Thursday, 10 May 2018

Maelstrom “Maelstrom” 1976 Canada Prog Rock


Maelstrom  “Maelstrom” 1976  Canada Prog Rock
full vk



MAELSTROM (previously WAY OUT) recorded a full album at Le Studio in Morin Heights, owned by André Perry, in 1976… at the height of Quebec’s first progressive rock era. After failing to find a record contract back in the day, the master tapes were forgotten… so forgotten, in fact, that even we didn’t hear any word about them for over 40 years! 

The tapes reveal a quintet at the height of their powers, and musical affinities to Gentle Giant, Yes, and at times even Frank Zappa. Add to the mix hints of King Crimson, Canterbury prog and space rock, with comparable Quebec peers including Et Cetera, Opus 5, Le Match, Maneige and Harmonium. The six francophone pieces stretch out through long instrumental segments, permitting a demonstration of the band members’ talents. All in all, this album definitely shines within the Quebec progressive rock canon from the 1970’s. ….~
More than 40 years after its conception, a music from another era resurfaces thanks to this album, the only one ever recorded by this progressive rock band from Quebec City. Like a sound treasure buried in the recesses of oblivion, it had been waiting all this time to be finally discovered and appreciated at its true value. On 17 January 2016, at the instigation of Andre Masse, Maelstrom’s five musicians met in a recording studio in Quebec City to listen together to the newly digitized version of their album. 
From the first notes, the listener is immersed in a musical universe reminiscent of bands like Gentle Giant, Yes, King Crimson and Genesis, but with a unique, truly quebecois sound signature, particularly because the lyrics are in French. Combining unbridled virtuosity and exceptional creativity, this music catapults you in a mesmerizing whirlwind that almost makes you giddy as you feel taken far away from everything. 
First coming together in 1971 under the name Way-Out, with Denis Poliquin (guitar and lead vocals), Jacques Montminy (keyboards and vocals), Gerard Masse (drums and vocals) and Michel Dulac (bass and vocals), the band initially performed the music from other artists, including Santana, Percy Mayfield, Paul Butterfield, Crow, Larry Williams, as well as some of the band’s own compositions. After having toured mostly in the Quebec City’s area, but also in Gaspesie and Estrie, these four musicians in their early twenties develop in 1972 their first musical repertoire made of original songs only. 
Then Michel Dulac is replaced by Roland Robitaille, who is in turn soon replaced by Jean Hudon. The band’s music at the time has an experimental flavor and a rhythmic complexity reflecting its rejection of any compromise and its willingness to explore new paths outside of the bounds of so-called commercial music. In the fall of 73, the band went on a tour around Quebec that took it to 23 cities. 
It is in 1974, with the addition of percussionist Robert Lepine, that the band adopts a new name - Maelstrom - and creates a new repertoire of songs whose lyrics are entirely in French. It is this music, improved and enriched many times over, that this album has immortalized in 1976 and which the band has presented on tour, especially as the opening act of international bands such as Premiata Forneria Marconi, Van der Graff Generator and The Strawbs. Maelstrom also played at major venues with various stars from Quebec such as Nanette Workman, during a memorable show at La Ronde in Montreal, and the band Aut'Chose. 
During this fertile period full in twists and turns while the music of Maelstrom – which many music fans then regarded as the best progressive rock band of Quebec City, and certainly one of the best in Quebec – was being refined, a newly formed management team, Pro-Actuel, took Maelstrom under its wing in 1975 and helped propel the band to new heights. 
Less than a year later, the band recorded this eponym album in Morin-Heights and went in search of a record company to realize the dream of any artist, that is, the public recognition coming with the release of an album. The American company A&M was the first to show interest. However, significant compromises were required to give a more commercial sound to this album, which would have distorted the progressive essence of this music. The band declined the offer and continued its search which, after having attracted the interest of two other record labels, proved ultimately unsuccessful. 
Then, in quick succession, the drummer and the percussionist decided to leave the band. After being replaced by Denis Kelly on drums and Jacques Gignac on percussions, the band has difficulty finding a new impetus. Some time later, the bassist in turn throws in the towel and is replaced by Denis Pacaud. The recomposed band continued to give shows, always much appreciated by the public, for two years before finally putting an end to its musical epic. 
The page seemed to be definitively turned and there was no indication that someday Maelstrom’s music could be heard by a wide audience. But following a series of fortuitous circumstances, the guitarist gets a copy of the original soundtracks and plays them, on February 4, 2016, to Stephen Takacsy, founder of ProgQuebec, who deemed it to be of excellent quality. The consequence of these unexpected events is in your hands – if you have a copy of the CD…..~


