Opus-5 - Contre-Courant. 1976 Canada
CD reissues: 1989 Aller Retour; 2006 Unidisc
Opus-5 asks us: "Is it abnormal to speak French?". Which would be the only English lyric on the entire album. That should give you some insight into this band's makeup. Perhaps I should just state this: "Contre-Courant" is my favorite album from Quebec. Actually, all of Canada. By far. Imagine the best groups from Quebec like Harmonium, Maneige, Aquarelle, Sloche, Contraction, etc... as played by the Swiss band Circus on the 'Movin' On' suite, with perhaps a touch of Picchio dal Pozzo's first album thrown into the blender. Flute, piano, bass, keys, guitar, French vocals, and insane drumming are the base ingredients. Nothing sits still for more than 5 seconds, and there are dozens of ideas going on at any one time. And yet it remains incredibly melodic throughout. There are no loose improvisations, or experimental noise bits to wait out. The whole album is composed to the last note, and yet it is kinetic, exciting, and exhilarating throughout! 'Il Était Magicien' is the album's best track, but there's isn't a weak moment to be found here. A true masterpiece, and one of my all time favorite albums.
My introduction to the album was the first CD (second scan, from my collection and added to Discogs), which is about as basic a package as you will ever see. A single tray insert with no data. You'll also see this version occasionally with an obi strip as it was distributed in Japan back then as well. I believe this CD had become difficult to source (I bought mine in 1990 not long after it was released), so the Unidisc version will be the one that is easily found today. I think their slight redesign of the cover is more attractive as well (third scan). Unless someone comes along with a much better CD, I'll stick with the Aller Retour for now.
Last update: August 22, 2016