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Atoll - Rock Puzzle  CD (album) cover

ROCK PUZZLE

Atoll

Symphonic Prog


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Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
2 stars Actually this album can be seen as " l'album de trop " for Atoll as France was over-run by its own punk wave, this album is also qite weak as they are looking fora different musical direction and tried to do normal rock (actually they do manage a correct job but it has little to do with prog). Shall I dare a bad pun? Oh Well , you will have read probably worse from me. This rock puzzles me.

Mais il est tard , monsieur , il faut que je rentre ....... chez moi - Jacques Brel -

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#19412)
Posted Thursday, February 05, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars The fourth work released in 1979 "Rock Puzzle". Work that gives priority from exactness to melody. However, the synthesizer and a technical guitar and the rhythm section are high quality. There is a graceful tune besides a straight work, too and the perfection as the album is high. John Wetton participated in the bonus track.

There is still a good moment many times though this album is a weak class in the work of ATOLL.Please try it at once.

"L'Ultime rock" and "Puzzle" are alternate take. "Atari that's a game!" is English versions of "Smarto Kitschy". John Wetton participated in the recording. "Here Comes the Feeling" was collected to the album of ASIA.

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Send comments to braindamage (BETA) | Report this review (#79580)
Posted Sunday, May 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
Tom Ozric
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This album has taken a lot of spins for me to fully appreciate what it has to offer. I acquired it before I had Tertio and after I had their first 2 releases. 'Rock Puzzle' made more sense to me since Tertio. At first, it may sound uninspired, but deeper listening reveals it is a more accessible take on Tertio. Sure, the band should've been shot for 'Smarto Kitschy', or maimed for 'L'ultime Rock', but there are some lovely symphonic tracks on offer here : album opener 'L'age D'or' is an uptempo funky track book-ended with some lovely symphonic passages. 'Kaelka' is a delicate piece of prog that is as good as their previous works. 'Eau (H2O)', 'Garces de Femmes', and 'La Maison de Men-Taa' all display their brand of sympho-prog nicely, but not in a particularly exciting way, and last track 'Puzzle' is actually up there with the best Atoll has to give, with some excellent guitaring from Christian Beya. Throughout, the keyboard sounds of Clavinet, Eminent (string synth), Korg & Prophet synths, el & acc pianos, are all put to good use and add a wonderful, progressive texture to the tracks, and the rhythm section shines, especially the intricate Bass playing of Jean-Luc Thillot. The band have decided to employ Brass and String arrangements to several tracks, but not in a pompous way that they usually can be. As for recommendation, I give it 3*, and, as we all look for different things within the music, it may appeal to some or repel others. Give it a go.

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Send comments to Tom Ozric (BETA) | Report this review (#89530)
Posted Tuesday, September 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Atoll is an amazing band. I guess that it is the only one to bring me so frequently from heaven down to earth (or even hell) and back again to heaven. This feeling is fully present during the opening number "L' Âge D'Or". Rocking with average success it will turn out fully symphonic and brilliant. Rather strange.

Actually, I already made this comment in my review of their third album "Tertio" : at this stage of their career, "Atoll" preceeds "Ange" by a year or two. Almost pure French rock with "L'Ultime Rock" : it sounds all but normal, right ? "Ange" will also go in this direction with the album "Vu D'un Chien" (released in 1980 and pretty weak).

"Atoll" will also produce some pure symphonic tracks here, as "Kaelka". Gorgeous keyboards and somptuous guitar are fabulous. It is of course not an essential song in their repertoire but still a very pleasant prog moment. What else can we ask ? Another symphonic but simple song ? You'll get it with "La Maison de Men-Taa".

A song like "Smarto Kitchy" is again fully rock-oriented : incredible rhythm and great guitar. Very funny mood : truely festive. When you listen to this one, you know where a band like "Rita Mitsouko" (another French band) found their inspiration for "Marcia Baila" (a great song released in ... 1984). It is true that it sounds a bit disco; but the hypnotic rhythm is just superb. This song has of course nothing to do with the classic "Atoll" repertoire (but do they really have a classic repertoire ?). I like it very much, but be open-minded while listening to it...I see it as a highlight, but I understand that most of the progheads just won't be able to listen to this song in its entirety (eight minutes).

"Eau" is again a very pleasant symphonic track. Nice acoustic guitar and grandiose keyboards to support André Balzer on the lead vocals. Guitar is just fantastic. Another highlight. Followed by one of the weakest number of this album : "Garces De Femmes". An uninspired rock song only saved by a wonderful work from Christian Beya (but he is really outstanding throughout this release).

The closing number is fully in-line with the album. Great rock music and superb guitar + keyboards again. A nice piece to finish the puzzle.

The remaster version contains lots of bonus tracks : some remixes, an English version of "Smarto Kitschy" (but I prefer the original). And then three curiosities. Three songs featuring ...John Wetton on the vocals.

"Here Comes The Feeling" from the first "Asia" album while "Eye To Eye" comes from their second "Alpha" and "No Reply". These songs are only a commercial trick. They are by no means interesting musically and shouldn't have been released.

If you except the bonus tracks which are kind of useless; the original "Rock Puzzle" is not a bad album. But different of course.

Three stars.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#134734)
Posted Friday, August 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars Atoll nosedive into mediocrity.

I understand that music was changing when this album was released... the 80's were coming and bands had to adapt to survive, but Atoll did not hold up well at all in attempting to streamline their sound and join the mainstream. If this album is an indication of where Atoll were going musically, it's really for the best that they didn't make it to the 80's.

Opener 'L'Age D'or' is a decent 'Prog Funk' number that (musically) sounds closer to the Isley Brothers than anything resembling Prog or Rock. It's obvious that the magic Atoll had on their first three albums has almost completely dissipated on Rock Puzzle.

'L'Ultime Rock' is cringe-inducing Pop Rock at it's worst. It sounds like the terrible theme song to some terrible 80's comedy movie... something staring Harold Ramis. It really is vile and unlistenable. 'Smarto Kitschy' is just as bad... i can picture a line of rollerskating Solid Gold dancers boogiein' down to this disco drivel.

The only reason to own this album at all are the two excellent ballads... 'Kaelka' and 'Eau (H20)'.

The tear-jerking 'Kaelka', at less than 3 minutes long, is way too short. It's one of the few moments on Rock Puzzle that holds any substantial emotional impact. The song is full of sweet Moog Taurus bass pedals and beautiful flute-like synthesizers that remind me a lot of the soft parts of 'Eleventh Earl of Mar' by Genesis.

'Eau (H20)' is similar in it's late-70's Genesis vibe, and has a bit of an AOR radio ballad feel... but it's a really good song with some great piano parts and trembling melancholic lead guitars.

The track 'Puzzle' is yet more 'Prog Funk' and has some good synth solos near the end, but it's not enough to save this album.

Avoid this album unless you're a diehard Atoll fan and want to own all their work. There are at least two decent songs... and i'll rate the album with one star for each.

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Send comments to AdamHearst (BETA) | Report this review (#207573)
Posted Tuesday, March 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
Kazuhiro
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars "Tertio" that Atoll had announced in 1977 was a work that pushed an enough element of the part and symphonic from which their music characters till then were refined out forward. Tours of them who had been done in October, 1977 were done by complete Set List selected from the work till then. The music character to establish the existence of the band enough might have received the high appraisal worldwide. The action that the existence of Didier Lockwood that had competed when performing including live in Paris is good for Atoll was given.

Men who acquire the establishment of the music character begin the production of the tune for "Rock Puzzle" in 1979. However, the revolution of the band is done through necessity by this album as for the route of legitimate symphonic that they were doing till then.

The music character of the band changes greatly by the intention of EURODISC by which they belonged at that time. Various opinions and the ideas of considering the part and the market where the shape established by "Tertio" was developed further acted on the band as a result of introducing the part of a music character at that time and the fashion. The market might have had the flow that the Dance music and Punk/New Wave carried everything before one as an age in the latter half of the 70's. Label demanded music to consider becoming popular from the music character that Atoll established it. Their Agent started appointing their tunes as music for the television at the stage of the production of the demonstration. In addition, the intention's of the company that had demanded the arrangement of Brass etc. symphonic giving a certain change to the music character till then as a result resulted.

It is likely to be able to enumerate it as a point that Atoll introduced the demanded element from label to some degree as the point that should make a special mention when talking about the content of this album. The part that splendidly unites the element demanded from the music character till then and reflected it in the tune can feel relations as their music characters. The point that has not compromised for the production of the tune at all though the route is changed will be felt that the intention and the zeal of this album are enough by me.

It is ..content that expands the extension of the Music character to establish and the refined sound further in ..this album.. "Tertio".. finished. The element of complete music like generally popular "L'Araignee-Mal" might be weak in this album. However, everywhere, the zeal of the member who spent on the album can also discover the part that grows up greatly in respect of the composition.

The band faced the secession of Andre Balzer and Jean-Luc Thillot as a result in 1980. And, the band aims at contact with John Wetton from parting with EURODISC for a further revolution. The song by John Wetton is collected to this album. However, the details were indeed short lives. The connection with John Wetton that had been done from the collapse of "UK" to "Asia" from now on will have been indeed a mixed picture for Atoll. When the content of "Rock Puzzle" is considered, I will be able to feel done performance and idea indeed good merge in the album pass of the music character till then and based on development. A lot of elements to consider the age and the market are certainly blocked in this album. However, the idea and the zeal that they spent for the production of the tune might be reflected enough in the tune. The borderline of Atoll is blocked in this album.

"L'age d'Or" might be a tune that follows the part that can be listened by "Tertio" of the refinement. Good Groove for the arrangement of Brass and the chorus twines. The development of a dash feeling and a complex rhythm is introduced and the tune progresses. The part of symphonic is considerably weak. However, it is possible to catch as one result of Atoll's taking the age and the idea well if it thinks from an opposite angle. Composition of tune and sound of keyboard. And, the atmosphere of the guitar might also leave the music character of Atoll enough. The composition intermittently developed is splendid. A grand theme and atmosphere express legitimate development enough.

"L'Ultime Rock" might be very straight Rock. The arrangement and the keyboard of Brass have acted unexpectedly well. Progressing the tune to which the forecast doesn't adhere is their tastes. The rhythm and the chorus who put fast and slow also contribute to the tune.

"Kaelka" starts from natural SE attended with the arpeggio of a beautiful guitar. The progress of complete Chord twines round a pastoral melody. A new element on which they worked is here. The originality of Atoll is completely blocked in making Chord.

"Smarto Kitschy" is a tune with a friendly melody and the dash feeling. Good atmosphere of Atoll has occurred from the melody of the song. It is a tune to introduce the melody and the chorus of obtaining very much. However, the composition introducing the rhythm of seven and toward the top will be able to feel the new wind that they make.

"Eau" starts attended with a grand melody. Fast and slow is put while uniting expression of feelings with intense feelings. The part of a beautiful ballade rushes into the part where feelings are intensely opened. The obbligati with a good piano contribution and keyboard raises the perfection of the tune. The arpeggio of an acoustic guitar has acted on the tune, too.

As for "Garces De Femmes", a glossy melody of the keyboard and the sound of the guitar are impressive. The music character to which this tune was done by "Tertio" might be followed. The sound of the chorus and the keyboard gets on the progress of good Chord. Development with an intermittent effect in the melody with expression of feelings twines. The originality of Chord might be a success in the arrangement concerning the composition of Atoll.

The element of symphonic that Atoll originally has in the melody with expression of feelings twines round "La Maison De Men-Taa" well. The element of Jazz Rock to listen with the part and 2nd Album of complete symphonic with diversity might be few in this album. However, the listener will be able to discover the effort to have tried to raise the perfection for music as for them. The work of the keyboard that produces the sound and the anacatesthesia with the extension has good atmosphere.

As for "Puzzle", I will be able to feel a new wind at the same time as completely showing the existence of their music characters. It is a tune with the composition developed with the melody with expression of feelings one after another. It might be the last legitimate light that they did in the 70's. Complete work of guitar and sound of keyboard that considers age. The idea of the music character that they have done before might be almost blocked in this tune. Chorus's atmosphere. And, Brass that doesn't obstruct the tune is arranged. Enchantment chorus advanced attended with dash feeling. It might be a tune where the music character of Atoll was splendidly expressed.

Studio Z Version of "L'Ultime Rock" is done at the stage of the demonstration. There might be atmosphere of feeling processed by the effect overall and a rough sound. However, the outline of the tune is already made at this time.

Studio Z Version of "Puzzle" is not so refined as a composition of the sound. However, the entire composition and the idea might already have been completed. The stage concerning work and the spent labor will be able to be compared compared with an original perfection. The work of the band that works with zeal to some degree though it is a stage of the demonstration gives a good impression.

"Atari,That's A Game" is a sound source that can do lyrics of "Smarto Kitschy" in place of English. It might be a sound source produced by the intention of Agent of the band. The composition of the original had been almost completed at this stage.

"Here Comes The Feeling" might be interesting if it listens compared with the sound source of "Asia". Complete individuality of John Wetton twines round the performance from which the refined sound of Atoll comes to the front.

The feature in "No Reply" is to develop to twining of the progress of peculiar Chord to the element of the tune that is reminiscent of "Asia". The overall glossy melody and exhilaration one feels are included. The introduction of a part of the transposition and a complex rhythm is suitable for the atmosphere of the tune. It is likely to have been made considering the route of John Wetton.

A little loose impression might be given though "Eye To Eye" is straight Rock as the composition of the tune. The part of a unique element and symphonic might be weak. However, the contact of Atoll and John Wetton will have been a temporary chemical reaction for the band.

This album might have been produced for Atoll as a content with unexpected directionality and the developing flow. However, the zeal that the band takes considering the age enough rules the atmosphere of the album.

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Send comments to Kazuhiro (BETA) | Report this review (#258291)
Posted Tuesday, December 29, 2009 | Review Permalink

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