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CATHARSIS

Psychedelic/Space Rock • France


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Catharsis biography
A French band with a very distinctive sound centered around Roland Bocquet's ghostly Farfisa organ. Their first album (recorded March 1971 at Studio ETA) was a mixture of easily accessible tunes, strange wordless chanting, high hippie spirits, Arabian elements, strong percussion and a few avant-garde excursions. Their music had a very spontaneous feeling, as if the group was assembled for some kind of occult ritual using music to reach a higher consciousness. Arguably they had some common ground with the early Pink Floyd and Amon Düül philosophically, but it lead to other conclusions musically. Masq is also notable for its surrealistic cover design.

Three members quit the group before Les Chevrons (recorded December 1971) but their sound didn't change much. There were more tracks and they were more compressed (giving way to more melodies), but this didn't spoil the characteristic spontaneous feel of their charming music.

Quite a lot more material was recorded in 1971, but not released until 1975. 32 Mars contained the title track in a long (11:30) and short (3:06) format, in addition to the tracks "Masq" (a hit single in France) and "Les Chevrons" in alternate versions. Clocking in at just 23 minutes it was short even for French albums of the time.

Illuminations contained recordings from June and November 1971 featuring Charlotte's distinctive chanting on many tracks. Her academic vocal training shines through (the members were former music academy students), sometimes close to Donella Del Monaco in Opus Avantra. The musical variety was greater than before, ranging from the trancendental "Aube" via uncommon treatments of music from the 17th and 18th Century, to the childish "Mignonne Allons Voir". Among these short pieces are some of Catharsis' finest recordings. For the next two albums, Catharsis reduced themselves to background musicians for Bernard Verley's spoken, sung and sometimes bellowed recitations of verses by Rimbaud. However, the albums are good in their own right.

After a break, Roland Boquet introduced a revamped Catharsis line-up in 1975. Lei Boléro Du Veau Des Dames was a more down-to-earth effort containing rather ordinary instrumental music similar to the better movie soundtracks. This was nice background music but lacking a bit in intensity.

Catharsis' last album Et S'Aimer El Mourir was remote from their early albums, even if it reunited many old members. Their approach was now more jazzy, perhaps comp...
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  • 32 Mars Volume III - 32 Mars, 1973

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CATHARSIS shows & tickets


  • Catharsis + Kollwitz + Je Suis Mort at Blitz, Oslo on 29 Aug 2014
  • Lutakko Liekeissä 2014 on 29 Aug 2014
  • Moscow Metal Meeting on 30 Aug 2014

CATHARSIS discography


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

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

2.73 | 20 ratings
Volume I - Masq
1971
3.27 | 18 ratings
Volume II - Les Chevrons
1972
4.03 | 20 ratings
Volume III - 32 Mars
1973
3.98 | 12 ratings
Volume IV - Illuminations
1975
3.26 | 12 ratings
Volume V - Le Bolero du Veau des Dames
1976
3.25 | 8 ratings
Volume VI - Et s'aimer ... et mourir ...
1977

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

CATHARSIS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

4.33 | 3 ratings
Best Of - Masq - Les Chevrons - 32 Mars
1971

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

CATHARSIS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Volume II - Les Chevrons by CATHARSIS album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.27 | 18 ratings

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Volume II - Les Chevrons
Catharsis Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars By 1972 the line-up of Catharsis was shortened to a quartet, which would carry the band until its demise.Niles Brown, Charlotte and Allain Geoffroy were all gone and the style of the band was limited to a typical bass/guitar/organ/drums format.The remaining members Roland Bocquet, Yves de Roubaix, Charles Eddie and Patrick Moulia recorded the next album at the Studio Davout in Paris.The single ''Les chevrons'' was quite succesful and the album was finally released on Saravah under the title of ''Vol.2-Les chevrons''.

The non-presence of an extended core worked well for Catharsis and the hypnotic, sinister sound of their incosistent debut was replaced by a much more energetic approach, which was still rooted in Psychedelic Rock, but bursts strong amounts of passion and dynamics.In fact they added in their style a certain and pronounced Classical flavor, always in dark and haunting realms, often getting into serious drama with the presence of obscure chants.The music remains in the hands of Roland Bocquet, who drives Catharsis' ideas through his long organ fanfares to symphonic, psychedelic and intense textures, which can be both relaxed and bombastic.Moreover the band now holds some similarities to ANGE's debut album, having a muddy production surrounded by captivating Classical influences.A very short offering by Catharsis again, clocking at only 30 minutes, ''Les chevrons'' suffers a bit from some needed variety, as the whole album seems to be covered by Bocquet's organ moves with little space for guitar-driven textures or any other activity far from the lush keyboard arrangements.

This is a certain improvement over ''Masq''.Organ-based Psychedelic Rock with obvious symphonic vibes, played with power and passion.Recommended.

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 Volume III - 32 Mars by CATHARSIS album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.03 | 20 ratings

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Volume III - 32 Mars
Catharsis Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Sagichim
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

4 stars Catharsis are a four piece band from France who were active in the 70's. If you look for information about the band's albums you will find quite a lot of confusion, and this is due to the fact that other labels released collaboration albums by Catharsis and various singers. In 1994 Spalax released most of their albums on CD but didn't include the collaboration albums, so the band's discography here in the archives is according to the Spalax releases. So only for your information there are two more albums by the band which should be in here as well. Although a lot of music was recorded during 71-72, the band released very short albums clocking at about 30 minutes each, on top of that some of the songs appear in different albums with alternate versions. Although this album doesn't offer a lot of new music, since two of the songs already appeared in their previous albums, this would be a great starting point for anyone interested to check them out, I think this is their best album (from the ones I've heard).

All their albums are instrumental but with the addition of frequent chanting and operatic vocals sung by the band with an additional female singer. Their main style can be considered as psychedelic prog but there's a lot more going on, they can be quite symphonic at times but there's also some krautrock kind of experimentation and all kinds of middle eastern influences too. The music is dominated by the spooky farfisa organ by Roland Bocquet, and that's the reason they are often regarded as a Pink Floyd influenced band, but aside from the organ sound the music is nothing like Floyd. Bocquet's playing has some clear classical influences, so the music has a very unique vibe to it. I can't help but think that "32 mars" sounds more like something that was released circa 68' rather than a 70's album, the sound at times has a strong Doors feeling due to the organs and drum sound, but the music is nothing like it too. It seems to me like there's two main styles when talking about psychedelic music, there's the more ambienty trippy experimentations without any actual structure, and there's the more song based psychedelic stuff, where you can follow an actual melody. Catharsis are exploring both styles, but here in this album it's the more song based kind of style, and it's the one I usually prefer.

"32 Mars" is the main piece here, 11 minutes of cool and trippy experimentations which goes from one part to the other smoothly. It starts with an exciting arabic/classical melody on top of an upbeat rhythm, beautiful keyboard work there! It then goes in another direction, a frightening atmosphere played only by piano, like something out of a Stanley Kubrick movie. When that's over it's time for some weirdness, shrieking saxophone noises on top of rolling drums rhythm and some background organs to spice things up, I can listen to this all the day long, it just works perfectly. "Masq" is a song which appeared on their debut, this version is slightly shorter but enjoyable as well. It's quite symphonic this time, it goes from one melody to the next, nothing special overall, just enjoying the melodies with beautiful vocals chanting. The debut's version contains a weird piano part which definitely adds a more progy feel to it. "Les Chevrons" was originally released in their second album titled the same. Again this one explores the spooky atmosphere with hints of a classical inspired theme. The fourth song goes back to the first and main piece and only shows the main themes without the experimentations, it's shortened to 3 minutes, totally useless.

This is a great band to discover and totally worth it if you come across a copy, not essential in any way but still very enjoyable stuff. Their next album "Illuminations" sees the band exploring more psychedelic realms without any song based themes. 3.5 stars rounded up mainly because of how I enjoy it.

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 Volume I - Masq by CATHARSIS album cover Studio Album, 1971
2.73 | 20 ratings

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Volume I - Masq
Catharsis Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Dobermensch

2 stars Plain and simple 'Masq' sounds like the soundtrack from a dodgy Spaghetti Western.

An easily accessible album that suffers from it's hippie sensibilities. It also sounds very dated in an early 70's way. There are some brief experimental parts which are ok and I have to admit a liking to the high pitched vocals of the woman known simply as 'Charlotte'. Actually, there's a bit of a ghostly feel to parts of this album, probably due to Roland Bocquet's Farfisa organ and the male chanting in the background.

The drums could have done with being beefed up a bit... they sound awfully tinny. Clocking in at a paltry 29 minutes it makes you wonder when an album stops being an album and becomes an e.p.. I suppose after 20 minutes I'd pretty much had enough anyway. Just okay but it's a lot of old pants if truth be told and I certainly can't imagine it being anyone's album of the year.

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 Volume I - Masq by CATHARSIS album cover Studio Album, 1971
2.73 | 20 ratings

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Volume I - Masq
Catharsis Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

2 stars Remained well hidden in the shadows of the past,CATHARSIS were a French band formed in 1969 and led by the major figure of organist/pianist Roland Boquet.They started as a sextet to record their debut ''Volume I-Masq'' in 1971 on the French record label Savanah.

The album contains four rather long cuts for an early-70's rock band,however it clocks just under 30 minutes.The musicianship in here is quite innovative and dark with lots of psychedelic echoes,even some Eastern influences, but also a very dated sound.It is Boquet's obscure Frafisa organ work,which leads the music surrounded by the mournful vocals of Charlotte and the weird vocal lines of the other members.Charles Eddie seems to be another major figure of the band,as his percussion work dominates the release,sometimes doubled by Boquet's organ,while others acoustic guitars try to capture his slow-tempo playing.Unfortunately the album lacks a bit in changing moods and tempos,which might be found a little boring for the mass of listeners,though you'll find familiar elements from early KING CRIMSON,PINK FLOYD with some hints of JACULA thrown in this effort.Be warned,that this is not everybody's taste, and definitely not mine.''Volume I-Masq'' turns to be an album for followers of slow Psychedelic Rock music with a dark and haunting atmosphere...sorry,I'm not one of them...

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 Volume I - Masq by CATHARSIS album cover Studio Album, 1971
2.73 | 20 ratings

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Volume I - Masq
Catharsis Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars 3.5 stars really!!

Catharsis is one of those French pioneering groups that forged ahead and paved the way for many of their compatriots. Their first album was recorded early spring 71 , but apparently there was a lot more material put on tape than just this album. Actually when their second album was recorded in Dec 71 (with a fairly reduced line-up), there was also much left out of the two records, that it turns out they released at least another two albums from these very sessions (71), but released in 75. Most of the tracks are written by keyboardist Bosquet and two of the guitarists (deRoubaix & Moulia).

Four long tracks on this debut album from a group that had their own distinctive sound, even though they were obviously Floyd-inspired, but with some more symphonic touches than Pink had. Indeed outside the strange ethereal female vocals, courtesy from Charlotte, but the groups was a septet. Through a percussive and gradual start, the track develops into an interesting psych rock, over which Charlotte's vocals (sometimes joined by the others) are soaring, then bizarre effects and percussion derail the progression of the title track and render its outcome unpredictable. We are going thru a few Bolero (Ravel) measures, than joined scats vocals, then an uncertain landing. Rising from that shaky ground and with baffling percussions and effects, 4 Art 6 develops slowly, remaining a bit irritatingly on low dynamics that when they finally come to acceptable level, there are some very weird (even a bit objectionable) vocals.

Actually the main interest of this album is also its flaw, because the scat vocals are over-used throughout the duration of the album. And starting the flipside, Cantique is not about to change that with Charlotte's scats taking on a mystical or liturgical note and if the male pagan chants coming just after, then superposed to Charlotte's. tunnel Extatique is hust more of the same that youy'fe so far abnd even induce a slight boredom or irritation.

