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Minimum Vital - Sarabandes CD (album) cover


Minimum Vital


Eclectic Prog

3.64 | 57 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is Minimum Vital's first official CD recording (their two previous efforts had originally been released on cassette format), and, together with their following one "La Source", it perfectly epitomizes what the Minimum Vital prog style is all about at its finest hour: melodic symphonic prog with lots of Renaissance and late Mediaeval references, as well as some unmistakable hints of jazz fusion, not unlike early Eclat and early Edhels. Camel and Yes' softer side are the most featured foreign influences on MV's overall sound, although it is fair to acknowledge their own originality. The four musicians' skills are also quite noticeable, especially when it comes to brothers Thierry and Jean-Luc Payssan (on keyboards and guitars, respectively), who are, indeed, the combo's leaders. "Sarabandes" kicks off with 'Le Chant du Monde', a majestic number built on a 6/8 tempo, which portrays a celebratory spirit. A real catchy starter. The enthusiastic mood is soon later retained in 'Sarabandes No. 1', which continues to explore the musical heritage from the Renaissance with an added fusionesque touch: the synth solo towards the end is worth a special mention. Sandwiched between these two amazing tracks is 'Porte sur l'Ete', a beautiful, serene classical guitar solo piece immaculately delivered by J.-L. Payssan. 'Cantiga de Santa Maria' is - despite the archaic connotations of the title - the most modern-sounding number in this album: this is a cantata mediaeval style elegantly delivered over a basis of ethno-pop keyboard layers and loops, with the guitar, drum kit and bass providing additional hues. Bizarre without getting disturbing. 'Sarabande No. 2' brings back the colorful ambiences of tracks 1 & 3, with a soft Arabesque twist: the addition of exotic elements allows MV to widen their sonic spectrum and achieve a greater dose of melodic intensity. But the top of intensity is yet to be found in the epic-tinged 'Hymne et Danse', the most intricate and diverse track in the album. Here you will find: an amazing piano solo intro that wanders seamlessly through the realms of jazz and the classicist roads of chamber; a majestic main motif that keeps a strong relation to the album's overall symphonic trait; and, finally, a Gregorian chant in the coda. 'Danza Vital' is the most overtly joyful piece in this album: starting with a grandiloquent synth fanfare, the main motif surfaces and goes on constructed over a melodic jazz pop basis. The sense of joy is properly perpetuated in the brief folk-tinged closure 'Le Bal du Diable'. All in all, "Sarabandes" is one of MV's most accomplished and prototypical efforts: an excellent prog recording, a must for all symph prog lovers who dig for something refreshing from the 90s.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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