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LES CYCLES DE THANATOS

Vortex

RIO/Avant-Prog


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Vortex Les Cycles De Thanatos album cover
4.17 | 45 ratings | 4 reviews | 42% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 1979

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. God Is Good For You, John (4:28)
2. Prolegomenes (11:43)
3. Les Cycles De Thanatos (25:16)


Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Jean Pierre Vivante / fender rhodes, yamaha organ, piano
- Jacques Vivante / bass
- Gerard Jolivet / saxophone
- Christian Boissel / fender rhodes, oboe, Cor Anglais
- Jacques Guillot / saxophone
- Jean-Michel Belaich / drums
- Alain Chaleard / percussions
- Maurice Sonjon / percussions

Guests:
Sunny James / violin (1)
Michel Boissel / bassoon (3)


Releases information

FLVM 3008
Reissued by Le Triton in 2003

Thanks to avestin for the addition
and to mellotron storm for the last updates
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1975-19791975-1979
Le Triton
Audio CD$79.99
$263.64 (used)


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VORTEX Les Cycles De Thanatos ratings distribution


4.17
(45 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(42%)
42%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
40%
Good, but non-essential (16%)
16%
Collectors/fans only (2%)
2%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

VORTEX Les Cycles De Thanatos reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
4 stars 4.5 stars really!!

Over four years after their superb self-titled debut album's release, finally came out on an independent label called Faites-Le-Vous- Même (FLVM is DIY in French) their second (and last) album called Les Cycles De Tanathos (based on you know what book, right? ..), but the group had finished the album for over one year, but where unable to find a label to issue this little pearl. In the meantime, the group had undergone a few line-up changes, losing some mostly growing from a quintet into an octet, something not exactly wise for a group whose music was not exactly drawing huge crowds.

The opening track God Is Good To You is more of late 70's JR/F tune in the JL Ponty style than anything they had gotten us used to in their debut album. The following Prolegomènes (of which we have a previous version in the bonus tracks of the debut album) starts out on a Ratlege/Jenkins mode, staying jazz for a while, but as the track extends it goes more progressive, flirts with RIO, borders with Chamber Rock, reaching the sublime between the tenth and the twelfth minutes and subtly veering Zeuhl in the lasrt two minutes. Awesome stuff and just a preview of what's to come on the flipside.

The Cd reissue gives us the full 25 minutes of the sidelong title track, something that had not been feasible on the vinyl of those years. Indeed the epic Tanathos starts out heavily depressive and AZoyd and UZero are not far away in terms of gloomy ambiance. Yes, obviously there are also many moments when HCow or Hatfield &TN are hinted at, principaly

Again with the Cd reissue this second album comes with two bonus tracks, and just as it was the case with the debut album, they add much value to the original album, so much that you'd swear they'd always been part of it. Hypopotalamus Negro is subtle and superb deconstruction of a Zoydian Zeuhl music into a simpler but just as superb jazz-rock. Ivanoe (Invanhoe for the English) is more of a full-blown Mahavishnu Orchestra-style jazz-rock-prog again growing a bit softer into a mid-70's Weather Report.

Just as incredible as its forerunner, Tanathos is a splendid album veering between chamber rock, Zeuhl, JR/F and RIO, and it might just be that it is the single best example of the four distinct styles merging together to form one single musical ensemble. Clearly Vortex has not usurped its name

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#150558) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars VORTEX has expanded their lineup from a five piece band(on their debut) to an eight piece band for this one.There are also two guest musicians who each play on one track. I really enjoyed their first one, but this one has topped it as far as i'm concerned. I know I tend to gush when i really like an album, so let's just say this is the perfect record to review on this special day(December 25). The first two songs very much reminded me of one of my favourite bands ZAO, while the over 25 minute epic is like a cross between UNIVERS ZERO and ART ZOYD. Interesting that ART ZOYD actually played on stage with VORTEX to perform this very song. Certainly the album cover has more to do with this self titled track then it does the first two songs.The fact there is a guest basson player on it pretty much says it all doesn't it ?

"God Is Good For You, John" is apparently a reference to John McLaughlin. Once it gets going the air is filled with some beautiful guest violin melodies and intricate sounds. I love this track. It reminds me so much of ZAO. Piano and light drums help to create that jazz flavour. Bass comes to the fore 3 1/2 minutes in. This sounds so good. "Prolegomenes" opens with percussion and cymbals that build as piano, xylophone and horns come in. It kicks into gear 2 1/2 minutes in with drums and sax leading the way. Great sound. The bass becomes more prominant. Check out the drumming that follows. A change 5 minutes in as it becomes more jazzy. Terrific uptempo melody. Percussion before xylophone returns 7 minutes in. A darker more dramatic sound a minute later with some prominant drumming to follow. The uptempo melody of earlier is back to close out the song.

