Ergo Sum arrived onto the Parisian scene (though their roots were in Aix-en-Provence) at a time when rock music in France was not much more than an extension of what was happening across the channel in London (exempting, of course, the juggernaut of creativity that was both Magma and Catherine Ribeiro). Recorded and released in 1971, Ergo Sum offer up one of France’s earliest progressive rock experiences, and is easily on par with others from that period like Sandrose, Eden Rose, Alain Markusfeld, Travelling, Ame Son, etc… Before Ange brought national pride back, English was still the lingua franca of French rock music, and Ergo Sum’s Lionel Ledissez (who appropriately enough grew up in Mexico) had truly one of the most unique voices to ever grace a record. Somewhere between Family’s Roger Chapman and a road rage Champs-Elysees taxi driver, his guttural delivery will scare even the most hip modern black metal fan. The music is all delivered at a relaxed pace, with some incredible guitar, flute, piano and violin work. Along with Family, it’s obvious they were fairly informed of what Traffic and East of Eden were doing in those days. The compositions are uniformly strong, and they allow the music to slowly simmer, as albums from that era tend to do. Bonus tracks on the Musea CD are not mere throw-ins as the superb ‘All’s So Cosmic’, one of the highlights of the “Puissance 13+2” anthology, is included as well as both sides of a musically relevant 45 rpm. In all, “Mexico” will take many listens to absorb, but the rewards are great for the patient.
Ergo Sum were a French band who extended the musical ideas of the English bands Family and Traffic into more jazzy territory. The mood on the album is generally relaxed with some very elegant and almost romantic music. Slightly in contrast with the music are the gruff vocals of Lionel Ledissez which are an acquired taste I guess, because it took me some time to get comfortable with them. An intriguing, quite unique album with some very beautiful music.
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