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Progression by Failure

Symphonic Prog

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Progression by Failure Progression by Failure album cover
3.74 | 39 ratings | 9 reviews | 36% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 2009

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Intro (0:27)
2. Dialog With A Selfish (7:27)
3. Memories From The Future (10:17)
4. The Solitude Of A Winter (7:56)
5. Desperate Anger (12:24)
6. Talion (6:59)
7. Progression By Failure (22:44)

Total Length: 68:18

Line-up / Musicians

- Nicolas Piveteau / All the instruments

Releases information

Musea (MP3085)

Thanks to Ivan_Melgar_M for the addition
and to Ivan_Melgar_M for the last updates
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PROGRESSION BY FAILURE Progression by Failure ratings distribution

(39 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(36%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(23%)
Good, but non-essential (33%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

PROGRESSION BY FAILURE Progression by Failure reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars Surprising debut

I read many comments in which Symphonic albums by new artists are described as "Retro Prog", a term with which I strongly disagree, because being influenced doesn't mean that the artist will copy what existed some decades ago. Well I wish this people would listen PROGRESSION BY FAILURE'S self titled debut, many would have to eat their words, because everything in this band is original, except the quality which is timeless.

As a breeze of fresh air the talented french multi-instrumentalist NICOLAS "NICORDAN" PIVETEAU presents us a new approach towards instrumental Symphonic Prog, it's true that the careful listener will find some KING CRIMSON, ELP, PAR LINDH PROJECT and even TOMAS BODIN reminiscences, but the sound is so unique and radically new that nobody can even imply he's trying to sound as anybody except as "PROGRESSION BY FAILURE"

The album is extremely complex by moments and soft peaceful on others, the composer blends with dexterity Avant Garde, Neo Classical and powerful Rock elements in such a way that even contradictory genres sound perfectly coherent and captivating, proving us that Symphonic Prog has evolved far beyond what the pioneers ever imagined.

The short introduction sets the machinery in motion with great mystery and immediately leads to "Dialog with a Selfish" an extremely complex song with a structure so elaborate hat reminds a bit of "Lark Tongues in Aspic", despite it doesn't sound remotely as KING CRIMSON.

But then in a matter of second the track morphs into a Neo Classical passage only interrupted by the excellent Moog performance, a dramatic full of passion interpretation, pure Progressive Rock at it's best.

"Memories from the Future" start with a combination of Organ, Mellotron and drums which lead gently to an absolutely fluid passage in which all the instruments fuse in one unique sound.

The main component of the song is in the extreme drama, enhanced by the dark piano sections that again change into a different section with fluid keyboards, soft but energetic, never loosing the interest of the listener. But that's not all, again the song changes dramatically into a fluid and lush keyboard exhibition.

"The Solitude of Winter" is by far my favourite track, the piano display is simply delightful and delicate, but the best characteristic is the way in which the music grows in intensity and tension as it advances, hard to describe but easy to listen and suitable for any Progressive Rock fan, specially for those like me who started listening Classical music before Prog..................Extremely beautiful.

"Desperate Anger" starts with an electronic intro that suddenly changes into a Crimsonian collection of dissonant sounds and power..........But, unlike most bands who attempt this, is absolutely coherent.

If this wasn't enough "Desperate Anger" changes into some sort Heavy Prog in which the feeling of claustrophobia invades the listener, no blank spaces, no rest, just music comprised with horror to the silent spaces, again a great track.

"Talion" is a really impressive songs, even when I found the whole album extraordinary, this song proved me I was before a versatile composer, in this track I listen similarities in style JEAN MICHEL JARRE but combined with some sort of late Romantic music in the vein of Borodin, perfectly fluid and coherent with explosions of pomp and brilliant keyboards, this album doesn't have a weak moment.

"Progression by Failure" is closed with the title song, a very pleasant 22:44 minutes epic that consolidates my positive opinion about the release. This time the approach is totally different, it's some kind of MIKE OLDFIELD inspired Neo Classical piece, with soft changes and Jazzy leanings. everything flows so fluid until the eighth minute when a strong bass announces a change, again in the stylistic vein of "Tubular Bells" but of course with a totally different melody. After some more changes, Mellotron choirs and beautiful music.

I was tempted to rate this album with 5 stars, because I feel no flaw and, consider "Progression by Failure" a masterpiece, but everybody knows I never rate debut albums with the maximum, being that this would mean the author has reached his/her peak, and in this case I'm sure "Nicolas" and PROGRESSION BY FAILURE have much more to offer.

Really 4.5 stars, but being impossible in our system, I will have to stay with four solid stars and hope to listen from him soon.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
5 stars Stunning debut CD of this one man band that reveals the genious of french multi instrumentalist and songwriter Nicolas Piveteau. I was drawn to this CD when I read Ivan Nelgarīs glowing review and, after repeated listenings, I can say he is right on the mark! This is a fantastic work that blends very different styles and genres to produce a music that is, at the same time, original and accessible. What a rare chemistry!

The CD is a totally instrumental affair and is basicly just keyboards and drums but you wonīt miss any other instruments on this very well balanced album. It is clear that classical music is the main influence, but there are lots of other sutff in the mix: avant guard, jazz, King Crimson, Erik Satie, prog rock, even thrash metal bits can be traced on some drums patterns and riffs. Some moments are almost chaotic but never to the point of losing its melody line (hence its link with some of KCīs best moments). Some parts are pure lyrical and very, very poignant (The Solitude Of A Winter is a good exemple), some are complex (like the opener Dialog With A Selfish), some are heavy,some are light. In common they have the fact that they are all great!

For a first album this is really a superb work, with a top notch production, fine mix, tasteful arrangements and mature compositions. Itīs almost 70 minutes long and yet I think it is too short. I just canīt get enough of this. Itīs very elaborate, complex, beautiful symphonic prog music at its best. I was a bit tempeted to give it 4 stars, since you always expect the following works to be better, but there is no way to deny that this is truly a masterpiece of progressive rock. 5 stars. Highly recommended!

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars "I was drawn to this CD when I read Ivan Melgarīs glowing review and, after repeated listenings, I can say he is right on the mark!" wrote colleague Tarcisio Moura when etching his review into the PA monument. Well, I can only concur wholeheartedly! Thank you Ivan, you introduced us to a phenomenal debut album that has been causing a series of tremors in my recent prog landscape and perhaps even the winner of the best 2009 release. Yes, kids, this is a shocker that encompasses all the traditions of past glories while infusing ultra-modern textures and vibrant atmospheres.

After a brief electronic swoop that stamps this as vintage 2009, "The Dialog with a Selfish" embarks on a thunderous all-instrumental journey that has one man band leader Nicolas Piveteau unleashing his phenomenal talent on a battery of keyboards, laying down the directional bass and the escorting drums. The synthesizers in particular can be both texturally cubic like Richard Barbieri or supremely soloist like Tomas Bodin or Par Lindh, for example. Nicolas' piano playing is of note as well, very elegant and refined in a neo-classical sense when needed. A tremendous entrance to say the least! "Memories from the Future" has a fanfare mellotron embrace that will knock your socks off, the slippery synth rolling atop the fluffy choir clouds and that ultra cool piano that alters the mood on contact. The romping bass swings delightfully while the organ shows pure bliss, in fact Piveteau reminds me a lot of Olov Andersson of Grandstand fame (a great Swedish band), tons of keys and no sight of guitar anywhere.

The spectacular beauty of "The Solitude of Winter" has all the class of past glories, a drop dead gorgeous melody hammered out on piano that would make Wakeman, Fritz or van der Linden blush with envy. It's something one could listen to forever, romantic, ponderous, melancholic, poignant and heartfelt. The trumpet synth solo only increases the sheer magnificence, you have to hear this only once to fall hopeless entranced. After such a lovely escapade, Piveteau returns with a gloomier epic, "Desperate Anger" a dozen minutes of controlled fury with its insistent theme, jack-booted by a resilient bass and some savvy electronic orchestrations, almost like a soundtrack to some zesty sci-fi action flick. The tone gets even heavy and sweaty with brutal machine shop synths steamrolling mercilessly, a stellar slab of gleaming high-tech prog, twirling, careening, slashing and crashing with evocative splendor. Often for me in describing my fave genre, prog is a audio version of cinema where the listener can create its own virtual dreams and this fact is perfectly ensconced here as a mindscape of infinite freedom. Music should be inspiring and this stuff is.

"Talion" is a revisit of more grandiose themes, a more organic and vibrant JM Jarre/Vangelis/ TDream with tons of mellotron, a divine and urgent synth bass and some memorable impressionist flavors. Again we have the perfect balance between modern and classical, between electronic and symphonic, always with that "je ne sais quoi" edge. Not many musicians have the balls to finish of their labour of love with a 22 minute finale, but since 44 minutes have gone by faultlessly, why not go for the jugular! The title cut contains 22 minutes and 44 seconds of sheer genius that ultimately confirms this as a 2009 masterpiece, a wondrously intense piano waltzes sensuously into the audio brain, a timeless synthesizer and a steady pulse slowly weave their charm and hypnotize, medicate and heal the wounds of daily life. I did not expect such a brilliant piece of plastic and I am blown away as I rarely need only one run through to go gaga because contrary to popular opinion, I consider myself quite demanding in terms of prog.

There are structural similarities with Anthony Phillips' genial "Slowdance" and some Oldfield hints (Yes, Ivan, Tubular Bells is right) but this remains beautiful music, sensuous and sultry, evocative and reflective. The ability to foxily decorate with some colossal choir mellotron patches only increases the feverish adulation. Exactly half way through, there is a bass and drum excursion that while simplistic, still conjures deep new avenues for Piveteau's to flex his creative muscles. A magnificent ride is in the offing. I don't care if it's a debut disc (in my opinion, within recent progressive music, they are often the best anyway), it does not deserve to be intellectually belittled by its nativity and fully meriting a top score. If Nicolas has more to offer next time, heaven help us! Thank you Ivan

5 prog pacifiers

Review by Menswear
3 stars Hand made with pride.

More and more solo projects are given birth these days, and many has a high level of quality; I'm thinking Willowglass and now Progression by Failure.

Some songs are kinda skinny, or maybe I'm not familiar with the style; many proggers are referring to Jarre and Oldfield, big names indeed! I was expecting maybe something thicker in textures, maybe some guitars. The drums are of course done very simply, and frankly it bugs me a bit.

But I'm saying:'Come on man, give a guy a chance. He's all alone. He excels in piano and keyboards, he cannot be everywhere!' And it's true: songs like Solitude of Winter are really painting the nostalgia of being lonely in the cold winter, thanks to a very nice melody.

Overall, the job of doing everything alone is giving me heartburns just thinking about it. So kudos to Progression by Failure for a decent job with catchy melodies and great keyboard.

Merci ā toi Nicolas, tu as relevé un défi difficile avec brio. Continue ton super travail, on anticipe ton prochain disque!

Review by b_olariu
3 stars Progression by failure is the project or better said the band of the young french musician Nicolas Piveteau. This is the first album selftitled from 2009. Hmm, I had quite hard times to listen to this album at once, belive, nothing is wrong here, but I don't find the originality of the music as anyone praising here. Ok, I'm agree with the rest that he is a very good keyboad player, but the rest of the instruments where he plays are almost boring. I forgott to say that he is the main man on entire album, he plays at everything that is heared here, is a thing that must be be congratuleted, but besides the keys who sound in places very intristing, the rest are almost mediocre. The sound of the drums I don't realy like, is almost for the begginers with not catchy moments, here and there he speeds and turns a little bit not to become boring, same paterns on all the album. I want to be more diverse in manner of composing. All album is instrumental, so another thinng for him to express very easy annd with lots of keyboard driving moments. The music is ok, I mean, he realy shines on some pieces , but only on key passages, like the title track, nearly 23 min of great journy through his symphonic ventures. Influences are from Jean Michel Jarre in places, very electronic sometimes like on Dialog With A Selfish, a mediocre piece to my ears full of unintristing keyboards arrangements, some more rougher moments interlude with some parts a la ELP on other pieces, ok but the diversity of the music lacking here as almost every piece. As previous reviewer Menswear said very good I was expecting some guitars, at least here and there to make the atmosphere more grandious, more fluid in arrangements, is not the case this instruments doesn't feature here at all. So as a whole I find it a good album, with memorable songs, decent arrangements, but I don't realy find the masterpiece that other reviewers find here, belive me, not even I'm listning to the album hundred times. I know better albums from this field, some of them miles away then this Progression by failure, but in the end this Nicolas Piveteau know to handle the keys in such way to make a pleasent album, because the rest of the instruments are simply made and in places almost mediocre. 3 stars is the best I can give, good album but nothing realy special.
Review by Epignosis
2 stars Keyboard-playing is a wonderful skill because one can generate a multitude of sounds, and in that department, Nicolas Piveteau excels. While the man behind this album is unquestionably talented, the product has a few glaring flaws: First, the album lacks a unifying coherence, although to be fair, the artist himself has claimed these pieces were written as tributes to a variety of bands. Hence, while one piece may sound like what is commonly called "retro prog," another piece will be a stab at progressive metal. Second, as a relatively lengthy album of keyboard-dominated instrumentals, tonal variety is all but missing despite the compositional variety. I feel other instruments, most notably guitars, would have injected fresh life into these generally respectable arrangements. Finally and perhaps most unfortunately, it is the most protracted piece that is the weakest, and not just mildly so, but more on that later.

"Intro" No frills here- this passage does exactly what it says it will. It introduces the music of the album with a few thunders of percussion.

"Dialog with a Selfish" Grating, frantic noises explode into action. When they clear out, only a stark piano and sinister background noises remain, but soon a whining synthesizer lead joins in. It becomes dissonantly noisy, laden with electronic sounds.

"Memories from the Future" This piece has a peppy, cheerful beginning, relying heavily on organ and a bouncy bass. Abruptly, the music stops and a lone piano takes over, slowly hammering out heavy chords and gentle single notes, with a soulful synthesizer solo to follow. The organ solo is absolutely masterful, as it is a demonstration of virtuosity without cramping the rest of the music.

"The Solitude of a Winter" While I'm not fond of the sound of the piano (it sounds far too digital, almost cheap), the composition is a lovely, delicate one that in a way is blemished by rather dreary bass and drums. Midway through, the piece stops and begins the next section, which consists of two separate piano tracks and a layer of strings. Finally a synthesizer lead descends upon the music, but after what has come before, it seems rather lackluster. The lack of variety, both in sound and instrumentation, not mention the decidedly weak rhythm work, makes for a beautiful yet uninteresting piece, especially for its length.

"Desperate Anger" The track title is quite indicative of the sort of music one can expect to hear on this one. Gritty tones, even on the organ, crunch throughout; that, coupled with an overused bass drum, creates a pseudo-metal atmosphere. More spacious, piano-led music follows, with electronic sounds in the backdrop. The middle section is an especially busy one, as the heavier business resumes. The music of the final minutes casts a baleful mood due to dissonant counterpoint. Occasionally the timing seems off.

"Talion" This piece utilizes electronic tones, most notably what seems to be synthetic violins, cellos, and drums. It is good, but forgettable.

"Progression by Failure" Lonesome piano opens the vast title track. It soon settles into a steady and simple chord progression to lay the foundation for dual synthesizer lead. Whereas much of the previous music was varied in terms of arrangement, this lengthy piece has the artist finding a couple of strong themes, but wearing them out with repetition, only eventually moving onto the next section with a very weak transition or none at all. Largely it consists of several jam sessions strung together- multiple opportunities to shine as a lead musician with nothing else of interest, all book-ended by a pleasant but extremely tedious theme that gets recycled over and again.

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A promising and intriguing effort by this French one-man band, at least for those with a granbd passion for music conveyed by various forms of tangents.

PBF is a one-man band, and as most others this does lead to some weaknesses. In this case the drums are rather horrible and the bass leaves quite a bit to be desired too. In other words: Those with a need for good instrumental performances throughout may not fancy this effort at all.

However, if synths, keyboards, piano and organ are instruments you find fascinating in themselves, and if you truly enjoy rich, well made symphonic textures with a great deal of variation in terms of dominating sounds, the number of layers utilized and logically evolving songs you're in luck as far as this production goes. In particular if you enjoy a piano motif running as a red thread throughout the composition - which is the fact for a number of these ventures.

There's nothing new or groundbreaking here though. It is a well made effort, where the strength of the compositions and the performance by various keys are the main assets, and with a pretty good production too. But as mentioned earlier: The drums and bass does not sound good, and if those are traits important to you you'll probably not find much to please you on this disc.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Progression by Failure is a project started by a young French keyboardist named Nicolas Piveteau, who's influences range from 70's- and modern Prog Rock to Dark Metal.Born in 1981 and based in the city of Tours, Piveteau also plays guitars and drums and recorded his self-titled debut all by himself, a work released in 2009 on Musea Parallele.

Despite his young age, Piveteau was ready to meet the prog challenge with this release, not a single track is under 7 minutes and he even made an attempt to record a 20+ min. composition with the self-title piece.Young age and recording isolation has its good and bads though.Good thing is that Piveteau appears to be a trully gifted composer and performer, especially on keyboards and piano, which are the dominating instruments on the album.''Progression by Failure'' is loaded with synthesizers and comes as a really dense effort on dramatic, instrumental and modern Symphonic Rock, the easy comparison and influential guide would be E.L.P., but the music of Piveteau is often controlled by electronic snippets, while the the edgy and bombastic sound draws comparisons with acts like NEXUS or Japanese bands such as GERARD and ARS NOVA.Expect very few to zero Hammonds, Mellotrons or true Classical pinches in here though, the real treat is a full synthesizer sound, where pomposity and grandieur meet virtuosity.Piveteau's music is usually pounding and mascular, but there are often moments, when the gears are down and the material is more atmospheric than technical.Advantages can become disadvantages at the same time and the sharp synth-drenched stuff has resulted to a very digital sound, while the acoustics of the guitars, bass and drums are not fully convincing at the very end.There are rare melodies in here, but when present the material sounds excellent, very catharctic, ethereal and beautiful.Piano lines are also very nice and I would love to see Piveteau returning with a more melodious and keyboard-diverse sound in the future.

This is good to really nice modern Symphonic Rock with emphasis on keyboards, deep, almost cinematic atmospherics and technical accomplishment.Cool stuff for a one-man band effort, should be a great addition for all lovers of keyboard-based Symph Rock.Recommended.

Latest members reviews

5 stars How can one man produce something this damn good? I mean sure, both Anthony Phillips and Willowglass are brilliantly fine examples of what only one or two people can do together in a symphonic prog. context when some great themes are established....but Nicolas Piveteau's "Progression By Failure" i ... (read more)

Report this review (#247659) | Posted by Anteater | Sunday, November 1, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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