Originally released in 1973, as this was the rock / fusion band’s first effort. Tracks that I managed to get the most out of were the well-played opener “Ceres”, the…… moving (so to speak) “The Balloonist”, “Chronicles” (has some good sax playing), the lad-back “Below The Line” and “Opus None”. Definitely of the Avant Garde genre - at least thought so. Might do something really good for fans of Gentle Giant, Caravan and later Soft Machine. I saw where Maelstrom has two other titles out ‘Paradigms’ ('75) and 'Immature Oocytes’ ('82). I didn’t realize that Maelstrom was from the U.S. …by   …Mike Reed…~


The previous review is not the same band do please ignore the low rating. Maelstrom (1976) is from Quebec and just released their one and only album professionally recorded 40 years ago at the legendary Le Studio in Morin-Heights (where Rush recorded many albums). The band was unable to find a label at the time and this treasure lay hidden from progressive rock fans until ProgQuebec unearthed and finally published it this month on CD. This self titled album is undoubtedly one of the strongest releases from the high quality ProgQuebec catalogue which showcases the best of Quebec’s 1970’s progressive rock artists. Maelstrom, a mythical band which toured the province extensively for many years, is a band firing on all cylinders on this album, one of the Holy Grail of Quebec’s progressive rock scene….~


An extraordinary archival find (recorded in 1976) from the good folks at ProgQuebec, Maelstrom is the odd band from La Belle Province that is more influenced by the English than the French. And in this case it’s Gentle Giant and Yes as the main protagonists, which translates into Quebecois as Et Cetera meets Le Match combined with Pollen. Maelstrom would be the perfect fit for my Midwest prog list, except they are a bit too far east, and yes indeed, French is the language of choice. Otherwise, this is fastball-down-the-middle proggy prog. Easy recommendation for genre fans….by…ashratom …~


Yet another 70’s entry from Quebec, but this group, originally formed as Way Out, never got the chance to record a proper LP, depsite coming close to a deal with A&M.A quinet, featuring also a regular percussionist/vibraphonist, these recordings come back from 1976 and are close to the sound of Pollen and L'Orient d'Ô.Light Symphonic Prog with strong French lyrical background and instrumental power similar to Yes and Genesis, combining the multi-vocal harmonies of the Quebec Prog scene with some of the Franco- and Anglophone Prog qualities.Smooth organ, Moog synth, harpscichord, surprising vibes and xylophone/marimba additions and a bassist sounding like the Canadian Chris Squire.Well forwarded by the Progquebec label….by…apps79 …~


Musicians: 
Denis Poliquin — acoustic/electric guitars, saxophone, vocals 
Jacques Montminy — Hammond B3 organ, acoustic/electric pianos, synthesizer, voice 
Jean Hudon — bass 
Robert Lepine — vibraphone, marimba, xylophone, percussion 
Gerard Masse — drums, voice








Tracklist 
1 Le Manège Enchanté 4:49 
2 Chanson D'Un Troubadour 5:06 
3 Porte-Bonheur 7:23 
4 Maelstrom 4:54 
5 Solitude 5:52 
6 Légende Pour Le Futur 8:32 

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