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Potemkine Foetus album cover
3.66 | 40 ratings | 6 reviews | 18% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Foetus (6:18)
2. Zed (5:13)
3. Nuit sur le Golan (2:18)
4. Ballade (6:16)
5. Hymne (1:58)
6. Loolitt (3:04)
7. Cedille (5:53)
8. Laure (4:33)
9. Cycles (2:16)

Total Time 37:49

Line-up / Musicians

- Dominique Dubuisson / bass, vocals
- Charles Goubin / guitar, vocals
- Michel Goubin / keyboards, vocals
- Philippe Goubin / drums, percussion
- Xavier Vidal / violin

Releases information

LP Tapioca 10008 (1976)
LP Tartempion 0010

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Cesar Inca for the last updates
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POTEMKINE Foetus ratings distribution

(40 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(18%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(48%)
Good, but non-essential (32%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

POTEMKINE Foetus reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars Well I do like this better than their final record "Nicolas II" but not as much as "Triton". Some nice Zeuhl moments on this their debut album, and the first two tracks especially are outstanding. The best album cover as well on this one out of the three.

"Foetus" just has this beautiful sound to it. The vocal melodies actually remind me of Robert Wyatt at times. The drums are quite prominant, as are the keys after 3 minutes as a beautiful melody follows. Check out the guitar 5 minutes in, it's fabulous ! "Zed" has a very Zeuhl-like rhythm. The vocal melodies are great. Full blown Zeuhl 3 minutes in, an awesome sound. "Nuit Sur Le Golan" opens with these strange sounds, as spoken words and vocal sounds come and go. Some quiet violin to end this experimental song. Fortunately it's only 2 minutes long. "Ballade" opens with violin and vocal melodies. These light sections are contrasted with the uptempo passages of keys and drums. Keyboard melodies end up dominating the song until violin takes over with some scorching melodies. Then it's the guitars turn, as vocal melodies end it.

"Hymne" has a Jazz / Fusion vibe to it that they would develope further on their final album. This short song has it all though including vocal melodies. "Loolitt" has some nice piano melodies and a good beat. Violin and guitar take turns showing off with a vocal melody to follow. Great track. "Cedille" is 5 minutes of piano melodies. This is mellow of course, with some tempo changes thrown in. "Laure" opens with guitar, drums, bass and keys all jumping in and out quickly before a melody arrives 1 1/2 minutes in. The drums are so crisp and I like the vocal melodies. The song ends as it began. "Cycles" opens with some beautiful piano. Guitar comes in, and is joined eventually by violin, bass and drums.

A solid 4 star record in my opinion.

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars Having started as early as 71, the Goubin brothers (four of them at one point) started as a cover garage group; they evolved into this JR/F band upon hearing Weather Report and Mahavishnu Orchestra. After an initial single released in 74, they got the ball rolling with Foetus and its crusader ship of their band name as an artwork, but by that time Dubuisson had taken over the bass and Vidal had appeared on violin. The appearance of the violin will immediately make you think of MO, but more of the Goodman period than the Ponty era. Of course, the main difference between Foetus and the rest of the JR/F pack is the use of wordless vocals, chants and choirs, one that sound rather "female", despite being the work of the five (male) members. The group's previous single had a slightly Canterburian feel added to the JR/F musical realm, but with their Foetus, it seems to have disappeared.

The band's first opus is definitely a tad derivative on its avowed JR/F influences but one can't really find much Zeuhl in the present album, Foetus still manages to develop its own personality and some excellent and inventive high-pitched choir vocals. But if it is clear that tracks like Laure, or Hymne have MO roots, reinforced by the presence of Vidal's violin, her tracks like Cedille are much slower-paced, which is a piano-based ambient piece, but things can also get even a tad dissonant with the Golan track. Elsewhere, Vidal's violin comes dangerously close to coming un-tuned in the middle section of Ballade. Zed is a very repetitive nature, turning over and over its choppy descending riff.

Although Potemkine's debut album Foetus has never seen a proper CD release (and is not likely to, unless vinyls are reissued), but since all of it came as bonus tracks on their later albums CD reissues, I was able to re-construct their album, and managed a review. According to the great Soleil Zeuhl label reissues' booklets, the band's fortunes grew rapidly, opening for MO or Magma and creating an unison project with other French bands from different parts of the country to play concerts in each other's regions. Despite not getting a proper release, Foetus is a very honest (at times brilliant) JR/F album, a typical product of its time, despite lacking the fully-professional feel of the groups it inspired itself upon, but if you're interested enough, you will get it through their other two CDs, and it's very much worth it. Actually I may even prefer it to both Triton and Nicolas II.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Another 21st Century discovery for me (I am so late to this amazing Zeuhl scene!) Yet another French band with influences of the early MAGMA/Zeuhl scene but, unlike so many others, none of the artists here had played with Christian Vander. Thus, the influences of other contemporary musics might be more prominent in this music than your typical Zeuhl.

1. "Foetus" (6:26) (9/10)

2. "Zed" (5:22) (8.75/10)

3. "Nuit sur le Golan" (2:24) May have been relevant in the mid-1970s; not so much now. (3.25/5)

4. "Ballade" (6:24) opens like a Japanese lullaby with vocalese and violin and tuned percussives before the whole band joins in at the 2:15 turning it into some veritable jazz-funk-tastics. (9/10)

5. "Hymne" (2:05) sounds and feels a bit Canterbury-ish. (4/5)

6. "Loolitt" (3:11) has Zeuhl written all within it. Electric piano, straight time drums with lots of flourishes, chunky (though rather sparsely included) bass--and then electric violin and guitar. (9/10)

7. "Cedille" (6:00) a gorgeous little collection of notes opens this sad yet beautiful piano-based excursion. There is almost a spiritual insistency in the melody--not unlike Bill Evans, John Coltrane, John McLaughlin or David & Steve Gordon might use. (9.5/10)

8. "Laure" (4:39) opens with a melody played on electric guitar and supported by flurries of whole-band crescendos sounding like it came from one of Santana's jazzy albums. By the time the song finally establishes itself in its fullness around the 1:20 mark, we're still not quite sure where the Goubin brothers are taking us. This is jazz fusion, not Zeuhl. Until 2:25. Jean-Luc Ponty-like violin and melodies and interesting guitar & keyboard chords work their way in and out of this odd but, ultimately, beautiful song. (9.5/10)

9. "Cycles" (2:21) sounds like something between early Mahavishnu Orchestra and The Allman Brothers--only gone horribly wrong. (3/5)

4 stars; a very good and certainly interesting and enjoyable ride through the fringes of 1970s Zuehl.

Review by siLLy puPPy
3 stars POTEMKINE formed in Toulouse, France early in 1971 and started like many bands simply playing covers of English rock bands like The Rolling Stones and Deep Purple. Initiated by brothers Charles and Gilles Goubin, together the two acquired a taste for the jazz rock and fusion explorations of bands like the Weather Report, Mahavishnu Orchestra and Miles Davis but residing in France was also exposed to the underground sensation Magma who brought the wild world of zeuhl into existence. After many years of stumbling around eventually POTEMKINE found a true band formation with brother Philippe Goubin joining in on drums and bassist / vocalist Dominque Dubuisson also added. With the addition of violinist Xavier Vidal, the first lineup was complete and the two-track debut EP emerged in 1974.

It took two more years but the band pushed ahead and recorded its first full-length FOETUS in 1976 on lauded Pole Records better known for its wild French take on progressive electronic than jazz rock but nevertheless the release of the album found the band finding larger playing venues and exposure courtesy of the brilliant Tartempion non-profit which organized concerts. Delivering a much mellower style of jazz rock fusion with zeuhl rhythms and wordless vocals, FOETUS seamlessly melded the placidity of the Weather Report with the more French sounding zeuhl sounds of Zao only with a more robust flow of diverse cadences and musical motifs that were occasional punctuated with a bit of guitar heft for contrast. The Jannick Top style fretless bass slides gave it a distinct zeuhl flavor as do the scattered vocal appearances.

More jazz rock oriented than zeuhl, FOETUS showcases a dreamy procession of jazz-fueled workouts with scat vocals adding an extra element of support. The music mostly drifts on in slo-mo but occasional outbursts add some spice. Despite the jazzy chord progressions and nods towards varying fusionists, POTEMKINE featured no horn section or wind instruments with the bass, drums and keyboards seeing the most action. The violin creeps in from time to time for assistance in the spicing it up department and the same with the guitar so mostly FOETUS features sparse instrumentation and tends to engage in repetitive grooves that don't offer as much diversity or contrast as one would expect from anything remotely tucked into the zeuhl category. The track "Cedille" sounds more like a classical piano recital with no other instrumentation to be heard. Remote references to England's Canterbury Scene are on the fringe but never really heads in that direction.

Overall FOETUS is a bit too tame for my liking as the entire affair seems like the band as only getting its footing in its new chosen style of operation. The compositions are particularly weak and the use of the violin seems like wasted potential. While the pianist clearly showcases a competency level worthy of a the prog rock status, the rest of the musicians don't seem on top of their game. While the band hints at zeuhl it never really goes there either. It's more of a traditional and rather bland display of underwhelming jazz fusion that sounds neither cohesive nor particularly well crafted. It's not a horrible listening experience by any means but in category of progressive music that was cranking out some of the most exhilarating musical acts of all time, POTEMKINE's debut seems a bit lackluster in comparison. The only track that really gets my juices flowing is the two minute finale "Cycles." OK album but not great.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Definitely some Zeuhl influence, far more than their earlier EP Msytere. Title track Foetus is a lovely calming tune, as others have said, actually quite in Canterbury style. The Zeuhl influence is more in the slow rhythm that develops towards the end of the track around the 5 minute mark, but ... (read more)

Report this review (#2538706) | Posted by bartymj | Thursday, April 29, 2021 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Zeuhl ? Potemkine, named after a famous movie, a battleship & one of the opening salvos of the October Revolution in 1917, has delivered a bit of a strange album with their debut album. It is far more Canterbury than zeuhl. Even the only true zeuhl song here, Zed, is pretty close to what t ... (read more)

Report this review (#294980) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Wednesday, August 18, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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