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LAZULI

Eclectic Prog • France


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Lazuli biography
LAZULI are a French rock ensemble, currently recognized as an arousing, enchanting and vigorous prog rock value. Formed in 1998, their musical debut was tough and unoriginal, but in the next years, revealing a promising number of shows and a music undergoing a quality transition, they earned the appreciation those bands capable of making unusual, very pleasant or promptly fresh music usually receive. Their best release so far, On Avant Doute, is a fantastic record for some, while, generally, its critic and feedback is positive.

Except guitarist Marc Almeras, who departed right between LAZULI's most significant albums, the band members stayed bonded throughout all the years: Yohan Simeon and Frederik Juan (playing stand-up drumkit/percussions, respectively assorted percussion, marimba or vibraphone) enforce a good taste and vigor for drumming, Sylvan Bayol plays the Chapman Stick (reminding of no one else than Tony Levin) and, as of late, improvises on War Guitar too, Dominic Leonetti is the vocalist and the lyricist (playing acoustic guitars in between), while Claude Leonetti plays "La Léode", an over-exciting midi-electronic plug-guitar instrument, providing something from LAZULI's unique or unusual sound, despite that it works pretty much on distorted, synth guitar sounds (or does even more, by sopping the rock into a mature, and laudable, eclectic tone).

LAZULI's concerts have an unexpected quality, most of their musical shows being appreciated or even well-awaited. Except a 1999 notable concert, held at FIMU in Belfort, most of the band's important concerts were held in these recent years. In July 2005, their attendancy at the Montreux Jazz Festival earned them acclaim, plus an award for "Under The Sky". In 2006, they were present at the Baja Prog Festival or the German festivals Colos-Saal, KOMMZ-Festival. Invited by Ange, LAZULI played a full concert at Bergerac, in France. In 2007, they've repeated some of the German stage previous performances, while every new programmed event is spot on interesting.

In their music, LAZULI do a relaxed blend of prog rock (classic, retro and modern spots altogether, but mostly the last two), instrumental songs and alternative/warm world music - the edge between pop and rock being, mostly, a good one. Numb folk, heavy beats or rich samples are fairly used. Their artistic top quality is not so much the high-striking, elaborate or attractive tones and prog-generating sensations, as the insp...
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Nos Ames SaoûlesNos Ames Saoûles
L'Abeille Rôde
Audio CD$17.41
4603 Battements4603 Battements
L'Abeille Rôde
Audio CD$16.81
$57.00 (used)
Tant Que L'Herbe Est GrasseTant Que L'Herbe Est Grasse
L'Abeille Rôde
Audio CD$17.89
$87.14 (used)
AmnésieAmnésie
Import
Musea 2003
Audio CD$24.62
$29.73 (used)
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LAZULI discography


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

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

2.92 | 33 ratings
Amnésie
2004
4.01 | 83 ratings
En avant doute...
2007
3.89 | 52 ratings
Réponse incongrue à l'inéluctable
2009
3.81 | 85 ratings
( 4603 battements )
2011
3.65 | 66 ratings
Tant que L'herbe est Grasse
2014
3.79 | 28 ratings
Nos âmes Saoules
2016

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

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

4.14 | 9 ratings
Six Frenchmen In Amsterdam - Live At Paradiso
2010

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

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

LAZULI Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Réponse incongrue à l'inéluctable by LAZULI album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.89 | 52 ratings

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Réponse incongrue à l'inéluctable
Lazuli Eclectic Prog

Review by poito

5 stars What a fantastic continuation of their acclaimed EN AVANT DOUTE album. In my view, this is a more complete work, with the only sin of being released after a great album that broke schemes to some. The composition is awesome, with plenty of flavors, fewer tempo shifts are less histrionic and better crafted and the atmospheres still take you in hypnotic march to musical landscapes full of layers and a succession of subtle and complex moments. The album structure has a rock opera-like format, but themes are independent. No fillings here. Check La Belle Noirceur, a three-part composition with a smooth Prologue drawing a mysterious ambient, followed by a great central theme and a marvelous Epilogue with the Leode instrument flying over a marching rhythm with tragic Floydian airs in The Wall era. A Masterpiece! Not a five but close to.

