Exposé Online banner

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

by Mike Ohman, 1997-02-01:

Hymnemonde Cover art

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.


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 McLatchey, 1997-02-01:

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.


Filed under: New releases , Issue 11 , 1995 releases

Related artist(s): Pangée

More info

Latest news

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

2017-05-02
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more

2017-04-16
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Kantata - Samsara – For background information, go dig up a copy of Expose #14, and find the review where I spent half a page trying to describe a CD by Iwan Fals. Here, the XTC/Sting/Cat Stevens-influenced...  (1999) » Read more

Campo di Marte - Campo di Marte – Heaped amidst a surprising number of great 70s Italian prog bands comes this very recent CD reissue, and it is quite remarkable. Perhaps more subtle than some of their contemporaries, this five-piece...  (1994) » Read more

Moby Grape - Moby Grape, Wow, & Grape Jam – One of the very best of the late 60s San Francisco bands (if not the best), Moby Grape's recordings as well as the band's name itself has long been tied up in endless cycles of litigation thanks to...  (2008) » Read more

Deus Ex Machina - De Republica – With their first two albums, Deus Ex Machina quickly established themselves as the darlings of the Italian prog scene, blending heavy rock and complex music in a most original way. Those two releases,...  (1995) » Read more

Tisaris - Once Humanity... – Tisaris' debut, What's Beyond? from 1992, showed them to be a very capable band, but for the most part playing an embarrassingly commercial type of sound, hardly worthy of being called...  (1996) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues