(All Album Reviews by BrianG)
This is a live recording of a performance piece created by Jerome Langlois and performed in Montreal in 1976. It was a staged multidisciplinary show including members from his previous progressive rock group Maneige, his then current group Lasting Weep, the mime troupe "Les Enfants du Paradis", several other concept artists plus other musicians. The show was based on "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" and was staged to be a "sonic painting" using dancing, dramatic musical parts, and visual arts to convey the story.
The music begins in a folk vein with Langlois' guitar and vocals setting the scene, but quickly moves more toward avant jazz. There are long symphonic sections very reminiscent of a Meneige album, with its acoustic rock basis under longer improvisations. Once in a while, the full band creates beautiful, melodic passages, but without the visuals, it is hard to recreate the feeling of the story, and the music seems somewhat disconnected. The full horn section takes over a large part of the music, mostly in free improvisation, allowing the musicians to tell the story through their improv.
Although the music is ambitious, Langlois' work falls short of larger works by better known rock composers who have tried their hands at large pieces. This is especially true on the long avant jazz sections where the listener is left out of the connection with the stage. The French lyrics also formed a barrier for this reviewer. I'm sure the experience is much improved for those who can follow along with the story. But for fans of Maneige and Langlois' other works, this is a great addition.