Aclaración...

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Y no te confundas, no nos interesa la piratería, lo nuestro es simplemente desobediencia civil y resistencia cultural a favor del libre acceso al conocimiento (nuestra música es, entre otras tantas cosas, conocimiento).

lunes, 17 de octubre de 2016

Ange - Le Cimetiére des Arlequins (1973)


El rock y el folk francés, fueron la música de fondo para el Mayo francés en 1968, lo recordamos porque luego de tantas bandas actuales viajamos nuevamente al pasado para presentarles a Ange, la notable banda francesa que nombramos cuando presentamos el impactante álbum "Epitaphe" de Gens De La Lune. CalleNep quiso saber más sobre ellos y aquí los traemos, en un disco que nos trae el Mago, maravillado con estas bandas francesas. Y como no podía ser de otra manera, lo compartimos con ustedes. Un disco precioso.

Artista: Ange
Álbum: Le Cimetiére des Arlequins
Año: 1973
Género: Rock sinfónico
Duración: 35:50
Nacionalidad: Francia


Lista de Temas:
1. Ces Gens-Là
2. Aujourd'hui c'est la Fête chez l'Apprenti-Sorcier
3. Bivouac - 1ère partie
4. L'Espionne Lesbienne
5. Bivouac Final
6. De Temps en Temps
7. La Route aux Cyprès
8. Le Cimetière des Arlequins

Alineación:
- Christian Decamps / Organ Hammond, piano, lead vocal
- Francis Decamps / organ special effects, Mellotron, vocal
- Jean-Michel Brezovar / solo guitar, flute, vocal
- Gérard Jelsh / drums, percussion
- Daniel Haas / bass guitar, acoustic guitar




"La tradición cultural francesa en todos los ámbitos artísticos, en todas las artes, ha mantenido un nivel elevado. Siempre a la vanguardia de los movimientos estéticos, el país galo ha dotado al mundo de su excelencia creativa.
En el contexto del rock progresivo, como bien los señala el autor mexicano Roberto Vázquez, en su "Rock Progresivo", Francia es quizá el único país que ha mantenido una producción constante y evolutiva desde el inicio de este movimiento musical hasta la fecha.
La gesta progresiva francesa evoluciona bien tras los primeros contactos con el beat y el pop de los años sesenta. Pese lo anterior, no se puede decir que la música progresiva francesa en lo general, estuviera impregnada de manera notable por las corrientes principales provenientes de los Estados Unidos y de Inglaterra, aún y con la cercanía de la república francesa con el Reino Unido. Al contrario, la herencia artística gala logró preservar una identidad sólida y se amuralló con las condiciones sociales y políticas del período. El rock y el folk francés, fueron la música de fondo para el Mayo francés en 1968. Otros ingredientes lo han sido la popular "Chanson", el jazz, la música neoclásica y de manera trascendental el jazz".
Así comienza el comentario "Rock Progresivo En Constante Evolución", texto de Juvenal Aragón Figueroa que viene muy bien para presentar a Ange, una de las bandas precursoras en su país.
Ange, quizá sea a nivel popular el grupo más exitoso en la historia del progresivo francés. Sus obras siguen deleitando en la actualidad al aficionado progresivo de toda las regiones aun y cuando su formación data de finales de los sesenta y su primer de 1970. No fue si no hasta 1972, en que con el registro "Caricatures" ingresó al primer circuito de bandas progresivas. Su estilo pasional, enfatiza los aspectos enérgicos de la música y la pasión por transmitir mediante sus vocalistas estados melodramáticos, los ha llevado a ser comparados con el grupo inglés Genesis tal como lo hace el Mago Alberto en el siguiente comentario, pero mas allá de ello, son completamente únicos en cuanto estilo, el cual es elegante y muy francés, con predominio de interacción entre guitarras y teclados, aunado a la voz ya descrita, hacen de esta banda el emblema francés del rock progresivo.
Vamos con el comentario del Mago Alberto.


Luego que El Vampiro atinadamente publicara a Gens De La Lune, un grupo sorprendente y aún más su obra "Epitaphe" ,por simple curiosidad fui en busca de Ange y ho... sorpresa! me encontré con una banda fundadora del progresivo francés con un estilo sorprendente y con una discografía impresionante.
Este trabajo es el segundo de los hermanos Descamps, y desde los primeros acordes van metiendote en una atmósfera intrigante, teatral, jugando con los recursos de los teclados y transportandote a terrenos insospechados, eclécticos, fantasmales, y desde allí te atrapan, con sonoridades atípicas para la época, el trabajo de los teclados es de una virtuosidad digna de destacar, ya que allí radica lo fuerte del grupo, como así también el desenfado del canto. Un grupazo de aquellos, nada que envidiarle al primer Genesis, por la impronta y el despliegue teatral (por dar una referencia).
Un grupo por demas interesante y recomendable, y del cual vamos a presentar varios de sus mejores discos, a criterio propio, por cuanto estos señores tienen una amplísima discografía, vamos con este de la primera época y luego postearemos otros de años posteriores.
Los antropologos del blog van a ponerse contentos con Ange, progre de alta cepa, para disfrutar de algo distinto y que seguro los va a sorprender.


Y vamos con alguna otra definición más, a ver...

Ange se forman en 1969 bajo el mando los hermanos Christian y Francis Decamps, graban su primer en estudio en 1972 y se intitula CARICATURES. En 1978 sale un album doble con grabaciones de concierto de los años de 1970 y 1971 y este se considera como su primer trabajo.Ange llega a ser uno de los grupos mas queridos y reconocidos en Francia, desarrollan un estilo propio que despues es retomado por grupos como MONA LISA, PENTACLE y ELOHIM.
El estilo tan particular de este grupo podria definirse de la siguiente manera, teatral con musica progresiva sinfonica pesada ; teatral por la manera de cantar de Christian Decamps , su estilo tan peculiar de recitar y actuar en las canciones hace que cada pieza sea un acto de teatro dramatico , ademas de que las liricas tienen un gran peso dentro del trabajo del grupo que a veces estas hablan de satiras a la sociedad y a veces solo de los pasajes brillantemente demenciales del autor. La carismatica presencia de Christian en el escenario es parte primordial en los conciertos. En su estilo musical el sonido tan particular de los teclados sirve para crear esa atmosfera oscura,satirica y teatral esto a cargo de Francis Decamps. Las intervencines en los requintos de Brezovar enriquecen la atmosfera tornandola armoniosa y sutilmente pscodelica. Se cuenta que los conciertos de Ange eran a manera de obras teatrales en donde Christian daba una entrega total a su trabajo , una anecdota cuenta que en un concierto Christian se fracturo ambos talones dejandolo en silla de ruedas durante mucho tiempo, por este suceso varios grupos franceses dieron una gira en apoyo a Ange para ayudarlos economicamente , algunos grupos que hicieron esta epica y solidaria gira fueron Atoll y Mona Lisa entre otros.
A lo largo de los años Ange ha sufrido una serie de transformaciones tanto en su musica como en su agrupacion , tratare de exponerlas brevemente.
+ Primera etapa, aqui el sonido de Ange todavia no se concretiza pero se escucha un buen acoplamiento del grupo y buenas ideas en sus composiciones.
++ Segunda etapa . Esta es segun yo la etapa de gloria del grupo en donde realizan sus mejores albumes y donde se escucha una clara ascendencia del grupo hacia la madurez y su mejor momento lo logran en la gira grabada en el Tome VI .
+++ En esta etapa el grupo comienza a tener cambios en su agrupacion y tendencia musical haciendo una musica ya no tan profunda y oscura el mejor disco de esta etapa es Guet Apens.
* En esta etapa se escucha un grupo totalmente cambiado, tal vez ya las compañias disqueras de la epoca no se interesaban mas en grupos de progresivo y Ange comienza a incursionar dentro del genero pop, tambien en estos albumes se escucha una clara carencia de recursos en las grabaciones, pues hay veces que se escuchan buenas piezas pero la calidad del sonido y recursos instrumentales son pobres.
** Aqui el grupo comienza acambiar de nuevo, tratando de hacer un estilo progresivo pero ya no tan teatral como antes, se logra bien el album Seve Qui Peut donde lo consideraria un buen ejemplo de progresivo de los años 80s
*** En esta etapa el grupo pierde otra vez el horizonte y tratan con el pop
El grupo regresa con su antigua formacion y tratan de hacer un progresivo mas fresco, als canciones son de buena calidad pero el disco en general no recibe gran aceeptacion por no ser totalmente progresivo. Esta etapa termina con el album Rideau que en lo personal es una joya , para todo el que gusta de este grupo, que es un album en vivo donde combinan con gran experiencia y maestria los temas de Ange que hicieron historia, esto es, Au Dela Du Delire, Reveille toi. Ode a Emile y otras pizas mas.
Aqui la ultima etapa que he escuchado , de los originales solo queda Christian Decamps con una generacion nueva de musicos donde yo encuentro esta propuesta muy fresca y muy interesante donde se convinan las ideas del viejo y teatral Christian Decamps con las tendencias musicales e interesantes de estos tiempos.
Otro album que me ha llamado mucho la atencion es el Histoire de Fou de Francis Decamps , este album es rock sinfonico donde las ideas de composicion son excelentes haciendo obras delicadas y de gran calidad donde los teclados guardan una atmosfera tipica de Ange . En otras palabras me parece otro buen disco de Ange donde la voz suena familiar pues Francis cantaba en algunas ocasiones, claro aunque este lo halla compuesto Francis solamente.
Hasta pronto
Rene Osnaya

En definitiva, música espectacular, vocales espectaculares, complementación espectacular es lo mejor que puede usarse para catalogar de alguna manera a este magnífico grupo que sin duda, será un clásico del futuro por siempre. Aquí, el primer disco de la banda que aterriza en el blog, el segundo en su amplia discografía, y seguramente el Mago vaya trayendo más para placer de mucho cabezón.
A continuación, algunos comentarios de este disco pero en inglés, empezando por uno de nuestro eterno comentarista involuntario de siempre...

'Le Cimetière des Arlequins' is one of my fave Ange albums, and may be considered as a perfect sample of their prog style delivered at its top level of energy and expressiveness. While not being an ensamble of top-notch virtuosos, the group works really well as an ensamble, performing both their hard-edged compositions and their softer acoustic ones with the same conviction. I particularly enjoy Brezovar's guitar playing (also doubling occasionally on flute in order to enhance the ensamble's instrumental picture) and Jelsh's tight drumming, though the most impressive thing is Christian Decamps' theatrical singing, which comprises recitations, whisperes, exclamations, and of course, also mere singing: Christian is actually the link between the anglosaxon prog influence and the nouveau chanson tradition. The keyboard parts are mostly played on organ and mellotron, serving mainly as massive ambiences for the most climatic passages: both Decamps brothers create these ambiences, sometimes in an etheral manner, some other times punctuating a gloomy, sinister mood. The opening track is one of the most popular tunes of their whole repertoire, though it was originally penned by Jacques Brel. Right from this point you can tell how important are the influences of early King Crimson, 70-72 Genesis, and The Moody Blues for Ange. The same attitude goes on with track 2 and the two 'Bivouac' tracks, the latter including a bit of fusionesque stuff. In the middle of these two numbers, 'L'Espionne Lesbienne' delivers some burlesque fun under a pastoral guise, in a perfect interplay of acoustic guitars, flute, some slide guitar picks, and occasional drumming - effective, without being bombastic. 'De Temps en Temps' brings us back the spirit of the first track, while 'La Route aux Cyprès' displays an air of reflective melancholy: once again, the acoustic guitars and the flute lines bring to mind visions of an evening spent lying on the grass of a forest. The closing title track is the real gem of this album: a stunning piece of work that depicts what I like to think is a surreal world of puppets. The limbo-esque ambience is disturbing (thanks to the sombre textures delivered on organ and mellotron), specially in the crescendo created by the increasingly hysterical last sung part; right afterwards, there's still a horrific mechanic-like sequence that culminates the creepy, dark picture with oppressive grandeur. This album signifies the announcement of more good things to come from Ange.
César Inca

Ange's second album was released in 73 on the Phillips label, but apparently, the label didn't invest much money in the group's recording sessions and the album sounds muffled in places and downright catastrophically bad in others (at least on the first Cd reissue). With a wild artwork, Ange's unchanged line-up recorded seven mostly shorter songs (even if three tracks combine into an 11-mins mini-suite), and the closer being an almost 9 minutes title traxck.
This starts with Jacques Brel's Ces Gens-Là, which is one of the best covers of any Brel cover song done prog or not (bar Bowie's version of Amsterdam) as they really understood how to put this in rock instrumentation, even if it isn't perfect. This will be their first hit but one thing is clear, the original Brel song was better produced than this obscure prog record. Another proof of poor production is the Ajourdhuis tracks, which sounds completely muffled. Other stand-out tracks are Espionne-Lesbienne sandwiched between the two Bivouac pieces, which forms an 11-mins suite, with the central piece being a corrosive text. The flipside starts on an average electric De Temps En Temps and follows it on an acoustic Route Des Cyprès and closing the album, last but not least, the title track. Indeed thismini-epic is the main reason to believe that Ange progressed from Caricatures and here the demented sombre track offers plenty of doom and sterangeitude.
As far as I am concerned, this is their best album, along with the debut, a fact that most Ange addicts will dispute me with Délire and Jacotey. I suggest that newcomers to Ange start with this one, being slightly less aggressive (in a good Ange way) as to not scare them away with the more bizarre debut Caricatures and then move on chronologically. If you can find a remastered version of these early Ange albums it might be a good idea.
Sean Trane

Here is Ange their second effort, a year after their debut LP "Caricatures" in the same five- piece line-up.
1. Ces Gens-Là (4:47) : This is a cover from the famous Belgian singer Jacques Brel, his emotional approach must have appealed to Christian Decamps ! The atmosphere is bluesy with strong and expressive vocals, wonderful mellow organ waves and fiery electric guitar work.
2. Aujourd'hui c'est la Fête chez l'Apprenti-Sorcier (3:25) : This a short but varied (dreamy, catch, bombastic) song, tasteful coloured by the organ and theatrical French vocals.
3. Bivouac - 1ère partie (5:32) : A typical Ange song delivering lots of dynamics and a psychedelic undertone, the word "Bivouac" is sung as "Hallelujah". Halfway the sound of the organ, electric rhythm guitar and drums is almost hypnotizing, including a great distorted organ/wah-wah guitar duel.
4. L'Espionne Lesbienne (2:52) : A bit strange track with acoustic guitar, flute and funny vocals.
5. Bivouac Final (3:02) : A compelling climate featuring a propulsive rhythm-section and a sensational, distorted organ and electric guitar (wah-wah) sound.
6. De Temps en Temps (4:08) : This song has a slow rhythm with lush organ and strong and varied vocals (theatrical, warm, dramatic), halfway there is a short but fiery and biting electric guitar solo.
7. La Route aux Cyprès (3:18) : This is a beautiful, romantic sounding piece with warm vocals and pleasant acoustic guitar and flute.
8. Le Cimetière des Arlequins (8:46) : The first part of this long titletrack sounds a bit subdued but halfway gradually the atmospere becomes more 'bombastic psychedelic' featuring a compelling organ sound and theatrical vocals. The final part contains weird sounds.
A good album with lots of fine momens but also some less captivating parts, in my opinion.
Erik Neuteboom

"Le Cimetière Des Arlequins" was the second album released by France's ANGE and represents a wonderful piece of Franco prog rock. Arguably ANGE's most complete album, Le Cimetière houses all the Ange characteristics... mainly Christian Decamps theatrical singing-talking style and Francis Decamps organ and mellotron work. ANGE create a delicate and rich soundscape with some of their greatest progressive moments captures on this album. Musically ANGE reflect the sonic stylistics of early KING CRIMSON to the Genesis matermarked mellotron runs to the folk symphonia of Harmonium. "Bivouac - 1ère partie" is my personal favourite track and represents why I love this band. Fans of ANGE and French prog will need to get a hold of this album for sure... a masterpiece.
James Unger

IMO, Ange's debut album was a great piece of music. Yet, almost unnoticed.
This second album opens with "Ces Gens Là". Yes, a prog version for one of the best song from Maître Jacques as we call him in my (and his) country. One has to dare. I must say that it is a good version of this great song. Who else than Ange could do such a job ? I guess that the absolute anti-clericalism from Jaques had to appeal them a lot. Ange will publish rather rude and irreverant lyrics against all the aspect of the religion. They won't miss an occasion to make a fool of the church in general. So was Maître Jacques as well.
Lyrics will again be absolutely weird and insane on this album. They are very ... special. And very difficult to grab if French is not your mother tongue. So, for once, I have this advantage. I am one of the few who belives though that their career would have reached another dimension, should they have chosen for English lyrics. They will do it for their album "Par Les Fils De Mandrin" which they will translate in English. I can imagine though that the spirit of their world was better expressed in French by Christian Décamps; a fabulous lyricist.
Another virulent aspect of their lyrics will be their sexual orientation. One might think that a simple track as "L'Espionne Lesbienne" is a gentle little song. The text is absolutely devastating. Talking about a lesbian (this is a temptative translation effort) : "You are the cyprin, which lubrifies the catacombs. An hemoglobin fuse, which will make the bomb quiver". (FYI, cyprin is the liquid generated by the vagina when excited. What a programme! But the whole of these 2'50" are on par. Demoniac. We are very far from what one might think a sweet little song.
"La Route Aux Cyprès" is another little tune one might think. Very much Trespassesque. It features extremely sad and pessimistic lyrics about the death and the last trip :
"Je sens que les amis sont au bout du chemin, Ils me disent que je tiens le ciel entre leurs mains. Mais mes doigts de malade craquent aux confins du vieux, J'ai senti la barrière d'où l'on voit de ses yeux"
"I can feel that my friends are at the end of the path, they are telling me that I hold the sky between their hands. But my sick fingers are cracking on the boundaries of oldness, I felt the barrier from which you can see from within one's own eyes".
These text are very, very dark. On par with some Van Der Graaf songs ("Necromancer"). Depressing.
Both "Bivouac" numbers have a very scary atmosphere. Like the opener and the closing number from their debut album, this one hold the Crimson heritage.
The general mood of this second album is less symphonic in comparison with their first one. Less instrumental passages here. Rather tranquil , but scary album actually. A bit the same atmosphere than on "Islands" from KC. This one lacks in bombastic moments.
Only the title track will be on par with their debut (I'm talking here about their own songs since their cover was quite good). Which such a title, is it necessary to mention that the lyrics are as dark as coal ? Very weird : priests, bigots, blood and death are on the programme !
The finale almost sounds as "Night On A Bald Mountain". Very scary. Do not listen to this one when you're alone at night. Gosh ! This is exactly what I'm doing for this review !
IMO, the most appealing aspect of this album resides in the lyrics, not in the music (their first album featured both aspects). It must be very difficult to get into it if your French is not outstanding (they are almost impossible to understand if your are not a native French-speaker). I really love their first album, so this one is a bit of a disillusion. This album is much darker than their previous one which was more anti-clerical and funny. I will add one star for the lyrics to the three stars this album really deserves.
Four / Five stars then.
Daniel

