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Dionne-Bregent - ...Et le Troisieme Jour

...Et le Troisieme Jour
Capitol - 1976

Michael Panontin
Michel-Georges Bregent and Vincent Dionne never quite broke the sort of ground that, say, John Mills-Cockell did with his bands Interystems and Syrinx, but the Quebec duo's synth-prog opus, 1976's ...Et le Troisieme Jour, is gathering about as much dust as Mr. Mills-Cockell's sinewy synth work, with none of their records very easy to find on CD these days.

As Bregent, keyboardist Michel-Georges had previously teamed up with his vocalist brother Jacques, delivering the mega-rare 1973 set Poussiere des Regrets, a sort of literate prog/free jazz freakout along the lines of Zappa and King Crimson. After a brief spell in Paris on a Canada Council Grant, Bregent returned to Montreal, where he crossed paths with the Chicoutimi (Que)-born percussionist Dionne (himself, also back from France). The pair seemed a perfect fit and, as Dionne-Bregent, set to work on their first record, the mega-virtuosic ...Et le Troisieme Jour.

The blueprint for ...Et le Troisieme Jour had been drawn up several years earlier by the likes of Tangerine Dream, early Kluster, and especially the multi-instrumentation of Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells. With Bregent manning sundry keyboards, pianos and synths and the classically-trained Dionne shoring things up with a vast array of percussive sounds that includes vibraphone, congas, bongos, tubular bells and a gong, the record would have been a godsend to all those mid-seventies hi-fi geeks and their five-grand tubular amp systems. The side-long segue of the ethereal 'Incarnation' and the meandering 'Chant d'espoir' is quite the ride, channelling Steve Reich, Edgar Froese and even a bit of operatic vocal to mostly brilliant effect.

Of course, by late '76 the world was changing fast. Mr. Rotten and Co. had managed to shock lorry drivers all across the U.K. with their foul-mouthed Bill Grundy act, while back here in Canuckistan the Ramones kickstarted the punk scene with their September shows at Toronto's New Yorker Theatre. So it's little wonder that ...Et le Troisieme Jour and its follow-up album, the plainly titled but more accessible Deux, went mostly unnoticed outside la belle province.

(Though tough to find, both records were reissued as a two-disc set by the ProgQuebec label in 2006.)

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