"Les Cycles De Thanatos" begins slowly and darkly with what sounds like solemn sax and basson. This slow moving UNIVERS ZERO("Heresie") flavour continues for over 4 minutes. Then it comes alive, and the sound is filled with suspense and tension as we continue in "Heresie" territory. This is chamber music at it's finest. Incredible intricate sounds come and go including percussion and sax. Amazing stuff. The tempo picks up 16 1/2 minutes in and it's not as dark either. Again we get lots of intricate sounds that are fabulous. An actual catchy rhythm before 21 minutes that turns into an uptempo mind boggling section 2 minutes later. This song has to be heard to be believed. And heard many times to be comprehended. The two bonus tracks begin with "Hipopotalamus Negrus" that quickly shows off the band interplay as we hear a collage of intricate sounds. The last 2 minutes turn into a calm, cool jazzy vibe with smooth sax melodies along with bass, light drums and piano. "Ivanhoe" again features so many different sounds coming and going after the 1 1/2 minute dramatic intro.The sound becomes light and smooth as sax becomes more prominant later on.

This is jaw-dropping music folks. And if your a fan of ZAO or UNIVERS ZERO you owe it to yourself to track this recording down. A must have.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#156604) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Review by ExittheLemming
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The Greek God of Lycra Says Bicycle Clips Just Postpone the Death of Flair

Every once in a while I like to venture outside my habitual comfort zone when it comes to sourcing new music. The older I've become, the harder these off-piste forays become, and yes, that does make me vulnerable to mistaking the resultant cold sores as vindication for falling into the arms of the world's worst ski instructor: the Venus de Milo (thanks Tom). However, I plucked up every vestige of derring do remaining in my overripe soul for this release. That Bartok and Stravinsky are name-dropped piqued my curiosity of course, and any band that are reckoned to have intuited the sublime chamber rock of Univers Zero and Art Zoyd are deserving of some of anyone's time innit?.

Given that this music was recorded in 1977 when (un)conventional wisdom was asking itself if anyone over the age of 25, with a centre parting and in gainful employment could be deemed a bona fide punk provacateur, the prescience of this like minded amalgam of French artists is humbling to behold. All manner of subsequent musical developments can be discerned on Les Cycles De Thanatos waaay before their time: chamber rock, math rock, what might pass for pre-post rock and the earnest orientation of shoegaze (at a pinch) There is even a deferential nod to 20th Century post-modern luvvies like Steve Reich and Terry Reilly. Yep, commercial hara-kiri is being acted out here and the victims never looked or sounded healthier. You will also hear faint remnants of Gong, Zappa and a considerably less volatile Mahavishnu from time to time. (see God is Good For You John for some unexpectedly mordant Gallic humour)

Very little of what might be recognised as even tenuously Prog, is remotely equipped to withstand the scrutiny afforded to 'academic' or 'art' music. I'm quite happy to admit that if the 17 year old me had heard this record when it was released I would, in all likelihood , have dismissed it crassly as 'old hippies art wank blather'. Whether we care to accede to the idea or otherwise, our beloved, eccentric and wilfully esoteric Prog mongrel is never gonna earn that Best In Show prize rosette from those judges we pretend don't matter. We can but console ourselves in the knowledge that our rebellious pup can at least be trained to defecate in that stuck up bastard's conservatory next door. The music presented by Vortex on this album is about as close as rawk was ever going to get to donning the swishing vestments of orthodoxy in my lifetime. It should be self evident that the estimated sales of circa 3000 units would have been insufficient to provide any working ensemble with the viability for a professional career. People don't take popular music seriously because people who like or understand it don't take popular music seriously.(loop to fade) What survives as 'Serious' Music now requires to be heavily subsidised while 'obscure' Popular music will always be disqualified for subsidy as it ain't popular enough to be self sustaining. (DS al Coda) I know, the irony of toff's music being immunised from the germ warfare currently endemic in the free marketplace is hideous.

Thanatos was the Greek God of Death and with relatives holding offices as the equivalent deities for suffering, old age, deception, doom, blame, strife and retribution he was clearly not the sort of guy you would hang with on a Friday night to drink beer and stare at girls. We're advised the seeds of the ambitious title track were sown from a 15 second fragment of a Messiaen piece. I don't know Messiaen at all but I do know Bartok and Stavinsky and even shorn of the eastern european peasant melodies and neo classical conceits, I can still recognise their palpable influence in the pacing, textures, percussion and developmental ideas deployed in this work. Such is the forensic rigour of the undertaking that this new found formal discipline would designate hooks, riffs or killer choruses followed by 'heroic' solos as hopelessly kitsch and plain vanilla tacky. You will require patience and perseverance to elicit the many delights that this composition can deliver so stick with it and just try to train your expectations away from those you are routinely inured to.

Listeners new to this band should maybe dip their blushing tootsies in the more welcoming waters of God Is Good For You, John and Prolegomenes first before negotiating the uncharted territory of the title track. No-one should dive headlong into terra incognita (Ouch)

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Send comments to ExittheLemming (BETA) | Report this review (#768839) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, June 10, 2012

Latest members reviews

5 stars [i]Distant cymbal crashes, controlled snare rolls brushed with the touch of a feather and an electric piano sounding unnervingly like Chick Corea and we're off into an ever descending journey to hell accompanied only by a dozen or so mute Frenchmen from Lyons sporting tight fitting Pringle jumper ... (read more)

Report this review (#103040) | Posted by Yukorin | Thursday, December 14, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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