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SKRYVANIA

Symphonic Prog • France


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Skryvania biography
Back in the mid 70s, the almost fully instrumental quartet SKRYVANIA came from the union of a bunch of French teenage prog-heads - still in high school - who wanted to emulate their musical idols: YES, GENESIS, PINK FLOYD. While doing their first gigs as a prog cover band, they started to create their own ideas, and by the end of 1977 they had enough original material to fill a long-play: by that time, original keyboardist Henry-Jean Aubin had been replaced by Harold Bazobka. Their low budget didn't allow them to have the benefit of a solidly professional recording studio, although a famous local radio presenter and sound engineer was in charge of the production of the band's sole recording. Maybe this was the factor that helped the resulting record to sound the best it could under these circumstances. The band's obscure status was very much due to the fact that the album's promotion was almost inexistent: the foursome's inexperience led them to focus exclusively on playing gigs without leaving some room for promotion in radio programs or magazines. All in all, the sound quality is not terrible (compared with the demo selection of early CORTE DEI MIRACOLI material in "Dimensione Onirica" or ARACHNOID's album), and it doesn't prevent the listener from appreciating the level of compositional inventiveness and solid interaction developed by all four musicians throughout the album's track list.

SKRYVANIA's prog style portrays a feel very much related to that of their compatriots PULSAR, as well as Floyd-influenced German bands such as ELOY and NOVALIS: the abundant use of hypnotic keyboard layers (on organ and string synth, mostly) creates that impression. On the other hand, Olivier Marina's guitar leads sounds very influenced by Andy Latimer and Steve Hackett, albeit with a rougher edge: the importance of the guitar presence makes the band's overall sound lean closer to MONA LISA and the rockier facet of classic GENESIS. The band is decidedly centered on the symphonic trend of prog, with an added touch of spacey psychedelia.

"Skryvania" is a true collector's item: highly recommended to resolute symphonic prog lovers who feel capable of appreciating good prog under mediocre sound quality circumstances.

: : : Cesar Inca, PERU : : :

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SkryvaniaSkryvania
Import
Musea 1978
Audio CD$21.97 (used)
SkryvaniaSkryvania
Audio CD$22.48
$25.98 (used)

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SKRYVANIA discography


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3.61 | 32 ratings
Skryvania
1978

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SKRYVANIA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Skryvania by SKRYVANIA album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.61 | 32 ratings

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Skryvania
Skryvania Symphonic Prog

Review by Zahler

2 stars To me, this album by Skryvania sounds like teens who are good musicians, and perhaps part of a Yes tribute band, jamming. There is a lot of stuff going on here in terms of the amount of notes being played and the activity on the keyboards and fretboards, but really, most of this sounds like they are making it up as they go, keeping a loose refrain or two in mind. Additionally, there's very little content in the vocal department, on those few occasions when there are (weak) vocals. Sometimes, the wandering guitar lines and keyboard melodies clash in a way that doesn't seem intentional (and certainly isn't pleasant), and rarely does the entity known as a "song" emerge from the hummingbird machinations.

There was an exceptional tune on here, though it's not part of the album proper: The final bonus track, Le château d'Orphée, has focus, emotional content and builds to genuine climax. The actual album, however, just seems like guys playing a lot of notes in all directions, and since I'm not that into jazz or jam bands, this doesn't grab me or seem truly symphonic in the classic sense of that word.

Overall, Skryvania is desultory music very much in the style of Yes, yet lacking the compositional wisdom of Yes.

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 Skryvania by SKRYVANIA album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.61 | 32 ratings

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Skryvania
Skryvania Symphonic Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Skryvania is another one shot wonder that came and went unnoticed, yet it displays those ultimately French attributes that makes this country's prog style so unique, even if the sound sometimes lacks clarity or punch, particularly evident on the piss-poor vocal production. My argument has always been that the material matters more that the technical studio polishing and we must always encourage any attempt to travel well beyond the sterile sludge of formulaic commercial music (aka pap). The dual keyboards are fascinating stylistically, using way more clamorous synth lines that the usual tenebrous Francis decamps-like organ. The guitar is equally engaging (Olivier Marina) in that slippery Hackett-esque tone that we all love and cherish, effect and volume pedals ablaze. The rhythm section is tight and expansive Alain Yvorra's bass thumping along nicely while Benoit Reeves provides some rocky oomph to the proceedings. This group had lofty ambitions, hoping to unseat the big boys of the day (Yes, Genesis, King Crimson and compatriots Ange) and of course, reality set in. But at least they tried artistically if not commercially, mostly unsuccessfully because they refused to bend over and play the fame card by diluting their vision into 3 minute ditties. We can only applaud such chivalrous intentions and give this disc, not just the benefit of doubt but also a wider berth of open-mindedness. This is a gallant effort as displayed on the reverberating 'Tristan & Iseult', the opulent 'Chateau D'Orphee', the gripping 'Renaissance' and the epic 'Epopee', as well as bonus mini-snippets 'Ritual' and 'Close to the Edge' from the 'OUI' guys and 'Hairless Heart' from 'Genese'. Hidden treasures like this need a wider audience and Skryvania is among many others from the Gallic hexagon (Angipatch, Pentacle, Acanthe, Step Ahead, Arachnoid, Neo and Shylock) that deserve more recognition.

This is not only a prized collectors item but reveals that amateur preciousness and rebellious attitude shown by quality musicians who fight against the negative musical currents of a time.

4.5 cache caches

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 Skryvania by SKRYVANIA album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.61 | 32 ratings

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Skryvania Symphonic Prog

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

4 stars A very low-budget effort from bunch of audacious French teenagers, this self-titled debut from the super- obscure outfit Skryvania proves a real winner, both as a triumph of limited resources and as a fully-blown symphonic prog epic. Recorded and released in 1978 with the help of a local radio station, 'Skryvania' wears its (many) influences in its sleeve, with a plethora of unashamed nods to the likes of Yes, Genesis and King Crimson mixed in with the five-piece's wildly-imaginative playing. Simply put, this is the kind of album that can only really be produced by the wild, untamed musings of youthful exuberance, the very same kind that saw the classic British groups such as the aforementioned Yes and Genesis create such classic albums in their own glorious early-seventies heyday. What actually happened to Skryvania after the album was issued(predictably, it disappeared without trace after a super-limited release) is a complete mystery, and sadly they wouldn't make any more albums, leaving behind this single gem as proof of their sadly truncated musical career. The album's highlights include the superb eleven-minute opener 'Tristan & Isault', the keyboard-burnished rocker 'Le Chateau D'Orphee' and the beautifully-structured 'Epopee', another lengthy piece which features one of the album's stand-out moments as keyboardist Henry-Jean Aubin fights a thrilling instrumental battle with guitarist Oliver Marina. The CD re-release features some nifty little covers of Yes and Genesis tracks as bonus material, yet all you really need is the original album. A truly spectacular and highly-impressive slice of dense symphonic prog, 'Skryvania' is a true lost classic hindered only by the poor production values. However, the music is that good that in the end it doesn't really matter. Great stuff.

STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

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 Skryvania by SKRYVANIA album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.61 | 32 ratings

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Skryvania Symphonic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars From the dephts of obscurity comes this band from France with only one album released self titled in 1978 and re issued by mighty Musea more den a decade after, this band really surprise me a lot. First because was one of the most promissing progressive rock bands from late '70's not only from France and second because the line up was formed by teenagers eager to show and play what they like most - progressive rock in vein of Yes, King Crimson and Genesis. Quite talented young bunch of musicians showing some amazing skills here with plenty of memorable passages that goes from heavy prog to really great symphonic prog moments. Opening with the long Tristan & Iseult with top notch guitar parts remind me of King Crimson, followed by some engaging pieces like one of my fav from here Le château d'Orphée with beautiful guitar work and great keybords and Epopée a brilliant symphonic prog tune very much in vein of Genesis and Yes in their best moments aka Lamb and Close having some fiery instrumental section in the midlle and end of the piece with blistering keybords and guitars, excellent all the way. I like a lot how they manage to play so easy and alternating very well between heavy prog sections with more symphonic ones. Fianal - the final track is another worthy one in every aspect, complex symphonic prog as every one wants to here, great. The Musea re issue has 5 bonus, some cover versions, ok only the shorter verions of Close to the edge and Hairless heart from Lamb that goes pretty well in this context. So, 4 stars easy, even in some parts the sound quality is little precare, I must confess that I was attracted more by the excellent prestation of these youngsters, that showed great potential somehow with this album. Never find any direction after this was released they disbanded in summer of 1979. Great, unkown and forgotten little treasure from the golden era of prog.

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 Skryvania by SKRYVANIA album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.61 | 32 ratings

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Skryvania Symphonic Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars I once wrote that the French scene always produce bands far away from the Yes/Genesis formula. In the case of Skryvania, I am wrong.

Despite of the bad sound quality, this album is a homage to Yes and Genesis. This despite of most of the songs here being instrumentals. The music is drenched in synths and moog with some guitars on the top too. The quality is good throughout though. The lack of any really good songs here or any form of own identity is the main problem with this album. It is pretty much a run-of-the-mill synth drenched symphonic prog album. A major plus for the inclusion of the Yes/Genesis songs at the end and a safe 3 stars.

3 stars (barely)

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 Skryvania by SKRYVANIA album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.61 | 32 ratings

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Skryvania Symphonic Prog

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars There's nothing like youthful exuberance mixed with a love for Yes/Genesis/KC.

In the magical mid 70s, a group of high school friends from the suburbs of Paris took their love of symphonic prog, abandoned their educations, named their band after a girlfriend, and really went for it. And they achieved something very nice although success was modest. They were a huge hit in the local auditoriums they played bringing hundreds to their feet cheering.

The band played a heavy symphonic rock with lots of very good wailing guitar, strong rhythm section, and good keys. Their heroes were Yes, Genesis, King Crimson, and Jimi Hendrix. They sound a little like their French counterparts Pentacle, Shylock, and Atoll but they are a young band and you can hear the sound of youth, both its good and bad aspects. But despite some clumsy moments here and there and a poor sound quality of the recording there is much to recommend. They lads practiced a lot and they can play their butts off, especially the guitarist and drummer. They can wail and their enthusiasm is so obvious. Fans of a thick saturated "wet" guitar sound will love this kid's playing bravado, he'll try anything and usually pull it off. He loves a fuzzy Hendrix sound too and often seems to be channeling Jimmy Page as he just rips it up. The bassist is no slouch either and you can hear him well always attempting something animated. Fans of vintage keyboard sounds will have fun too as they are prevalent. Their songs are pretty good from a compositional viewpoint as well, they keep it interesting and fresh. There are some vocals but they are somewhat minimal.

The generous bonus tracks serve up something really tasty. You'll get to hear these guys try and pull off parts of "Ritual" and "Close to the Edge." And yes, they do pretty good job! The Musea folks have done another fine job putting together a booklet with a very nice band history and photos. The sound is as cleaned up as possible considering this album has a reputation for awful sound quality. The sound is what I would call listenable, decent, OK, but certainly not good. I consider this album nearly essential for French prog and symphonic fans despite the sound, but if you absolutely need top notch production in your prog, you'd best pass this gem by. Humorously, the album cover is supposed to depict the band as the winged creature, driving Yes and Genesis (the rat) from their throne in order to assume their place. These guys did not have a self-esteem problem!

Skryvania is a true lost gem that is dripping with passion for symphonic rock and is a real treat. Do get a copy before it goes out of print and becomes impossible to find again. You won't regret it. 3 1/2 stars.

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 Skryvania by SKRYVANIA album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.61 | 32 ratings

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Skryvania
Skryvania Symphonic Prog

Review by Marcelo
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Sadly, the rating system doesn't admit the possibility to add another half star. SKRYVANIA was a very young band from France that, in the late seventies, produced their only homonymous album. These boys, evidently, admired the big prog monsters GENESIS and YES, and this fact was expressed in their music.

"Skryvania" has the classic symphonic rock sound with energetic, complex and changing melodies keeping the beauty sense. Despite the members youthness, they demonstrate that they were very good musicians (the guitar player job, specially, is superb), achieving a fresh sound -GENESIS and YES influences are strong, but nobody could say that SKRYVANIA is a sort of clone-.

The album includes as bonus tracks some short excerpts from YES' "Topographic Oceans" and "Close to the Edge", and from GENESIS' "The Lamb" (I guess some kind of homage), and the highlight is the magnificent first track, "Tristan & Iseult": From the first chords, you'll know you'll enjoy the whole stuff.

The only weak point I found is the record quality: isn't the best, but despite this detail, "Skryvania" is a very recommended true symphonic rock album.

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Thanks to The Symphonic Team for the artist addition.

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