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MIRIODOR – ELEMENTS (2022) (Cuneiform Records)

A welcome return for a Quebec band originating in 1980; this is only their tenth album, their music oft described as if emanating from a parallel universe. And yet there are clear links to bands from this world, like EGG on the rather marvellous ‘Tour de Main’ (Pascal Glabensky’s keys), with the addition of some blazing electric guitar (Bernard Falaise), and Rémi Leclerc’s solid drumming. There are broad hints of some of the early, more explorative Canterbury bands throughout. Miriodor was founded by Pascal and François Émond (RIP) and operate in similar territory to the trilogy of KING CRIMSON albums starting with 1981’s “Discipline”, ART ZOYD, HENRY COW and UNIVERS ZERO.

The band describe their music as rock-oriented post-modern chamber music (the classical influences are particularly evident on ‘Conflit d'Horaires’, a masterful composition). Experimental Jazz is never far away either.‘Boomerang’ is a sizzler of an opener concentrating on synth/ guitar/ keys ‘conversations’; EGG is in quickly(!), the sound of a playground appearing briefly, the whammy bar working overtime on a brief section of crazy jazz that reminded me of a scene in “Twin Peaks” (!), a car starting leading to a cool guitar led jazzy fragment that dissolves into heavier guitar and drums. The keyboard settings are well chosen. ‘Alambic’ is, as one would expect from the title, a more mystical, less whimsical, but equally efficacious piece (I must admit I had to look this up to remind myself that it refers to an alchemical still originating from around 200 AD).

“Elements” was regarded by PROG ARCHIVES as one of the best albums of 2022 and there is plenty evidence here to back this judgement.

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