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Ripaille - La Vieille Que L'on Brūla CD (album) cover



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4 stars Classic French Progressive rock with fantastic melodies and some grand musicianship along the way. RIPAILLE were certainly less known than ANGE but lived in the same era and in fact toured with them at one time. RIPAILLE's music is rich and full bodied with some wonderful songwriting and heavy use of analog synths. Like ANGE, RIPAILLE's music was centered around concepts and full of theatrical moods perfect for their lavish stage shows. Vocals are sung in French and are quite well done with great expressionism. Instrumentation used throughout is exceptional and nicely varied and contrasted. We are also treated to a few tracks from RIPAILLE's second album which I had never even heard of before. In many ways their sound is reminiscent of Canadian 70's prog band HARMONIUM with their slight electronic folk influences and quirky little moods. Songs are greatly landscaped with analog keyboard sounds while the guitar bass and drum carry the melody. French prog lovers sanctuary for sure.

Report this review (#28951)
Posted Thursday, March 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
5 stars One of the top masterpiece from France , this UFO is a real gem. Obviously inspired by Gentle Giant and in a lesser way Gryphon, this is a good adaptation of medieval music to a good concept prog album. If one must categorize this then be it in folk-prog then as this is very much acoustic and the french lyrics are a joy to read. The story is not really linear but all the numbers are linked by the lyrics that aim at the dark ages without all of that heroic-fantasy stuff. The bonus track were from an album to be that never came and although slightly unfinished they hint at another real masterpiece in the making.I think this would have been a tremendous poke at mass consumption. UNLIKE MOST PEOPLE, I RARELY GIVE FIVE STAR TO AN ALBUM SO BELIEVE ME THIS IS REALLY A NUGGET, ESPECIALLY THAT THIS WENT ALMOST UNNOTICED AT THE TIME OF RELEASE (PUNK ERA)
Report this review (#28952)
Posted Tuesday, March 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars RIPAILLE's sole album is for sure a very pleasant and good one but in some way after reading the praising reviews here I've to say I expected a bit more from it. Closest comparisons might be Canadian band HARMONIUM and in some way ANGE. Overall it's a very nice blend of symphonic rock with some (not too much) medieval folk adaptations which are most obvious in the songs "La Veuve de Nicole" which is the one where the crumhorn comes into action if I'm not wrong, in the short one " Les Loups" and in "Epilogue".

Positive points are the highly versatile instrumentation and the excellent musicianship. Only the rather bad drums in the faster tracks like "Satane Jardin" and "Le Sabbat des Sorts" sounding slightly "disco"-alike are blearing a bit the overall good impression. In general I've got to say I enjoyed much more the slower acoustic tunes and felt slightly irritated by the "strange" and almost hilarious keyboards used in "Le Sabbat des Sorts".

The two bonus tracks from their never released second album are a very nice add-up and really make the CD worth spending the money.

I was thinking really hard how I should rate this one, finally I did a song by song rating with the result of 3.5 / 5 stars. Since half stars are not available and it's rather overrated here anyway I decided to give only 3 stars but not without emphasising that this is just my own personal view (like all others here as well). It's a very good album but there were better French (and Quebequois) ones even from that period like from CARPE DIEM or MANEIGE for example.

Report this review (#77740)
Posted Wednesday, May 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This interesting French record from the late 1970's combines many kinds of musical elements, creating a pleasant, beautiful and imaginative album. The most characteristic sound which drilled into my head from this album was a monophonic high-pitched keyboard tone used in it, shining like a full moon on a cloudless sky; I think it fits well to the album theme as I believe the first song is about "A Child of The Moon" or something (as I'm not very skilled with the language of Montaigne, the deeper meaning of the lyrics mostly didn't reach me). The album opens with quiet waves soon accompanied with tender electric piano chords, creating very beautiful moods, which are the key element for me when enjoying this record. The calm movement evolves to more jazzy territories, and the second song "Le Jardin des Plaisirs" begins in very traditional acoustic folk music style. Later the song moves to different themes giving me associations from symphonic rock arrangements. Third song "Il n'y a plus Rien" is one of the top tracks here for me, having calm beautiful feeling featuring that curious mono-pitched keyboard and a flanger-treated guitar chords, little similar used by Pekka Rechardt in late 1970's Wigwam recordings, which is one strong association from this pretty jazzy ballad for me as a Finnish listener.

There are also some not-so-great moments here like the fourth song "Satane Jardin", which sounded quite banal to my ears mostly due its vocals. But the majority of the music here is quite good. "La Veuve de Nicole" builds up slowly with a nice melody gathering more and more instrument layers upon it, leading to multivocal verses. The sequence fades to mantra-like guitar progression accompanied by surging electric synth sounds and deep vocal chants. "Le Sabbat des Sorts" is has a little Jethro Tull resembling feeling, combining upright traditional sounding vocal lines with more modern rock themes and instrumental runs. In the end there's also a maybe-humorous Emerson, Lake and Palmer resembling sequence, not perhaps the most essential movement of the record for me. "Les Loups" continues directly from the previous song, having peculiar timings, passionate French vocals, mysterious soundscapes from the synths and solo activity from the electric guitar. The title track "La Vielle que l'on Brula" starts little irritating way in my opinion, but draws the themes from the beginning of the album in it in a wonderful way. "Epilogue" gives a last good bye with nice set of musical elements grown familiar from the main tracks of the album. The Musea CD re-issue has also some bonus tracks, following faithfully the musical line of the album, but not being very essential at least to me.

One thing which caught my attention here is the really big bunch of people playing on this band, thirteen persons, plus other drummer in two bonus tracks. Also the album cover design is really one of the greatest I have ever seen. In spite of the few moments which I didn't appreciate here, I would still recommend this record to anybody interested of emotional progressive rock music with traditional music edge. A one slight reference for something similar on basis of the sounds might be "Moonmadness" album of Camel, which was recorded during the same years as this album. Like that one, this record also stands interestingly between the older and more contemporary progressive rock music, and also from personally perspective sing their tales to me from the times I was born.

Report this review (#119222)
Posted Saturday, April 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I must say it has been a joy getting to know Ripaille.

In a way it was the flip side to the experience of the Arachnoid album for me, another from 70s France. Both give much care and attention to the arrangement, great playing, and a wide variety of interesting sounds. However whereas the Arachnoid album was quite dark and downbeat in mood, Ripaille is more upbeat, joyful, and wears a good sense of humor. I'm speaking of the music, not the lyrics which are in French for which I don't speak.

This is an album with many layers and requires multiple spins to reward, but reward it shall. It is more keyboard oriented than guitar and quite folkish. The comparisons of others to Gryphon and GG are understandable and I would add that I hear traces of some of the classic Italian bands as well. Some of the keyboard runs on this album sound so bizarre the first few times you hear them but later on end up making the song. This album is the definition of a "grower" in my opinion. Give it time.

The Musea reissue is great with bonus tracks and nice art. The booklet has the full band history with photos. One of the photos features the band practicing in an attic space and captures perfectly the camaraderie of band life. Anyone who's played in a band will appreciate the moment.

Serious, classy, yet quirky and strange. Ripaille is a feast!

Report this review (#119514)
Posted Monday, April 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This record is among the most progressive ones of the year 1977. The airs change very often, and the delightful music has nothing to envy from the classic prog bands of the 70's. The music is shared between vintage keyboards and polyphonic synthesizers, which contribute to create rich layers and sequences of often complex music. Au menu, Fender Rhodes, piano, Italian progressive moog keyboards, harpsichord and clavinet among others. The similitudes are multiple: Gentle Giant, Gryphon, Happy The Man, Mike Oldfield and some funny parts reminding the prog fairytale "Peter And The Wolf". There is a complex European folkier tendancy reminding Gryphon themselves in a bit simpler manner. There are many instruments involved. The VERY theatrical lead vocals sound between Gilbert Becaud, Michel Fugain and Patrick Bruel. The bass is very bottom and present. The majority of the album deserves between 4.5 and 5 stars. There are a couples of only "good" tracks.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Report this review (#125208)
Posted Saturday, June 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars This fully anonymous band from France plays some symphonic folk music which is rather pleasant to listen to. There are a myriad of musicians featured on this album. Most play rare instruments like spinet, crumhorns, rototoms (sometimes used by Brufford and Mason for instance), accoridon, triangle...