What an improvement from Ange´s debut Caricatures. This is great symphonic prog rock. Don´t be afraid to try this one out even though the lyrics are in French. If you don´t understand French like me, this will probably never be a masterpiece album, as I feel some emotions get lost when you don´t understand the language but it comes damn close in my book as the music is excellent.
The sound quality is kind of murky but I think it adds to the atmosphere of Le Cimetière des Arlequins. For once a technicaly weak production is something the music profits from.
The music is very Peter Gabriel era Genesis inspired, but don´t take Ange for a clone band they definitely have their own style. Lead singer Christian Decamps is a very expressive vocalist. He talk/ sings a lot using different voices and moods. I really wish I could understand what he is singing about. There are lots of Mellotron in the songs which is something I really love. Especially the very atmospheric way it´s played here.
The musicians are competent and there are no weak links.
Note the very beautiful cover art, it´s very unique.
This album has been a real surprise to me as I wasn´t too impressed with Ange´s debut Caricatures which I found good but a bit mediocre. Le Cimetière des Arlequins is in the same vein but much better. 4 stars for this excellent second album almost isn´t enough. I can´t wait to hear more. ( Maybe I should take courses in French).
UMUR

And you wonder why they had such a bloody revolution?
(Three and a half stars really)
Music that is this unconsciously eccentric AND welcoming is far too often a rarity these days. We do of course have a multitude of determinedly 'inaccessible' artists who prefer to barricade themselves firmly into the RIO/Avant camp and sharpen their instruments for another attack on culture from behind the relative safety of wilful obscurity.
(Apres Nous Le Deluge Blah blah Blah)
However, there are a breed of souls brave or foolhardy enough to wage the battle against conformity from 'behind enemy lines' as Ange do here. Their assimilation of the artifices and vocabulary of rock is not merely a means to an end, but a sincere expression of their individuality framed in the reference points of our own shared western popular culture.
Mediocrity is, and always has been the enemy.
It seems that those flaky pastries the French, like their prog on the angstsy side and 'Ange' certainly keep the home fires burning brightly here. Their fellow countrymen Arachnoid, Halloween, Magma and Shylock also share a predisposition to an endearing 'excitability' which makes their music brazenly volatile and emotionally charged.
Unfortunately, as my grasp of the French language stalled at the level of schoolboy fluency eg. le chat est sur le mur, I am unable to appreciate the lyrics, which I have been advised are one of Ange's strong-points.
Ain't it ironic that the instructions to open the bandage I can apply to Prog's achilles heel are in French ?
(Sacre Bleu)
Judging by the urgency and rapidity of Monsieur Decamps vocal declamations, we must conclude he has a real bee in his beret (or perhaps maybe even a 'hive' in his lingerie) but I love the urgency of his delivery dearly, and there is no reason to doubt either his passion or sincerity.
'Ces Gens La' - Starts with an unnerving guitar motif, although just a few simple slide bent notes, it carries a weight and foreboding that even Monsieur Fripp would have been proud and reappears later to spooky effect. Thereafter there is a brooding bass line (just 2 or 3 notes) over which Decamps alternatively recites then shouts his bon mots. The quiet/loud and busy/still dynamic can be overused but this band have a fine grasp of when either is appropriate. I'm not convinced the string sound in the background is really a Mellotron but perhaps its been put through some sort of weird effect thang y'all ?
'Aujourd'hui c'est la Fête chez l'Apprenti-Sorcier' - Fantastic sludgy guitar sound on the stereo panned riff and a truly memorable melody on the verse sections. Very atmospheric and haunting developmental section where there appears some beautifully played flute to complement the hushed and whispered vocals.
'Bivouac - 1ère partie' - Apart from the wince inducing quotation from Handel's 'Messiah' which is their first momentary lapse into bad taste, a very sinister and angular song section develops with good use of female operatic 'screams' at climactic points. During one section there are what sounds like some wailing siren 'turn on and off' the Hammond tricks a la Monsieur Emerson. Nice fuzzy organ solo in the vein of Soft Machine towards the end.
'L'Espionne Lesbienne' - (No I ain't going to translate, and stop giggling at the back) This track inhabits a gentler pastoral landscape with strummed acoustic guitar and flute interjections but rest easy, even here there is a maniacal laugh thrown into the mix to keep us in 'squeaky bum' mode.
'Bivouac Final' - Ominous and dark with a claustrophobic tritone in the harmony accentuated by a very accurate Bob Fripp impersonation on the guitar later mutating into a wah wah drenched solo. This is joined by some ethereal fuzz organ which fades out into a simple descending chromatic scale on the strings/mellotron. Beautifully constructed track but like so many of the others on this record it is too short as the strength of the musical ideas warrant further exploration and development.
'De Temps en Temps' - Ange employ a more conventional strong structure here and this offering boasts another very strong and slightly Spanish tinged lydian melody. Dramatic use of timpani and Mellotron in a vaguely Crimsonesque manner but certainly not derivative. Short and very effective guitar 'solo' of sorts, but given how accomplished a player Brezovar obviously is, I wish he had been allowed greater license on this album to really 'stretch out' a lot more.
'La Route aux Cyprès' - Unusually, I actually heard a MIDI file of this track before hearing the original and this is a number similar in feel to the earlier L'Espionne Lesbienne but has a superior melody and is more fully developed and fleshed out than the former.
'Le Cimetière des Arlequins- - the longest track here and despite the opportunities afforded by the larger canvas, Ange do not succumb to the temptation for a lazy and slap-dash finger painting.
Au contraire, its another highly disciplined piece which undergoes various transitions of pace, timbre and tempo before the end. Lovely atmospheric intro with unadorned bass slowly joined by an infectious and insistent incantatory melody. Unfortunately they do repeat this device perhaps once too often and this section drags a bit.
Finally an ominous ascending chromatic scalar passage emerges over which Monsieur Decamps gets himself into an ever increasing lather as the accompaniment gets faster and faster.
And you wonder why they had a player sent off in the World Cup Final?
Momentary lapse of taste # 2 appears with a rather tacky quotation from Mussorgsky's Night on the Bare Mountain but we can forgive them this I'm sure. The ending section is however very unsatisfying as they appear undecided as to it being either another incarnation of the 'fairground big top to fade' cliché or the 'bust child's toy's death throes' approximated here.
This is a very strong album but not perhaps as good as its successor Au-delà du Délire. (being the only other Ange offering I have heard)
This band deserve immense credit for their single mindedness and originality in a field where 'still wet' forgeries of masterpieces are everywhere. No one else sounds remotely like Ange and their boldness and spirit of adventure is something we should cherish dearly. So they get an extra half star for sheer undiluted and uncompromising attitude
Iain

