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Atoll - Musiciens - Magiciens CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.55 | 111 ratings

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4 stars Fine debut from the French quintet, especially as first albums in Prog tend to be hit-or-miss, Musiciens-Magiciens is unusually well-developed and demonstrates all the promise fulfilled on their following releases. Typical to be sure, mediocre not at all, and though quite stuck in its early 70s post-Hendrix jamrock soup, the band never sacrificed the prog. In addition to their native influences oft cited [Ange, Mona Lisa], the closest reference would have to be Yes' microscopically discordant vocal harmonies. Also on hand is the foggy mystery of Bo Hansson, hints of early Genesis and the distant sounds of North American rock. It's a good mix from a really talented bunch.

'L'Hymne Medieval' is familiar Symph Franšais but 11+ minute 'Le Baladin du Temps' is much more involved with great changes and some nice surprises. Luc Serra's guitar lines over his and Michel Taillet's keys ring an irresistible Allman-like bell of harmony, backed-up by the heavy bass of Jean-Luc Thillot and le batterie de Alain Gozzo. Same for the hard funk of the title track, a kitsch beauty of its time peppered by some hot brass. Standout 'Au-dela des Ecrans de Cristal' is European prog when it was European pop-- and it's excellent, filled with plenty of development and tight playing. And though uninteresting, commercial 'Le Secret du Mage' foreshadows the Gallophilic chants of The Police. Soft and folkie 'Le Berger' is a rest before the huge 'Je Suis D'Ailleurs', a satisfying journey through the space/prog solar system of 1974.

Recommended to fans of the second tier. Very nice reissue on Musea with full-color gatefold, good booklet and beautifully reproduced cover art. Four live bonus cuts from '73 are poorly recorded and probably unnecessary.

Atavachron | 4/5 |


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