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SYNOPSIS

Symphonic Prog • France


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Synopsis biography
French Theatric Symphonic is a style that I could never understand and being a GENESIS fan, it's a paradox, because their main influence is usually the Charterhouse School quintet,so in theory they should be like candy for me, but maybe because the bands always exaggerate the theatric characteristics of their shows, almost like Peter Gabriel on steroids and the languange, keep me away.

Well SYNOPSIS is slightly different, maybe because their first album "Minuit Ville" was released 1979 when the first Symphonic Golden era was in decline, they decided to moderate their approach, basing most of the sound of the band in Christian Bolze's keyboards, leaving Michel Bail hyperbolized vocals in a second plain.

The quintet completed by Michel Resler (bass), Christian Hoff (guitar) and the drummer Patrick Marcel, managed to create an obscure gem, that if released a couple years earlier, would had reached a special place in French Symphonic.

But the story doesn't end there, in 1981 with the addition of the violinist Jean-Philippe Brun and Geraldine Le Cocq (vocals), the band released "Gamme" a very nice album that people never heard due to the lack of interest for Symphonic Prog in the 80's.

I'm sure that if this guys would had started their careers in 1975, would had turned into Gaul icons such as ATOLL, MONA LISA or ANGE, because they had the skills and the compositions, the only thing missing was the right timing.

Iván Melgar-Morey :::: Perú

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GammeGamme
Import
Tachika Records
Audio CD$24.99
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Synopsis 2001
Audio CD$103.60
$89.20 (used)
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1945 The Desert Song "Kitty Carlisle" 5 Record 78 RPM Set w/Synopsis-Collectible US $19.99 Buy It Now 7h 21m
ROBERT TROWERS - SYNOPSIS (1993) _ CD NEW US $9.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Synopsis /Minute Ville LP (KOREA Si-Wan) NEW US $24.99 Buy It Now 2 days
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DONIZETTI "L'ELISIR D'AMORE" 2-CD COMPLETE OPERA W/SYNOPSIS IN ENG. 1955 LONDON US $9.99 Buy It Now 14 days
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CHAOS SYNOPSIS - GARDEN OF FORGOTTEN SHADOWS TAPE US $4.99 Buy It Now 26 days
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SYNOPSIS discography


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

3.33 | 12 ratings
Minuit Ville
1979
3.69 | 11 ratings
Gamme
1981

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SYNOPSIS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Gamme by SYNOPSIS album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.69 | 11 ratings

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Gamme
Synopsis Symphonic Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Synopsis is another forgotten French prog gem in the vein of Skryvania, Artcane, Acanthe, Shylock, Oniris and Angipatch , all emanating from the smoldering wreckage of progressive rock's 1977 demise at the hands of the media-fueled punk onslaught , an obviously worldwide phenomenon that was somewhat resisted in France , a land where prog was always well entrenched with mega acts with massive influence like Ange, Atoll and Magma. Casualties of musical wars, they remain today as iconic testaments of a glorious epoch of artistic freedom and a deliberate 'resistance' (as Bryan Ferry once so aptly quoted) against the commercial 'fad of the moment' oppressor.

Synopsis was fortunate to release 2 albums before disappearing into dust, the second of which is the tremendous 'Gamme', a lush, well-constructed and judiciously played series of symphonic prog tunes, well-heeled in the theatrical French approach, as well as a definite early Genesis that comes shining through in the luxuriant keyboards of Christian Bolze. A highly resourceful rhythm duo keep things snug and brawny, while guitarist Christian Hoff scours the horizons, looking out for new sounds and thrills. Lead vocalist Michel Bail strides forth in typical expressive French prog style, hushed as well sensual, theatrical and emotionally charged when called upon. But it's really a keyboard fest, Bolze laying down eternal ivory carpets of sound, displaying incredible talent in symphonic stylings, making this a prized possession.

Tracks such as the vibrant 'Cities'(English title, French lyrics) showcase intense use of swelling organ, swirling guitar riffs and sweltering bass and swooping drums, all ensconced in team playing for the cause, inviting the lovely melody that overtakes the harpsichord and organ 'woven arrangement, Michel Bail doing a convincing performance on the microphone. A fantastic introduction that lays down the proper premise (amazing singing, thoughtful melodies and expert playing), a constant throughout this amazing recording.

Equally thrilling is 'November' (English title, instrumental), acoustic guitar splendor announces a synth-led main theme that just weaves through the speakers, instantly captivating and famously seductive in its constantly bolstered repetition. Tony Banks certainly does come to mind, much to our pleasure.

