Mosaic

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Mosaic's career was brief and is now largely forgotten, but the only album the French quartet recorded in 1978 remains a puzzling chunk of jazz-rock, of interest to those into the British and French varieties of '70s left-field progressive music. One hears the influence of the more complex groups from the Canterbury Scene (Hatfield and the North, National Health, post-Wyatt Soft Machine), but Canterbury jazz-rock this is not. There is too much fancy, too much madness in the music, bringing it closer in spirit and style to early Henry Cow or France's own Etron Fou Leloublan (without turning that mad) -- Quebec's Sloche also comes to mind. The music presents complex time signatures, insistent electric piano motifs, cello melodies, original guitar solos (Jean-Yves Escoffier, very creative), and delightfully inappropriate, off-the-wall vocals here and there. Highlights include the opener "Un Trop," which will have any Canterbury prog fan excited, "Parapluie FUZZ," and "Mercenaire," the closing track on the original LP. There were only 500 copies of the original LP in circulation. In 2003, MIO Records reissued it, adding a whopping 40 minutes of bonus material, consisting of the four pieces from the group's self-released 1977 cassette, plus a home studio track from 1976. Sound quality takes a little dive in the bonus tracks, but the presence of guest violinist Valentin Bontchev makes it all worthwhile.

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