Thursday, April 19, 2012

Mimi Lorenzini and Ann Ballester - Orchestra II (1983) [Post-Edition Speciale]

Imagine my excitement when I looked on my wife's laptop the other day and saw a folder called "best prog" and I jumped up saying, "finally, you're into my music!" Her laughter was my disappointment: it was the best programs she (as psychologist) had designed for her work in the IBI therapy of autistic children... Well, you know by now what my wife's comments are about this music: "it all sounds the same to me-- are you sure you're not just getting the same record over and over again?" Needless to say this statement drives me crazy. Or "I guess they were all on drugs back then..." Or remember her immortal comment: "another toto blanke??"

Well, things got to a head this past week when she saw the postman come day after day delivering those big square packages that could only be records, and each time she said with increasing frustration, "another one?" So yesterday she told me she got her revenge by buying a new pair of shoes. Unfortunately for me the equation goes: one pair zanotti shoes = 9 records (on average)...
I wonder what the experience of others is (our very own master shige for ex.) in the same situation, if he has to use a secret credit card for his purchases too? Of course this kind of secrecy can work against you in a marriage, she might be wrongly imagining I'm spending thousands on records each month. (When in reality, I'm spending thousands in massage parlours.)

Obviously that was a joke. And what about the lonely world we live through with our tiny minority taste-- will progressive ever become more popular in the future, or, considering the average age of the true fan of two score plus or four dozen plus, is it likely to die off in a generation? Will we really be like the monks of the dark ages, preserving for the future the greatest music the human mind could ever create? Or will it all die off when we do, and digital files can no longer be exchanged in an altogether different world post-population peak? In my darkest moments (i.e. every second) I certainly believe this is true, it has happened before, in fact, every civilization before ours has collapsed in time. I know my dear brother Shige disagrees: "Keep the fire of prog burning!"

Edition Spéciale are by far my favourite prog-fusion group from France, if not from anywhere in the world. From progarchives:

"Martial "Mimi" Lorenzini, one of France's most famous guitarists for his contribution to Canterbury band TRIANGLE, got together with female singer/keyboard player Ann Ballester, bass player Josquin Turenne des Prés and drummer Jean-François Bouchet D'Angely to form ÉDITION SPÉCIALE in 1975. Their style of groovy, accessible jazz-rock is highly comparable to that of RETURN TO FOREVER and BRAND X. Their first album "Allée des Tilleuls" received mixed reviews, in part due to Ann's vocals that spoiled the effect of the excellent musicianship. Featuring virtuoso drummer and newcomer Alain Gouillard, the subsequent "Aliquante" and "Horizon Digital" were a definite improvement. Gouillard's drumming is so tight he could probably rival Bill Bruford. Both albums are rhythmic concepts based on very complex tempo cuts, where the guitar and violin interplay will remind the listener of MAHAVISHNU. Two [3 -- ed.] excellent albums of world-class French fusion."

Good descriptor, though I think the first album is genius too. The duo went on to record more records after the break-up of the band in the eighties, including this slightly less fusion outing, more mainstream jazz and classical-composed, but in a sense it is definitely a follow-up to the amazing Edition Speciale records, taking into account the changing of the guard in that era, wherein progressive and hard fusion were no longer in style, sadly. Same thing as we saw happened to my favourite underrated genius Toto Blanke.

Moving forward into the nineties, from Discogs:
" After having worked together during the Seventies in the same Progressive rock band EDITION SPECIALE, Mimi LORENZINI and Ann BALLESTER unite again for new musical adventures, accompanied by bass-player Jean-Luc PONTHIEUX. The three of them are famous and experimented musicians of the French school, and they perform a kind of music definitely rooted in a mainly acoustic and strongly Americanised jazz. However, it also shows exotic or ethnic ideas, and is particular due to its brilliant and truly elaborated guitar style. Recorded in 1999 on Musea Parallèle, "Question De Temps" is the second record by this band, after the excellent "Le Diable Bleu" (1994).

What an impressive musician this Lorenzini was, particularly when you listen to the ever-inventive riffs he came up with for Ed. Speciale.

His discographie until the present :

TRIANGLE ( 3 albums et plusieurs 45 T chez E.M.I )
RENÉ URTREGER - Album compilation sur les pianistes français
EDITION SPECIALE ( 3 albums chez RCA )
5tet ORCHESTRA 5 ( Muséa )
1994 Le Diable Bleu, Lorenzini . Ballester . Ponthieux dist Harmonia Mundi
1996 Percussive Compagnie-Philippe Laccarriere dist Harmonia Mundi
1997 BLUE PHEDRE- François TUSQUES dist Harmonia Mundi
2002 Percussive Compagnie-Philippe Laccarriere - acte 2 -
2004 Sortie du CD en duo D’Improvisation (F.Toullec/M.Lorenzini) avec pour invité le poète et comédien J. Luc Debattice

In this record we get that really gorgeous old progressive melancholy carpe diem french sound with the intro 'ballade' (thanks to that intergalactic synth sound), moving into an almost-ed.speciale guitar tune in 'bip bop,' then some pat metheny-like wordless singing on 'feria' in an annoying nod to the eighties, but listen to the incredible fourth track on side 1, 'La ville en rose--' even the title recalls the old group's 'ville en beton'. The two duet quite remarkably on this track moving through some unusual minor chords. Equally the title track has some reminiscences of the old days in the 70s... ah those beautiful angular tritonal prog days of hammering guitars and space-synths!!! (sigh) Beautiful Sophia Domancich guests on the track Salsita from side 2. Note the last track, Grasy M, starts with Bill Evans' chords from Blue in Green.

In some sense this record makes me sad when I think of how much it sounds like the old progressive masters, but is lacking that genius spark of unconventionality and hard amplified guitar/synth edge. In another sense I'm happy to hear more from a group I love so so profoundly. Then the sad desolation returns when I remember how wonderful and beautiful it was to discover those 3 Edition Speciale albums for the first time so many years ago, with my old proverbial friend...

Sample track, the prelude-like intro to the album:


Tristan Stefan said...


Unknown said...

Fabulous, long expected album - finally.

Grazias Amigo 'Loco'! ;=))

Tristan Stefan said...
this mp3


WOW ! Many Thanks

ThE cX MaN said...

Tristan, this blog is definitively the best site EVER!

I follow you discontinuosly from 2008, but from the last 2 years i checked the blog one time a day.

Fantastic gems of Progressive Rock, and really interesting (and joking) post and comment.

Really many thanks for your work! (and excuse my English language). Thank to you, Isabel, Shige, and all the other who contribute to this fantastic world!

I'm progressive lover, and I have completed two full years of PNF, slowly but determinate, i want to complete all PNF collection!

Keep Prog alive!

Mario, Genova, Italy

Tristan Stefan said...

keep the fire of prog burning all over the world-- thanks for kind comments

Anonymous said...

Hello Tristan,
You forgot to tell us what are you going to eat for lunch & dinner.


soundvoyeur said...

Righteous review. You certainly should be (if you aren't already) a (PAID) music critic/journalist. Hilario

Anonymous said...

Edition Spéciale 1976 album "allée des Tilleuls" has finally been reissued on vinyl and it sounds great! Check it out on Golden Pavilion Records

Anonymous said...

Why do men get together with women who have nothing in common?

Tristan Stefan said...

because it makes life more interesting?

Tristan Stefan said...

Actually, when I forced my wife to read this post her answer was, "but I do like your progressive music!" to which I said, "Yeah, but it's a lot funnier if I say you hate it, right, and then you got shoes as revenge" "Well, I did get the shoes as revenge" "right. And I bought another rare record as revenge for that."

Anonymous said...

Hi, it's me, your cccp friend. yes i remember when you asked me for edition speciale and rich helped us out that was long time ago and a lot happened since then but i'm glad you ripping again

Tristan Stefan said...

Anonymous said...

plz reupload wav Side A
Link is dead

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