Ange's follow up for Caricatures sees them sticking to the same dramatic and gloomy sound, half of it created by murky production values and the other half by too much mellotron. No, sorry, that's not possible, there's no such thing as too much mellotron!
The album starts with the Jacques Brel cover Ces Gens Là, an appropriate choice given the influence of that Belgian 'chansonnier' on their music. Ange sounds as a marriage between King Crimson's early albums and French chanson, very epic and theatrical, executed by excellent musicianship and the most passionate vocals since Peter Hammill.
Next on is my favorite track Aujourd'hui c'est la fête, short and rocking, swift and dynamic, or how to be prog in 3 minute 30 seconds. The following couple of songs is meant to form some kind of unity but it's a bit amateurish, basically they're fading out Bivouac, then doing a short ballad and ending by fading in the remainder of Bivouac. Luckily the songs are just fine.
De Temps en Temps is probably one of their best known songs, it sounds like another Jacques Brel cover. Not bad but a bit predictable maybe. The short and intimate Route au Cyprès is better, it's just an acoustic pop song really but a very beautiful one. The album ends with the powerful and dramatic Cimetière des Arlequins, the longest and best composition on the album.
I have a personal preference for the debut which rocked harder and had the better songs, but you could as easily argue that this album is a bit more varied and mature. Regardless of personal preference, both albums are excellent symphonic prog. If you love In the Court of the Crimson King, early VDGG and Genesis you shouldn't hesitate.
Karl Bonnek

Ange are one of the most well known prog bands from France. They sometimes get compared to Genesis. However, on their first two albums anyway, I hear more of a Crimson and VDGG infuence. This is the band's second album. The vocals of Christian Decamps are dramatic and theatrical and can be compared to Gabriel and Hammill. Lyrics in French. Lots of modified organ work here.
"Ces Gens-La" is a cover of Belgian singer Jacques Brel. I am not too familar with him or his music, but the version here sounds like the band wrote it. Definately does not sound too out of place on this album. "Aujourd'hui c'est la Fete chez l'Apprenti-Sorcier" has distorted/fuzz bass. Good drumming. This song has a nice mellow middle section. The first part of "Bivouac" has the band singing what sounds like "Ewok for you". The better of the two parts. It ends with an organ solo as the song fades out. The second part fades back in with the continuation of the organ solo. The second part is entirely instrumental.
I think it would have been better if both parts of "Bivouac" were one piece. In between we get a folk song about lesbians called "L'espionne Lesbienne". This song has some good acoustic guitar and fast vocals. "De Temps en Temps" has good singing and organ work. After 2 minutes it gets better. Nice bluesy guitar solo. At the very end the tape speeds up. "La Route aux Cypres" is basically vocals and acoustic guitar with some organ. Sound of flute can be heard. I can't tell if it is a real flute or if that part is done on a Mellotron.
The title track is the best song here and can be listened to on PA. Good drumming and vocals in the whole song. The organ and/or Mellotron playing is great. It's the longest song and has the most changes. Before 7 minutes there is an interesting organ sound. I love the way it ends with weird noises that get looped. This album is great Symphonic Prog. If you don't mind theatrical French vocals, this may be for you. Whether it be Ange or Magma or Etron Fou Leloublan, the French like the vocals to grab your attention. My interest in these guys starts to dwindle after this album. 4/5 stars.
Darryl

No need for virtuoso playing!!
Ange are the masters of atmosphere , and it seems they do it so easily too. they capture you with their slow airy organ , most of the time played with a vibrato giving the music an out of tune feeling , awsome stuff. in addition to those keys , they incorporate their signature passionate intriguing vocals , it always fascinates me to know what are they talking about , i guess it's their attitude and approach . i like that every europian band has that something relating them to their country , except the vocals of course , and ange is no different , it all sounds very french to me , and is a refreshing change from all english bands , although still reminds me of king crimson at times.
the music is never heavy but always symphonic , closer to classical music than jazz., there are no virtuosic runs by any of the band , but apart from the amazing atmosphere they create together , the solos are short and very good. vocals are amazing even for you who does not understand a single word ( like me ) , they take you right away and you feel like a story is being told , i'm sure it is!! they range from whispering to quiet to passionate and to screaming , top that with some laughs , noises , and shouts making the story even more realistic , absolutely fantastic. although containing short tracks ange is progressive and interesting adopting some instant change of music , heading towards something completely different. keys has that distinct ange sound and are always very good whether if they are atmospheric and whether if they are playing solos or other fillers , which increases the atmosphere level even more . guitar varies from distorted to clean and acoustic , and although there are no steve howe guitar parts , the guitar is always perfect . a good example for this is the album's opener solo which gives me goose bumps every time i hear it , so right. also to good mention is the clean guitar on L'Espionne Lesbienne , so good. as interesting as the songs are some time i wish they would develop them more , making them a little bit longer instead of cutting them in the middle of a good run. what made them split 'bivouac' to two parts and putting L'Espionne Lesbienne in between is beyond me , i think this is my only complaint about this album.
If you would like to explore some french prog , or seeking some dreamy , rocky, theatrical and progressive music , ange is a good place to start with , and this album too , although their next is even better. it may take a little while to fully comprehend but it's totally worth it. i would call it essential to french prog lovers. the accurate rating for me is a little bit above 4 stars.
Sagi Tchamani

One of France's three main progressive rock outfits alongside Christian Vander's zeuhl exponents Magma and the Pink Floyd-styled Pulsar, Ange have enjoyed a long and varied career sinde starting up at the beginning of the 1970's, enjoying both national and international commercial success. Unusually for a French-speaking rock group, Ange regularly toured outside of their homeland during their peak years, visiting Germany, Belgium, Scandanavia and Britain on numerous occasions during the 1970's; as a result the name Ange is now synonymous with French progressive music, the group often rather lazily compared with Genesis thanks to their keyboard-heavy sound. One of the group's 'classic' releases alongside 1974's follow-up 'Au Dela Du Delire' and the mellotron- drenched 'Guet-apens' from 1978, 'Le Cimetiere Des Arlequins' was the album that truly broke Ange, introducing them to a wider audience thanks to a deal brokered with the French arm of Phillips and the album's distinct and jaunty musical flavour. Crucially, it would prove to be a remarkable improvement after the group's interesting yet underwhelming debut 'Caricatures', whilst also showcasing the five individual musicians rapidly- growing instrumental chops, with the incessant Gallic chatter of lead-vocalist Christian Decamps now underpinned by some intricate technical displays and richly-drawn melodies. Like many of the better progressive rock albums, this is best listened to from beginning-to-end, though individual tracks do stand-out, such as the forceful opener 'Ces Gens La', which features both Ange's trademark keyboard stabs and Descamps eccentric vocal style, and the haunting, almost gothic strains of follow-up 'Aujourd'hui C'est La Fete Chez L'apprenti Sorcier', which drifts effortlessly from ominous symphonic rock into serene acoustica rather beautifully. Elsewhere, the bouncy 'Bivouac' exhibits the group's more playful side, whilst the album's lengthiest piece, the eight-minute title-track, closes the album in suitably grand fashion. Like much European progressive rock there is an arty and complex edge to Ange's music, though the pompous seriousness that can blight such material is thankfully absent here, Ange very much a group with a sense of humour that is apparent even to those who don't fully understand the French language. A fine album, 'Le Cimetiere Des Arlequins' isn't quite as impressive as follow-up 'Au Dela Du Delire', yet there is still much here that should please fans of both symphonic and European progressive rock. Inventive, eccentric and occasionally wildly adventurous, this is one of Ange's genuinely essential records.
Stefan Turner

