Exposé Online banner

Pangée — Hymnemonde
((Not on label) no#, 1995, CD)

by Mike McLatchey, 1997-02-01:

Hymnemonde Cover art

I thought this niche of the symphonic rock genre was long dead, but I'm very glad it isn't. Pangée of Quebec, Canada is strongly in the 70s French symphonic vein with heavy nods in the Shylock / Carpe Diem direction. Entirely instrumental with three long tracks, Pangée runs the dynamic gamut and elate the mind with lush keys and those poignant "French" guitar tones. The listener is reminded of those days of tortured themes and angular and oblique melodies. Pangée isn't entirely a 70s throwback though, and even with their debut they've succeeded somewhat in pushing in a different direction. There are flavors of classical music and that musical fusion of early Mike Oldfield that lend a certain somber or calculated aspect to the long symphonically arranged tracks. At times, and slightly too rarely, Pangée erupts in those intense emotional passages that symphonic rock is all about and if they were to carry these out a bit longer, the album would have approached classic status. A great debut really, one of the best of late 1995.


by Peter Thelen, 1997-02-01:

There's been a buzz about this album since early this spring, indeed it was highly touted by all who had heard it, which made this writer both curious and a little suspicious — knowing how things tend to get hyped way out of proportion. After finally tracking a copy down and giving it numerous careful listens, the report is positive. This all-instrumental five-piece from Quebec features a standard four-piece plus violin, with bassist doubling occasionally on clarinet. The album consists of three very long tracks, which seem to be in a constant state of evolution, rarely returning to previously explored themes. The compositions and playing are spirited and at times intense, with plenty of thematic and mood changes that flow together sensibly, yet are unpredictable enough to make even the most demanding prog fans sit up and take note. For stylistic comparisons, one might place their music somewhere between Änglagård and Shylock, with occasional flashes of the free-spirited feel of Krautrock. These connections are strong, but never transparent or derivative. No musician really stands out among the others, all demonstrate that they are extremely capable, yet all work selflessly together as one finely tuned machine. The only downside on the disc is the occasionally muddy sound when things get complicated, and the somewhat low budget production — yet some may note this gives the disc a quasi-70s authenticity (and the periodic use of the Mellotron contributes to this also). Definitely a disc that will demand repeated listens, Hymnemonde is also one that is vying for a spot on this writer's best of '96 list.


by Mike Ohman, 1997-02-01:

Listening to this new Quebecois quintet's début album is like stepping into a time-warp and going back to 1972 Germany. Though it is certainly a new release, it is convincingly 70s sounding, right down to the rather poor recording quality and predilection for cheesy instrumentation (especially the Farfisa organ, which has got to go). Obviously there's some Krautrock influence (part 4 or so of the 20-minute "Quartus Frenesis" begins with a passage of ostinatoing violin, throbbing bass plucks and drum / cymbal clatter that will have you wondering if you may have suddenly stepped into a Can album), it's not as simple as that. Passages of hypnotic improvisation are often followed by complex group riffing, or a spacy passage of organ and acoustic guitar will make way for a ripping synth solo. It's certainly more intricate and multilayered than any Krautrock release I can think of, some passages even remind me a bit of Änglagård! The three long instrumental compositions are certainly hard to pin down, in that it's fiendishly difficult to tell what was, in fact, composed and what was improvised. This indeed may well have been their intent, in which case, they were truly successful. This album really left quite an impression on me, if only for sheer originality and imagination, especially for a debut recording.


Filed under: New releases , Issue 11 , 1995 releases

Related artist(s): Pangée

More info

Latest news

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more

2020-01-10
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more

2020-01-07
Joel Vandroogenbroeck RIP – Word has reached us of the death of Joel Vandroogenbroeck, best known as one of the founders of Brainticket, He also recorded electronic music under a variety of names. He was born August 25th, 1938 in Brussels, Belgium and died December 23, 2019 in Arlesheim, Switzerland, aged 81. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Ash Ra Tempel - The Best of the Private Tapes – Ash Ra Tempel is one of the core founder bands of the German space rock movement along with Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream. But the group has suffered from less stateside notoriety than those previous...  (1999) » Read more

Cro Magnon - Zapp! – An interesting newcomer in the 'Chamber Music Rock' subgenre, this is a Belgian five piece featuring a lineup of dual violins, keyboards, alto and baritone saxes, and bass. Naturally, as might be...  (1993) » Read more

Fern Knight - Blithewold – Adrift in a general flowery provenance, Fern Knight flies its meticulously winsome banner. Heralding the lost folksy souls from that magical acquiescence of nature that flowed effervescently in the...  (2006) » Read more

Gerardo Nuñez - Calima – Calima is a collection of mostly guitar-led tracks in the flamenco style. The twist on this record is that there is a considerable amount of jazz influence as well. Nuñez is accompanied on...  (1999) » Read more

Neil Haverstick - Acoustic Stick – This is a fine release that will appeal equally to fans of pure guitar technique and to fans of good old acoustic jazz and blues guitar. It is definitely tempting to write on and on about how the...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues