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Taï Phong

Symphonic Prog

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Taï Phong Windows album cover
3.46 | 88 ratings | 13 reviews | 24% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. When It's the Season (8:13)
2. Games (4:07)
3. St. John's Avenue (7:47)
4. Circle (5:31)
5. Last Chance (3:46)
6. The Gulf of Knowledge (9:57)

Total Time 39:21

Bonus tracks on 2007 remaster:
7. Dance 3 (4:28)
8. Back Again 2 (4:17)
9. Cherry (4:24)

Line-up / Musicians

- Khanh Mai / vocals, guitar
- Taï Sinh / vocals, bass, acoustic guitar, keyboards
- Jean-Jacques Goldman / vocals, guitar
- Jean-Alain Gardet / keyboards
- Stephan Caussarieu / percussion, drums

Releases information

Artwork: Lang

LP Warner Bros. Records ‎- 56 264 (1976, France)

CD Wea Music ‎- 4509-96266-2 (1994, France)
CD Warner Bros. Records ‎- WPCR-12521 (2007, Japan) Remaster by Isao Kikuchi w/ 3 bonus tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy TAÏ PHONG Windows Music

TAÏ PHONG Windows ratings distribution

(88 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(24%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(45%)
Good, but non-essential (24%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

TAÏ PHONG Windows reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
2 stars As I said in my review of the first album , this band is mostly known for being the start of JJ Goldman's carreer as Chanson A Texte Francaise but also writing for some of Mariah's more fierce competition (Dion a.o.) . This second album is in the same line than their debut so look at that review. I did not even know theu made that third album listed here but Goldman is on his way out since he is not on every track ! Elementary, my dear Watson!!!!
Review by loserboy
4 stars Far too often TAÏ PHONG is excluded from the progressive rock circles... and why I do not know. "Windows" represents perhaps TAÏ PHONG's strongest release. TAÏ PHONG blend the classic elements of 70's progressive rock with the fresh modern sound of YES. The lead singer (Khan) has the highest voice I have ever heard from a man, but never seems to become too overpowering or "stringy" for the music. TAÏ PHONG brings strong classical elements into their music in a similar way to that of RENAISSANCE.
Review by hdfisch
2 stars TAI PHONG (which means "Great wind" in Vietnamese) was a French band created by two Vietnamese brothers with vocals in English. Singer and guitarist was the well-known (at least in France) song-writer Jean Jacques Goldman. Their second release was somewhat weaker and less successful than their debut. They were playing a kind of symphonic rock and due to Goldman's high-pitched voice one could think a French-Vietnamese version of YES. Although there are some similarities present in their music style they did not quite reach their level, on this album even less than on the first one.

The first track is quite well-done and versatile with several instrumental and only short vocal sections showing the closest resemblance to their debut. Second one is much more mellow starting with piano and sounds rather cheesy and love song alike. Track 3 has nice acoustic and electric guitar playing but not very much exciting as well. After a rather good almost instrumental track with nice guitar and keyboard and only short very soft androgynous vocals at the end there is a very mellow song that can be easily skipped. With track 6 some Asian influences are coming in, at least in the beginning. After a very atmospheric section it starts sounding quite a lot like Gandalf's or Kitaro 's works.Some mesmerizing guitar and keyboard play which is accompanied in between by rather quirky drum work. It ends with vocals and guitar and finally some bird chirping. Quite nice but not so much my cup of tea I've to say. The rest of the album are again quite cheesy sounding love songs.

As a conclusion their second effort is much more mellow but rather shallow as well than their debut. Not really a recommendation for progheads I'd like to say, there is not any similarity left to Yes, rather to some soft rock bands or more New Age type artists like Gandalf or Kitaro. In my opinion there are much better examples from France available!

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This French progressive rock band has 2 Asiatic members: they give the music a unique, charming and original style. The intensely floating keyboards and the miscellaneous acoustic guitars parts of a couples of tracks remind the Gandalf's "Imaginary voyage" album. There are some excellent, melancholic, expressive and melodic electric guitar solos. This progressive record contains many delicate and ethereal bits, although at a slightly lower level if you compare to the previous album. Some bits have excellent piano parts. Like on the first album, there are still many AWESOME, androgynous & catchy backing vocals; it seems there are more acoustic guitars than on the previous album. There is also an omnipresent densely floating combination of organ and more modern keyboards, which gives an overall ambient mood to this record. The rhythm is rather slow, so the tracks are often relaxing. There are a couples of acoustic Oriental ambiences. If you like their first album, then you should like this one too.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Review by b_olariu
3 stars 3,5 is the real rate

I'm agree with loserboy who said that Tai Phong is often excluded from the progressive rock circles, because this is the best album they've done, and a good one. A band that combine well classic elements of '70 progressive with some Genesis here and there. This French progressive rock band has 2 Asiatic members: they give the music a unique, charming and original style. The vocal is the high point, very high voice, depends the piece, and smooth if the mood changes in a slow one. The best tracks are When it's the season and Circle. After all not a bad album, woth it. I'm out, so enjoy this band who needs more attention from prog devotees.

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A prog Twinkie?

Too much sugar but it sure tastes good? Tai Phong is an act that makes the purists furrows their brows in scorn. While there is an unmistakable cheese factor to this music it can be enjoyable from a pop perspective, just don't expect too much. There are some "silly love songs" within this package but there is also great playing throughout. Sure the singer sings so high that he makes Geddy Lee sound like Lurch, sure he sometimes delivers like Dennis DeYoung doing "Babe" with over dramatic pomposity. But it works for some fun. Everything is aimed at your pleasure center rather than challenging you. This is feel good rock and roll with prog icing.

"When it's the Season" is an excellent opener that rocks. Great acoustic and electric guitars that have a fuzzy, delicious glaze to them. Blissful solos and delicate harmonies are quite impressive. "Games" is like much of the first album, a bit sappy and drama-queen, almost Bee Gees territory here. "St. John's Avenue" features impressive harmonies, wailing electric solos, and decent drum play. "Circle" begins with gorgeous keys and light guitars washed in melody. The pace is fairly slow with a few sad vocals and melancholic moods. "Last Chance" is another pure acoustic pop number with romantic lyrics that could easily be found on a DeYoung solo album, not in terms of the similarities in their voices but in the material. "The Gulf of Knowledge" is a nice 10 minute closer that unfolds slowly and methodically and just envelopes you. There are 3 bonus tracks on the very nice gatefold mini-lp sleeve reissue but none of them are as good as what is on the album itself. "Windows" is Tai Phong's finest moment in my opinion and newbies should start here if you insist. But really there are more interesting and progressive bands from France to check out before you get this. Lots of them! But if you want something melodic with English vocals and a guaranteed sugar-induced coma, this album will work every bit as well as Dennis Deyoung.

Review by Prog-jester
3 stars Do you like bands that change their style with every new album? Then go find yourself another one! TAI PHONG is nothing close to such chameleons, and this can be good if you like them and bad if you don’t…but would you care then? Anyway, here we have the same style (YES meets FLOYD), the same structure and the same mood as on their debut, but in a more balanced way. There are no obvious earworm hit-killers, but each song has something to be proud with (the opener and the closer are worthy of separate mentioning again - just like on debut). After all, not bad and worthy of attention, especially if you liked their first attempt. Good!
Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars One of my first review was dedicated to "Taï Phong"'s debut album. A very good one and a souvenir of my youth. This album is a nice follow-up even if the brilliance of their first release is not to be found here. Good compositions like the opener "When It's the Season" are more than welcome. It is probably the most elaborate and accomplished song of the whole.

"Games" is another attempt for "Sister Jane". But this one was a jewel of a melody while this one one can't really compete with. Just pleasant. This album sounds more commercial. Some nice melodies (but often mellow) fully ranges the band in the symph prog genre like "St. John's Avenue". What a great harmony ! And listen to the final guitar solo. Absolutely gorgeous. The whole band is on par, especially the drumming. A highlight.

If you like the early "Genesis" ("Trespass") there are high chances that "Circle" will pleases you a lot (like it does to me). Almost pastoral intro, gentle instrumental featuring spacey keys, emotional guitar (very much "Howe" oriented) an so melodic a piano. Another highlight. Which is not the case for "Last Chance". A short acoustic song featuring poor vocals.

Like the band did on their debut album, the closing number is the longest one of this album. The long instrumental intro (over seven minutes) featuring some Spanish acoustic guitar is not very exciting. This song has nothing to do with the great "Out Of The Night". The second part of the album does not hold the comparison with the first one.

There is an expanded version for this album featuring three bonus tracks. Nothing unforgetable, don't worry. "Dance" is a mellowish ballad featuring very high-pitched Goldman vocals, some violins and a very repetitive chorus. The "Sister Jane" syndrome, I guess...Same sort of song type with "Back Again". A pop-rock ballad, on the mellowish and not very interesting side I'm afraid. The third bonus "Cherry" is all of the same : a syrupous ballad, dispensible I guess.

These "bonus" releases are not at all necessary for your "Taï Phong" discography. On the contrary.

This album is just good. Far less appealing than their debut one. Not bad an effort of course. Five out of ten would be more accurate.

