The upper reaches, or Chicoutimi and Jonquiere as they are known to international readers, of the Saguenay River in Quebec may seem as far as you can go from Anglo rock centres. Yet, prog rock flourished in some of the most remote places in the seventies – Quebec and Italy are two examples. Bands like Octobre and Et Cetera, Morse Code Transmission and Maneige were seen here in la belle provinciale. Sloche, Saguenay’s prog rock icons, had been around since 1971. But their lineup was solidified after pianist Rejean Yacola, a recent graduate of Conservatoire de Musique du Quebec (organ and synths), Caroll Berryard (guitar), Pierre Hebert(bass) and Gilles Chiasson (“drums”) joined forces with Martin Murray (organ, synths), Pierre Hebert, (bass), and Pierre Hebert (bass). In 1975, the band’s lengthy-running debut, J’un Oeil (a musically complex affair), seemed to have fallen out of the sky. J’un Oeil represents prog at its best. “C’pas la fin du Monde” opens with spacy synths and morphs into a funky Rhodes piano before transforming into a trippy interlude. Then it returns to its groovy conclusion. This disc is largely instrumental and evokes Hatfield, Gentle Giant, Stomu Yamashta, and other space-jazz artists like the North, Gentle Giant, and even Stomu Yamashta. Even the vocal harmony, such as the title track’s, is a delight. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that J’un Oeil went almost unnoticed outside of its native province, prog’s last days. Sloche would add another disc to their musical legacy the next year, the slightly underachieving Stadacone, before apparently falling off the musical radar. from

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