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MINIMUM VITAL

Eclectic Prog • France


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MINIMUM VITAL creates some very lush vocal textures with very interesting harmonies. The music has some very infectious rhythms. They mix art-rock influences from YES, an amazing virtuosity coming from fusion, many innovations and a deep mark from medieval and southern European traditional musics. From these diverse elements, France's MINIMUM VITAL has certainly its own individuality on the desk of progressive rock.

"Esprit D'Amor" is certainly the most original expression from the Progressive field of the last ten years! The warm voices and the happy, energetic and direct Progressive music possess a huge musical charisma.

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MINIMUM VITAL Videos (YouTube and more)


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Buy MINIMUM VITAL Music


Esprit D'AmorEsprit D'Amor
Import
Musea 1997
Audio CD$11.75
$8.27 (used)
SourceSource
Import
Musea Records France 2006
Audio CD$19.75
$9.98 (used)
AtlasAtlas
Musea 2004
Audio CD$14.00 (used)
CapitainesCapitaines
Import
Musea 2009
Audio CD$16.89
$9.74 (used)
SarabandesSarabandes
Import
Musea Records France 2006
Audio CD$24.99
$63.06 (used)
Au Cercle De Pierre...Au Cercle De Pierre...
Import
Musea 1997
Audio CD$11.75
$8.95 (used)
Envol Triangles/Les Saisons MarinesEnvol Triangles/Les Saisons Marines
Musea 2003
Audio CD$12.99 (used)
AtlasAtlas
Import
Wheezy Multimedia 2004
Audio CD$117.71
$117.71 (used)
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MINIMUM VITAL shows & tickets


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MINIMUM VITAL discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

MINIMUM VITAL top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.57 | 7 ratings
Les Saisons Marines
1987
3.64 | 52 ratings
Sarabandes
1990
2.86 | 18 ratings
La Source
1993
3.60 | 32 ratings
Esprit D'Amor
1997
3.52 | 18 ratings
Atlas
2004
3.59 | 44 ratings
Capitaines
2009

MINIMUM VITAL Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.84 | 10 ratings
Au Cercle de Pierre
1998

MINIMUM VITAL Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

5.00 | 1 ratings
Les Mondes De...
1994

MINIMUM VITAL Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.22 | 12 ratings
Envol Triangles - Les Saisons Marines
1992

MINIMUM VITAL Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

MINIMUM VITAL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Atlas by MINIMUM VITAL album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.52 | 18 ratings

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Atlas
Minimum Vital Eclectic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars When I opened the envelope and saw what was inside a huge smile crept across my face. It has been years since I last heard a Minimum Vital album, and it took no time at all for the cogs to click into place and remember what an awesome album 'La Source' was. It made a huge impression on me at the time, but that was a long time ago (Feedback #19!), what would Minimum Vital of today sound like? I deliberately didn't put it anywhere near a CD player until I had the time to devote myself to it - I didn't want to play just part of it, but to be able to concentrate. Minimum Vital used to sing totally in French, and this CD had just one song that was partly in English so it was all about getting a feel about what was going on.

Two lead singers (one male, one female), drums, guitar, mandolin, keyboards, bass this is a band that is often on the lighter side of prog rock, but there is a joy within the music. During "Louez Son Nom" there is a section of vocal nonsense, where the singers are accompanied only by a glockenspiel, which gives way to the guitar solo. This is music to get lost in, with elements of bands as diverse as Tull or Gentle Giant, yet there is a sheer beauty and pleasure within it that is rarely heard. There is only one thing that can be done when this album has finished, put it on again! I found myself playing this so much that I had to ban it from myself so that I could get on with listening to other albums. A delight from start to finish, this shows that you don't need to understand the lyrics to enjoy a great album. Available through GFT.

Originally appeared in Feedback #79, June 2004

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 Capitaines by MINIMUM VITAL album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.59 | 44 ratings

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Capitaines
Minimum Vital Eclectic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The only other album that I have by this French band is "Sarabandes" from almost 20 years earlier. So yes their sound has changed. For me I kept thinking of Mike Oldfield, especially with the acoustic and electric guitar tones. Even the music itself is very intricate and upbeat in the Oldfield style. Of course there are differences but that would be my reference point, and I don't like this nearly as much as I do "Sarabandes".

"She Moves Through The Fair" sounds much better when it kicks in just before a minute.Vocals follow. Not a bad opener. "Avec Uppsala" opens with percussion and vocals as other sounds proceed to come and go.This is catchy with lots of intricate sounds.

"Mauresque" features intricate guitar, bass and synths standing out. Oldfield-like electric guitar follows.Then we get this Celtic sounding flute before 3 minutes as it calms down. It kicks back in after 4 minutes. "En Terre Etrangere" is dominated by keyboards.Vocals before 3 minutes as interesting sounds follow.

"L Croix De Bourghi Bando" is fairly uptempo with vocals. Guitar and organ help out too. "Le Chant De Gauthier" has organ and percussion leading the way early. Guitar and a fuller sound before 1 1/2 minutes. It settles again as contrasts continue.

"En Superro" is eventually led by vocals and a beat. Synths and guitar take over. I'm just not into this one. "Capitaines" is laid back as vocals join in. It picks up before 2 minutes with lots of guitar and percussion. "La Route" opens with acoustic guitar.Vocals before 1 1/2 minutes and vocal melodies follow. It picks up after 2 1/2 minutes. Catchy stuff. Cool song too.

3 stars from me but I know there are those who would really love this album.

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 Sarabandes  by MINIMUM VITAL album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.64 | 52 ratings

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Sarabandes
Minimum Vital Eclectic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars MINIMUM VITAL are from France and they play a sort of Symphonic / JRF mix with some Folk elements thrown in.This album was released in 1990 and the only thing i've heard from them prior to this was their contribution to the "Odyssey-Greatest Tale" concept album where I felt they offered up the best track.That was in 2005 and to my ears an improvement on what we have here. Still it seems most rate this album or their most recent 2009 release as their best. There's plenty to enjoy with this record, it just didn't meet my high expectations although it's still a low 4 star rating for me. Unfortunately all the liner notes are in French because there is a long list of instruments used on this record, much more than is attributed here on this site.

"Le Chant De Monde" opens with acoustic guitar followed by the accordion that eventually leads. It kicks in with guitar, drums and more before 2 minutes. Excellent. It does settle back a little with flute-like sounds, bass and drums standing out.The guitar is back leading before 5 minutes. "Port Sur L'ere" is acoustic guitar melodies throughout. "Sarabandes No. I" his some prominant chunky bass early as other intricate sounds come and go. Flute then guitar after 1 1/2 minutes.This is great.Vocals for the first time on the album a minute later. Guitar follows.

"Cantiga De Santa Maria" has these synths that pulsate slowly with intricate sounds as the vocals join in. It's fuller 2 minutes in. "Sarabandes No. II" opens with spacey synths then a full sound kicks in. Guitar follows. It turns jazzy 4 1/2 minutes in then kicks back in at 6 minutes with the guitar lighting it up. "Hymne Et Danse" opens with piano then we get a change after 2 minutes.Vocals 6 minutes in as it settles right down to the end.

"Danza Vital" has these horns blasting away like royalty has arrived then it kicks in after a minute. Great sound here.Check out the bass, drums and guitar ! "Le Bal Diable" is the short classical sounding piece.

This is too good in my books not to give 4 stars to, there's so much here that I enjoy.

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 Esprit D'Amor  by MINIMUM VITAL album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.60 | 32 ratings

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Esprit D'Amor
Minimum Vital Eclectic Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

4 stars I have been following this French band with interest since the interview I did with them some months ago. Their first albums was promising, but nothing more.

The opening song, the title track no less, is an uplifting song somewhere between Magma and the B 52s. An excellent song with Sonia Nedelec demoting the Payssan brothers to backing singers. Sonia does a wonderful job throughout the album and her vocals is exactly what the doctors ordered for this band.

It is obvious that Minimum Vital draws on the rich French prog rock tradition throughout this album. From Ange to Magma. The songs are great throughout. They are also very varied and offers a wide variety of melody lines and landscapes. The album goes from cathedral like rousing symphonic prog like pieces to more toned down baroque pastoral pieces. There are also plenty of folk rock pieces here too.

Every pieces of the jigsaw puzzle falls into place on this album and it is one of the best French albums I have heard this year. A highly recommended album it is.

4 stars

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 La Source  by MINIMUM VITAL album cover Studio Album, 1993
2.86 | 18 ratings

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La Source
Minimum Vital Eclectic Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars The opening minutes of this album makes me believe I am in for a drive in Zeuhl Road. But the road soon expires and the new road is called.......... well, it is a street without a name.

This is the second proper studio album from Minimum Vital and the follow up to their debut album Sarabandes. It is pretty obvious the band is still looking for their identity on La Source. The music is based on both keyboards and soaring electric guitar solos. There are also some medieval music based vocals here too. Everything here sounds competent and good enough.

This album starts out as a zeuhl album and it is trundles nicely along in a fusion-light tempo with some influences from medieval music, rock, zeuhl and symphonic prog (aka Camel). The music is good throughout. It is also inoffensive and is lacking both teeth and identity. Play this music to me blindfolded and I would never ever guess the origin of this music. I cannot even pick up a great song here. It has some very good melody lines inbetween the more anonymous stuff. And that is all I can say about it. Good, but not great.

3 star

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 Sarabandes  by MINIMUM VITAL album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.64 | 52 ratings

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Sarabandes
Minimum Vital Eclectic Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars Eclectic........ I did not expect an album like this from an Eclectic Prog band. Then again, Eclectic means Gentle Giant to me.

Then again, the debut album from Minimum Vital is not a typical album from this band too. The band was trying to find their style and they came in from the left, from the jazz/fusion field of music.

Fusion, it is. But not quite fusion. Take fusion and add a healthy dosage of Camel and some middle age baroque music with some monks into the mix + some Celtic folk music and you get this album.

Some parts of this album is really great. The opening track Le Chant du Monde for example. But the standard drops a bit in the middle and the album becomes a bit too one dimensional before the band rallies their resources for the great next to final track Danza Vital. But as a debut album, this is an excellent effort though. It also really makes me eager to discover the rest of their albums which has been gathering dust far too long in my office.

3.75 stars

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 Capitaines by MINIMUM VITAL album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.59 | 44 ratings

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Capitaines
Minimum Vital Eclectic Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars French outfit Minimum Vital is yet another example of a band that have produced a strong album in 2009. There has been quite a few of those so far.

In this case we're served a delightful, beautiful blend of folk msuic and symphonic progressive rock. Wandering, acoustic guitar motifs and hand drums makes up most of the folk aspects of this production, with some flute soloing as an additional trait. Fluent guitar soloing and lush keyboard textures makes up most of the symphonic aspect of this excursion, with a few examples of dramatic, staccato tangent explorations and rich, multiple layered and epic soundscapes presented on occasion too.

The compositions are mostly freely flowing affairs, light and positive in mood. Mellow, subdued passages are blended with pacier energetic ones, and the band comes cross as experts in the art of taking a song from a low key, sparse beginning to a rich, orchestrated ending. And while most of the tracks blends the two stylistic expressions they explore, we're alos served some compositions with an emphasis on either one or the other genre.

These light, fluid ventures might not be to everybody's taste; but personally I found them to be a pleasing and intriguing experience - to be filed under positive progressive rock.

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 Capitaines by MINIMUM VITAL album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.59 | 44 ratings

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Capitaines
Minimum Vital Eclectic Prog

Review by Epignosis
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

3 stars Delightfully symphonic, here is an album that is a mixed bag. While much of it falls into the unremarkable category, there are some absolutely stellar moments to be heard (like the opener- would that the whole album possessed such masterful charm). Very little is bad, but a fair bit tends to be derivative or repetitive. I find the lead guitar refreshing throughout, both in tone and technique. Overall, this is a fine acquisition, especially for those who would be interested to hear what it might sound like if Steve Hackett teamed up with Gentle Giant.

"She Moves Through the Fair" A masterful beginning, the opening track boasts a smooth bit of clean electric guitar, synthesizer, and, while maintaining a cheerful pace, introduces terse vocal moments similar to those on early Steve Hackett albums. The music is a bit disorderly when broken down into parts, but sounds magnificent as a whole (Hackett's "Ace of Wands" comes to mind).

"Avec Uppsala" On the other hand, this saccharinely giddy bit of semi-tribal music is not for me, and though I don't care for the synthesizer work, the lead guitar throughout is spot on. The music overall could be best described as modern Yes on happy pills.

"Mauresque" After a decidedly symphonic introduction, this piece has light percussion, a steady bass, and plenty of synthesizer to go around. Light harp and whistle develops a more pastoral feel.

"En Terre Etrangère" I can't shake the belief that this piece belongs in the soundtrack of a goofy kiddie movie (Spy Kids 15: Porky's Curse perhaps). It has a rather dull denouement where it is easy to lose interest, all the way to when the track fizzles out.

"La Croix De Bourghi Bandô" This brief song is almost as peppy as "Avec Uppsala." It has some interesting bass and organ interplay, and the ever-so-solid lead guitar is there.

"Le Chant De Gauthier" Hand percussion and light electric guitar ease in organ and other instruments to craft the album's longest track. Once it gets going, it maintains a repetitive rhythm that gradually becomes more irritating, largely due to the inappropriate organ tone and the grating vocals. The lead guitar as usual compensates for a great deal of any shortcomings.

"En Superbô" Clean guitar with a bite offers a faded backing for graceful piano and jazz guitar to dance over. Those sections are far superior to the verses, which don't seem to fit the music well. The subsequent guitar and synthesizer work are excellent, however.

"Capitaines" More swampy guitar and over-the-top layered vocals begin this one. Hand percussion and intricate guitar work weave in and out with the rest of the instrumentation. After a rhythmic change, a synthesizer solo ensues.

"La Route" Acoustic guitar and a mandolin lead plays with each other before another playmate- a whistling synthesizer- joins the game. It has an archaic minstrel feel, somewhat similar to some of Gentle Giant's comparable recordings, even vocally. An explosion of organ and electric guitar facilitates further vocalizations.

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 Capitaines by MINIMUM VITAL album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.59 | 44 ratings

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Capitaines
Minimum Vital Eclectic Prog

Review by NOT

5 stars They 've done it !!!

After twenty years of music, Minimum Vital produced an huge record full of mysterry and imagination.

As a self produced band, Minimum Vital suffers in their first CDs of poor sound and production. I had the chance to listen them on stage, and since very early times, the band was very impressive. Years after years, CDs after Cds they searched and finally found their own music : a kind of mix between symphonic prog (Yes, Genesis, Camel,..) Folk-prog (Mike Oldfield especially, ...) and some world music;

Payssan brothers delivered in "Capitaines" captivating melodies.Each song has is own feeling, but the entire CD is very coherent and the global atmosphere is really cool

This music is rich and addictive. I've the feeling than this last effort could be loved by a large audience in the prog community.

Give them a chance. Listen to "Capitaines". I'm sure you'll make a great discovery.

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 Sarabandes  by MINIMUM VITAL album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.64 | 52 ratings

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Sarabandes
Minimum Vital Eclectic Prog

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Progressive Rock fell on hard times in the 1980s, but one of the brighter spots in an otherwise drab musical era was the French band MINIMUM VITAL, who released their incandescent debut CD at the tail end of the decade. It wasn't the group's first studio effort (two earlier sets of lightweight fusion noodling were belatedly re-mastered onto compact disc several years later), but the dramatically revamped, harder-rocking sound of this recording makes it a better introduction to the band.

The album borrows a similar Medieval Rock aesthetic from GENTLE GIANT, even including (in "Hymne et Danse") an ersatz, multi-tracked madrigal. And like GENTLE GIANT the band was formed by musician brothers: Thierry and Jean Luc Payssan, playing keyboards and guitars, respectively. But there's a distinctly Gallic flavor to their music compared to the more traditional Elizabethan Rock of GG, and a bigger, bolder sound as well, updating the often primitive production values of the previous decade to the high-gloss studio sheen of the late 1980s.

Purists might sneer at the brash attack of all those midi-drums and digital keyboards, but the songwriting (more or less exclusively instrumental, by the way) is always strong and confident, with a sometimes startling contrast between quiet acoustic and much louder electric elements. Don't be lulled, for example, by the playful accordion and mock-lute duet on the album opener "Le Chant du Monde"; in a moment the entire quartet will slam into a rock solid Neo Prog gavotte (or something not unlike it), featuring a savage guitar solo from frère Jean Luc.

Likewise the twin title tracks: all tricky polyrhythms and playful, overlapped synths, the first part preceded by a solo classical guitar piece straight from the court of Charlemagne. The only real dud on the album is "Danza Vital" (the title suggests a signature tune of sorts): a somewhat forced and too self-consciously upbeat toe-tapper, with all the unappealing bombast of then-current GENESIS (circa "Invisible Touch"), synthetic horns and all.

Otherwise it's a winner from start to finish, and perhaps the easiest 4-star recommendation I've ever had the pleasure to make.

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