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Sotos Sotos album cover
3.65 | 25 ratings | 4 reviews | 40% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1999

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Tango (21:56)
2. Gilgamesh (16:07)
3. XXVIIIeme Parallele (13:27)
4. L'Espoir Du Clan Des Huntres (17:05)

Total Time: 68:35

Line-up / Musicians

- Nicolas Cazaux / violin, flute & tambourine
- Yan Hazera / guitar & Djembe
- Bruno Camiade / bass & Djembe
- Nadia Leclerc / violin & cello
- Michael Hazera / drums & flute

Releases information


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SOTOS Sotos ratings distribution

(25 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(40%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(32%)
Good, but non-essential (28%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

SOTOS Sotos reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Greger
4 stars This is a very exciting album. It's not that often you get to hear something that is as progressive as SOTOS nowadays. They are among those bands that are pushing the progressive music to its outer limits, and for some reasons I always get excited when I hear such music. SOTOS is from France and they're reminiscent to other French bands such as ESKATON, GONG and MAGMA as well as KING CRIMSON. This is their debut CD, and it's released on Musea's label Gazul. Their compositions are rather complex and furious, and they're all instrumental. They are mixing such instruments as Bass, Cello, Drums, Flute and Guitar. Although there's only four tracks on this album it's almost 70 minutes. All the four tracks are passing 13 minutes, and the opening epic track "Tango" is almost 22 minutes! Much of SOTOS power and energy comes from the drums and percussions. Just listen to the 16 minutes track "Gilgamesh" where the focus is on the percussion's. "Tango" and "Gilgamesh" are my favourites on this album. France is a very exciting country for this kind of music. I don't think that this album would appeal to every progressive rock fan, but if you're adventurous enough, I think you will love it! Recommended!
Review by Sean Trane
3 stars Somewhere between Magma and RIO Type music such as Ensemble Nimbus , this is long acoustic pieces that could also classified as zheul. As I traded this album with Chris/SYZYGY, in the early part of 2006, you should be reading a review of it sometime soon.

This is not for repeated listening , at least not for these ears. Still good , though. According to the grapevine, they made a second album , but by the time of the trading of this album, the groups had stopped existing.

Review by Syzygy
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is the debut album from a French group which formed in the mid 1990s. They operate in a similar territory to Univers Zero, Art Zoyd and Present; dark chamber rock which uses orchestral instruments alongside a rock rhythm section and which exists somewhere between RIO and Zeuhl. There is also some resemblance to Godspeed You! Black Emperor and A Silver Mt Zion in the sound, although the compositional style is very different - there is a little too much rhythmic complexity for post rock.

There are just four long pieces on the album, three of them composed by guitarist Yan Hazera and one by bassist Bruno Camiade. While they have a good grasp of dynamics and a real sense of adventure, the writing of these pieces often lacks the focus and sense of urgency that is found in albums by the RIO/Zeuhl bands which are their most obvious inspiration.

The opening piece, Tango, is a 22 minute epic that could probably have been slimmed down into an effective 12 - 15 minutes, with lengthy passages that fail to develop in any significant way. This is a pity, because there is also some superb interplay between the strings and electric guitar, with intelligent support from a flexible and imaginative rhythm section.

The next piece, Gilgamesh, is a big improvement on this, with an imaginative interlude on percussion featuring the guitarist and bassist on Djembe, an African drum, before leading into a violin-driven climax that briefly recalls King Crimson circa 1974.

XXXVIIIeme Parallele is Bruno Camiade's contribution and includes some very nicely scored flute, percussion and cello parts, with Yan Hazera switching to acoustic guitar for the quieter interludes. The contrasting acoustic/electric, quiet/loud interludes could have been realised with a greater sense of drama, but this is a minor quibble and has more to do with the production than with the composition.

L'espoir Du Clan Des Huntres closes the proceedings, and begins with one of the most uptempo passages on the album, Camiade briefly taking the lead on fuzz bass. This then settles into a similar style to the opening track, with a rhythm that owes more than a little to Magma's Kontarkohsz. As with the opening track, some sections are a little drawn out and repetitive, although again there is also some superb playing to be heard here. The track closes in a manner that recalls the end of Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh, inviting further Magma comparisons.

Sotos is the work of a relatively young band - one member was only 16 when they formed, and apparently this was recorded only a year or so later - and shows a lot of promise. With a stronger willed producer and more disciplined writing, this would have deserved four stars and a strong recommendation. As it is, this is still a worthy addition to any RIO/vant prog collection.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars SOTOS was one of those under-the-radar avant-prog bands that followed in the footsteps of Univers Zero and Art Zoyd, released a couple albums and then disappeared from the scene. This all instrumental ensemble emerged from Bordeaux, France in 1996 and was composed of five musicians. Nicolas Cazaux on violin, flute & tambourine; Yan Hazera on guitar and djembe; Bruno Camiade on bass and djembe; Nadia Leclerc on violin and cello; Michael Hazera on drums and flute. Both Hazera brothers would later play together in their next band Zaar a decade later. All members attended the French National School of Music and required little time in finding a common thread to create their first eponymous album released on the French Gazul label.

Just like many in the more obscure corners of the avant-prog world, SOTOS marries myriad musical disciplines and drives them together with angular rock riffs, chamber rock atmospheres, post-rock compositional styles along with classical sensibilities in this case from the likes of Bela Bartok and Igor Stravinsky. While avant-garde is the first thing that comes to mind when a Univers Zero or Art Zoyd connection is made, SOTOS were disciplined enough, despite creating only four monster tracks all clocking in over 13 minutes, to encapsulate a roller coaster ride of interesting hooks that are allowed to play out and add the proper amount of tension before climaxing and shifting to another complex instrumental arrangement.

While the near 22 minute opener "Tango" may have elements of Argentina's favorite dance music, it's only a small part of the overall sound and fairly obscured with a healthy dose of violin and cello sounding more like a classical folk composition taken from the Hungarian countryside of the 19th century but also offers the angular rhythmic rock approach of the avant-prog tradition with a healthy dose of twists and turns that allow more energetic percussive segments than usually heard in this subgenre of prog. The second track "Gilgamesh" sounds as epic as the Akkadian poem from which the name derives. It begins with a rather Steve Hillage "Fish Rising" type of guitar riff accompanied by folky violin but turns into a more energetic rocker and also displays a fair amount of energetic tribal drumming along the way.

"XXVIIIeme Parallele" exudes a jazz guitar intro but is also quite classically inspired and then drowned out by a lamenting violin before spiraling off into a more upbeat parade of folk led flute and drums. As it ventures forward it sounds more like an early King Crimson type of eclectic jazz rock that becomes more progressive as time goes on with the angular rhythms becoming even more so and avant-guitar solos joining in with burst of bubbly zeuhl bass lines that climaxes with one of the most energetic outbursts on the entire album. "L'espoir Du Clan Des Huitres" at almost 17 minutes is the most frenetic track with insane echoey guitars, chugging zeuhl bass rhythms with less of the angular avant-rhythms but they do occur as it all slowly ratchets up into furious guitar frenzies. Like all the other tracks, there is plenty of time for it to breathe and take the time to build up the momentum.

SOTOS is fairly unique sounding. Not as scary as Univers Zero or Art Zoyd. Not as heavy as Thinking Plague. More varied than bands like Nebelnest but not as ambitious as 5uu's. SOTOS utilizes just enough of several different elements to make it feel balanced with a lot of time paid to repetitive patterns that linger with subtleties joining in. Just a tad of rhythmic zeuhl alongside avant-garde angularities as well as the King Crimson proggy rock mixed with the Bartok classical folk elements. The music is definitely dense and complex but it is fairly easy to follow if the listener is actively engaged. Segments proceed in a logical manner and nothing really jumps out of the blue. Excellent music for those who love a more focused form of avant-prog that also offers a few twists and turns along the way.

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