Exposé Online banner

Malicorne — La Bestiaire
(Le Roseau SMA 140002, 1979/2015, CD)

Malicorne — En Public
(Le Roseau SMA 150004, 1978/2015, CD)

Malicorne — L'Extraordinaire Tour de France d'Adélard Rousseau
(Le Roseau GRI 19186 2, 1978/2005, CD)

by Mike McLatchey, 2018-02-22:

La Bestiaire Cover artEn Public Cover artL'Extraordinaire Tour de France d'Adélard Rousseau Cover art

En Public:

Malicorne began to evolve their sound considerably after moving to the Ballon Noir label, starting with L'Extraordinaire Tour de France d'Adélard Rousseau, Dit Nivernais la Clef des Cœurs, Compagnon Charpentier du Devoir, changing up the structures and adding a more electric element to their sound, but they took a step back to the traditional with their first live album, recorded in Montreal, Canada. It was something of a survey of their earlier work all the way back to the pre-Malicorne Pierre de Grenoble album, played with the power and proficiency of a band at their peak. It managed to cover all of the band's strengths from the faster paced work to some incredible a cappella moments, but it's perhaps anchored down by the somber ballad "L'Ecolier Assassin" at the end of the first side. This was really the Malicorne album that first hooked me and subsequently opened up all the earlier ones. The breadth of their sound, from the deepest droning of the hurdy gurdy to the lighter touches of the violins and flute (with a guest stop by Gryphon's Brian Gulland), really resonates on this excellent recording, transporting one back to an earlier time while keeping it grounded in the present by the way it pushes arrangements in newer directions.


by Mike McLatchey, 1997-10-01:

France's rich folk culture, much of it from the Breton (Brittany) province, has provided listeners with a seemingly unknown but vast treasure trove of incredible progressive Celtic music. This scene, largely unknown to American progressive listeners, but equally as valid in an innovative sense as fusion, symphonic rock, or electronic music, has spawned a great number of groups that have taken this ancient music and updated it in a number of diverse ways. Malicorne is possibly the finest of all these groups; nearly all of them began with Alan Stivell (with whom Malicorne leader Gabriel Yacoub was an early collaborator) and his influence spawned groups such as Gwendal, La Bamboche, La Chiffonie, guitarist Dan Ar Braz (who guests on L'Extraordinaire Tour de France...) and many more of high caliber. These are Malicorne's sixth, seventh, and eighth albums, all released on the Ballon Noir label at the turn of the 70s. The latter two may be amongst their finest output (although their early Hexagone albums, long ago reissued on CD, are all worth checking out) as the experimental quotient was at its most profound. L'Extraordinaire Tour de France... isn't quite as good as some of their early albums with a more traditional feel, yet it's quite indicative of their overall sound featuring all of their classic trademarks — Celtic traditionals updated in a more rock format, overwhelmingly beautiful a cappella medieval songs, and a distinct Parisienne interest in French "chanson" music. The diversity of Malicorne's vision here has to be listened to to be experienced; the vocals of Gabriel and Marie Yacoub (not to mention the rest of the band) bring to life the profound feeling of spirituality that imbues the best Celtic music. The album is also conceptual, yet my poor French helps naught in translating the lengthy booklet. My personal favorite, and indeed one of my favorite 20 albums of all time, is En Public, a live album recorded at El Casino in Montreal, Canada. This is an amazing album featuring many tracks from their first five studio albums, the morose and haunting "L'Ecolier Assasin," several well put together medleys of many classic tracks, the definitive "Le Mariage Anglais," and the beautiful closer "C'est le Mai." It's astounding that a band like this could be so tight with a minimum of percussion (no true drum set on this album as there is on the other two reviewed here); this truly may be the finest live album of progressive Celtic music ever released. Le Bestiaire showed Malicorne taking chances, yet unfortunately was probably their last excellent album, as the move to Elektra and a more refined and pop oriented sound was to be their eventual downfall. Le Bestiaire was quite excellent in itself, there are some of their best vocals-only tracks here and some of the music is updated in an even more modern way than previously, such as the opening track "Les Sept Jours de Mai," an interesting fusion of folk and beat-oriented rock. Malicorne were one of a kind, a group of extraordinary quality whose music I can't recommend highly enough. (Also available on Acousteak is a compilation of Malicorne's vocals-only tracks entitled Vox.)


Filed under: New releases , Issue 13 , 2015 releases, 1979 releases, 2015 releases, 1978 releases, 2005 releases, 1978 releases

Related artist(s): Dan Ar Braz, Malicorne

More info

Latest news

2019-10-06
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more

2019-08-20
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Glass Hammer - The Inconsolable Secret – One could arguably claim that this release finds American prog band Glass Hammer at the top of their game, which probably explains the scope of this effort. First of all, it s a two-disk set in a...  (2006) » Read more

Tangerine Dream - Mota Atma – I suppose it goes without saying that since the early 70s Tangerine Dream has been through a lot of changes, both in style and personnel. The 2003 incarnation on this soundtrack features Edgar and...  (2004) » Read more

Matraz - Tiempo – By now I guess it’s safe to say more people know Matraz from their second album (Gritaré, reviewed in #30) than from this, their first. With this reissue, we’re all getting another...  (2005) » Read more

Seatrain - Watch – The Blues Project is remembered as an innovative, somewhat erratic band of the mid-60s who combined rock with folk, blues, and jazz. In 1967 they split up, with some members going on to form Blood,...  (2003) » Read more

Silver Apples - Beacon – Last issue you read about Silver Apples being active and touring again, now there's a brand new record by the trio of Simeon (oscillators, keys, voice), Xian Hawkins (keyboards), and Michael...  (1998) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues