Mysterious ’70s progressive rock masterwork rediscovered

July 9, 2011
2 mins read

A legendary, mysterious ’70s progressive rock masterpiece, ImmramThe Voyage Of The Corvus Corrone – has been rediscovered, re-clad, and reissued in a lavish LP-sized cover that actually houses a remastered CD and a perfect-bound book.

As the press release notes, “rumour and obsession have kept the legend alive, but 35 years on, the myth is reborn. The ’70s synth prog classic returns; re-mastered, re-packaged and re-imagined.”

It continues:

“The story of the Immram album began on the morning of January 31st 1975 when a mysterious parcel arrived at reception desk of the fledgling Akashic Records label based in Paris. The label had been set up as an outlet for progressive rock music by Jean Claude Onsager. Inside the unlabelled package were the master reel and completed artwork proofs of the album.

“The only paperwork was a typed copy of Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem “Crossing the Bar,” and written captions which seemed to accompany the artwork. The master reel was labelled with the address of the nearby Chateau D’Mercier studios. After a little investigation it was discovered that the studio had been booked some two months earlier by three foreign gentlemen who had declined to give their names but had pre-paid in cash for the recording time.

“The identities of the men were never discovered, but inspection of Chateau D’Mercier revealed it had been decorated with all manner of strange symbols, somehow related to the abandoned synthesizers which had been heavily modified in ways that made them state of the art for the time. It appeared two of the men had worked without interruption or distraction on the recordings while the third busied himself with the meticulous illustrations and the mysterious “Cog” design that adorns the cover.

“This third man would reportedly spend long periods of time during the early evenings on the roof of the Chateau stargazing, finally returning to the studio with a clutch of new sketches and bizarre diagrams which would then spur his companions on to further composition. The three men seldom took refreshment, and seemed confident in their purpose and the execution of the finished performances.

“Akashic Records decided to release the album. Shortly after the album went into production, Jean Claude Onsager also vanished. Without Jean Claude at the helm the album never found the promotion and support that it deserved. The label folded.

“At the beginning of 2009, former Akashic Records employee Louis-Sébastien Monad received a package from the legal firm of V.V. Corvi & Associates. Inside was a Deed of Testament informing him that all materials related to the Corvus Corrone recordings, including artwork had been bequeathed to him through the Estate of Jean Claude. His will had been located only months before in the small town of San el-Hagar, outside of Tanis in Egypt. It had apparently been left at the law office with strict instructions to be forwarded to Louis-Sébastien on thirty-fourth anniversary of the album’s initial discovery.

The album is being released via New Zealand-based label owner Paul McLaney, who was contacted through a mutual acquaintance of his and Louis-Sebastien’s, electronic composer Rhian Sheehan. It has been beautifully remixed for the 2011 re-release.

Witchdoctor would love to hear from anyone who has heard this obscure album before. We think it’s really fab.

Steel has been penning his pungent prose for 40 years for publications too numerous to mention, most of them consigned to the annals of history. He is Witchdoctor's Editor-In-Chief/Music and Film Editor. He has strong opinions and remains unrepentant. Steel's full bio can be found here


  1. I think this is a hoax! I can find no internet refs to this album, nor to the fabled Onsager (other than Onsager’s famous equations from thermodynamics) – or to Akashic Recs (other than the theosophical roots of the name). So come on! Give us some evidence and links.

  2. Definitely a hoax. I was sucked in by a review on last week and bought the FLAC download. listening on studio cans immediately raised my suspicions. It clearly uses modern sampling methods not available in the 70s. The other dead giveaway is the audio quality. Way too perfect for a revived 70s master tape. Even from a 2″ Otari. When hiss is reduced post-facto you can hear the after-effects. None at all on this. I bet a spectrum analysis would prove it’s a modern, all-digital creation.

    And then there’s the small problem of absolutely no verifiable back-up reference. Everyone involved has “mysteriously” disappeared.
    Thinking of asking for my $9 back

    Marketing: A+B (Ambition + bullshit)
    Sound quality: A+ like all modern digital creations
    Musical value: B for boring

  3. @Don

    It’s as real as Olias in “Olias of Sunhillow” or the Gorillaz or the Dukes of Stratosphere, etc, etc. Don’t you think that in this internet age of instant information that albums have lost some of the mystique that they once enjoyed; the folklore and rumor that used to surround certain albums/artists added to the cultural value of the artifact. What the Escape Artists owners have tried to achieve here is a tribute to all of those wonderful, magical qualities that albums from a certain period in time (the 1970’s) were imbued with. Primarily escapism and an invitation for the listener to involve their own imagination, a place for them to disappear into. It’s which ever story you prefer.

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