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Rousseau Square the Circle album cover
3.00 | 27 ratings | 6 reviews | 11% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1987

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Magical moments (3:34)
2. Fade away (3:15)
3. Avenue du printemps (5:46)
4. Masquerade (3:28)
5. Timeless (5:07)
6. Winter's tale (7:13)
7. Isle of light (2:57)
8. Square the circle (5:06)
9. As if painted (3:52)
10. Magical moments - Reprise (2:51)

Total Time: 43:47

Line-up / Musicians

- Rainer Hoffmann / keyboards
- Christoph Huster / flute, drums (2)
- Christoph Masbaum / bass, percussion (6)
- Dieter Müller / vocals (4-9)
- Ali Pfeffer / drums
- Herbert G. Ruppik / acoustic guitar, vocals (2-7)
- Uwe Schilling / guitar

Guest musicians:
- Rut Hammelrath & Norbert Koop / violin (10)
- Gregor Peletz & Katia Pendzig / cello (10)
- Strings arranged by Istvan Nagy

Releases information

Lp. Musea FGBG 2017.AR (1988) / Cd. Musea FGBG 4135.AR (1994)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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ROUSSEAU Square the Circle ratings distribution

(27 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(11%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(33%)
Good, but non-essential (41%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (7%)

ROUSSEAU Square the Circle reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars The least we can say is that "Rousseau" is not a very prolific band. Three albums in seven years ! From a quatuor of musicians releasing pure instrumental music in their early days, they have been through serious change in their line-up for this record : some guests musicians (three), new members (three) and existing members even changing from instruments. I wonder if it was all that necessary.

Anyway, here we are again for a pretty decent album. Maybe that the beauty of their first two albums won't get reached that often, but still I like it very much. Songs as "Magical Moments" (and its reprise as closing number), "Avenue Du Printemps" which is my fave on this album (a wonderful flute oriented and peaceful track) even "Timeless" which even features a very pleasant guitar break, the very harmonious "Winter's Tale" and its emotional acoustic guitar is also a nice piece music.

Each of these songs are fully in-line with their previous efforts.

The title track has a spacey mood. It's the first of this type in their discography. Not too bad I have to say (except the last thirty seconds). The only good track featuring vocals is "As If Painted" with Dieter Müller on the lead. It is a very soft song with, again, a brilliant flute interlude. I really like these moments.

There will some blunders as well, but not too many "Fade Away" featuring vocals sounds as much as a Camel sung one. Same neutral (boring ?) toneless voice but nice musically. "Isle Of Wight" is of the same caliber. Both songs feature Ruppik on the lead (he was the one who apeeared already on their previous album but he did substantially better on those ones. He really sounds poor here.

"Masquerade" (you don't invent these things, right ?) is again a sung piece. Rockier (or tempting to sound so), pretty bad indeed.

Three stars.

Review by b_olariu
3 stars Their third album and more than 4 years from Retreat from 1983. Still a very good album and not a step down from the previouses ones maybe sometimes mellower but doesn't mean a weak one. Square the circle is in the same vein with the predecesors combined very smooth the symphonic elements of Novalis in places and pastoral intrumental passages, very emotional and well played. So still an excellent addition to any collection like the previous one, featuring some very good composition like:Magical moments,Winter's tale and Timless. Also again some traks are with voice. So again a timless album and among the best Rousseau albums, but not as solid and intrsting as Retreat for sure, 3 stars and cover art is quite intristing. Both albums Retreat and Square the circle are at Musea record, so don't hesitate to buy because worth every second .
Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars Rousseau´s third album came four years after their third, Retreat, and although in the same vein as the previous one, Square The Circle is a little better efford. The guitars have slightly more bite, the keyboards are more symphonic and the songwriting is stronger. Ok, it have some flaws: the vocal tracks are not in the same league as the instrumental ones. Fade Away for exemple is quite cheesy, the crooning vocals taking this bossa nova-like song completely out of place here. Fortunatly such mistakes are few. Most of the time the music is quite pleasing, mellow and pastoral. I loved the flutes and the guitar parts

Again what surprises me the most is the fact that this band released such obvious prog album during the 80´s (even if some synths do remind of that era´s sound). The album is quite varied and sometimes it works against them (the old impression of hearing different bands in one CD, you know). But in general feeling is good. Certainly they have talent and they are all skilfull musicians. Production is also very good for the time.

My feeling is that this band never reached its full potential (too many line up changes, maybe?) nor had the opportunity to be heard by the right audience in its day. The timing seems to be wrong. But still they left some real fine stuff for us to discover. if you like melodic symphonic prog (sometimes in the neo prog vein) then Square The Circle is recommended. Another obscure prg gem that I´m glad to find. Rating: somewhere between 3,5 and 4 stars.

Review by kenethlevine
3 stars After a promising and fairly successful debut album, ROUSSEAU decided to add vocals on about half the tracks on "Retreat", perhaps sensing that the 1980s would be a nadir of sorts for delicate chamber prog, never a booming genre to be sure. The result was an artistic peak, with the elegant melodies on flutes, strings, and guitars woven with Herbert G Ruppik's gruffly romantic pipes. The light Latin flavor of these songs complemented the cool precision of the classically inspired meanderings like a hearth fire on a snowy eave.

Four years later, the band returned with a similar collection. The full-on influence of the decade does affect the staying power of the tinny synthesizers, but the CAMEL influence reigns, and is perceptible from the opening cut, especially when Uwe Schilling's lead guitars break out. The closest cameline reference would be "Missing" from the marvelous "Stationary Traveller". Vocally, the most notable contributions are the lively "Fade Away", and the more romantic "Isle of Light" and "As If Painted".

Instrumentally, while this is relatively simple for prog, plenty of allowance is made for shifts in mood and theme, even as the transition might be more like that between sleep and early awakening, or lying in bed and sitting up. The lengthiest, "Winter's Tale", would be the go to cut for these aspects, and the mesmerizing fade out might well have influenced early works by the Swiss neo prog group CLEPSYDRA.

ROUSSEAU might be an easy band to pick on. The generally magnanimous All Music Guide had a few choice words for their unctuousness, yet they never pretend to be anything else, even as they more than occasionally offer succinct demonstrations of aptitude in all aspects of their work. This understatement fundamentally embodies ROUSSEAU's inner spark. "Square the Circle" can't match "Retreat" for uniformity and impact, but, in terms of geometric astral allusions, it sounds like 3 stars.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars To run a progressive band though mid-80's was really hard.Rousseau's members decided to abandon any live performances and focus on songwriting for the next years, as they all had daytime jobs and full dedication the the band's needs was hard to come.Limited promotion and exposure of their sound almost caused the dissolution of the band, when some interest in their older albums surfaced from countries like France and Japan.A fresh line-up appears in 1986, when they released independently their third album ''Square the circle''.Christoph Masbaum switched from guitars to bass in order to welcome new guitarist Uwe Schilling, while the main singer of the band was one Dieter Mueller.A few guests helped the band on cello and violin for this album, which was soon reissued by Musea Records.

Musically Rousseau never actually abandoned their progressive roots.Their style had this discreet Teutonic vibe from the late-70's and the deep sense of melody is always displayed on their soft, polished arrangements, led by smooth symphonic textues and relaxing themes.So, soundwise the band followed more or less the sound of the previous releases: Ultra-melodic guitar tunes, mellow keyboards lines in addition with some flute and strings, with CAMEL being again the main reference point.The real problem comes from the overall approach, which is tightly linked to the year of release: The keyboards are quite thin and synthetic, the music is extremely relaxing, avoiding the true risks of the progressive spirit, while there are even some New Age-drenched landscapes and unrelated underlines, such as Latin and funky touches.Of course not all pieces contain such flaws, practically the longer the piece is, the more progressive it gets.Do not expect though a rich sound, even if flutes are combined with keyboards and guitars, Rousseau always offered secure, melodic compositions in this album with limited vocals and extended, instrumental themes.Just some more energy would be more than welcome.''Avenue du printemps'' and Timeless'' seems like the top entries of the album, nice CAMEL-esque Prog from mid- to late-70's with delicate flute parts and a sensitive electric background.

I can't get over these weak keyboard tunes, especially if speaking for such a nice band like Rousseau.I guess all 70's/80's CAMEL fans will be rewarded, for the rest expect a decent, melodic prog listening with all the flaws of an 80's production...2.5 stars.

Latest members reviews

2 stars The two previous albums released by Rousseau ("Flower in Asphalt" and "Retreat") are really good if you like melodic prog in the vein of Camel. However, I'm sorry to say that their level in "Square the Circle" decreases dramatically. Their sound is not fresh as it was before and their creativi ... (read more)

Report this review (#49865) | Posted by DACE | Monday, October 3, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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