Québec's Lasting Weep may not have been on the progressive rock scene for very long but they certainly left behind some fantastic musical memories which are clearly evident on this recently released compilation of material. They also created the musical blueprint for one of the most renowned bands ever to emerge from the province in the 70's, Maneige.
The group was formed in 1968 by Jérôme Langlois (guitar, piano, clarinet), Alain Bergeron (flute), Mathieu Léger (percussion) and Claude Chapleau (bass) and while they were able to utilize their backgrounds in classical music training and combine it with progressive rock and jazz to create some very adventurous and challenging music, they were surprisingly unable to secure a record deal. This compilation collects four studio compositions recorded in 1969 coupled with various soundtrack material and two choice live cuts which really shows what kind of fireworks they were capable of in a live setting.
It's quickly evident when listening to the music on this disc that Lasting Weep was most probably ahead of it's time but to put things into perspective the early lengthier tracks stand up quite well in comparison to what Jethro Tull were doing on their debut This Was which was released in the fall of 1968. The band originally started out playing jazz and blues covers of many of the prominent British bands of the day and eventually began to incorporate Bergeron's lengthy flute passages into their own original compositions, seemingly oblivious to what Tull were doing at the same time. While the first four tracks do indeed have an obvious Tull flavor to them it would be wrong to simply dismiss them as JT leftovers as the band works hard through these lengthy progressive explorations to carve out their own identity. Bergeron is probably the one member who gets the most time in the spotlight, however Langlois lays down some absolutely brilliant jazz infused chops whenever the opportunity arises. The soundtrack music shows a different side to the band with its uplifting melodies, however compared to the rest of the material it doesn't seem indicative of what Lasting Weep were really about. The two live cuts recorded towards the end of the band's career shows the group moving away from any earlier influences and one gets the feeling that they were starting to come into their own. Unfortunately even after winning numerous local awards and opening for King Crimson it was not enough to keep the band afloat.
The band began writing their own rock epic called "L'Albatross" in 1972 but sadly they disbanded not long after and the work went uncompleted. While Langlois and Bergeron would go on to form Maneige the following year, Langlois returned to the unfinished epic and managed to complete the ambitious project in 1976. That same year with his old band mates in Lasting Weep and ironically just as he was leaving Maneige, he gathered the creme de la creme of the Québec music scene, including 17 musicians to present his multimedia vision in a live concert setting over the course of 3 days.
Thanks to the folks over at ProgQuébec who have uncovered yet another gem from the local progressive music scene with this release. Lasting Weep might have had a relatively short lifespan initally but their extraordinary music gets a second lease on life here and one that is certainly well deserved.
Alain Bergeron: flute, saxophone, vocals
Jérome Langlois: guitar, piano, organ, clarinet, clavinet
Claude Chapleau: bass guitar
Mathieu Léger: drums, piano
Gilles Schetagne: percussion