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 Tant que L'herbe est Grasse by LAZULI album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.65 | 66 ratings

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Tant que L'herbe est Grasse
Lazuli Eclectic Prog

Review by poito

2 stars Since their first AMNESIE the band has subtlety but consistently modified the bricks they build their music with. The style remains eclectic, but the composition has changed notably, and it is far less inspired in my view. In the 2nd and third albums the strong changes of tempo gave path to the many influences, the varied creativity and the great musicianship of the band members. The 4603 album was a major change, more contained and uniform, but the themes still preserved the bombastic bits that were so well used before. In this album, the moments of grandeur have almost gone? along with freshness. To me, all themes sound alike. I am always left with the feeling that something is missing. Possibly, the departure of initial band members (guitarist Silvain Bayol and percussionists Simeon and Juan are not in the band after EAD) was responsible for the disappearance of the ethnic and world-music influences, and although we did not miss them because of the impressive compositional work in 4603, they would have been so necessary here. I think the band has entered here a self-indulgent epoch, as if they compose and play for their fans. In nearly all themes of the EAD and RESPONSE albums you knew that in one or another instant you would get a brilliant musical moment. In 4603, the brilliant moments became brilliant themes, from the beginning. Here you wait, and wait? Is this album made with the leftovers of 4603? Just to mention some positive passages, the high bit excerpt in Homo Sapiens and a nice leode work in Les Courants Ascendants.

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 Amnésie  by LAZULI album cover Studio Album, 2004
2.92 | 33 ratings

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Amnésie
Lazuli Eclectic Prog

Review by poito

2 stars My problem with this album is that I've already listened to all others that came later. I have to admit that it has a lot of values for a first album, great instrumental variety, original sounds and mixes, many ethnic influences... but I know what they've done later. This band has evolved quite a lot musically, and what is offered here, a mixture of advanced folk-prog-ethnic. rarely appears in subsequent work. This is an album for exploration, and for a specific audience that is not me. However, there are three themes not to miss by anyone, really fantastic: Merci, L'impasse, and Naif2. They all are different, but they begin to point the great accomplishment and creative talent in the following two albums.

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 ( 4603 battements ) by LAZULI album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.81 | 85 ratings

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( 4603 battements )
Lazuli Eclectic Prog

Review by poito

4 stars Short and easy. Some members changed since the great En Avant Doute, and the superb Response Incongrue a L'ineluctable, and so changed the structure of the themes. They are much more uniform, fewer variations of tempo, the world-music sound has disappeared and replaced by Floydian cuts, at times a bit histrionic, soundtrack-like, but freshness is still there, the composition is just great, more mature, more daring. Though I miss the variations of tempo (personal like) the music is subtle and deep at the same time, not sequentially as in former albumes, but mixed, there are fewer surprises, but the sound is full, you won't miss them. My favorite pieces are the entrance in 15H40, the leode work at Dans Le Formol Au Museum, Le Miroir aux Alouettes, marvelous, subtle in the first half and perfect in the second with a flying Leode sailing over an Arabian rhythm.

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 En avant doute... by LAZULI album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.01 | 83 ratings

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En avant doute...
Lazuli Eclectic Prog

Review by poito

4 stars Short and easy. It is infrequent a french prog band of this talent and freshness. This is such a compact and balanced musical creation. Using a considerable pile of resources the band creates magic atmospheres that take you out for a while. The tracks have strong changes of tempo, usually began smooth and turn suddenly into loud pieces with perfectly designed bombastic moments. Inspired guitars and the leode glide over a solid percussion that is always in site, and the story teller Italian-like sharp vocals of Leonetti... well I have to admit they add to the composition. Nearly all tracks are high, check L'arbre and Cassiopée, and of course, Ouest Terne, a delicatessen.

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 Réponse incongrue à l'inéluctable by LAZULI album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.89 | 52 ratings

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Réponse incongrue à l'inéluctable
Lazuli Eclectic Prog

Review by justaguy

3 stars Lazuli makes music that flies, like a beautiful big bird, soaring in the air, many coloured wings spread, like a rainbow. It is one of the greatest progressive rock groups of this millennium, with their very unique sound, defined not in the last place by the use of Leode (self invented synthesizer-guitar) and more known but still not very often played Warr guitar. Add to this mix marimba and vibraphone and of course all the necessary guitars and drums to make the picture complete. Their composing is strong and dense, and the tunes are unforgettable. It is nice to see that the guys become still more famous in Europe and America last years. They started to travel a lot outside France and take part in many progressive rock festivals, like Symforce in Holland, Rites of Spring in States, Night of the Prog and Zappanale in Germany.

The latest effort of the band, "Réponse incongrue à l'inéluctable" issued in 2009 is, just like the predecessor from 2007 "En Avant Doute?", a masterpiece. It is again, one piece of beautiful music, there's no one composition or a part of it that could be left out. It is one of those records, which you listen in one breath. And then you think: is it already over? Give me more of that stuff! Quite addictive.

Among the high points I would like to mention the second number, "On nous comme on respire". Lazuli already played this one a year ago, on their show in Spirit of 66 in Verviers, Belgium in September 2008. I was lucky to be there and was very impressed by the song. At home, it sounds great as well. It has an Arabian twist and a children's choir in it, and quite intriguing intermezzo, where even the voices of contemporary politicians talking about environment (guess who?) don't bother the listener and actually don't spoil the number. It should be said, that even missing the meanings of the French lyrics, I love the record, just for it's grand music. Or is it just the opposite: because I don't understand the lyrics? May be, it's too political? or naïve? Well, it is for the French-speaking progheads among us to find out.

Number 3, "La vie par la face nord" has a bluesy, tragic singing of the vocalist and front man Dominique Leonetti. It is wonderfully filled in by xylophone and guitar, both instruments carrying the song, and the Leode solo that kicks in and brings the song to the higher highs towards the ending.

The other special song I would like to mention here is "La belle noirceur ? epilogue". It has a mother of all electric guitar solo's in it, played by Claude Leonetti on Leode. This is a kind of a solo that sounds just like a revelation. It's like some of historical Fripp's work, haunting and flying. You understand listening such a solo: there is no other way to play it here: everything is as right as it could get. It is beautiful in it's weird perfection, or, if you prefer, it's perfect weirdness. I would even dare to say: only this solo is enough motivation to buy the album.

My impression is, that on this album, comparing to the predecessors, there's less of Leode and more of electrical guitar in the arrangements, which I personally regret. Electric guitar, played by Gédéric Byar, sounds also great of course, and Byar produces some fantastic solo's as well. But Leode, it is Lazuli's hallmark, and my personal opinion is, that there should be much more of it.

"Réponse incongrue à l'inéluctable" is a beautiful example of how a progressive rock should be: original, daring, raw and at the same time nicely polished. Lazuliennes treat us once again on a piece of tasty and spiced up music, that is almost impossible to compare with anybody else's. It is still 9 of 10, and after all said, it's tricky to explain, why not all 10 of them. May be, it's only my too high expectations from Lazuli, after the former two albums. I guess, the progressive rocker should not stay on one place, he or she should progress, explore new territories, fly further on.

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 Tant que L'herbe est Grasse by LAZULI album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.65 | 66 ratings

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Tant que L'herbe est Grasse
Lazuli Eclectic Prog

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

4 stars With a lantern I am searching for new fine prog rock and in France i found this "Lazuli" record. With a cover formed like an old photograph of a gentleman but with a cow skeleton head it faces me. It is a special cover even if I don't like it very much.

The band "Lazuli" is French and they have released five records since 2004, in ten years. "Tant que L'Herbe est grasse" from 2014 is their fifth one. I liked the French Nemo's record from last year and this one is a bit similar. The line up on the record is Claude Leonetti on léode and choirs, Gédéric Byar on guitar, Dominique Leonetti on vocal, guitar and mandolin, Romain Thorel on keyboards, french horn and choirs and Vincent Barnavol on drums and percussion.

