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

2017-05-19
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...

Azalia Snail - Escape Maker – Anyone remember when indie rock really was far-out and "alternative?" Welcome to the lo-fi, do-it-yourself world of Azalia Snail, an eccentric, individualistic woman with an intensely...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues