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MINIMUM VITAL

Eclectic Prog • France


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Minimum Vital biography
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 discography


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

3.26 | 23 ratings
Les Saisons Marines
1988
3.66 | 69 ratings
Sarabandes
1990
2.92 | 37 ratings
La Source
1993
3.73 | 57 ratings
Esprit d'Amor
1997
3.44 | 38 ratings
Atlas
2004
3.51 | 50 ratings
Capitaines
2009
3.60 | 31 ratings
Pavanes
2015
3.67 | 9 ratings
Air Caravan
2019

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

3.88 | 17 ratings
Au Cercle de Pierre
1998

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

4.00 | 1 ratings
Les Mondes De Minimum Vital
1995

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

2.53 | 20 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
 Esprit d'Amor  by MINIMUM VITAL album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.73 | 57 ratings

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Esprit d'Amor
Minimum Vital Eclectic Prog

Review by Muskrat

4 stars 180 ° turn

Successful change of direction for the group! While Minimum Vital wrote largely instrumental music, they play us here in a modern, widely sung register. Apart from a few rare winks, the Middle Ages have been neglected in favor of South America (Brazilian Light, Au Cercle de Pierre). We therefore remain in the Latin culture. The result gives us more festive pieces, sometimes with a brilliant or languid tone. Undeniably, the melodies are catchy. Despite an apparent simplicity, the writing is embellished with multiple breaks and quirks. The doubled vocals, above all, give a strange tone to the whole. Apart from "Les Voyages de Costey" where the lyrics are clearly understandable, the language used is the usual mixture of Minimum Vital: French, Occitan and words invented for the pleasure of the sounds. To our delight, the group has finally decided to invite real singers (Sonia Nedelec's voice is superb!) And a brass section (oboe on "Prélude Aux Oiseaux Tristes"). Note also great progress on the recording, which is rounder and the appreciated return of the accordion in "Modern trad '". In the end, the result is much more original than it seems. Original while remaining very pleasant.

An album that I never tire of. And certainly a great addition to any progressive rock collection.

 La Source  by MINIMUM VITAL album cover Studio Album, 1993
2.92 | 37 ratings

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La Source
Minimum Vital Eclectic Prog

Review by Muskrat

3 stars A half-hearted album.

Like the previous one, 'The Source' suffers from a synthetic sound quality typical of the 80s which does not correspond to the purpose of Minimum Vital. We can blame the Payssan brothers for being late. After all, Jethro Tull (for example) has been fixing things for some time.

As much as 'Sarabandes' was homogeneous, 'La source' is not. The first three pieces are dispensable. Twenty minutes uninspired and rather uninteresting ... A bad blow for this record, which inevitably causes the listener to drop out. But you should know that from "Ann Dey Flon" everything changes! Despite the bad digital piano sound and the use of midi drums, we finally find the Minimum Vital that we like. Groove, melody, folk, strangeness. This song is a killer! Follows 'Tabou', one of the best pieces produced by this group. A must ! Ten minutes of alternation between Occitan medieval folk and jazz, successful breaks and very varied guitar tones. "What supports" is a short medieval interlude from the 14th century, typical of this group. "Mystical Ouest" offers a beautiful melodic suite with a song in total adequacy. This piece brings the end of the record on a platter, a short final prayer.

In total, 20 minutes without interest followed by 25 very captivating. What a pity !

 Sarabandes by MINIMUM VITAL album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.66 | 69 ratings

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Sarabandes
Minimum Vital Eclectic Prog

Review by Muskrat

4 stars Travel to Castile.

I think it is first useful to put this album in its context, that of the end of the 80th. What was the interesting thing that year in prog: in 1990? "1990" is precisely the title of an album that Solaris released at the same time. The comparison is not useless because it too suffers from the same typical defects. The main one being inadequate recording (egregious at the drums) and horrible keyboard sounds. If the beginnings of digital flattered certain styles of music, such as those in vogue in the 80s / 90s, for prog it was a real massacre! Admittedly, Ozric Tentacle was more suited to this change but I remain convinced that Sarabande by Minimum Vital is a largely under-rated album. The musical approach of this group is truly original. Like some before him (Gentle Giant, Jethro Tull, etc.), they drew their inspiration from folk, more precisely from medieval Occitan music. This is what makes their originality. Another is that their music owes nothing to the 70ths. Minimum Vital comes from the Zheul post Magma movement, the one that flourished in France at the beginning of the 80s, their first production (Envol Triangle) attests to this. Sarabande is, without a doubt, the best that this group has produced. It distills music that is often energetic, with magnificent melodies and a clear guitar sound. The first piece begins with the accordion and ends with an excellent guitar solo, "Porte Sur L'été" offers a superb electro-acoustic piece, and on "Sarabande n ° 1" the duo of the Payssan brothers works wonderfully. "Cantiga De Santa Maria" is inspired by strangeness. Arrives the centerpiece of the album, "Sarabande n ° 2", with an excellent groove embellished with a jazzy break. On "Hymn and Dance", the catastrophic digital sound of the Rolland keyboard unfortunately spoils the intro but the rest is worth the detour and ends with abbey hearts.

As I said in the preamble, the sound is rather unpleasant and the entire recording is sorely lacking in roundness. Yet, and given the inconvenience associated with this disadvantage, this album is a great addition to any prog music collection.

 Air Caravan by MINIMUM VITAL album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.67 | 9 ratings

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Air Caravan
Minimum Vital Eclectic Prog

Review by alainPP

4 stars MINIMUM VITAL is one of the oldest and youngest French prog rock groups, with boundless energy, a bit rock, a bit country, a bit folk, a bit troubadour, a bit world, a bit folkloric, fruity, imaginary, apart from surely; festive, luminous, energetic, vital is their music certainly. MINIMUM VITAL is a pillar with the groups ANGE, NEMO, the young LAZULI or the former MAGMA; MINIMUM VITAL cannot be told, we listen to it and we invade its expressive music based on jazz-rock, alluring YES synths and troubadour and Occitan nursery rhymes. They return with this album on orchestral and often invented words, Latin, English and Spanish mixed and triturated. This is their 8th achievement after "Pavanes" which left with their very significant sound, but read, read good people!

"The Company" starts with the only title sung in English, surprising for me, just fresh enough to recall the MINIMUM VITAL version with this recognizable sound, with just enough instruments from the old troubadour days. "Air Caravan '" follows with the sound that I discovered in 1993 with "La Source", a strange, rhythmic, strong, held, dancing sound, a festive and very catchy sound with typical prog convolutions, especially with this phrasing that SIGUR ROS or LISA GERRARD will also take up in their time by defining the voice as an instrument in its own right! It is enjoyable even if people will tell me that I am not neutral, they will realize the veracity of my words over time! "Praeludium Tarentella" as a preamble, its rhythmic jazzy sound and synths for the troubadour sound (yes I remember the parties on the Cahors bridge in 1178, I was there!). "Tarentelle" therefore tumbles for a major title and an aria to "Ils Ont Les Chapeaux Ronds" for a farandole, a timeless sarabande that only asks to be domesticated under its false air.

"King Gürü" follows on with an even more typical title MINIMUM VITAL, heady, intoxicating synth, setting the rhythm higher, the simple riff becomes almost hard, the guitar is fruity, soft, melting, you can't stay still. "Le Fol" drives the point home with a more nervous title on a voice over, that of an Occitan singer recounting the life of troubadour Pierre Vidal, to note the synth (s), trademark of the group recognizable by the energy deployed ; there is YES rock art, Occitan, Medieval, Medieval, Celtic and Mediterranean tribal rhythms; the organ sometimes looks like a vulgar Bontempi then the tunes are often refined to give way to the mandolin guitar and more "vintage" synths.

"Sliman" on a more basic tune, a priori more innocuous, still gives off festive energy, a bit of prog jazz, a bit of Genesis, a bit of the Middle Ages; the sound twirls, the distant guitar is more tortured, the end voice has a clear eye on Kabyle songs. "Vole (Voyageur Immobile)" on a clear bass part to an Andalusian tune, gypsy limit, well dancing almost a shame in the prog space, entertainment and a plus for me, imagining myself dancing well in the middle of a concert !. "Juggling" and an interlude in the pure MINIMUM VITAL line, a simple tune at first glance but which makes you move your ears, that's it in the ice I also have a rabbit's head I'm infected! A tune that I think could go on forever, although over time I start to hear the donkey's hi-han: anyway I keep my big ears. "El Picador" plunges back into ancient sounds of France at the bottom of a tavern, there we are in front of the troubadour Pierre Vidal, whose album pays homage, that's good and we take the opportunity to taste a dish of the gastronomic region and musical.

"Djin Alzawat" and his oriental zither sets the tone, the tune is always catchy with these flights of schizoid keyboards, then the tune passes again and continues on a festive twirling troubadour joust, the longest piece here that goes too far. quick; the always limited voice in a glossolalic structure makes it even easier to let the imagination go. The harpsichord and the trumpet of "Nimbus" for a second interlude, to an air from an original French series, a little spleen, always rhythmic. "Hugues le Loup" and his second song sung in French here, bass, energetic drums, then the enlightened, clear guitar, then the different analog, mono and polyphonic keyboards, a wolf tune in the distance, paradoxically the one that appeals to me less being more on the alert for what is said, ah mental illness I just heard, that's it I understood this title is incantatory, it makes healthy in our society gone mad. Words taken here from the novel "Hugues Le Loup" of course. Well, MINIMUM VITAL is an extraordinary band, without being an absolute fan; it denotes the French prog sphere a bit like MAGMA for the singular tones. It is unfortunately less known but only asks to be bought, listened to to bring to life the progressive fiber that flows in each of us, through the fruity tones, through the singular, tribal, oriental creations but above all troubadours that emerge from the album. This disc reflects the life and the festive atmospheres of the beggars who lived far from any reflection in the medieval lower world, in safety behind their lord; these beggars who were ultimately blissful, far from the societal stagnation. If you want to escape this oppressive world, more than an alternative, get yourself this energetic album and rest in the moonlight. Be careful, risk of contagion.

 Esprit d'Amor  by MINIMUM VITAL album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.73 | 57 ratings

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Esprit d'Amor
Minimum Vital Eclectic Prog

Review by Booba Kastorsky

5 stars I love this album! The songs are melodic and infectious, and warm vocal of their singer Sonia made them simply irresistible. This is very close to pop, but clever and inventive arrangement that mixes a few styles, from folk to jazz or samba (?), along with inventive guitar solos strategically placed here and there make this record highly recommended. Prog or not really prog, I don't care. This is not "a masterpiece of progressive rock music" for sure, but I gave it 5 starts. For me personally this is my Top 20, and if I need to put myself in a good mood, I play it. Don't miss it!
 Pavanes by MINIMUM VITAL album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.60 | 31 ratings

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Pavanes
Minimum Vital Eclectic Prog

Review by floflo79

4 stars Minimum Vital have released the awesome Sarabandes and Esprit d'Amor, and Pavanes is almost as good. Pavanes, it's great folk and medieval music. For all fans of Gryphon, Jethro Tull or Mike Oldfield, here it is. From the groovy Ende Limbo, Le Tourdion and Chanter Toujours, the more rock Rodéo or Javary & Montago and the totally folk songs Soleil Dén, Suite Ibérique, Folkish or L'Enfance Des Sages. And more, it's a double album. Two discs, and theres no weak songs. The only default is that i'm not a big fan of medieval and folk music, so a double album of this sound it's a little bit too much for me. But it's still great, and the musicians are awesome.
 Envol Triangles - Les Saisons Marines by MINIMUM VITAL album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1992
2.53 | 20 ratings

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Envol Triangles - Les Saisons Marines
Minimum Vital Eclectic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars The roots of this legendary French band go back in 1981, when brothers Thierry Payssan (keyboards) and Jean-Luc Payssan (guitars) formed the duo Concept, which eventually turned to a proper band with Eric Rebeyrol on bass and Francois Peron on drums.Peron would be soon replaced by Antonie Fillon and the band made afterwards its live debut.Female flutist Anne Colas jumps in around 1984 and Concept enter the Carat Studio in Bordeaux to record the cassette album ''Envol triangles''.By the time of its release in 1985 the band changes the name to Minimum Vital.

This was a very good Symphonic-Jazz Rock album with numerous keyboard workouts, some lovely guitar work and the constant presence of Colas' flute drives, the result is a complex music proposal, which crosses the lines of FOCUS, CAMEL and mid-70's KING CRIMSON at the same time, drawing influences from Classical Music, Folk and Jazz-Fusion.Nice organ parts, which was a strange thing to play in mid-80's, and endless interplays between keyboards and flutes, surrounded by an intricate rhythm section and the impressive guitar hooks of Jean-Luc Payssan.The music is all instrumental with tons of breaks and tempo changes, having often a pretty dark atmosphere, twisting from melodious textures to rich, demanding arrangements with an almost dissonant sound, sometimes close to neighbours EDHELS.

The same year Minimum Viyal faced the departure of Follin with Christophe Godet, formerly of Pseu, taking over the drum duties.Several concerts and intense songwriting would follow with Minimum Vital getting in touch with Francis Grosse of the Musea label in order to release a first vinyl album.This would become true in 1987 with the album ''Les saisons marines''.

The style of the band was now more refined, elaborate and definitely more professional with a cleaner and more convincing sound, while they started to add some light Medieval tunes into their music, a trademark of the band over the next years.The jazzy elements and the abstract rhythms remain the basic components of their music, flavored by symphonic keyboard themes and yet again some furious and inventive instrumental intercations.High level of technical accomplishment, tight and usually fast-paced compositions with changing climates and dense interplays characterized a sound, which was totally uncommercial and deeply progressive.They added a fair bunch of archaic-styled keyboard lines and even some sampled harsichord in the process along with the folky acoustic guitars, the result was a fascinating sound with a deeper Folk taste.Despite the strong presence of synths, the Classical-drenched organ interludes remain a solid value of their music, which was taken to another level with the demanding mix of rural, symphonic and Fusion elements.

As both the original cassette and vinyl issues are pretty rare, these early works of Minimun Vital were resissued by Musea in 1992 via a CD compilation.A new star was born in the 80's, creating haunting and highly progressive instrumental music.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

 Atlas by MINIMUM VITAL album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.44 | 38 ratings

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Atlas
Minimum Vital Eclectic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

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

 Capitaines by MINIMUM VITAL album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.51 | 50 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.

 Sarabandes by MINIMUM VITAL album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.66 | 69 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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