By the time they would be recording their second album in December, Catharsis was only a quartet, having lost Charlotte, one keyboardist (Geoffroy) and a guitarist (Brown) along the way. Reputedly their best album, Masq is certainly a charming album that does bear the era that saw it born, a rather enjoyable piece of symphonic psychedelia, but repeated listening could prove somewhat difficult if one is not entirely comfortable with Charlotte's aerial scats.

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 Volume V - Le Bolero du Veau des Dames by CATHARSIS album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.26 | 12 ratings

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Volume V - Le Bolero du Veau des Dames
Catharsis Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

Le Bolero Du Veau Des Dames (76) is the first album of new material for Catharsis since Pop Poèmes of 73, because the following two releases (32 Mars and Illuminations were both recorded in 71 along Masq, their debut album. This album stands a bit apart in Catharsis' discography as there are only of the four usual members (the other reappearing for the following year's S'Aimer Et Mourrir. Replaced by members Claude and Michel (no last names given), the quartet probably signed their most symphonic oeuvre (although I've not heard half their albums) and arguably sounded the least like Floyd, although there are still some strong hints. BTW, don't be fooled by the vol 5 on the Spalax Cd reissue, this is their seventh album.

Although an organ-dominated sound, Catharsis' music sounds a tad different, as Bocquet's organ is a Farsifa, rather than the usual Hammond. Right from the first notes of Falace' you'll see easily that you are in a very different kind of musical realm. Some tracks like Melba still have a Floydian streak, but most include a fair bit of very tasteful brand of symphonic rock between Camel and Genesis. As with all Catharsis albums LBDVDD is hardly clocking around the 30 minutes mark.

The best track of the album is clearly the 10-mins title track, which spends all its duration throughout, changing through a myriad of moods and ambiances much like a better version of Camel (and even sometimes close to Caravan and Genesis) and French compatriots Carpe Diem. Also among the better tracks is Docteur Pleu, which has some delightful spacey sounds as well as some near-orgasmic breathing over a not-so steady beat, before breaking into a very Genesis-type of close. The weaker track would be Tango, with its staccato rhythm, but even then this is a stretch call it bad.

Catharsis might just stand as one of France most singular groups, this album is probably their proggiest (in the light of symphonic prog) and it seems that Catharsis has forgotten a bit their psych roots and developed a stronger symphonic sound. .

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 Volume III - 32 Mars by CATHARSIS album cover Studio Album, 1973
4.03 | 20 ratings

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Volume III - 32 Mars
Catharsis Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by avestin
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Today is March 32nd

Want a groovy and psychedelic sounding album? One that is a bit peculiar yet fun? Well then this might just well satisfy your needs. Starting with a cool organ playing a catchy tune, this grows to a full spectacle of psychedelic and experimental showmanship. From the entire band playing in a full fledged lineup to the solo piano playing and then to tribal percussion and other instruments (such as a wacky style sax), this opening piece has the full gamut of what this band was capable of - not only in terms of playing and instrumentation but also in being able to create varied psychedelic textures and soundscapes. This track alone is such great fun to listen to; it's a great ride made up of smaller segments that make it up a varied whole. The goofiness shown in some parts of the tracks balances the more psychedelic and spacey parts but does not ruin them at all; on the contrary, it adds distinction to their sound. The whole album flows very naturally from one track to the other, linked by the common sound and style, the organ and the occasional humorous additions. The drumming here is very good, as it gives the great flow of the album and the excellent rhythm that the album has. The organ gives it a somewhat transcendental aspect, and is balanced out by the other instruments and the way the music is arranged. I find the tunes to be very well organized. "Les Chevrons" for example starts out with the organ dominating it but ends up with the whole band joining in a beautiful harmony and a gorgeous vocal line. This album is well worth checking out!

Too bad it is so short an album! Once it's over, you'll want to listen to it again.

3.5-3.75 stars in PA rating scale - rounded up to 4 stars.

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 Volume IV - Illuminations by CATHARSIS album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.98 | 12 ratings

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Volume IV - Illuminations
Catharsis Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is a unique sounding record where soprano female vocal melodies with acoustic guitar and drums dominate the sound. This is mellow, atmospheric and often dark sounding music with no lyrics. Not a lot of variation although synths, piano, percussion and bass are used as well. Her vocals remind me of Synne from IN THE WOODS... although the music here doesn't come close to what IN THE WOODS... brings to the table.

"Aube" opens with the birds singing as synths, vocal melodies and percussion arrive and contine throughout. Lots of atmosphere. "La Mort Des Amants" opens with strummed guitar as percussion, synths and vocal melodies rise to the surface. "Ballade Des Pendus" has a steady drum beat as organ and affects come and go. Vocal melodies arrive after 2 minutes. Cool song. "En Revent De La Noce" has an almost circus-like melody slowed down, with vocal melodies over top.

"Mignonne Allons Voir Si La Rose..." features keys with vocal melodies. She laughs a couple of times during this one. "Le Canard Blanc" has these light sounding keys, almost classical-like with more vocal melodies. "Illuminations" opens with organ and vocal melodies as heavy drums come in. "Poemes Du 17e Siecle" is a brighter more uptempo track as she uses her vocals in unique ways like she's having sex. She laughs out loud at one point. "Alchime Du Vertbe(2e Partie)" features piano, strummed guitar and the birds are back.

This is a good record that is sort of unique. I did grow tired of hearing the same sound throughout though.

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 Volume II - Les Chevrons by CATHARSIS album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.27 | 18 ratings

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Volume II - Les Chevrons
Catharsis Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by philippe
Special Collaborator Content Development & Krautrock Team

3 stars A mysterious, enthousiastic and complex effort by this original 70's progressive rock collective. This album is possibly considered as their most popular. As usual it's largely dominated by synth chords, lyrical female voices and acoustic instruments. "Les chevrons" is a vast catalogue of epic, short symphonic rock songs with folkish accents. All compositions sound really weird, sometimes catching with irony the sound of medieval ancient dancing music. However there's nothing gothic, ambiences are colourful, luminous and turned to positive energies. "Ouverture" is an eccentric acoustic medieval incursion with chorus, organs and percussions, featuring progressive harmonies & arrengements (a lot of variations and changing textures). An humorous epic introduction. "Rien" srarts with percussive parts and chanting organs in a very folkish style, pursued by heroic keyboards, church like organ for light melodies. "Solstice" is a bizarre composition for malefic keys & fantomatic female / male voices. "Les chevrons" once again starts with a grandiose church like organ imitation, then carries on a pseudo sinister symphonic composition altered by parodies. This album delivers really strange atmospheres, with delirious, eccentric ingredients, crazy keyboards. "Masq" is just a gag, sounding like a bad score for B movie. Consequently not their best effort but a lot of humours. We have the sensation to listen to the soundtrack of a "comedy of terror".

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 Volume IV - Illuminations by CATHARSIS album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.98 | 12 ratings

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Volume IV - Illuminations
Catharsis Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by philippe
Special Collaborator Content Development & Krautrock Team

5 stars The frenchies of Catharsis back with an incredibly gorgeous album that is a monument of space rock. Illuminations is the most refined, meticulous and conceptual effort by the band and by far their best. It contains dark, lyrical, poetical, calm, dreamy-like musical journeys that are almost exclusively performed for a chamber ensemble. Acoustic instruments (percussions, flute...) dominate the content but there's also a priority for vintage organic / synth waves and fragile, distinctive female voices. The introduction track starts the melancholic "trip" with an unforgotten instrumental for acoustic percussions and ultra-introspective, ethereal organs, absolutely beautiful. "La mort des amants" is an other elegiac, celestial piece, played for acoustic guitars and lead by plaintive, meditative female vocals. An other astonishing, angelic piece! "Ballade des pendus" features a strange, delicate and moody atmosphere, including a large variety of percussive effects and dark synth strings. "En revenant de la noce" is a great variation of ancient dancing music. A melodic, floating album made with invention and devoted to the combination of neo-classical chamber prog music with psychedelic, visceral organic music. Essential!

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