-back in 1989 and their very interesting album : "Sêve Qui Peut". Unfortunately, Ange did not continue in the direction of a traditional symphonic rock in-line with their past (and lost ?) grandeur. Their album "Daï Lama" was just another French-rock album (better than their mediocre eighties production though).
Even if the family circle remains intact in terms of the amount of persons involved in the project, an earthquake has taken place in the sense that instead of Francis Décamp (a founding member), and brother of Francis, we'll get Tristan on the keys. He is the son of Francis.
We were heading the turn of the century while Ange released "La Voiture À Eau" and this time, the most obvious influence is neo- prog and jazz-rock. Ange playing this almost hard type of music is not really what I was expecting.
The opener is probably one of the heaviest Ange song so far and not at all my cup of tea. Things are seriously improving with "Psychosomagique Génie" a truely symphonic number : complex rhythm with off-beat tempo. Lush mellotron and again, wonderful and theatrical vocals. A great tribute to Leonardo Da Vinci. The next song is made of two distinctive parts (although very short) : a noisy and hard intro and a wonderful and very subtle second half (again very symphonic). As if Ange wants to break with its symphonic image but not quite want to change completely from direction.
With "Bilboquet", the mood is 100% heavy / jazzy oriented. It sounds as if Ange wants to play Michel Jonnaz (a famous French singer, rather jazzy). Not really convincing, I'm afraid. After this orgy of noises, it is good to relax with "Elle Me Fait Des Rides". Very subtle piano and crystal clear vocals. Interesting lyrics as well. Press "Next" to skip the instrumental "Eurek[a". It should be an hymn to the great discoveries of the human being, but is only interesting (again) with its second half. As if Ange could almost only write half songs.
"L'Eau Qui Dort" is a mellow and insipid jazz ballad. "Archimède" is another tribute to a great Greek mathematician and physician. This spacey song still lacks of the grandeur of its inspirer. Nice to get asleep. At least, it's one of the few prog song of the whole. Back to the mix of jazz and symph rock with "Coma Des Mortels". Still, I am absolutely not convinced in this musical direction.
When Ange reverts to its roots, it is almost to propose mellowish songs like "Quelquefois". Boring, my friends...Like the hard- rockish "Ethnies" again improving slightly with a nice keys break in the middle. The naïve and folkish "Patisonges Et Mentisseries" is only valid for the play-on-word of its title. Press next.
Same play-on-words concept for "Et Gandhi L'Indou Dit Tout Doux". Not possible to translate this one. Strongly influenced by Oriental music (India, would you believe !), it is not worse than many of the other songs available here. "La Serrure Ou La Clé" holds very sexual-oriented lyrics and is only interesting therefore. Am I vicious ?

Ange - 1992 - Les Larmes Du Dalaï Lama

Les Larmes Du Dalaï Lama

01. Les Larmes Du Dalaï Lama (6:04)
02. Le Ballon De Billy (5:19)
03. Tout Oublier (5:16)
04. La Bête (6:23)
05. Bonnet Rouge (5:07)
06. Nonne Assistante À Personne À Tanger (8:35)
07. Couleurs En Colère (5:38)
08. Les Herbes Folles (7:26)
09. Les Enfants Du Hasard (5:43)

- Jean-Michel Bresovar / guitar, chorus
- Christian Descamps / vocals, keyboards
- Francis Descamps / keyboards
- Robert Defer / guitar, Gimmick, chorus
- Jean-Pierre Guichard / drums
- Daniel Haas / bass
- Eric Toury / programmation, percussion

After having returned to their roots with their previous album "Sève Qui Peut", ordered by the French government for the ceremonies of the 250th anniversary of the Frenh revolution, Ange had to confirm. Like most of the bands I have reviewed so far, I have have been suffering quite a lot during Ange's eighties work. So, it was quite a surprise to discover "Sève". Only could I hope to get another good Ange record with this one.
Of course, we won't get a masterpiece like in their early days ("Caricatures", "Au Delà", Guet-Apens") but we are well above their extremely poor production from "Vu D'Un Chien" through "Tout Feu Tout Flamme". Since I am the only one on this site to have had the courage (and believe me I needed a lot) to have reviewed all of these albums, I can only be thankful to Ange to have continue their work and produced "Les Larmes Du Daï Lama".
Compositions are definitely more on the prog site. Nothing as such as "Moteur!", "La Gare De Troyes" etc. What we get here is of course a more rocking than progging Ange, but still : several songs are really cool. The title track of course, "La Bête", "Couleurs en Colère" for instance.
Lyrics are of course not on par any longer with the past ones. But who could align greater and crazier lyrics as Ange has done ? Nobody, I guess. The typical example being "Nonne Assistante À Personne En Danger". An incredible play on words, absolutely not understandable for a non-French native speaker (sorry guys...). We revert to the anti-clerical atmosphere of the early Ange. They also make a bit fun of the French colonial policy. The mood is rather anti-establishment. Hurray !!!
I wouldn't recommend this album to any newcomer to Ange to start with their work. Nonetheless, it is by far superior to their extremely poor eighties production. My favorite song, along with the title track is probably "Couleurs en Colère". A slow-beat rock song with complex and ambiguous lyrics.
There will be some disco beat songs, unfortunately like " Les Herbes Folles". But, hopefully this song will transport the listener into the prog mood as well as the hard-rock one. All in all, it is not a bad song. The closing number is very much rock-oriented.