I feel that this band is their best moments here could give us very emotional and living music that is so special you are happy to hear it. The powerful ending of the record for example "Les Courants Ascendants"(8/10) is a grandiose song and "L'Essence des Odyssées" is a great example of the bands instrumentation and the beautiful melody they bring us(8/10). The two first songs "Déraille" and "Une Pente qu'on Dévale"(8/10) are symphonic and very special. Thery are mixing fine and specific atmospheres with more powerful rock.

One great ingredient is Dominique Leonetti's light and strong vocals that in the first place could be a bit annoying but after hearing it a while it's absolutely impressing. The record as a whole is a fine experience. The former Marillion singer "Fish" contributes with English vocals on "Jái Trové ta Faille" and the result of this both English and French song is interesting. Thus should this record be heard also by Fish's fans. I hope people will hear this and make their own judgements. I'll rate this to four stars, it would have been seven on a ten number scale.

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 ( 4603 battements ) by LAZULI album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.81 | 85 ratings

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( 4603 battements )
Lazuli Eclectic Prog

Review by The Jester

3 stars Lazuli is a French band which was founded in 1998, and they have released 5 albums so far, with "4603 Battements" being their latest endeavor. The band's current line-up is: Dominique Leonetti - Vocals, guitar, mandolin/ Gédéric Byar ? Guitar / Romain Thorel - Keyboards, French horn / Vincent Barnavol - Drums, percussions, marimba and Claude Leonetti - Léode.

Initially, I'd like to say that they use "Leode" in their music! For those who might wonder what "Leode" is; it is pretty much a unique mid-electronic plug guitar instrument that comes with a unique sound. This instrument is used most of the times with distortion, and gives the band a very unique and personal sound. Another fact that gives Lazuli a unique sound is the use of French language in their songs. Well, there is a possibility that some people may find it not to their liking, but I believe that in Lazuli's case the French language matches their sound perfectly.

The album is a great combination of loud electric guitars mixed with more acoustic sounds, but also many melodic and darker parts. I mentioned it before, but I have to relate to 'Leode' once more. This bizarre instrument gives so unique a style to their sound which is very difficult for me to explain here. If you have never listened to it before you can't simply understand what I'm talking about. That's why my best advice could be to go and buy this record! But not only for 'Leode'.

Mostly because it is a really good record, with great production, interesting compositions, and, in a nutshell, it is a record worthing every penny you will spend for it!

The best moment which catches your attention right away, is the song "Je Te Laisse Ce Monde" which is my most favorite by far. But above that, there are many other worthy songs here. For example, the more intimate 'Le Miroir aux Alouettes', the beautiful 'Les Malveillants', or the more trippy 'Saleté de Nuit'.

Of course this is just my personal opinion, other people might feel differently about the songs which are included in this album.

Speaking objectively, "4603 Battements" is surely a very solid and a very intriguing record, which I recommend not only to Progressive Rock fans, but also to eclectic listeners who wish to discover and enjoy unique bands like LAZULI.

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 En avant doute... by LAZULI album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.01 | 83 ratings

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En avant doute...
Lazuli Eclectic Prog

Review by justaguy

4 stars Lazuli is one of the greatest musical discoveries I have made these years. I was completely blown away by performance of this French group during Symforce festival in Tilburg in 2007. I have never heard something like that. The group has such an absolutely unique sound, such a drive. They don't merely play music. They fly, and take the audience along, to the far away and unimaginable heights.

They use no synthesizers, but still, the music sounds very modern. Their specific sound is defined by the omnipresent vibraphone and marimba played by Frédéric Juan, polyphonic Warr guitar of Sylvain Bayol and the high pitched vocals of Dominique Leonetti. But above all soar the unpredictable and beautifully outrageous improvisations of Claude Leonetti on Leode. This Leode deserves a few more words here. It is a strange self invented musical instrument, a hybrid of electric guitar and sequencer. It looks a little like Chapman stick, but is played by gliding the fingers along the fingerboard. Like SynthAxe, it is hooked to a midi controller and can actually produce a very large variety of sounds, including saw, violin, plush bear and of course - electric guitar.

Dominique Leonetti has told me the creation story of Leode after the concert during Symforce - of course, I couldn't suppress the urge directly to know all about them, then and there. By the way, you will also find this story ? as a short film - on the bonus DVD. After a motorbike accident a while ago, in the 80-s, the left hand of Dominique's brother and guitar player Claude Leonetti became partly disabled. So he couldn't play guitar any more. One day - or one night, according to the story on the DVD - Claude imagined a new sort guitar. A synthesized instrument that you can play with only one hand. It came to an actual creation of the instrument only 10 years later. Until now, Claude is the only player of Leode in the world.

"en avant doute?" is Lazuli's second record, after the very strong debut "Amnesie". It comes together with a bonus DVD with a live show and some extra's. Both CD and DVD contain beautiful music. The CD might seem a little short with it's 41 minutes of music. But the sheer strength and intensity of the music makes up a lot. It stands, like a musical monolith. I will place only one critical note: all songs are composed in a little similar way and don't provide quite enough diversity. One can say, it is their style, love it or leave it. But for me, it's still a reason not to give them 10 out of 10.

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 ( 4603 battements ) by LAZULI album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.81 | 85 ratings

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( 4603 battements )
Lazuli Eclectic Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars '(4603 Battements)' - Lazuli (7/10)

This year, France seems to be a hotbed of prog rock output. With French band Nemo sparking my interest with their latest album 'Revolucion', it is a joy to see another band from the land of cheese and revolution reaching my ears. Lazuli is a band that fits firmly into the sounds of modern prog; a band who is eager to venture forth with sounds, painting more modern sounds of music witht eh same passion and fire that the prog legends once did. '(4603 Battements)' is not the first album that the band has done, but alas, it is my first experience with the band, and- to start things off- I have been greatly impressed with the sound they have here. Although bearing a resemblance to the brooding atmospheres and songwriting of other, compatriotic acts, Lazuli carves out an interesting sound with this record. What we have here is an great piece of modern prog.

A broad comparison I could make for this band's sound would be Porcupine Tree and especially Radiohead. The largest difference between those acts and this album would likely be the fact that here, the lyrics are sung in French. It is not very common past the borders of Italy for a prog album to be sung in a language that is not English, so it is a nice change of pace to hear a different language being sung, even if I can only partially understand what is being sung. The vocals of Dominique Leonetti are very strong and richly accented, and while many English listeners may be hard pressed to enjoy his performance on a narrative level, his voice has got a great range to it, and works very well with the nuances of the French language. This album has a very modern sound for prog, meaning that I am sure I could show this music to an everyday listener and they would not see this as dated in any way; while there are tinges of psychedelia and vintage symphonic rock here, much of this is taken more as a root of influence, rather than the sound itself. Take the vaudevillian rocker 'Dans le formol au muséum' for example; a piece that screams the bombast of experimental Beatles albums, and the adventurous arrangements of King Crimson. when the sound emerges finally however, it comes out as something a little different than the music it draws upon.

The mood of the album is generally dark, and while the very dramatic way that Lazuli brings about this sound is executed very well, its not entirely effective the whole way through, and I cannot say I feel the music frrom start to finish. The two modes of music I am sensing on '(4603 Battements)' are mysterious mellow atmosphere, and theatrical symphonic rock. As far as the former goes, it is dominated by Leonetti's voice, where he gives his best performances on the album. For the harder rocking sections, the instruments take more of a precedent, especially when it comes to the intriguing synth and string patterns that add depth to the band's sound. While I would not necessarily call this pop music, there does seem to be an effort here to take some greatly ambitious and theatrical deliveries and condense them into something a little more bite-sized, although the entire album (including the mellow segments) has a larger-than-life feel to it. No song here particularly stands out to give the album that classic potential, but it flows decently enough, bookended by two short instrumentals; although it could have flowed a little better, there has been visible effort here to give the album a feeling of completion.

The music here will be quick to please the eager listeners of modern prog, and while I can't call '(4603 Battements)' a truly excellent album, it is a very good album that at times hints at a possible masterpiece in the woodwork. I did find my experience with the music waned a little when the dark, brooding nature of the music finally worn thin and broke, although it is a very consistent journey. A very good album for fans of Radiohead and the darker side of Porcupine Tree.

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