Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Ocarinah ‎ “Première Vision De L'Etrange” 1978 France Prog Space Rock Canterbury Scene

Ocarinah ‎ “Première Vision De L'Etrange” 1978 France Prog Space Rock  Canterbury Scene
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Extract from my French Independent & Underground Obscurities article in Audion 56 (2010): A mysterious instrumental progressive, Ocarinah were typical of French late-1970's adventurous bands, making excellent use of dynamics and thematic progressions. A style akin to Shylock or Asia Minor, but centred on eerie synthesizer with a nimble drums/bass backing, with an otherworldly feel akin to Pulsar, Ocarinah were a concoction of the familiar rearranged into something very different....~
Ocarinah's sole work is a real gem to be found in the French underground mine. Try to imagine the first two Clearlight albums - but as strictly a keyboard trio (with occasional guitar) - combined with a strong dash of metronomic rigidness similar to the Canterbury movement. In particular the early albums by Egg come to mind. Première Vision de l'étrange contains five long tracks of incredible creativity and complexity. An easy-to-listen-to masterpiece of the style.....by...ashratom ...~ 

  According to guitarist/keyboardist Jean-Michel Valette Ocarinah existed for about 7-8 years in various formations, playing in lives mainly organized by music activists.The best period was that with Marc Perdrix on bass and Charles Bevand on drums, during which they released ''Première vision de l'étrange''.All instrumental Prog with heavy spacey orientations and some low-key Fusion acrobatics.The atmosphere is very dark with throbbing bass and enigmatic synthesizers all the way through, reminiscent of Clearlight, Pulsar with some bits of Catharsis and Honeyelk.The material ranges from slow atmospheric passages to denser and complex exercises.A bit over the top, but certainly rewarding......by...apps79 ....~ 

Ocarinah came from the town of Oyonnax in the Jura. The band around the keyboardist guitarist Jean-Michel Valette probably originated in the early 1970s and was active for several years in changing occupations that oscillated between trio and quintet. In November 1977 the trio from Valette, the bassist Marc Perdix and the drummer Charles Bevand played the first and only album of the group, which was published 1978 under the title "Première Vision De L'Etrange". Somewhere later, towards the end of the decade or the beginning of the 80s, the band probably disbanded.
"Première Vision De L'Etrange" was produced by the band itself in an edition of 1000 pieces and is quite rare in vinyl. On CD or otherwise, the material has not yet been re-released. Bootlegs exist however.
In an interview on the World Wide Web, Valette Zao, Art Zoyd, Soft Machine, Hatfield and the North, and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, are the inspiration for the music of Ocarinah. In fact, there is no classic Trioprog à la ELP on "Première Vision De L'Etrange", despite the Progtrio-instrumentation (key-bass drums), but a complex jazz prog, which is quite canterbury and also light Zehlbezüge (man Hear the sometimes bulky stamping "Cycles cosmiques").
Spacious gliding and hissing, until fast-paced and sparkling synthesizer runs create Valette (occasionally a few filigree inserts on the electric guitar, especially in the second half of "M2c"), which rise above the dynamic drift of bass and percussion , Despite the small orchestration, the tonal result turned out to be quite colorful, although one must of course notice that the compositional means do not vary enormously from one piece to another. Nevertheless, the music oscillates alternately between drifting-complex sections and somewhat more bearable, spherical-floating moments. The early albums of Egg could be a comparison, with "Première Vision De L'Etrange" already noted that it was created in the second half of the 70s, especially the powerful synthesizer sounds. At the same time, the whole breathes a similar French-experimental spirit, such as, e.g. ("Ile De Fièvre", 1978), Pataphonie ("Le matin blanc", 1978), or Potemkine ("Triton", 1977), which is not only so far removed.
"Première Vision De L'Etrange" is thus an entertaining album with a fresh, virtuosic and directly performed, playful-complex, jazzy-canterburesk-spacey-styled Trioprog. This is not only a perfect complement to the 70s prog , An official CD reissue would therefore be very desirable!....by......Achim Breiling ...babyblaue prog....~
I'm sure there will be many positive reviews for this one eventually as it seems to be highly thought of by most reviewers who have rated this one. They were a trio from France who released this sole album in 1978. We get a drummer, bassist and synth/guitarist. All three had a hand in composing these five instrumentals. I must say that I've owned this one for at least 8 years and it's not a legit copy as it was released by Tachika Records back then. My only option at the time. 
I have to pat myself on the back here because I really don't like the sound of the synths on this album yet I spun this one over and over and over again, many times. And the synths have the same tone throughout and it's very prominent. Relentless might be a better word I suppose. He does play some guitar too but yeah synths dominate here and the album comes off as being samey. Honestly I just don't like it and so I won't be doing a detailed review as I just can't bring myself to go through it one more time. 

As far as the Zeuhl designation goes I have a hard time agreeing with it, but then I'm not sure where else you would put it. The bass while prominent at times isn't fuzzed out or in the Zeuhl style. No chanting of course either or Fender Rhodes. It comes off as a melancholic synth driven album that fails to capture my appreciation in any way. I'm glad I finally spent some time with it if only to know I'm not into it(haha). I tried....by Mellotron Storm ....~ 

Jean-Michel Valette - synthesizers, guitars 
Marc Perdrix - bass 
Charles Bevand - drums

Tracklist 
A1 Première Vision De L'Étrange 11:30 
A2 M² C 8:30 
B1 Cycles Cosmiques 9:30 
B2 Cascades 5:15 
B3 La Marche Inouïe De Kasar (L'Homme-Robot) 4:40 

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