Review by kenethlevine
3 stars TAI PHONG's sophomore release shares surface commonality with their stunning debut but fails to connect as much on an emotional level. Perhaps the band members themselves were not quite as enthusiastic as they had been, or perhaps the album was just rushed out too quickly in an attempt to capitalize on their surprise success.

The opening cut "When it's the Season" is marked by nimbly inventive lead guitar work as well as some colourful acoustic splashes, and, while recognizable as Tai Phong, does cover new ground in a quasi-improvisational fashion. "St John's Avenue" is far closer to their standard "formula", with mellotron washes and high pitched vocal exercises, and, while it's quite lovely, it doesn't soar like, say, "Fields of Gold". The other long tracks are similarly impressive sounding, but ultimately, like bonus tracks from the earlier album, missing the compositional intellect to match their loveliness. However, those who prefer a little less structure might be more drawn to "Windows", as long as they are not expecting MAGMA! As far as the two short pieces that appear one per side, let's just say there was a long line of "Sister Jane" wannabes from Tai Phong.

Thru "Windows" we catch glimpses of earlier achievements, but, as with real windows, it's about the treatments and the clarity of the view. Still good for 3 stars, with variability depending on your own perspective.

Review by Progfan97402
4 stars I've been aware of Tai Phong for a number of years, since 1996, in fact. I remembered a mail order catalog describing them as something like CSNY gone totally progressive. Most others never made that comparison, but I can understand where that catalog was coming from. For one thing, the vocalist (I presume Jean Jacques Goldman) often sounded a bit like Graham Nash. Yes, there are vocal harmonies from time to time, but prog opinion tends to compare it to Yes, even that, it don't remind me that much of Yes. Just recently I ran across an original LP on their second LP, Windows at a Eugene, Oregon record store and decided to get a copy. I was really shocked with the amazing sound quality, given so many LPs I own on the Warner Bros. label have such crummy sound quality, even non-US pressings, like Greenslade's Bedside Manners are Extra and Curved Air's Airconditioning (although the latter can be easily forgiven since my copy is a picture disc). This album gives me that same reaction I get with Barclay James Harvest, perfectly pleasant listen, but nothing that really blew me away, but still worth having in my collection. There are times I almost get reminded of Pavlov's Dog, particularly when the vocals go into almost David Surkamp territory (but not as so ridiculous, as the vocals don't have that same absurd vibrato). Not every day you come across a prog rock band that has two Vietnamese (believe it or not, Khanh Mai and Tai Sinh weren't the only Vietnamese involved in prog, Jean My Truong, drummer for Heldon, was also Vietnamese). Jean Jacques Goldman was Jewish, so what you got is a multi-cultural band (the other two I'm sure were your typical Frenchmen of Catholic upbringing, apparently some early incarnation included Americans). Tai Phong might not have the highest opinion of the prog community, probably because they're not the most intense or mindblowing out there, and with Windows, it sounds more like they were emphasizing ballads, but I found a lot of them rather nice, particularly "Games". I like some of the synth work from Jean-Alain Gardet, especially when he gives it a nice spacy feel (Hammond organ, Moog, and Elka Rhapsody are what he uses here, as well as piano). I like how "The Gulf of Knowledge" gives a more Asian feel. For the most part, this isn't the usual French prog where vocals are sung in French (like Ange or Atoll) or made-up language like Magma, this was sung in English, in hopes of international recognition ("Sister Jane" from their debut album appeared to be a hit in France). This isn't something heavy or intense but I didn't need to have all my prog to be like that. Sure there are a few cheesy moments, like the acoustic ""Last Chance", not to mention some of the vocals, but for the most part, it's a pleasant listen. Deserves a three and a half, but I'm not given that option, so four stars it is. One of those album you shouldn't overspend on.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Review nº 229 Taï Phong - Windows Look at all those rainbows in the cover art, trespassing even the shameless samurai. That's a reflection of the multiple keys work on this dreamy little album. The guitar helps to create a rainbow of soundscapes. This second album from the french symphonic ... (read more)

Report this review (#1420939) | Posted by VOTOMS | Thursday, May 28, 2015 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I read the guidelines about the "******' ratings and I have examined my favorite types of albums over the years and I still believe this deserves the top rating. Warning: This is my personal preference though and I understand the lower ratings from others about this group/album. From 70's/ ... (read more)

Report this review (#279293) | Posted by progbaby | Saturday, April 24, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I like especially (only :( ) energetic first track, very melodic Games and more compex St. John's avenue. Other songs (at the moment) I don't like as first three, but I've heard it only 15 times, so may be changes will come... :) Highlights for me (as usual) are melodies and vocal. The last one ... (read more)

Report this review (#163797) | Posted by raleks | Thursday, March 13, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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