Mar-Vista - Visions of Sodal Ye. 1976 France


Mar-Vista - Visions of Sodal Ye. 1976 Le Kiosque d'Orphee

Most of the new obscure discoveries we encounter upon come through via the CDRWL, but today we have one that has already been reissued. So no need to add a new Priority 2 for CD, since Strawberry Rain has already provided us with one!

CD reissue: 2014 Strawberry Rain (Canada) as "Visions..."

LP reissue: 2014 Strawberry Rain (Canada)

Packaging: The one and only species captured in the wilds, at least with visual evidence, is the first photograph. A complete unknown at the time, that copy went for roughly $100. I suspect that total will jump given it's now a known quantity. Le Kiosque d'Orphee is not a label so much as it is a custom record pressing plant. So it's like the American labels such as RPC or Rite Records, and everything on the label is likely to be obscure, and in some cases, extinct. The CD comes in a fine digi-pak (second scan), with liner notes that fill in the story of how the album came about. The CD also features two excellent and relevant bonus tracks. Though the CD is entitled "Visions...", and the LP cover above says nothing more than "Visions", the liner notes clearly attribute the title to "Visions of Sodal Ye".

Notes: Mar-Vista are the duo of Jean Skowron and Claude Cuvelier. According to the liner notes their influences were a bit more esoteric than the usual suspects and include Terry Riley, Balinese music, Klaus Schulze, Neu!, Tangerine Dream, Ash Ra Tempel, "and the glorious Popol Vuh" as they state. Each side of the album is composed by one of the gentlemen. Side 2's 'Sodal Ye' is Cuvelier's contribution. It's a long electronic piece, in the German spatial tradition. It's well done, and fans of the style (including me) will enjoy it. The real revelation here, though, is Skowron's 5 part 'Vision'. He plays a myriad of instruments including electric and acoustic guitar, synthesizers, electric piano, percussion, organ in addition to taking on the vocal duties. Cuvelier I presume adds in his bank of analog keys as well. The music reminds me of other murky progressive folk albums coming from France, with lots of wild fuzz guitar, haunting acoustic passages, bizarre electronics, mournful vocals, and a wealth of other ideas. This side is a real revelation, and I think fans of the progressive, yet very psychedelic, folk rock underground will eat this up! The two bonus tracks are also excellent. 'Synthetik Way' is another lengthy electronic piece recalling Frenchman Claude Perraudin or the Italian Eletriktus. And 'Crash '73' is a full-on progressive jazz rock number that conjures up bands such as 1970 era Soft Machine (this may have come from an earlier incarnation of the group when they were a larger ensemble - though it's unclear).

Sadly we learn from the liner notes that Skowron is no longer with us. However to finish on a positive note, Cuvelier is back and recording a new album.

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