For anyone interested in the music of Ambiances Magnétiques, Conventum's first LP is a must-have. The first significant recording from both René Lussier and André Duchesne, À l'Affût d'un Complot is the first result of years of learning, growing, and workshop writing. Here, the group had coalesced as a guitar quartet (Lussier, Duchesne, Jean-Pierre Bouchard, and Jacques Laurin, the latter on bass) augmented by violinist Bernard Cormier and the poet Alain-Arthur Painchaud. The original LP was released in 1977 by Tamanoir, a label at the heart of the Quebec folklore revival (they launched La Bottine Souriante and Le Reel du Diable). The music therefore draws on folklore (a title like "Les Reels du Conventum" gives a hint), but in a warped way that will remain Lussier's signature sound for years to come. Pieces like the title track, "Le Piège," and "La Ronde" could be described as chamber folk/prog, something like Art Zoyd playing acoustic guitars only with a taste for dissonance. The pieces feature intricate arrangements but simple melodies and structures. The result is beautiful, spellbinding, and unique, even though the Duchesne-led group Les 4 Guitaristes de l'Apocalypso Bar (also featuring Lussier and Bouchard) would later develop an electric sound that was an extension of Conventum's heritage. Less experimental than Le Bureau Central des Utopies, this album will appeal to a larger audience and prog fans in general. The CD reissue on Kozak in 1996 adds 22 minutes of material previously unavailable from a live performance in April 1977, four months before the album was recorded (the track list below is taken from this definitive edition).
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AllMusic Review by François Couture