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viernes, 3 de marzo de 2017

Sloche - Stadaconé (1976)


El Mago Alberto vuelve con Sloche, una de las bandas que surgió de la explosión progresiva en Quebec a mitad de los años 70s y que tristemente solo grabaron 2 discos buenísimos. Realmente una joya del jazz fusión que traemos desde las tinieblas del olvido, una música maravillosa comparable con bandas como Mahavishnu Orchestra o Return To Forever. Muy pero muy recomendable!

Artista: Sloche
Álbum: Stadaconé
Año: 1976
Género: Jazz rock / Progresivo ecléctico
Duración: 40:59
Nacionalidad: Canadá


Lista de Temas:
1. Stadaconé
2. Le Cosmophile
3. Il Faut Sauver Barbara
4. Ad Hoc
5. La 'Baloune' De Varenkurtel Au Zythogala
6. Isacaaron (Le Démon Des Choses Sexuelles)

Alineación:
- Caroll Bérard / acoustic & electric guitars, percussions, talkbox
- Réjean Yacola / piano, Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer, clavinet, Mini-Moog
- Martin Murray / Hammond B3, Mini-Moog, Solina, soprano saxophone, tambourin, backing & chorus (1) vocals
- Gilles Ouellet / celesta, percussions, backing & chorus (1) vocals, co-producer
- Pierre Hébert / bass
- André Roberge / drums, percussions, timbales, tam-tam, chorus vocals (1)
With:
Rénald Des Rocs / chorus vocals (1)




Un disco con una puntuaciòn altìsima en Progarchives, "Stadaconé" es el segundo álbum de Sloche y es difícil decidirse por este o su debut, Es que ambos son igual de excelentes y difieren poco entre sí, pero los que saben dicen que "Stadaconé" acerca a Sloche aún más al jazz fusion por el que se hicieron conocidos, aunque representaría el fin de la agrupación. Con su butal combinación de doble teclado y guitarra, con un bajo poderoso y bien visible y una batería que marca el ritmo con seguridad y creatividad, se pueden nombrar un montón de similitudes con Return To Forever, Weather Report, lo más jazzero de Gentle Giant o lo màs sinfònico de ELP (o al revès, como quieran), pero la verdad es que Sloche funciona como una entidad bien diferenciada del resto.
Veamos que es lo que nos dice el Mago Alberto sobre este disco...


Paso mas de un año y ocho meses que aparecía en el blog uno de los dos discos de Sloche, y para cumplir con lo prometido y más vale tarde que nunca, acá.... se va la segunda!. Quizás lo único cuestionable de este disco sea el primer track, que comienza con un fraseo pedorrísimo en el teclado, pero luego toma otro envión estructural y se transforma en algo más rescatable, el resto es realmente muy bueno.
Quien se haya tomado el trabajo de bajarse "J'un Oeil", no dude en hacerlo también con "Stadaconé", los únicos dos trabajos de esta banda canadiense que supo ganarse el afecto musical de muchísima gente, son atemporales, ingeniosos, muy buenos músicos, y manejaron un sonido totalmente original para los años de entonces.
Otra de las bandas que cayeron al blog cabezón para iluminar algunos corazones.
Mago Alberto

Y como si todo esto fuera poco tenemos tambièn las palabras de nuestro columnista involuntario de siempre, con su siempre atinado comentario, veamos a ver qué es lo que dice:


Con este, su segundo y ultimo trabajo, la banda quebequense Sloche culmino una carrera demasiado breve para la brillantez y frescura creativa que ostentaba a raudales. ‘Stacadone’ fundamentalmente sigue por el camino trazado por el debut ‘J’un Oeil’, con la salvedad de que en esta ocasion Sloche opta por priorizar mas notoriamente sus inclinaciones por lo jazzero: en este sentido queda claro que la huella de Return to Forever y Weather Report queda marcada de forma patente; ademas, la banda empieza a presentar un bloque sonoro mas fuerte en lineas generales, aunque no por ello llega a renunciar a las sutilezas y texturas ni a la presencia de pasajes serenos y evocativos dentro de su nuevo repertorio. Las cadencias mas recurrentes de la seccion ritmica me recuerdan casi todo el tiempo a la asombrosa dupla Shulman-Weathers que tan exquisitos resultados a dado a Gentle Giant. Dado el resultado inmaculadamente coherente del producto final de ‘Stadacone’, muchos lo consideran como el mejor trabajo de Sloche, y yo me inclino a suscribir el diagnostico. Los pasajes vocales son menores en cantidad que los del primer disco, y principalmente sirven para añadir colores extra a la paleta sonora de los instrumentos.
El extenso tema de entrada (dura 10 minutos) es un indicio claro de la orientacion general del disco, bastante proclive a incluir jams bien armados donde el lucimiento de los solos de teclado y guitarra mantienen un nivel de destreza medido para que nunca exploten en desbordes descontrolados, y una base ritmica solida que sabe mantener un swing elegante y contagioso. Un momento raro del disco consiste en un breve pasaje de organo y coro de tono gregoriano, ejecutado con espiritu de fina satira. Los siguientes tres temas siguen por una vertiente constante y similar, con un acento funky especialmente marcado en ‘Ad Hoc’. El quinto tema, ‘La ‘Baloune’ de Varenkurtel au Zythogala’, transita por senderos un poco mas reposados, e incluso diria solemnes, con un trabajo melodico sensible y evocativo, ejecutado con absoluta fineza: en este tema parecen acercarse mas a lo que hacen bandas Canterbury tales como Gilgamesh y Hatfield & the North. El tema de cierre es una apoteosis progresiva que se extiende hasta los 11 minutos de duracion: es la pieza mas fastuosa del disco, y si me permiten decirlo, es mi favorito del repertorio integro de Sloche. En varias ocasiones Sloche se deja empapar por los juegos contrapuntisticos y delicadas disonancias de corte Gentle Giant, y en algunos momentos, tambien parcialmente a la magica majestuosidad del ‘Relayer’ de Yes. Claro esta, el espiritu predominante sigue siendo el de la onda jazz fusion, pero sin duda lo sinfonico asume aqui un papel mas relevante que en ninguna otra seccion de ‘Stadacone’.
En suma, un excelente disco diseñado para ser disfrutado por aquellos que aman el prog con inmensos y exquisitos tintes jazzeros.
Cesar Mendoza

Si vemos la puntuaciòn que tiene este disco en Progarchives, està muy cerca de la puntuaciòn màxima que puede tener un disco (5 estrellas), puntuaciòn màxima que no han logrado joyas de la discografìa de Gentle Giant, Yes, Genesis, Jethro Tull o el que sea, así que se daràn cuenta que varios consideran a este disco al mismo nivel que discos como "Relayer", "Fragile" o "Close to the Edge", como para que se hagan una idea.

SLOCHE were a 70's prog fusion band from Quebec Canada who left behind 2 incredible albums of the highest calibre. Frozen somewhere in the fusion/prog vein "Stadacone" features standout musicianship and sophisticated song writing. Instrumentally this album is unforgettable with great 70's analog keyboards (Hammond B3, Mini-moog, clavinet and piano), great soaring guitar, bass and drum interplay. "Stadacone" is essentially an instrumental album with a bit of talking and chanting throughout. Musically these guys were awesome and really fall in the range of classic GENESIS, YES, GENTLE GIANT and The MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA. The album also features 2 great epic tracks with "Stadacone" and "Isacaaron" each over 10 mins giving the songs lots of room to explore. Both SLOCHE albums are to kill for and are very much essential in your collection.
loserboy