'Tany Mena' is a vocal piece about Madagascar, that mythical island paradise that continues to inspire travelers searching for the rare experience. Bail sings his heart out within a narrow furrow of guitar riffing and melodious organ decorations, perhaps a tad more accessible than the previous symphonic pieces. But entirely enjoyable is the trembling Hoff guitar solo, with a slight slippery 'island' feel, all quite terrific and pleasantly original. This is real good music, indeed!

'Noctambule' provides a little change of pace, playful, sleepless and jaunty, adequately altering the mood and contrasting well with previous and upcoming pieces. It has that famed French vocal style that brings to mind voices like Decamps, Le Guennec and Balzer, but graced with complex parallel lines on keys, bass, guitar and drums. Short and yet quite complementary.

The epic 11 minute + 'L'Homme Fou' (French title and French lyrics) carves slowly from gentle guitar and keyboard ornamentations that weave a musical textile of sound, gilded with superlative Bail vocals complete with tremolo and perspiration. Dynamic drumming instills a Genesis meets King Crimson inspiration, terrifically impressive in propelling the music forward with effusive impunity. Like the title implies, the feverish voice threatens insanity and crazed zeal. The mood then suddenly veers into this very cool dreamy groove, boom-boom rhythms abound, quite simple but oh so effective, giving Bolze room to roam effortlessly on his battery of ivories. Sensationally smooth and imaginary, what a track!

The superb instrumental 'Prelude', (yeah, the French like to do it backwards too), ends this album and ultimately their career. Piano-driven, clanging guitar and solemn melancholia make this track a perfect au revoir, exploding into a myriad of stars at the end, a fitting send- off. Just a fabulous musical statement that deserves recognition.

This is a very tasty gem that deserves a place in any prog collection, especially your 'I want to impress you with unknown stuff' section.

4.5 French varietals

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 Gamme by SYNOPSIS album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.69 | 11 ratings

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Gamme
Synopsis Symphonic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 3.5 really

Second album comes in a period when no one was really intrested in prg music, was released in 1981 named Gamme. Keeping on the same coordonates and same attitude as on their first album, Synopsis here sounds closer to Ange fame more then before. Also lots of instrumental parts , really awesome for sure, but overall I think is not as great as Minuit ville. The album alternates from mellow sections with a Camel feel to more energic ones where the synth and guitars having an important role. Pieces like Cities, the instrumental Novembre are quite great showing that Synopsis were a very promissing band in prog rock zone, but sadly thir music was buried in the dust of time, only few peoples knows about them. They disbanded soon after this release I guess in 1982. Definetly Synopsis is one of the best kept secrets ever came from Franch prog school, with both albums being recommended for fans of symphonic prog with a good doze of space prog inventivness.

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 Minuit Ville by SYNOPSIS album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.33 | 12 ratings

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Minuit Ville
Synopsis Symphonic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Synopsis from France - this quite obscure symphonic prog band who mange in their short career only two albums, offer a very solid and intresting debute album. Named Minuit ville from 1979 this is good as it can be symphonic prog with lots of spacey instrumental passages, really excellent. The melodic lines , the interludes between musicians is awesome, such elegant spacey arrangements, sometimes I really think thay are as good as Eloy were in the glory days, also some Pulsar or even Genesis influences I can trace, but overall this album is pretty solid and inventive. Only the opening track as that theatrical feel to it close to Ange, but the rest of 4 pieces, 5 in total, are killer, the bass lines, the vintage keyboards all works very well here, really like a lot this album. There are complex rhythm parts, nice inspired keybaords and guitars and a very good vocal passages provided by Michel Bail . This is a cross between symphonic prog and spacey prog moments, very well melted together resulting an elegant album to my ears. All in all recommended for sure, great little known album from last breath of prog movement. easely 4 stars.

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 Minuit Ville by SYNOPSIS album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.33 | 12 ratings

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Minuit Ville
Synopsis Symphonic Prog

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

3 stars Synopsis were a French band who remained quite unknown during their brief existence; what else to expect when making symphonic prog during the late 70's and early 80's? This is the first one of their two albums. It includes only five tracks between 5 to 9 minutes in length. The music is keyboard-oriented but not in the bombastic way ŕ la ELP or Rick Wakeman. The GENESIS-influenced style is closer to compatriots MONA LISA and ATOLL, also PULSAR or PENTACLE could be mentioned in the same sentence. All these are clearly better bands than Synopsis. Actually the thick layer of synth or organ gets tiring as there really are no great variety in sound. The guitar is happily not buried completely. The rhythm section is given a minor role, for example 'Melodie Saoule' is for the most part without solid percussion, but it has some nice hi-hat... and later on also a slightly faster section with complex rhythm, during which keyboards do their typical, continuous background layering as they always do. Some synth soloing sounds more like badly outdated and amateurish than a musical bliss. Maybe the production is not the best possible either.

The vocals are approaching falsetto and they're rather weak (still maybe better than the over-dramatic, spitty French of ANGE!), but they fit fairly well with the sensibility in compositions. I can't give a good comparison for the voice, if not the SPARKS in the most falsetto parts! Anyway, the longish compositions are often instrumentally oriented, CAMEL-like at times. Are they memorable? Definitely not. The mellow and melodic music is likely to please those who enjoy soft symphonic prog, if the weak vocals or uninspired synths are not too big problems, but nothing more, I'm afraid. Easily more than two stars but not quite full three stars. The second album Gamme (1981) sounds better and more lively.

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 Gamme by SYNOPSIS album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.69 | 11 ratings

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Gamme
Synopsis Symphonic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars SYNOPSIS were a French band who came out in the late seventies. Sadly they were pretty much ignored as Progressive Rock had grown out of fashion for many music fans. Sadly, because these guys were good and they could have made a name for themselves. They released two studio albums, the first in 1979 and this one in 1981.

"Cities" kicks in quickly but settles a minute in with vocals. I really like the organ and vocals after 1 1/2 minutes, they are so uplifting. This soundscape will come and go thankfully. We get a nice instrumental section that reminds me of early CAMEL for the last couple of minutes to end it. "November" opens with gentle sounds then the synths take over as a beat joins in. It does build some. Not a bad intrumental. "Tany Mena" is led by vocals and guitar early then the drums and keyboards join in after the vocals stop. Contrasts continue. I like this one a lot. A good guitar solo before 5 minutes as the organ floats and the drums pound.

"Noctambule" turns fuller before a minute but settles back quickly as passionate vocals arrive. "L'homme Fou" starts out with keys and light sounds. Vocals after 1 1/2 minutes and drums 3 minutes in. The vocals become almost spoken but they are passionate in the French tradition. A more powerful soundscape comes in followed by a calm after 6 1/2 minutes. A light beat and more follows and it stays trippy to the end. "Prelude" opens with drums then it settles in with a beat and synths. It settles down more then it kicks in late.

An excellent album with some passionate vocals.

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 Gamme by SYNOPSIS album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.69 | 11 ratings

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Gamme
Synopsis Symphonic Prog

Review by Thierry

4 stars Synopsis is certainly one of France's best kept secret. When this band from the East of France released their two albums, just a few people heard of them. For sure it was at a time, the end of the seventies and the early eighties, when prog was dead, before its renaissance thanks to the neoprog movement and the birth of structures such as prog labels or magazines. Musea precisely, the French prog label, tried to do justice by releasing their first album, "Minuit Ville" (1979). In my humble opinion, this opus doesn't reflect Synopsis' talent especially because of poor vocals. On contrary, "Gamme" (1981) is a must. Their new singer, often close to Atoll's, gives deepness and emotion to an already rich music through poetic lyrics. For instance 'Prélude', ironically put at the end of the record, recalls Atoll's 'Le Cerf Volant', certainly one of the best French prog song ever. Describing their music is easy: mostly keyboards based (mainly synthesizers) supported by acoustic and fuzz guitars on a typical early eighties rhythmic section (don't be afraid, just a touch of it!), in a mellow, melancholy atmosphere. All amateurs of French prog, that is theatrical symphonic rock, should have this gem in their collection. A pity this album is not available on the CD form. Another job for Musea's dynamic team!

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 Minuit Ville by SYNOPSIS album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.33 | 12 ratings

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Minuit Ville
Synopsis Symphonic Prog

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

3 stars Mostly mellow and string synth laden symphonic prog, "Minuit Ville" is yet another late 70s offering from the French progressive scene. While Ange and Mona Lisa dramatics do appear, particularly in the opening track and the intro to the finale, SYNOPSIS generally occupies a more delicate and ambient niche that do the godfathers of the scene. They do not sound like a knock-off of any groups of their age, even if RPI forces also play a role.

Michel Bail sings in a near falsetto which actually suits the fragility of the melodies, particularly on the highlight, "Desert", which features the most assertive song structure and memorable tune of the disk, with a majestic shift from verse to chorus, and a shimmering synth section leading to a more intricate bass-led closing passage. While keyboards do dominate, Christian Hoff makes his presence felt often enough, particularly in "Ville D'Oracle", which begins in almost jazzy fits and starts before his gentle arpeggios introduce the sung portion, after which his lead sashays atop an Alan Parsons styled bass riff. He reveals more prowess on "Melodie Saoule", and here Michel Resler's bass is far more inventive, and the rhythm more complex.

If I may provide a brief closing synopsis, this debut may be a tad too timid for some, but is recommended to those who enjoy the mellower proponents of the sub genre, conveyed with continental class . 3.5 stars.

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