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

2017-09-06
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more

2017-08-22
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more

2017-07-27
Yestival Dates Beef up the Beat – Word reaches us that Dylan Howe (son of guitarist Steve Howe) will be joining Yes on their "Yestival" tour, drumming alongside longtime band member Alan White. » Read more

2017-05-19
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more

2017-05-05
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Various Artists - Progressive & Melodic Rock Vol. 1 - 3 – Can you say Neo? Do you enjoy the music of bands like Marillion, Rush, Saga and Tears for Fears? Do Univers Zero, Area, Etron Fou and Il Balletto di Bronzo give you nightmares? If the answer to the...  (1994) » Read more

Ancient Future - Planet Passion – The previous release by this SF Bay Area world-fusion unit led by guitarist Matthew Montfort was 1993’s Asian Fusion (reviewed in Exposé #2), so after such a long lapse we were caught off guard...  (2003) » Read more

Kaipa - Solo – Kaipa's third studio album from early '78, and probably their last one of any merit, is a solid effort, instrumentally strong like the previous two, although seeming to encompass a bit more variety...  (1995) » Read more

Alliance - Alliance – Alliance appears to be a group of musicians (while maybe not a band as such) working together in various combinations to produce the music on this disc, around the core of John Fahey (keyboards and...  (1994) » Read more

Robert Berry - Pilgrimage to a Point – Robert Berry has been making music around the San Francisco Bay Area for about 20 years now – maybe longer. Probably his only national attention came during the late 80s when he teamed up with...  (1995) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues