Country : Canada (Quebec) Label : independent Genres and styles : Jazz / jazz-hop / Neo-Psychedelia / Prog Rock / Psych-Funk Year :

Ruins of Azur – Ruins of Azur

· by Alexander Quiquero

Light an incense, don those headphones, lay back, and hit play. For the next 50 minutes, let the Montréal-based prog-rock project Ruins of Azur hold your hand through a retro prospective fugue of human life in the modern age reflected in a black mirror.

The glaring fact of this self-titled LP is just how gorgeous it sounds. Instrumentation seamlessly morphs between a cavalcade of skillfully executed musical styles: from psychedelic to bossa nova, funk to military marches, jazz to downtempo-pop and rap. This shifting flow of sounds, tempos, and intensity between and within tracks reflect the peaks and valleys of modernity at both the human and societal levels. We hear greens of verdant vistas, the beiges of lustrous palaces, alluring neons of glamorous city nightscapes, and the sins that underpin them all: Colonialism, violence, and pursuits of exploitation. But that’s only half the story; the other is of innocence, sadness, longing, perseverance, and all human emotions that Ruins of Azur wants us to remember to stand eternal in contrast to this historical moment. Floating through this ether, we feel what it means to be a subject in this environment as well as a free agent.

The mirror may be black, but its reflection also shines brightly. The eclectic brain-child of established rock and jazz musicians Emmanuel Eustache on keyboard and vocals, Hugo Leclerc on wind, Olivier Guertin on drums, Marc-Gabriel Laverrière on guitar, and Philip Saucier on bass, Ruins of Azur brings the range and technical skill required to compose an excellent piece of progressive rock.

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