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Artcane Odyssee album cover
3.63 | 79 ratings | 11 reviews | 14% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1977

Songs / Tracks Listing

Side 1
1. Odyssee
2. Le Chant D'orphee
3. Novembre
4. 25th Anniversaire

Side 2
1. Artcane I
2. Nostalgie

Line-up / Musicians

- Daniel Locci / drums, percussion
- Jack Mlynski / guitars, vocals
- Stanislas Belloc / bass, vocals
- Alain Coupel / keyboards, synthesizers, vocals

Releases information

SP Phillips 9101141

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ARTCANE Odyssee ratings distribution

(79 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(14%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(42%)
Good, but non-essential (34%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

ARTCANE Odyssee reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by slipperman
5 stars 'Odyssee' is the one and only album from this French quartet. It has become one of those albums that many prog fans have heard of but have never actually heard. I was lucky enough to find a copy at a used record vinyl shop in the middle of Nowheresville, Virginia, and I believe the guy severely undercharged me at $15. (I wasn't complaining of course!) What I beheld when I laid the needle down was one of the heaviest, darkest, most fascinating and exciting prog records of the '70s. It totally succeeds, despite borrowing quite liberally from a particular rhythm and melody in King Crimson's "Red" (heard in third track "Novembre"). Additionally, the first two "Larks' Tongues In Aspic" movements are referenced in fourth song "25e Anniversaire". But 'Odyssee' as a whole is no K.C. rip-off-it also moves in a similar area as that of Pulsar (hypnotic space). And there are many moments of heavy riff-grinding that remind of the heavier Italian prog combos (ie. Jumbo, Biglietto Per L'Inferno, Il Balletto Di Bronzo). Despite these reference points, Artcane manages a unique, versatile style all their own.

Each of the 6 songs holds it's own captivating personality. A huge thumbs-up for the title track, all 2:20 of it, which doesn't hesitate to let the listener know what's in store on the rest of the album. The song pulses with energy, aggressive rhythms and arresting melodic choices setting the tone. It crashes into the mellow beginnings of "Le Chant D'Orphée", which builds and builds and eventually succumbs to Jack Mlynski's incredibly powerful riff construction. Vocals are sparse on 'Odyssee', but when introduced on "Le Chant." they are enigmatic and ghostly. The album's real centerpiece is "Artcane I", a lengthy track encapsulating everything great about Artcane: patient crescendos of cosmic atmospherics; hypnotic keyboard repetitions courtesy of Alain Coupel; the nimble yet heavy-handed drumming of Daniel Locci; creepy, dark vibrations all over the place; spurts of jazz-rock rhythms; moments of pure heaviness like the most metallic moments of '70s-era Rush. Too bad this band's career was so fleeting-I can't imagine what "Artcane II" might've sounded like!

Two of the most exciting moments come second-hand from themes laid down by King Crimson. Some would call it plagiarism; I would call it "tribute". This is not a book report, it is art, and what better art to draw influence from than King Crimson's final '70s period? It would be more disturbing if they couldn't come up with anything original at all, but 'Odyssee' is full of ideas, chemistry, talent and power. Too bad they weren't around long enough to capitalize on it.

Review by Progbear
3 stars It's no mystery which band influenced this one-off French quartet. "Novembre" features a modified "Starless and Bible Black" riff as its main motive, while "25e Anniversaire" plunders the main guitar riff from "Lark's Tongues In Aspic, Part 2".

Plagiarism aside, this band manage to eventually carve out their own personality on the lengthy "Artcane I", which takes up much of the real estate on the album's B-side. With intriguing synthesizer textures and minimalist references, it's a wistful reminder that this band could have achieved something grand if they lasted long enough to record a second album. As it is, we'll never know.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars This one is even better than advertised. Released in 1977 on the Philips label, this French band blesses us with an almost all instrumental album(except for two songs) with some excellent guitar (ala Fripp) and a lot of spacey synths much like fellow French band CARPE DIEM. There is a darkness about this album that really draws me in.

The title track "Odysse" opens with spacey synths and pounding drums. I am addicted to the main melody, I may need an intervention, this is so good. Check out the guitar ! This is way too short, but what a way to open the album. "Le Chant D'Orphee" opens with acoustic guitar and spoken words. Drums and vocals join the guitar. This theme is repeated before the song veers off in another direction 2 minutes in. Spacey synths (i'll be saying that a lot), bass and some crisp drumming take over. I just love this section. A heavy guitar solo 3 1/2 minutes in to end it. "Novembre" is an over 9 minute instrumental. After an intense intro we get some atmosphere as synths provide a solemn melody. Drums come pounding in after 2 minutes. Again they sound so crisp. Guitar joins in and this is heaven ! Dark and heavy with some Fripp-like angular guitar lines. Thankfully this goes on and on for almost 10 minutes. Just a fabulous sound.

"25' Anniversaire" opens with an uptempo melody before calming down quickly. Acoustic guitar with spacey synths are pushed aside by a raw sounding guitar melody that reminds me of KING CRIMSON's "Larks' Tongues In Aspic Part II". The drumming really shines. The guitar style changes as we get some terrific solos the rest of the way. "Artcane 1" is over 16 minutes in length,the longest track. A spacey atmosphere for about 5 minutes with some electronics. Drums then arrive and the synth melody stops. The drums stop 7 1/2 minutes in and are replaced by acoustic guitar and spacey synths. It's building. Keys replace synths and drums replace guitar 8 1/2 minutes in. Guitar is back after 10 minutes. Synths return 14 minutes in. My only complaint is that this song has worn out it's welcome with me before it's over. "Nostalgie" opens with spacey keys that are joined by acoustic guitar. Vocals are reserved. Synths come and go. This is a mellow track until 4 minutes in when electric guitar, bass and drums make some wonderful noise. A great way to end the song and the album.

This was the only album they recorded unfortunately. If you can find it don't hesitate. A real gem.

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A bizarre croaking raven-like guitar screeches through the night with mighty flaps of its rhythmic wings , creating a sombre and distressing angst that is utterly delicious and innovative, though a heady KC Larks Tongues period influence is not only obvious , it flirts with adulation. Artcane is a 1977 French one-shot wonder, here today, gone tomorrow band of immense talent and hence an overt iconic attitude is fully deserved. Jack Mlynski has his Frippoid fingers firmly wrapped tight around his fretboard neck and though he is far from the master (isn't everybody), the style is quite compelling. The keyboards add a slight symphonic sense while the bass/drum tandem hold up well with some profound rhythmic drive.

The overall sound is appropriately murky (like Shylock, Pulsar, Pentacle, Atoll, Ange and Mona Lisa), something I personally value in the French progressive school. There is a sombre attitude, a typical de Maupassant (The French Kafka or E.A. Poe) sense of paranoid foreboding that offers up extremes and contrasts, the KC riff on the otherwise magnificent "Novembre' is virtually plagiarism, complete with the Muir-ish percussion. But its soooooo cute, the wispy Alain Coupel synthesizer really cutting a large swath, Belloc's bass roaming like some crazed 'Horla' (ah, look it up! ) and drummer Daniel Locci doing his best BB imitation. Obviously the focus is on the heavenly guitar, as Mlynski shreds, tortures and restrains his monster with considerable aplomb. I just adore this dark, moody style!

"25' Anniversaire" is slightly deranged, more of the same somewhat disjointed lunacy that constantly veers from simplicity to dissonance and back, but when Jack does the classic "LTiA part 2 " riff , you cannot help but to smile! He just takes a slippery solo that fizzes, fuzzes and sizzles like some acrobat on ephedrine.

But the 'piece de resistance' is the massive "Artcane 1", a shimmering 16 minute monster that could rival the classic Shylock epic "Ile de Fievre" for its blatant audacity, complex adventurism and stellar creativity. After an ambient intro, the clock starts ticking on a bright passage of flute synth, very atmospheric and even a tad minimalist/robotic that wishes to induce a sense of hypnosis and placid mental focus. This is almost in Pulsar territory, heavily spacey and unhurried, with just a twist of doom and gloom. Plenty of room is giving to some fiery soloing and letting loose on a variety of levels.

Short, gloomy, dense and evocative, this is one of those rarities that define a true collector's need for unusual treasure and defining the incredible depth of progressive rock's iconic history. The vast amount of these one-shot wonders (forced by a prissy and highly manipulative market) clearly highlight the value of idiosyncratic historical monuments that litter the 50 years of prog's catalog. This is definitely one of the 'need to have' albums though not perfect by any stretch, just very 'je ne sais quoi' special. Lovely cover too.....

4 esoteric expeditions

Review by stefro
4 stars Another one-hit wonder created a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away(the 1970s) this impressive slice of Crimson-style prog provides yet more evidence of the febrile scene that existed throughout France during the genre's golden years, producing groups such as Magma, Mona Lisa, Pulsar and Ange to name but a few. Now we can add Artcane to the list. Issued by the French wing of major label Phillips in 1977 - same label as Ange - 'Odyssee' came very late-in-the-day for a full-blown prog-rock record, which also explains why it disappeared without trace. By 1976 the awful punk rebellion had fully taken hold of the British music scene, exerting an grim, vice-like grip that suffocated creativity. In France, however, it would take another year for this darkness to arrive, and it was during this period that some of the great French prog-rock albums were created, such as Ange's 'Guet-Apens' and the seminal concept album 'Halloween' by Pulsar. 'Halloween', of course, has an international reputation, and is widely considered a classic, yet despite being recorded in optimum conditions, with a large budget and plenty of time, the label refused to spend any money on promotion. Pulsar had, in effect, gone away to the countryside for two months to record 'Halloween' with the full backing of the label; by the time they returned the musical landscape had drastically altered. The label had changed management and direction, prog was out, punk was in. It was the same for everyone. This then begs the question: Did the same happen to Artcane? Probably, yes. But frustratingly we'll never truly know, such is the mystery surrounding the albums creation, and the quality of 'Odyssee' only heightens that sense of frustration, because here was a young group with talent. Often compared to King Crimson and, sometimes, VDGG, Artcane definitely belong in that category, yet they are no mere copycats. Featuring the quartet of Jack Mlynski(guitar, vocals), Alain Coupel(keyboards, vocals), Stanislas Belloc(bass, vocals) and Daniel Locci(drums), 'Odyssee' begins in glorious fashion with the high-intensity title-track, a thunderous, foot- stomping opener that brings to mind 'Red' with it's brooding guitars and rumbling bass thuds. It's a grandiose, almost cinematic start, though one that is tempered by the more restrained 'Le Chant D'orphee'. Featuring a more meditative ambience and an ominous tone, the nine-minute 'Novembre' takes a few minutes to warm up, yet it is worth the wait as the quartet gradually feed off one another to create a thrilling explosion of instrumental power. The album's key piece, however, has to be the lengthy epic 'Artcane 1'. Coming in at around sixteen minutes, this is a dark and deftly-woven piece of music, featuring all four members on vocals, which alternates between soft moments of ethereal spookiness and jagged rock assaults, drummer Locci expertly holding the quartet together with his precise rhythmic patterns. Definitely worth a place in any serious prog collecton, 'Odyssee' is a remarkable debut album from a youthful and inexperienced group. A product of the curiously underrated French prog scene of the 1970s - a scene that definitely deserves more kudos - Artcane is a genuine lost classic. Fans of King Crimson, Ange, Pulsar and VDGG are urged to investigate. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2015

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Odyssee" is the debut full-length studio album by French progressive rock act Artcane. The album was originally released in May 1977 through the Phillips Label and itīs the bandīs sole album release. Itīs one of those albums, which has been a collectorīs item for years, as it wasnīt until 2014 that Great Barrier Records picked it up for a CD reissue. Artcane is a four-piece consisting of Daniel Locci (drums, percussion), Jack Mlynski (guitars, vocals), Stanislas Belloc (bass, vocals), and Alain Coupel (keyboards, synthesizers, vocals).

Stylistically the material on the album is a relatively heavy type of progressive rock and a King Crimson influence is heard throughout. Thereīs an Italian influence in there too though, and the album is generally pretty dynamic, with both edgy aggressive rhythms and more mellow spacey moments. "Odyssee" is an almost entirely instrumental release save for "Le Chant D'orphee" and "Nostalgie", which both feature French language vocals. The vocals arenīt much to write home about, but they are great for the variation of the album. The centerpiece of the album is the 16 minutes long "Artcane 1", which is quite the dynamic track, even displaying the band toying with electronic sounds. The real assets here though are the edgy fusion influenced rhythms, the energetic guitars, and the synth work.

The musicianship is obviously strong, but the sound production is a bit thin. Especially the guitars feature a thin fuzzy tone, and the music could certainly have prospered from a more rich and organic sounding guitar tone. So "Odyssee" is an album with both positive and slightly negative features. The songwriting could have been slightly more memorable too so all in all a 3 star (60%) rating isnīt all wrong.

Latest members reviews

4 stars French King Crimson Obsessives Create Heavy Prog with an Avant-Electronic Touch Thanks is due in great part to Mr. Dereck Higgins. He is a great (and regular) source of Prog Obscura and so much more. His YouTube channel is simply called 'dereckvon', for those unfamiliar. Released 1977, Artca ... (read more)

Report this review (#2674412) | Posted by DangHeck | Thursday, January 20, 2022 | Review Permanlink

3 stars An obscure and unknown album from the French progressive scene remaining unknown. There are typical French elements such as dramatic vocals, enigmatic use of keyboards, and occasional vocals. Overall, slight lack of progression and compositional skills prevents this album from being exceptional ... (read more)

Report this review (#2271284) | Posted by sgtpepper | Saturday, October 19, 2019 | Review Permanlink

3 stars 3,5 stars !!! I must say about ARTCANE "Odyssee", which at first time that I heard the album, my impression wasn't good . I think this album is monotonous and repetitive... but according to the time pass I start a more contemplative way of music appreciation and now I think this a good work ! ... (read more)

Report this review (#1503041) | Posted by maryes | Thursday, December 24, 2015 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A French band with a single album made in seventies. We can listen some other influencies of other bands just King Crimson, Magma, with some psichedelic parts. Most intrumental parts have a good music moments and just a single part is singing with lyrics in French but nothing special. The kei ... (read more)

Report this review (#619518) | Posted by João Paulo | Wednesday, January 25, 2012 | Review Permanlink

2 stars This obscure French band's one and only album is good, but far from great. It definitely has it's moments but tends to wander aimlessly through long, boring, uninspired instrumental sections. The album starts off on an extremely strong note with the aggressive and heavy guitar-dominated ... (read more)

Report this review (#203071) | Posted by AdamHearst | Monday, February 16, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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