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French TV


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French TV French TV album cover
3.47 | 38 ratings | 3 reviews | 3% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1984

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Happy Armies Fight In Their Sleep (3:48)
2. Under Heaven There Is Great Disorder (and The Situation Is Excellent) (3:31)
3. The Artist's House (3:21)
4. Spill (10:44)
5. Dream Of Peace (4:13)
6. No Charge (a Free Improvisation) (5:12)
7. Earth, I Wait (7:47)
8. The Visit (5:52)

Total time 44:28

Line-up / Musicians

- Artie Bratton / acoustic & electric guitars
- Stephen Roberts / Roland Juno 60 / JX3P, Fender Rhodes, piano, trumpets (2), vibes & drums (8)
- Mike Sary / basses
- Fenner Castner / drum, percussion

- Jeff Jones / sax (2)
- Jon Weiner / cello (7)

Releases information

Artwork: Mike Sary

LP self-released (1984, US)

CD Pretentious Dinosaur Records ‎- CD005 (2000, US) Remixed / Remastered by Mark Miceli

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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FRENCH TV French TV ratings distribution

(38 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(3%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(51%)
Good, but non-essential (24%)
Collectors/fans only (16%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)

FRENCH TV French TV reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Formed in 1983 in Louisville, Kentucky, French TV started as a trio with Mike Sary on bass, Stephen Roberts on keys and sax player Jeff Jones.When Jones left for Boston to study electronics, the reamaining duo started looking for new musicians.After many auditions they were joined by 17-years old drummer Fenner Castner, who brought in his friend Artie Bratton on guitars.French TV entered the Sound-on-Sound Studios in Crestwood in August 83' and finished their eponymous debut in March 84'.Following a limited interest by the music labels, the album was released privately by the group and features original member Jeff Jones on the track '' Under Heaven there is great disorder''.

Very easy to understand why French TV's music was totally ignored by the music industry, being a commercially devastating blend of R.I.O., Fusion and Canterbury-styled jazzy Prog with many blistering moments and unusual comlex parts, hiding influences from NATIONAL HEALTH, VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR, FRANK ZAPPA and even CAPTAIN BEEFHEART and sounding close to compatriots HOWEVER.The music has a very jazzy nature, without being actually close to Jazz-Rock, and the US quartet shows a great ability on shifting between frenetic instrumental themes to more melodic textures in an album that is executed with coherence from the start to the very end.Obscure keyboard offerings, notable electric and acoustic guitar melodies and shivering, deep bass explosions combine in a tight Fusion style with some incredible ideas, which suffer a bit from a buried production, but overall they sound tasteful and well-crafted.The performances are dense and rich with excellent interplays and breaks into more dreamy soundscapes, resulting a nice balance between complex structures and elaborate passages.

Fortunately the album has been reissued by Mike Sary's Pretentious Dinosaur label in a decent remastered version.Lovely and intricate Progressive Rock all the way for all lovers of instrumental mannerisms.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars My recent love affair with "The Violence Of Amateurs" has inspired me to check out more FRENCH TV so I went straight to their website and ordered a bunch of their discography and am listening to them chronologically to see how they evolved their eclectic sounds over the decades. This eponymous debut album came out way back in 1984. It's obviously from listening to this album that they were in prog heaven when not only anyone else out there sounded like this but the prog bands of the 70s were going top 40 or at the very least were making progressive pop. Sure Marillion was reviving progressive music in the form of neo-prog but nobody I know of was doing avant-prog like FRENCH TV.

This debut album isn't nearly as sophisticated and developed as their later material but even at this early stage they have a basic groove going on that clearly sounds like FRENCH TV. There is that military march type sound that they use as well as a jazzy funk bass sound and lots of odd time signatures and plenty of time dedicated to letting a groove breathe. A lot of this album has already developed a template of what gives FRENCH TV their musical scaffolding but what really sets this album apart from later works is how experimental some of the tracks are. They gleefully play around with polyrhythms setting one instrument against the other and creating some seriously demented sounding music as a result. On this first release there is as much influence from Captain Beefheart as there is from Van De Graaf Generator or Zappa. There is also truly spaced out parts that remind of Gong, Pink Floyd or even Hawkwind.

Instrumentally this is a simpler affair with only guitars, bass, piano, trumpet, vibes, drums, sax and cello! All those extras wouldn't be for a while. I am quite pleasantly surprised that I like this as much as I do. You never know what to expect when you dive into an artist's discography after only hearing one killer album that came out 15 years later. In this case I find this a worthy listen indeed and am sallying forth on the FRENCH TV highway to explore the road that began at the time when A Flock Of Seagulls, Culture Club and Van Halen ruled the world! 3.5 stars rounded up.

Latest members reviews

4 stars With this record started one of the most incredible bands appeared in recent years, the undefinable world of FRENCH TV. Very difficult not only to label, but also to describe its music: from the pseudo folk of FRED FRITH and ZAMMLA´s to the jaaziest canterburied sounds, from low range soundsca ... (read more)

Report this review (#121940) | Posted by victor77 | Sunday, May 13, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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