The voice of the lead vocalist sounds a bit flat. As the "concept" of this album. Once in a while (but not really much, to be honest) you will miss something if you do not master the French language; like when you listen to "La Veuve De Nicolas Kremer" for instance. The recitation and the music might sound dull in the beginning but the lyrics are rather "spicy". It's about a widow who is having sex at night, even with ... animals. The crazy Descamps lyrics from "Ange" are not far away. A very intrigant song.

"Le Sabbat Des Sorcičres" features some great instrumental parts, but frankly, these vocals are rather absurd. Fortunately, this album is mostly instrumental, because I have exactly the same feeling when I listen to "Les Loups". These vocals are just boring. The title track will be spared, fortunately. This time, we'll finally get expressive vocals. I only had wished to get more of these. Just to reach the high level of the instrumental parts during this album.

The main influence for "Ripaille" is definitely Gentle Giant as far as the vocals are concerned. So, if this band belongs to your favourite ones, this album is something you need to discover. I will rate this album with three stars thanks to the music (although that I'm not frankly impressed with the accordion of the closing number...).

I will have the same feeling during the three bonus tracks. Each features some great musical parts but they are also combined by ultra-theatrical vocals ("Gratis, Et En Plein Air" is the best exemple). The problem is that the lyrics are far from being either interesting, irreverrent or even funny (although "Les Chameaux" holds these three aspects). Intellectual, maybe. Or is it verbal masturbation ?

Three stars.

Report this review (#135105)
Posted Monday, August 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars What do you get when you mix Ange like symph prog with folk music and some baroque classical music ? Something that comes very close to La Vieille Que L'on Brūla from the French band Ripaille. Tragically, this is the one and only album from this band. A great loss if they had continued in the same direction as on this album.

I will not get into trouble with the prog folk team if I claim the split between symph prog and folk prog is near 60 % in one direction or another. Let's say it is more in my direction than theirs. Yes, there is a lot of folk rock here. But more like in baroque classical music folk rock, if you get my drift.


The music on this album is lush as always from a French band. The vocals is excellent. The various strange instruments adds a lot of extra flavour to this album. This album has a high spirited feeling.... let's put it like that.

It is with some sadness I have to report that not all the music here is that great. Yes, there are some great melody lines here and there. But not enough for me to label this as a great album. Inbetween the funny instruments and high spirited expressions, there are also some pretty mediocre stuff here too. Hence, this is a good album but nothing more than that. But it is also a highly enjoyable album which brings a smile to my face.

3.5 stars

Report this review (#550816)
Posted Saturday, October 15, 2011 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
2 stars An admirably adventurous spirit and command of the theatrical notwithstanding, this sole surviving output by French band RIPAILLE is far too uneven and derivative to even qualify as a flawed masterpiece. The influences spread wide as the horizon but as deep as the outer edge of soil that melts every summer on the tundra. Beyond the obvious over-enunciated vocal machinations of GENTLE GIANT and the medieval veneer of GRYPHON, I hear plenty of ANGE dramatics, but also occasional phrasings of MALICORNE and arrangements drowned in anachronistic synthesizer whirs more endemic to the symphonic prog of SYNOPSIS. But with that group's "Minuit Ville", the electronics enhanced the classical aspects, whereas here they effectively quell any folk charm in its tracks. Inspired passages end too soon, while restless doodling drones on ad nauseum. You really just need to listen to "Epilog" to get the full sense of the debauchery and decide if you want any part of it. From the more conservative prog folk perspective, however, the consistently eerie and restrained "Le Jardin des Plaisirs" and, less so, "La Veuve de Nicolas Kremer" represent the only pieces that should have escaped with a tad more than 50% of their content, had much needed record company quality control not gone as bankrupt as the label.

While I am going to go with two stars here and not a half more, many esteemed critics think of it highly, so if you enjoy the sort of musical flagellation I've described, by all means indulge. Myself, I'm off to attend a ritual virtual burning ceremony.

Report this review (#1463363)
Posted Monday, September 14, 2015 | Review Permalink

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