Ange's second record "Le Cimetière des Arlequens" which features Christian and Francis Decamps, Jean-Michel Brezovar, Gérard Jelsch and Daniel Haas is another fantastic record. It has not really the same splendor that their debut record had but it is still a piece of amazing progressive music.
First the cover. I think that this record has of of prog history's most amazing covers. I think it's hypnozising me even if I have never touched the real vinyl and just seen the picture. I have became a big fan of this french group recently and I find them very interesting. Here they continue the same winning style as on "Caricatures".
The first song "Ces Gens-Là" with edgy organs and strong dramatic speaking vocals goes in a special direction, a brave song. It is like they were demonstating in a parade. "Aujourd'hui c'est la fête de l'apprenti socier" has a nice recirculation and a dramatic melody and powerful "Bivouac lère partie" lets the spirit out and develops to a total difference from the beginning. "L'Espionne lesbienne" is calmer and interesting, it sounds like jester music. "Bivouac final" is instrumental and has a very powerful and groovy feeling. "De temps en temps" is another theatrical piece with unique vocals and nice bass work. In "La route aux cyprès" there is nice flute, this is a more acoustic thing and the closer "Le cimetière des Arlequins" is slow and builds up the song to a dramatic ending. Good expressive vocal work. The last song is though not the best song. It's length had been entitled and perhaps made this a five star record with a more clever composition.
What I like with "Cimetière des Arlequins" and Ange's music is the expressive vocals, the very heavy organs and the edgy rhytm. This makes me happy. Another plus for the outstanding cover!
Adrian Drömmaren

Le Cimetière des Arlequins is a crown jewel of 70's French Theatrical Prog. I think this is Ange's most consistently spellbinding release... I would even say it's the most under-rated album in their catalog.
As usual, the songs are very vocal-centric: Christian Descamps is the star of the show. His histrionic caterwauling creates a singularly bizarre atmosphere... no other band 'feels' quite like Ange, even those who tried their best to mimic them.
Sometimes i really wish i knew what Descamps was saying (i can't understand a word of Français), but while i'm actually listening to the music it never even crosses my mind. The vocals don't need to make sense... not comprehending the literal meaning of his words only adds to the abstract brilliance of his delivery.
The music on this album is sometimes repetitious, but always in a good way. The rhythm section often pound out simple straightforward rhythms which build a slightly Bluesy (or tribal) hypnotic effect that i would liken to The Doors... especially on the magnificent opener 'Ces Gens-La' with it's Bluesy start-stop dynamic.
Francis Decamps' keyboards play a huge role as well... droning organ sounds hang above every song like a thick mist and create a very dark, surreal, dream-like mood... a perfect template for his brother's ranting and raving.
French-literate people will undoubtedly have a different reaction to this music than other listeners... but i'm not sure if that would make it better or worse. All i know is i love this album and never tire of it. Every song is amazing, manic, and deeply engrossing. Only the soft madrigal 'La Route aux Cyprès' shows a slight dip in quality.
4.5 /5 stars
Adam Hearst

The second work released in 1973 "Le cimetiere des arlequins". Masterpiece that shines to gold record in France. It is mysterious music. In the drive feeling of the guitar and the organ, there is peculiar stickiness. Moreover, atmosphere is changed from aggressive play to fantastic play by skillfully using the tone of the organ. Tone quality to emphasize the bass is peculiar. Especially, the feature of ANGE appears remarkably in "Aujourd'hui c'est la fete de l'apprenti sorcier".
Dramatic, symphonic rock. It is music that is nearer PINK FLOYD than GENESIS. It is not technical, and the sound is also near psychedelic rock. However, it became a progressive rock work with a keyboard and a polite ensemble. However, music is dark. It seems to go down to the pool of darkness. However, the bottomless one is felt in the energy and power by me. However, will this darkness be a peculiar one to France?It is a work with an eerie sucking force. It is a recommended work in the beginner of French rock. It is a masterpiece though it is an old sound.
Brain Damage

As you Prog guys already know, Ange is the most important band in French prog scene. Well, not only in the French prog scene but also in the Prog World. How many albums do you think they released so far? It's about 40 albums officially. There are about 20 studio albums among them except live and compilation albums. Plus one more question, how many Ange albums have you ever listened?
The reason I'm starting my review like this is to give you no illusion about the reputation of Ange. Quite frankly Ange is not the 70's virtuoso band like Yes, ELP,Gentle Giant, Jethro Tull, Genesis, ..Don't ever think that you are going to hear amaging technical sound from them.
However you will come to believe why Ange is very important artists when you listen to this album, "Le Cimetiere Des Arlequins-The Cemetry Of Harlequin. The charismatic vocal, sentimental violin, thrilling melotron and most of all, dramatic composition will prove their reputation and the glory.
This album is called the re-interpretation of legendary Jacques Brel's song called Ces Gens La. I hope you guys could enjoy this fantastic French theatrical prog album as well.
I'm sure I go for Le Cimetiere des arlequins, Au-dela du delire, Emil Jacotey, Par les fils de Mandrin and Les larmes du Dalai Lama. Give it a shot!
Che Hae Yong

Espero que les guste! Y hoy recién es lunes, no se imaginan todo lo que les espera esta semana!



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