Engoulevent - l'Ile ou Vivent les Loups/Etoifilan
I'm not really a big collector of rare albums; I just don't have the stomach for the budget of it and there is so much that I have to listen to in my work that chasing down out of print vinyl doesn't have big appeal. But the last few things that I bothered to track down and pay 'collector' prices for were both Quebeçois items; the self-titled, first album by Contraction and L'Engoulevent, both of which basically did live up to the hype and were worth the $30.00 - $40.00 that they cost. How nice to see that both of them have been reissued from the master tapes by ProgQuebec and generally available. Basically, this is as nice of a folk/progressive mixture as you will ever hear and it comes with their incredibly rare second album as a bonus! Recommended for fans of this style.
"While many progressive groups from Quebec and elsewhere mixed folk with rock during the 70s, few did so with as much beauty and complexity as l'Engoulevent. A musical marriage between established folk-rock veteran Michel McLean and classically-influenced pianist Pierre Moreau, l'Ile ou Vivent les Loups takes the best aspects of both, with beautiful acoustic timbres used in surprisingly complex harmonic ways. With the other two members playing violin and cello, and an array of guest musicians, the same piece can sound first like a reel, then like a chamber quartet. The second Engoulevent album is the soundtrack for a children's book...the album consists of musical interpretations by Michael McLean and performed by the same band. There are elements (horn parts, keyboard solos, tuned percussion) that take this music outside the realm of folk-rock and into progressive rock as conventionally interpreted. The whole album runs only 25 minutes. This second album is more obscure and quite rare but is becoming more sought after now that it's considered an Engoulevent album."