Exposé Online banner

Various Artists — Progression in Balance Vol. 1
(Unicorn Digital UNCR-3010, 2004, CD)

Various Artists — Progression in Balance Vol. 2
(Unicorn Digital UNCR-5024, 2006, CD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2007-03-01

Progression in Balance Vol. 1 Cover artProgression in Balance Vol. 2 Cover art

Quebec’s Unicorn Records, founded in 1996, has been serving primarily as an outlet for Canadian prog-rock bands, though the roster has grown to include groups such as America’s Parallel Mind, Ukraine’s Karfagen and Norway’s Retroheads. The label has become a force within the progressive scene and to better market their burgeoning stable of bands they’ve begun producing compilation disks, these being their first two (not counting the 2004 promotional-only CD Prog-Résiste). Both are good, though Volume 1 is the stronger of the two, stringing together 14 exceptional tracks that understandably spend the most time with the brightest stars in the Unicorn universe, sympho-prog heavyweights Hamadryad and Spaced Out (featuring bass god Antoine Fafard), who each get three slots on the disk. Lesser known groups like Heon, Talisma, and the Martin Maheux Circle also prove themselves to be formidable talents and worthy of further inspection. In fact, excellent production values and performances inhabit every cut on both CDs, even if some don’t care for more mainstream-sounding offerings from Little King, Kaos Moon or Unicorn founder Michel St-Pere’s own group Mystery. But even the more accessible groups have substance behind their recordings, either in the arrangements or the instrumental work. On the other end of the scale are bands like France’s Nil who flirt with avant compositions and performances but always with a rationale and not so abstract that mainstream progressive listeners would lose patience with them. Given that each of these disks is offered at a discounted price ($10 Canadian) there’s every reason for progheads looking for something new to give them a listen.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 34, 2004 releases, 2006 releases

Related artist(s): Hamadryad, Spaced Out, Talisma, Xinema, Mystery, Addison Project, Various Artists

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...

Pelt - Técheöd – Here we have three ambient tracks from a not-so-dark trio on the indie VHF label. According to the label website, the title of this album is pronounced "Tay-hoood," but I'm still not certain what...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues