Ergo Sum — Mexico
(Musea FGBG 4066.AR, 1971/1993, CD)
by Henry Schneider, 1994-02-01:
In the late sixties the French progressive rock scene started to explode with bands. However the major French record labels gave these bands a rough deal. Recognizing this problem after his stint with Magma, Laurent Thibault formed the Theleme label patterned after the English label Island. The name Theleme was inspired by the ideal community depicted in Rabelais’ Gargantua where he glorified happiness and open mindedness in all its forms. Laurent signed his first band Ergo Sum and recorded their debut album Mexico in August 1971. The original album mix was not adequate for the CD medium so Musea remixed Mexico under the direction of Thibault. Besides the remix and reordering of the tracks, Musea included the bonus tracks "All’s So Comic," "Tijuana," "It’s Me," and a short instrumental excerpt of "Mexico." Ergo Sum were excellent musicians who played a complex music reminding me of Jethro Tull, Zao, Magma, and It’s A Beautiful Day. What puzzles me most about Ergo Sum was their choice in vocalists. Lionel Ledissez’ grating gravely voice totally destroyed the listening pleasure of this album. He sounds as if his voice is barely under control. The slightest bit of effort on Ledissez’ part causes it to distort and disintegrate with the result being indecipherable English lyrics. The only song where his voice complements the music is "Mexico" where Ledissez sounds like a bandito who has had too much mescal. It is a shame. This album contains some wonderful violin solos reminiscent of David Laflamme and equally magnificent Hammond organ licks. I have mixed reactions to Mexico and cannot recommend this reissue.
by Peter Thelen, 1994-02-01:Ergo Sum was an early French progressive band, a six-piece featuring flute and violin, as well as the standard guitars, bass, drums and keyboards, plus a vocalist (Lionel Ledissez) who sounds remarkably like Richie Havens. This is a very strong album, but its strength may not be apparent at first listen, Ledissez' voice does take a little time to get accustomed to, which may seem a little out-of-place in a progressive setting, but before long the power of this album becomes apparent, the melody, energy and unique character of the band support Ledissez' abrasive voice well, and the writing is top-notch. For the record, the vocals are sung in English, and the lyrics are quite good. Also included on the CD are the A and B sides of two singles released by the band.
Related artist(s): Ergo Sum
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more
Steve Roach / Michael Stearns / Ron Sunsinger - Kiva – Stearns and Roach have collaborated before on 1989's Desert Solitaire as have Stearns and Sunsinger more recently on Singing Stones. For all three this is the first project together and is a... (1996) » Read more