woensdag 16 februari 2011

Ange - 1989 - Sève qui peut

Sève qui peut

01. Aimer / haïr (7:55)
02. Vivre avec le coeur (4:58)
03. Les plaisirs faciles (4:16)
04. L'or, l'argent et la lumière (7:12)
05. Briser la glace (5:32)
06. Les amours-lumières (4:28)
07. Non !! (3:56)
08. Grands sentiments (4:20)
09. Sève qui peut (8:06) 

- Christian Decamps / vocals
- Francis Decamps / keyboards
- Robert Defer / guitar
- Jean-Michel Brezovar / guitar
- Jean-Pierre Guichard / drums, percussion
- Daniel Haas / bass 

We are heading now the end of the eighties. Ange produced extremely poor albums during this decade. The year of this release is a very special one for France. It is the one commemoration of the bi-century of the French revolution. Founding members as Brézovar and Haas are back in business and I guess it is a very good sign.
The band has always been rather anti-establishment (catholicism, politics) so it was quite a surprise that they were asked by the French government (Mr. Chevènement) to produce an opus about the French revolution.
I guess that the exreme popularity of this band in France only made this possible (and potentially their need to substantial financing).
When you look at the back cover and all the subtitles of each song; displaying incredible play-on-words (only understandable to French speaking persons, unfortunately) one might think : maybe we'll get another great Ange album (after all those horrible ones).
The opening track is rather promising. Crazy lyrics as they ought to be during their early years, heavy keys (somewhat reminiscent to ELP) are ways better than their poppish/disco sound of their recent productions.
I do not know what was the final purpose of this order from the French government, but I really do not care. At least it will be the opportunity for Ange to come back to its roots and as a die-hard fan of the band, I can only be pleased by that.
Don't get me wrong : this album is not on par with their great seventies production but at least Ange is back on track. Only this fact should please any prog fan, because this band although extremely underrated (mostly because of their incredibly complex French lyrics).
This album will hopefully bring some hope about future releases.
Ange will produce some really good songs here : "Aimer Hair", "Les Plaisirs Faciles" (especially for its lyrics). "L'Or, L'Argent Et La Lumière" is IMHHO (in my humble and honest opinion) the best song of the whole album. Fully symphonic, emotional. A song like Ange produced in their earlier albums. What a great feeling for me !
This is the reason why I will stick to my policy review. I want to review almost the entire catalogue of the bands and not only their best ones (it sounds too easy for me). This have lead to a lot of disappointment of course because it always hurt to just tell the truth about some of your preferred bands (Genesis; Yes, ELO, Heep, Kansas, Tull etc.). But when it is bad, I have no option : I just tell it is bad.
When a band produces a good album out of the blue, I am just like a child discovering the world : happy, happy, happy. And I am overwhelmed by this feeling with this album. At least some decent work !
This remind me a recent comment on a thread posted by Eric on the forum about the craziest experience to go and see a band far away from home. Well, maybe I'll go to Paris in November to see their "Olympia" show. This band has produced so many great albums that I am sure that I will just feel like the child dicovering the world I have just mentioned.
The poetry of "Les Amours-Lumière" is just enormous. Another great Ange moment. At this time of the album, I really wonder why the hell this band has released so many poor albums for such a long period and all of a sudden release a much better one. Mystery.
The only weak song by its beat (because the lyrics are completely irreverent) is "Non!". Extremely erotic (and I mean it) these lyrics are on par with their greatest moments (the early seventies). I know of no bands going that far in their "sexual" approach. But this is the typical French (and Belgian as well) way of life. So funny and devastating at the same time.
The good news, my friends is that the great Ange is back. Hopefully they will keep on with this quality.
You have understood that I will be quite generous in my rating with this album. I would rate it seven out of ten but since this is not (yet) poosible on PA, I will upgrade it to four stars (adding one star for the lyrics as I have done already for some other Ange albums). What a nice come back after eleven difficult years.

Ange - 1984 - Fou!


01. Le yeux d'un Fou (3:55)
02. (Je n'suis) La pour personne (4:10)
03. Piège à Coeur (3:59)
04. Harmonie (3:44)
05. (He!) Cobaye (3:33)
06. Les fous demandent un Roi (5:27)
07. Guignols (3:28)
08. Guignols (La Chasse)(2:07)
09. Fou (4:12)
10. Crever d'Amour (Prélude) (2:40)
11. Crever d'Amour (4:20)

- Christian Descamps / vocals, piano
- Francis Descamps / Synthesizers
- Serge Cuenot / guitar
- Laurent Sigrist / bass
- Jean-Claude Potin / drum, percussions, drum machine
- Fred Bétin / sequences

The traditional fan of the great Ange of the seventies that I am is suffering quite a lot when he listens to their eighties production. From "Vu D'Un Chien" through "La Gare De Troyes", Ange produced rather weak (to say the least) albums.
I'm afraid that they won't release a great one with "Fou !"
Several songs have an horrible disco-beat sound "Les Yeux D'Un Fou", "(Hé !) Cobaye", while most of the others have the rock atmosphere of their previous albums. Very little prog here. Both "Guignol" are useless (especially "La Chasse")
Some numbers will have a pop/rock mood as "(Je n'suis) Là Pour Personne". Some FM music with "Piège à Coeur".
The first song being in the Ange tradition (strange ambiance and more complex structure) is "Les Fous Demandent Un Roi". It appears as a highlight on this rather weak album. But do not except a masterpiece à la "Capitaine Coeur De Miel" of course. But it is a pleasant song.
The title track is hard to categorized. Crazy I guess (as its title suggests...).
Ange will usually release some good songs (three or so) even on poor albums (except "Moteur!"). In this case there is very little to retain here. If you are keen to listen to some "special" sounds during a song, I would rather suggest you to listen to "Love On The Beat" from Serge Gainsbourg than "Crever D'Amour".

Ange - 1983 - La Gare De Troyes

La Gare De Troyes

01. La Gare de Troyes
02. A saute-mouton
03. Questions d'générations
04. Va-t'en
05. Les moments bizarres
06. Shéhérazade
07. Les jardins
08. Neuf heures
09. Tout bleu !

-Christian Decamps / vocals, keyboards
- Francis Decamps / keyboards, vocals
- Serge Cuenot / guitar
- Jean-Claude Potin / drums, percussion
- Laurent Sigrist / bass

The last two Ange albums were not really prog gems. This one is on par. Unfortunately. Line-up is the same as for their previous cover (and dispensible for most of it) album.
The beat will be almost the same : a mix between jazz, pop and disco. It is really hard to listened to it in a row (I hope I will once get a medal for this). "A Saute-Mouton" being probably the worst of all (but there are so many that it might as well be " "Questions D'générations" is only saved by the lyrics, but if you not into French, the awful rhythm of the song will kill you before reaching the end of it.
The first song to be a bit different (better ?), is "Va-T'en". Jazz-rock song wich breaks the ambient and dull disco mood. But it will be back again as soon as the next starts "Les Moments Bizarres" (of which the chorus is not too bad).
"Shéhérazade" is the first good song. Great interpretation from Christian, a nice soft- rock song with great and aerial keyboards. Almost like Ange used to produce. A rather pleasant track, honestly. "Les Jardins" are also more into the Ange tradition. At least the boring disco beat is abandoned. Again, keys play an important role in this song.
Since the fantastic "Guet-Apens", Ange did not produce a lot of songs of this caliber so, even if it does not compete with the great Ange songs, it is very much welcome here. "Neuf Heures" is a bit chaotic but also holds some romantic passages which are not too bad.
When I saw that the closing number clocked at over nine minutes, I thought that there was maybe hope to get back to the great Ange epics. But an epic is not only a matter of lenght. And this song, even if at times it sounds not too bad, is far from being a masterpiece.
As in their cover album "A Propos De", the listener will have to wait for more than half an album to start listening better stuff. But I can tell you that to bear the first three tracks of this album is truely painful. Most of the rest is average to good, so it is absolutely not an album to start with (even if you can get it for cheap).
"Caricatures", "Au Delà Du Délire" and "Guet Apens" remain the reference for me and I can only advise you to listen to these ones. "La Gare De Troyes" remains an anecdotal episode in their long career.

Ange - 1982 - A Propos De...

A Propos De...

01. Le Moribond (3:57)
02. Les Copains D'Abord (4:15)
03. Tu Te Laisses Aller (4:46)
04. Il Est Cinq Heures, Paris S'Éveille (3:49)
05. A Jeun (3:41)
06. Le Rouge Et Le Noir (4:48)
07. Le Bal Des Laze (10:54)

-Christian Decamps / vocals, keyboards
- Francis Decamps / keyboards, vocals
- Serge Cuenot / guitar
- Jean-Claude Potin / drums, percussion
- Laurent Sigrist / bass

The previous Ange album was a real disaster and when I listen to the first song of this one, the worse can only expected. "A Propos De" is an album of cover songs from well-known French (and Belgian) singers / poets.
They already had covered "Le Grand Jacques" (one of our national hero in Belgium) with "Ces Gens Là" in their second album "Le Cimetière Des Arlequins". This version of "Le Moribond" is AWFUL. Disco / pop. What a treatment for this great song (covered as well by Leo Sayer in English, but I do not remember its English title).
Next one is on par : absolutely disgusting. It is of course difficult for people outside the French speaking territories to know Georges Brassens : a great French poet / songwriter. A great friend of Jacques BTW. This version is HORRIBLE.
Don't worry, "Tu Te Laisses Aller", from Charles Aznavour has the same disco beat : it is hard to believe. The grand Ange of not so long ago, would have brought a vibrant homage to these giants of another genre of course, but still a good source of inspiration. But you need to be inspired then.
Which was definitely not the case of Ange for this awful album which goes on with one great song from the anti-conformist Jacques Dutronc. "Il Est Cinq Heures Paris S' Eveille" is DREADFUL.
How is this possible ! Even if it were a joke it would be hard to believe. Ange doing this S H I T! Sorry there is absolutely no other words to describe this, and you know that I quite have praised this French band.
"A Jeun" is another Brel song. Less known but with great lyrics (as most of the time). The jazz-rock mood for this one and the theatrical vocals are not too bad. The lyrics talking about a drunken guy are well performed by Christian. It was about time !
"Le Rouge Et Le Noir" from Claude Nougaro (a French jazz singer from the old generation, dead by now) is not too bad either but I can not compare with the original since Nougaro has never been a fave of mine.
To close the album, we'll get the long "Le Bal Des Laze" from Michel Ponareff. He was extremely popular during the mid-late sixties - early seventies and was quite a controvertial character. He migrates in L.A. for a very long period of (almost) silence. He is now performing a very successful come-back in Paris as well as in Brussels these days (April-June 2007).
At least the long intro (four minutes) with the nice keys are reminiscent of the good old Ange. Good guitar work as well. This is finally a very good interpretation. Hopefully because with the first four songs, Ange produced really a pityful masquerade. This number really saves this record.

Ange - 1981 - Moteur


01. Tant Pis l'Indien (3:46)
02. Saga (5:07)
03. Rien n'est trop beau pour toi (2:04)
04. Mourir, souffrir (3:40)
05. Touchez pas à mon ciné (5:04)
06. Détective privé (3:01)
07. Un autre jazz (3:13)
08. Moi, pas idiot ! (4:08)
09. Assis ! (5:24)
10. Chatte, chatte (4:07)

- Christian Decamps / vocals
- Francis Decamps / keyboards, synthesizers
- Robert Defer / guitar
- Jean-Pierre Guichard / drums, percussion
- Didier Viseux / bass

It is very strange that in less than three years, a band can sound so different. Their main song writer and inspirator is still on the command with his brother. The other three musicians being frequently replaced. This had no effect for the brilliant "Guet-Apens" but on "Vu D'Un Chien" the tendancy for a harder sound was already introduced.
This will even more true with "Moteur!". The opening number is almost hard-rock. Galaxies away from the great "Capitaine Coeur De Miel" for instance. Pityful. "Saga" is another rock song with a very dominent bass playing, somewhat sci-fi lyrics as well for this rather average song.
One of the very few nice song from this album is "Rien N'Est Trop Beau Pour Toi". At least it features some nice keys, which reminds that Ange was a great symph prog band. Unfortunately, it is the shortest track of the whole only clocking just over two minutes.
A full rock FM one with "Mourir, Souffrir". It is really hard to believe. Of course, another great prog band produced also a crappy album in 1981 (you remember "Abacab" I'm sure). This one is on par. Extremely poor.
The mood for "Touchez Pas À Mon Ciné" is blues-jazz. Very strange for an Ange composition as well, but at least we escape the awful atmosphere of most of the other songs. There will even be a good guitar solo. The lyrics, which describe the movie industry (from the soundtrack to the director) are also above average.
"Détective Privé" is a pure hard-rock song. At times, I wonder if this album was not a joke. But a very bad one. The jazz-rock mood for "Un Autre Jazz" is similar to "Touchez Pas À Mon Ciné". A bit harder but OK as well (although it has not doing to do with the Ange will all have loved).
After another useless "Moi, Pas Idiot!", the second good song of the album "Assis!" is another quiet one which breaks with the hard-rock oriented style of this release. It even reminds some of the great Ange songs. Unbelievable ! The only symphonic track here.
The whole album surrounds the universe of the film industry (the concept), lyrics being hard at times against the whole stardom system.