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Syrinx Qualia album cover
4.36 | 62 ratings | 6 reviews | 40% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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Studio Album, released in 2009

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Liber Nonacris (19:38)
2. Acheiropoiètes (8:40)
3. Le Grand Dieu Pan (14:45)
4. Le Vingt-et-unième Cercle (5:45)

Total time 48:48

Line-up / Musicians

- David Maurin / acoustic guitar
- Benjamin Croizy / keyboards
- Samuel Maurin / bass
- Philippe Maullet / drums

Note : The actual instrumentation could not be fully confirmed at this moment

Releases information

CD Aeon ‎- AEON02 (2009, France)

Thanks to avestin for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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SYRINX Qualia ratings distribution

(62 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(40%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(47%)
Good, but non-essential (8%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

SYRINX Qualia reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars SYRINX continue to play dark atmospheric music that is very detailed and intricate. Once again the acoustic guitar leads the way supported by some great drum and bass work. I swear there's mellotron on here as well as a variety of keyboards.This is all-instrumental by the way. Same lineup as what was on the debut which includes the Maurin brothers from NIL and early THORK.

"Liber Nonacris" is the almost 20 minute opening track. I hesitate to describe each song as I usually do because there is so much going on and the songs are never standing still but constantly evolving. Again dark and atmospheric describes their sound well with the acoustic guitar being ever-present. It sounds like mellotron 2 minutes in with synths to follow. I like when it kicks in fairly heavily after 11 minutes as bass throbs and mellotron storms in while drums pound. Great section.The calm sections are just as good though. Floods of mellotron after 16 minutes. Nice. A full sound with drums 18 minutes in. Some electric guitar too which wasn't on the debut.

"Acheiropoites" is haunting to start as flute comes in. A fuller sound after 3 1/2 minutes with drums and bass. It builds to an intense sound 6 minutes in. Fantastic ! A calm returns 8 minutes in. "Le Grand Dieu Pan" is heavy to open with organ. A haunting calm follows. Piano then takes over followed by cello at 2 minutes. It becomes brighter 3 minutes in and the tempo picks up. It settels with flute before 5 minutes. Guitar takes over before 6 1/2 minutes. I like when the organ returns, synths follow. Great sound (dark & heavy) when it kicks back in 11 1/2 minutes in. "Le Vingt-Et- Unieme Cercle" sounds so good. The kind of song to drift away in. Mellotron 3 minutes in followed by a heavier sound. Gorgeous track. It builds to an explosive sound after 5 minutes.

Tough to pick a favourite between the first two albums but for me "Reification" is still the better one. I would highly recommend you get them both though.This is just amazing music to listen to in the dark with headphones on.

Review by Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Qualia is the second album from French band Syrinx. It's a truly beautiful and complex album, the kind that demands your attention and demands you to just sit back and listen to their compelling mix of Jazz and Prog.

All four compositions are instrumental and it doesn't get any better than the almost twenty minute opener Liber Nonacris. The band play brilliantly, Benjamin Croizy's keyboards used much of the time (though he has his moments in the limelight) to provide sweeping backdrops for Samuel Maurin's fluent, liquid bass playing and Philippe Maullet's dynamic drumming. The lead is taken in the main by David Maurin's busy acoustic guitar playing; yes no electric guitar here. He really is a fantastic player. The album alternates between sublime beauty and moments of musical tension and explosive power to make for an overall captivating sound. The production is excellent with lots of space in the mix, each player having ample opportunity to shine.

I haven't discussed individual tracks as this is an album to listen and to take in as whole and some of the best instrumental music I have heard in years. The only question is whether it's better than their 2003 debut, Reification. Buy them both and make up your own mind. Brilliant stuff, nothing less than 5 stars will do!

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A great work "Qualia" is ? I absolutely enjoy this sophomore release by Syrinx, and I wish I had known it at the time so I could vote for it the 2009 Top lists. All I can do in the present days, in retrospect, is praise it with all my heart. This French ensemble was quite a big surprise a few years back with their debut effort "Reification", exploring a sort of progressive experimental rock that combined mystic atmospheres and dense, semi-creepy moods; in 2008, "Qualia" retook this interesting trend and instilled a renewed energy into it. As usual, the band's sonic framework is built upon the articulation pondered among the harmonies/leads performed on a much featured acoustic guitar and the driving force driven on by the rhythm section, while the keyboard inputs rigorously fill abundant spaces all over the place. 'Liber Nonacris' opens up the album with agile atmospheres, but eventually, at the 3 minute mark, the sonic development turns to slightly denser grounds. From the onward, the piece evolves in an amazing set of varied themes, abundant yet not overwhelmingly overdone. There are moments in which the keyboard orchestrations assume the leading role in the melodic developments; there is also a mysterious passage in which the bass guitar's interventions get a bigger exposure, in this way adding some stamina to the overall sound. The use of synthesized choral ornaments and emulated mellotron helps to reinforce the recurrent mesmeric ambience. 'Acheiropoietes' features soprano sax in the first passage, which assumes an air of distinction through the unhidden sense of mystery that prevails. The colorfulness portrayed in the subsequent development states a landscape of tension that ends up released during the track's closing section. 'Le Grand Dieu Pan' brings a grayish ambience, properly focused on autumnal textures. The solo piano passage bears a nostalgic beauty, conveniently balanced with the agile section that follows immediately, eventually leading to a majestic display of moderate bombast. Once again, the bass guitar manages to make itself noticed among the whole equilibrated architecture. 'Le Vingt-Et-Unieme Cercle' occupies the album's last 5 ¾ minutes. It is evidently more serene than any of the other preceding tracks, but the overall feel is totally consistent with the spirit of outworld mystery that has assumed control of the musical arrangements in the whole album. The climatic ending may bring some 70s Pulsar memories to some. Well, this was "Qualia", a superb album by one of the best French prog ensembles currently around.
Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars What do you get when a fabulous acoustic guitarist meets up with a spectacular drummer? Well, after nailing a mellotron-mad keyboardist (is there a more glorious sound than acoustic guitar and the mighty 'tron?) and enlist a bass player with rolling fingers and you wind up with a French quartet named Syrinx. On their sophomore 2008 effort Qualia, the band expands their thematic instrumental only approach, calling it "Metamorphic Music", a textured canvas on which the musicians simply layer on details that delve deeply into incredible mutations, a clearly jazz-rock fusion that swerves into dense symphonics on a dime, the splendid David Maurin acoustic guitar in the spotlight. His likely brother Samuel Maurin supplies strenuous bass excursions, closer to Weidorje's Paganotti in that it's up- front and very center, like a musical spinal cord. Ivoryman Benjamin Croizy colors intensely with mostly the afore-mentioned mellotron but also tosses in some sparkling e-piano, rolling organ and somewhat metallic synthesizer ornamentations. The music is not far from fellow French acts Priam, Taal, Xang, Nebelnest and Nil (all three players save for the drummer were members of this legendary Annecy band) as well as obvious King Crimson tendencies (the mathematically precise bicycle acoustic guitar a la Fripp) , while drummer Phillipe Maullet could easily nail a Bill Bruford audition! Yeah, that good!

If you have any lingering doubts about my sanity, you need to protect yours upon feasting your ears on the opening masterpiece "Liber Nonacris", a nearly 20 minute python track that will slowly engulf you whole and digest you later! Tempestuous, at times veering toward insanity but somehow exceedingly controlled, or better yet, controlling, the delivery is breath- taking and audacious. This has to be one of the best epic instrumentals ever in progland. Fans of every stripe would find glee in the recipe, where blistering technique meets vaporous Gothicism. There are undeniable hints of eerie schizophrenia, emotional discomfort, obtuse irrationality and a yearning for some sort of salvation. Creepy, in a good way.

The style can also morph into quasi-soundtrack-ish mode, as if the band was commissioned for some spectral horror movie, "Acheiropoietes" is a moody, somber and unforgiving canvas of sound. Led by a soprano saxophone that has no handcuffs, the piece at first is perhaps the jazziest here, very stop/start and stark. Cemetery anthem, binary for quite a while and then, BOOM the mellotron takes this into much more pleasant surroundings, lush and symphonic. A few simple drumstick moves and the mood becomes chaotic again. Like a crazed rat caught in a labyrinth, there I no possible escape, move forward at your peril or retreat into doom. All along the victorious bass keeps the acceleration gasping for air.

On the massive 14 minute+ "Le Grand Dieu Pan", after a simmering piano intro where complacency and occasional cello eruption rule the day, the churning organ takes over leadership duties and, for all intended purposes, does not let go until the end, ably assisted by the wild guitar and manic drumming. Croizy then audaciously administers some synthesized fantasy, the bass burping along like some doped-up nurse, raising the angst to improbable levels of tension. Somber piano and grave flute combine to further the despondence. Pan is the Greek god of the shepherds and flocks, nature of mountain wilds, hunting and pastoral music, and companion of the nymphs, so its presence here is self- evident within the context of the song. Eventually, the arrangement is guided into a more symphonic complexion, the guitar and the bass getting very technical, the drums highly syncopated and poly-rhythmic. The piano returns majestically, with profound seriousness until they all explode on their instruments, Samuel in particular getting nasty on his 4 stringed monster. Just tremendous talent on display here, this is music you can enjoy as a whole or in part, following each instrument individually. Darn, I love that many options.

The brief 5 minute finale is a wordplay on the "21st circle" instead of century (hmm, never thought of that) but in fact, just a mellotron-infested ditty with great intensity and a strange growling slash (that devilish bass and effects) , David delivering a supersonic acoustic foray that would make Andres Segovia proud and Maullet pounding his heart out. The King Crimson influences are loving and overt but that jazzy craziness is just to expunge over.

Tremendous listening experience. Gorgeous artwork. A classic.

5 subjective experiences

Review by BrufordFreak
4 stars Another one of the Maurin brothers' musical projects (to go with THORK and NIL), this album presents some very nice instrumental jazz-rock fusion from France, replete with church organ, woodwinds and power chords.

1. "Liber Nonacris" (19:38) very proggy, even, at times, prog folkie, despite its jazz and avant baseline. (36/40)

2. "Acheiropoiètes" (8:40) more brooding over the first three minutes but then it becomes quite cinematic when the full band kicks into a cohesive in the fourth minute. In the fifth minute another turn is taken--as if running away and then slipping into a doorwell to hide from some pursuer. Very cool and effect journey-making. (18/20)

3." Le Grand Dieu Pan" (14:45) despite a slow, spacious start, this one turns into a kind of NIL/GENESIS blend. Quite satisfying. (27/30)

4. "Le Vingt-et-unième Cercle" (5:45) quite a different opening as it sounds like a NeoProg ballad for the first minute--until the change into a minor key sets up a more complex story to be told. The acoustic guitars add so much with that symphonic folk element: very welcomed! With 90 seconds left we are treated to a chorus of angelic female vocalists singing some "Ahhs". More of this would have been nice! The song ends in the sounds of an apocalyptic explosion. (9/10)

Total time 48:48

the softer side of the French Jazz-Rock Fusion scene containing some definite avant garde/RIO, Prog Folk, Symphonic elements and themes, the music is definitely more pleasant and engaging than some French prog bands--more like MINIMUM VITAL, HYPNO5E, or SETNA. I love the fact that David Maurin remains committed to the acoustic guitar throughout.

B+/4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of instrumental progressive rock of the NIL-like vein. Too bad it doesn't have NIL's extraordinary vocals!

Latest members reviews

5 stars Syrinx is a myth and a mystery in many ways: Firstly, the players are anonymous even if we do have a clue of who they might be. Secondly, the concept of Syrinx is built on Greek mythology, revealing its secrets in three parts. In the second part, Qualia, the four Transcribers (this is how the mus ... (read more)

Report this review (#201789) | Posted by herrahuu | Thursday, February 5, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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