4.5 stars really!!! With a slightly changed line-up (drummer being replaced and an extre percussionist also), Sloche made an incredible confirmation with their second album, the stunning Amerindian-laced artwork covered Stadaconé. Still headed by the double keyboard attack and having plenty of back-up by their guitarist and the rest of the band, Stadaconé is relatively close to their debut although more towards Mahavishnu and GG, than the debut. One of the odd thing about this album is that it is dedicated to Pierre Boucard who helped write the two epics and that the album was recorded intwo distinct sessions produced by Ouellet for one and Desbien (who had done such a great job on their debut)
Opening 10-min+ title track is already warning us that this album will be slightly more disjointed, but nothing to be alarmed: the spirit of J'un Oeuil is still there. The music is definitely funkier, sometimes even reaching the level of Hancock's sextant or Headhunter (well, maybe not Headhunter ;-). Second is the only sung track (another slight change from the debut) of the album Cosmophile which brings us right back into their debut album, while one of the KB players plays a rare sax solo, too bad the song ends in a fade-out. Sauver Barbara is an organ-drenched syncopated funky jazz-rock that can help raise your mother-in-law from the dead (provided she is not too deeply buried of course, her name is Barbara and you cannot find her stash of dough ;-) while the second side opens on the Ad Hoc highlight and takes you towards a heavenly trip. Yet another short track (outside the two monster epics book-ending the album all other tracks are below the 5 min 30 mark) La Baloune is full of great ambiances with Murray again on woodwinds. Isacaaron is the splendid closing GG-esque track that is giving its all-out effort for the album's personality compared to its debut.
Most classical proghead fans will prefer their debut album, while the fusionhead will enjoy this album, but no matter what both albums are immensely successful and it is a complete shame Sloche will never be able to record a third album. Personally I prefer the debut to this album, mostly on the strength of much more present vocals, which despite their mostly instrumental nature was one of their strength.
Sean Trane

4.8/5.0
If you like Sloche first album (J'un oeil), you will surely enjoy this one. The whole album is marvelous, but the first song (Stadaconé) is probably even more than that. The second the song starts, you know you listen to something "special". The sound is professional, rock-solid, way above much of the music made at that time. In my other review on the band, I talked about some Gentle Giant influences, along with what seems to be some Canterbury jazz-fusion, but I forgot to talk about another very popular group at that time in Québec: Maneige. If you like Maneige (especially Libre- Service, which is in my opinion one of their best album), you will surely like Sloche.
I gave Stadaconé 4.8, slightly below the 4.9 I gave for J'un oeil. Those are clearly very high ratings, but I rest my case: this band is awesome: this is the best jazz-prog band I ever listened to. The music is refreshing, new, and I feel like been on acid while listening to the craziness of this music. I'd like to find better words to explain how great this album is, but the best thing I would recommand is to look for Hughes Chantraine review. He RARELY gives 5 stars, and he gave both Sloche album 5 stars (well for this one he gave 4 stars, but said 4.7, which in my opinion is closer to 5 stars than to 4! ;-) ) Another recommandation would be to get up and go buy this album! You will not regret it!
belz

Second and last release by Québécois quintet Sloceh, Stadaconé signlalled the culmination of a great jazz-related progressive rock career that ended too soon (like so many other cases... fellow Québécois act Et Cetera even released only one album). Stadaconé in many ways follows in the vein of the debut effort J'un Oeil, only this time Sloche chooses to prioritize its jazzy side more noticeably. Influences from return to Forever and Weather Report leave their patent marks in the way that the fivesome channel their compositions through their exquisite performative dynamics and agile arrangements. The melodic ideas are not usually tha tcomplex, but the band's inherent drive to bring colorfulness and muscle to their performances allow the guys to take full advantage of the material's potential. The sonic amalgam tends to be stronger in comparison, but by no means Sloche stops inserting delicious passages on the softer side of things. The rhythm duo reminds me a lot of the Shulman-Weathers scheme that had meant so much for the enhancement of the best GG songs. The long opening instrumental (it lasts 10 minutes) bears a clear hint at the line of work preferentially pursued in the entire album: developments of well-ordained jams, candid melodic bases, evident yet constrained complexity in the various guitar and keyboard solos. One weird moment is the brief passage of orga nand chorale that emulates a Gregorian chant: there is an edge of refined satyre in there, but it is pretty much controlled... don't expect a Zappa extravaganza. The next three tracks continuously reinstate the jazz-oriented drive, which by now has to be quite familiar to the listener. There are especially accentuated funky puntuations in the rhythmic sturcture of 'Ad Hoc'. Track no. 5, entitled 'La 'Baloune' de Varenkurtel au Zythogala', travels trhough serene trends, even solemn. The melodic framework is sweet and evocative, providing a powerful connection with the eerie side of the Canterbury tradition (Gilgamesh, mostly), as well as Happy the Man. The closing track has to be described as a tremendous 11 minute prog apotheosis. It is indeed the most pompous piece in the album, and I am tempted to state that it is Sloche's most accomplished compositional effort. The use of Gentle Giant-ish counterpoints and some Bardens-meets-Watkins powerful keyboard orchestrations assure the presence of a tight lyricism all through the jams. In some passages, I can also notice some relatedness with the peculiar majesty that Yes delivered in their Relayer days. All in all, despite the symphonic tendencies alluded in these specific words, Sloche basically remains loyal to the album's integral prog-jazz direction. In conclusion, Stadaconé is an album full of colors and warmth, created with inventiveness and performed with total finesse, enjoyable all the way. Sloche is a mandatory name in any good prog collection.
Cesar Inca

Not as good as their amazing debut in my opinion. I think the biggest disappointment for me is the lack of vocals that really added a special flavour to the debut. All things said though the playing here is flawless.
"Stadacone" opens with a light and bouncey rhythm before it changes a minute in when the guitar arrives. An excellent soundscape 3 minutes in as bass, keys and drums lead the way. Synths come and go. Some rare vocals after 7 minutes with organ then it kicks back in. The song continues to change and I like the organ 9 minutes in. "Le Cosmophile" opens with synths and organ as heavy drums come and go. A change after 1 1/2 minutes as the tempo picks up. It gets a little funky here. Some excellent vocals after 3 minutes. Sax before 4 minutes and organ follows. "Il Fault Sauver Barbara" opens with a catchy rhythm before synths come in. It's back again (the rhythm) until it settles before 2 1/2 minutes then some powerful organ kicks in briefly. Settles again then kicks back in. Well you get the picture. I do like the atmosphere when it settles each time.
"Ad Hoc" is different with the guitar sounding processed at first then becoming normal and leading the way before a minute. Nice bass lines here with atmospheric synths, but it's the guitar that is the focus. "La Balqune De Varenkurtel Au Zythogala" is a pleasant sounding song with synths, keys, drums and bass standing out. "Isacaaron (Ou Le Demon Des Choses Sexuelles)" begins with drums before keys, sax and organ come in. A calm before 1 1/2 minutes then it starts to build. Piano and drums 3 1/2 minutes in lead the way. The sound changes 7 minutes in and i like it. Then we get lots of changes the rest of the way.
The debut was more fun, humerous and free although we get glimpses of these here as well. Great album !
John Davie

Second (and last) album of excellent Canadian fusion band. Absolutely unknown band in Europe. This album, besides of Canada, was re-released in Japan only.
Every jazz-rock fusion fan will find on this album all the best this genre invented in mid 70-s. Mostly keyboards driven, music is filled with excellent guitar sound as well. Drumming is jazzy and accented in sound mixing, but it doing a sound even more modern. Hammond sound is on the level of the best prog rock bands of that time, but sound in total are more jazz rock than prog rock.
Compositions all are melodic and played with perfection, common atmosphere is fresh and optimistic (without cheese traces at all). Few songs have pleasant French vocals.
I found this band relatively late, and till now I wonder how so great band stayed so best kept secret for millions of fusion fans almost till now. Differently from some leading bands of its time, music there is well balanced, without soloing and back-up instruments, and for me it is more plus than minus.
One of the best jazz-rock albums from mid 70-s! Absolutely must have for any serious fusion fan.
Really 4,5, rounded to 5.
snobb

Sloche's second album is much like its first; once again, the emphasis is mainly on instrumental passages (in fact, there's no vocals at all this time around), the symphonic influences from the debut sound scaled back to me, and the style is once again fusion- oriented. I'm not as thrilled by it as it seems many others are, but I guess everyone has a few bands that they ought to like given their personal tastes but, for whatever reason, just don't "click" with them - Sloche are evidently one of mine. Once again, I won't go below three stars because I can see how others might quite like this album; if you follow the output of the Quebec scene of the late 1970s, you'll probably find it a great pick.
W. Arthur

This is really essential stuff.
Not only for fusion-lovers, but also for Canterbury-scene-enthousiast, because the music reminds me a bit of Caravan and Soft Machine but also Kraan and Gentle Giant.
There's not much guitar (except on Ad Hoc, wich is mostly a rock-song), but loads of keyboards (hammond, clavinet, rhodes), drums/percussion, bass and saxophone.
The music is mostly instrumental and has lots of rhythmic chances but it all flows so naturally, that it's disturbing. The songwriting and musicianship is impeccable.
A real must-have for lovers of Canterbury, jazz/fusion, instrumental sympho/progrock and light psychedelica. The Québec-progscene really delivered some of the greatest bands in the 70's (Sloche, Maneige, Harmonium). Great stuff and they can hold their own in comparison to the Krautrock and Canterbury-scenes.
Kingsnake

In general, this album is like a more listenable Mr Bungle album that was released 15 years too early, and by Canadians, no less. Sloche leaves the Yes-influenced tracks from the previous album by the wayside, in favor for what I would call bipolar Dadaist jazz funk. On tracks like "Il Faut Sauver Barbara", the band coasts effortlessly from every idiom of Prog possible: an intro that has the harmonic sensibilities of a Canterbury scene artist like Gilgamesh, Pink Floyd-esque phase-shifted and Leslie guitars, and sonic hijacking a la Frank Zappa or King Crimson. Songs like the title track or "Ad Hoc" show that the band can groove like there's no tomorrow. All in all, I can't really find a weak track, except for "Le Cosmophile" possibly. There aren't many bad things I can say about this album at all. A band with TWO keyboardist deserves a five-star rating
HoldsworthIsGod

As every french canadian with a babyboomer father who loves prog music, I had this album in my collection. It was a chance, 'cause now most of the Quebec prog-music is burnt into fire or completly forgotten in limbo. What a shame for a so genius musical culture... Thanks for my international friends who have taken notice of this chef d'oeuvre of prog-music. Great album, great sounds, great musicians. Humors, sophisticated rythms, terrific keyboards, nice voices, ingeniosity, powerful bass moments. Well, these guys know what "progressive rock" means. A must !!!
silenciel

A fine album from this little-known Canadian jazz-fusion outfit. 'Stadacone' is a collection of strong compositions and playing, and while it does get just a bit demonstrative occasionally, it never really degrades to the self-indulgence of ,say, Return to Forever. All band members possess impressive chops (a must in fusion), but more importantly, they can definitely write a good melody, and throw in sophisticated jazz harmonies when needed.
The album opens with the title track, which sees the band opting for a simple, funky blues approach; thus, the focus here is naturally on lengthy improvisations, which are skilled and tasteful enough to keep the listener impressed and attentive. 'Le Cosmophile' is rather weak - the weakest point on the album, in fact - as, despite neat arrangements, it has nothing spectacular to latch onto. Fortunately, things get back in order with 'Il Faut Sauver Barbara', an energetic number with plenty of dissonance to keep Gentle Giant fans happy. 'Ad Hoc'' begins in a rather tame, funky manner, but eventually picks up with wonderfully melodic interludes that make it totally worthwhile. 'La Baloune' is another laidback number, highlighted by beautiful chord progressions. The band smartly saves the best track until the end: 'Isacaaron' is the ultimate treat, a perfect combination of beauty, complexity and creativity. A percussion intro gives way to a short, but lovely dissonant part, which in turn heads into a slow, slightly menacing section with strong intricate riffing. The real standout here is the pianist, who takes over in the fourth minute with brilliant passages including great use of the whole-tone scale. The last few minutes feature bring more of the dissonant riffs akin to those on the earlier track 'Il Faut.'. This number is certainly one of the masterpieces of prog.
On the whole, the album is fusion done right. These guys certainly require more recognition than what they've got, and deserve be mentioned alongside the established greats of the genre.
Pafnutij

Sloche was one solid jazz-rock-fusion band from Quebec in the 70's of last century. I haven't heard the first record of them yet (the parcel is already "in transit"). Therefore unfortunately I have no chance to compare what album is better... but in the beginning...maybe it doesn't matter. So - Stadacone is their second and last effort and quite likeable listening. In my oppinion maybe shorter compositions are more interesting to listen here because of completely juicy sounds (and in addition some vocal harmonies in Le Cosmophile of course). Isacaaron is intelligent composition and in my oppinion better than Stadacone... but... unfortunately with only particular "full-juicy" sounds. I think that the first time in my review-writing history I have so "king size" problem: how many stars must I give to... No three and nor four... This record is IMO worth... about 3,6 stars - maybe more close to four - it means - in case of year end - approximately 4!!!
Rainer Rein



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