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ATOLL

Symphonic Prog • France


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Atoll picture
Atoll biography
Founded in Paris, France in 1973 - Disbanded in 1981 - Reformed in 1989 and again 2003, 2006 and 2014

ATOLL were a talented French ensemble who very much carried their own symphonic sound blending the finer aspects of fellow acts ANGE, PULSAR and MONA LISA. Their style is very theatrical in nature offering dynamic and melodic arrangements with some great song writing. Along the topics it is impossible to avoid the comparisons with GENESIS, YES and MAHAVISHU ORCHESTRA. The changes of members were another of the characteristics of this group who counted John WETTON among their members.

ATOLL, in their short history, released two excellent and very different albums. Recorded in 1974, "Musiciens-Magiciens" is mediocre. In my mind, "L'Araignee Mal" (1975) stands as the pinnacle of ATOLL's work and is an essential for any prog collection. They add a violinist to the band and a touch of fusion to their sound, this is a very exciting album. "Tertio" (3rd album) features their exploration into the symphonic world of France's 70's progressive rock genre. Highly regarded French band.

See also: WiKi

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Fallout FrenzyFallout Frenzy
Gore House Productions 2017
$10.60
$5.93 (used)
Musiciens-MagiciensMusiciens-Magiciens
Musea 1974
$13.49
$81.61 (used)
TertioTertio
Replica 2016
$18.11
$33.98 (used)
L'Araignée-MalL'Araignée-Mal
Musea 1975
$59.33 (used)
Rock PuzzleRock Puzzle
Musea 1979
$14.90
$17.99 (used)
Tokyo C'Est Fini - Live In JapanTokyo C'Est Fini - Live In Japan
Crime
$49.99
Musiciens-Magiciens by ATOLL (2002-01-01)Musiciens-Magiciens by ATOLL (2002-01-01)
Musea
$60.97
Musiciens MagiciensMusiciens Magiciens
Belle 2016
$7.64
$49.03 (used)
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Bikini Atoll : Liars Exit CD USD $3.99 Buy It Now 23m 1s
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TWO TWO-BIKINI ATOLL CD NEW USD $13.60 Buy It Now 7h 21m
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7h 48m
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ATOLL L'ARAIGNEE MAL LP French 1975 USD $24.99 Buy It Now 5 days
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ATOLL Tertio JAPAN CD KICP-2723 1993 USD $32.55 Buy It Now 5 days
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*ATOLL Paris c'est fini FRENCH PROG RARE CANADA 45 NM- USD $15.09 Buy It Now 7 days
Atoll - Rock Puzzle Japanese orig' Ariola LP 1980 progressive USD $29.99 Buy It Now 7 days
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ATOLL Tokyo C'est Fini Live In JAPAN 1989 CD W/Obi MEGA RARE! PFM USD $59.00 Buy It Now 7 days
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L'Essentiel by Alabína (CD, Sep-1999, Atoll) USD $5.50 Buy It Now 8 days
Algerie: Les Plus Grands Artistes Alger by Various Artists (CD, Oct-2000, Atoll) USD $31.50 Buy It Now 8 days
ATOLL: GATHERING SWARM (CD) USD $24.04 Buy It Now 9 days
Bikini Atoll - New Black - Calliope- Today's Best Music CD GREEK COLLECTION 2004 USD $12.24 Buy It Now 9 days
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Atoll - Rock Puzzle FRA LP 1979 FOC /3* USD $24.99 Buy It Now 9 days
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ATOLL Ocean JAPAN CD 292E-2056 1989 USD $33.90 Buy It Now 16 days
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ATOLL discography


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

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

3.57 | 97 ratings
Musiciens - Magiciens
1974
4.12 | 180 ratings
L'Araignée-Mal
1975
3.68 | 93 ratings
Tertio
1977
2.82 | 46 ratings
Rock Puzzle
1979
1.71 | 21 ratings
L'Océan
1989
3.02 | 18 ratings
Illian - J'Entends Gronder La Terre
2003
3.70 | 10 ratings
Chris Beya Atoll: Illian - I Hear The Earth
2014

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

3.33 | 12 ratings
Tokyo, c'est Fini -Live in Japan
1994

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

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

3.71 | 7 ratings
Cosmic Trips
1981

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

ATOLL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Musiciens - Magiciens by ATOLL album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.57 | 97 ratings

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Musiciens - Magiciens
Atoll Symphonic Prog

Review by GruvanDahlman
Collaborator Heavy Prog Team

4 stars A not insignifacant part of enjoying music and records are the fantastic covers so often on display in progressive rock. Often enough they are so imaginative and thought evoking. When listening I often find myself immersed in the universe of the cover. Thusly this first album by Atoll blows my mind. The cover is spectacular and amazing in its Roger Dean-esque motif. If nothing else the band managed to make an album with an amazing cover. But that's not all they did.

Somehow you can't really escape from the shadow of Ange when you discuss Atoll. They are not entirely overshadowed by this band but there are some similarities. One can only imagine the massive influence Ange held over many a french prog band. I do think, however, that they succeded in making an album of enormous worth, filled to the brim with mellotrons (and other keyboards), great vocal harmonies and dreamy musical landscapes that shift to harder passages. Mostly the album is a dreamy journey, in line with the cover, but there are enough shifts in direction that offers an experience throughout, never getting dull or flat. Some reviewers talk about the production and while I do agree on its rather rough sounding qualities I would not pay too much attention to that. It is the music that matters and in the case of Atoll it comes shining through the fog of a somewhat poor production.

The opening, "L'Hymne medieval", is a good example of what to expect on the album. Mellotron drenched progressive infused with folk, Rickenbacker bass and beautiful vocals. And really, this song is simply 3 minutes of heaven. If you don't like that for an opening I guess there's a good chance you won't enjoy the rest of the album either. There are two longer epics that are outstanding, "Le baladin du temps" and "Je suis d'ailleurs" with their 11 and 8 minutes in length. I love them both but i do favor "Je suis d'ailleurs" just a tad more. I think it's due to the opening keyboards and drums which sets the tone and lures me into the cave of the beast that will be unleashed.

The album is very varied. From the symphonic, folk-infused opening to the lengthy epics mentioned previously, to the hard rocking groove of the title track (and no it's not disco we're talking about), straight into the lovely and utterly brilliant "Le berger". The latter is "merely" 4 minutes in length but is, sort of, the ballad of the album, with a medieval touch to the harmonies. I really adore this track. If everything else on the album was rubbish this would have been the jewel at the bottom of the cesspit. I hear echoes of early King Crimson balladry or the sound of Camel.

Sorry to say it seems that Atoll is largely unknown in the prog community, seeing this album has only 93 ratings. I wish that more people will discover this pearl of the progressive ocean and dive headlong into it. It is such a treat and from where I'm sitting almost flawless.

 L'Araignée-Mal by ATOLL album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.12 | 180 ratings

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L'Araignée-Mal
Atoll Symphonic Prog

Review by Memo_anathemo

4 stars This French provides us with an excellent album full of contrasts and different genres. Although the band is considered to be symphonic prog, this album contains only some elements of that sub genre. I see much influence of Gong or Magma in the first song (Canterbury and Zeuhl), and then, complete jazz fusion in a couple of songs, a lot Mahavishnu Orchestra in their playing. Then it is visible the influence of Symphonic prog, some influences of Yes in some parts and I also saw some Camel somewhere. What is clear is that ATOLL created a palette of sounds typical of progressive sounds and that aspect makes it an excellent album!
 Tertio by ATOLL album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.68 | 93 ratings

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Tertio
Atoll Symphonic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Tertio is their third album from 1977 and is their final great album. With slightly change in musical direction, I mean the compostions are little shorter and straight forward and less adventurous as previous album, but the great moments are all over the release. I like this one equaly with their previous one. Atoll sounds here like a cross between Ange and Edition Speciale, maybe little more towards the second band, with a clear jazzier direction here, but also their symphonic side is present more or less on each tune. The musiciansship is excellent, ecach one shines not else, excellent druming again from Alain Gozzo and some fantastic guitar parts and keyboards. Paris c'est Fini is a great opener, Gae Lowe(Le Duel Part 1 & 2) is another top notch piece, Tunnel part 1 and 2 ends the album in a great manner.. I found Tertio to be a very joyful album with lots of memorable parts, Atoll is still great here, pity their last outstanding album. 4 star album to me.
 L'Araignée-Mal by ATOLL album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.12 | 180 ratings

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L'Araignée-Mal
Atoll Symphonic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Atoll was one of the front progressive rock bands from France in the '70s with at least two albums that are considered among the most intresting records from french school L'Araign'e-Mal and Tertio. L'Araign'e-Mal, their second album is their best for many fans and is the peak of the bands career for sure. Going shoulder to shoulder in mid to late '70s with bands as Mona Lisa, Ange , Pulsar or Carpe Diem, Atoll offers dynamic arrangements, complicated passages all into a symphonic prog direction, with a Genesis touch but not copying them at all. Le Photographe Exorciste opens the album in a very strong way, but only after this one are my fav pieces, the instrumental Cazzote wich really smokes remind me a lot of Edition Speciale here, Alain Gozzo is a fantastic drumer and together with Thillot bass this is a killer tune and L'Araign'e-Mal - a very smoth crescendo piece with nice keyboards and thetrical voice something not far from Ange fame. This album stands apart from the pack in those time, is one of the best prog rock albums from mid '70s for sure, I really love it but aswell I like it a lot their next one Tertion. 4 stars to L'Araign'e-Mal

 L'Araignée-Mal by ATOLL album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.12 | 180 ratings

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L'Araignée-Mal
Atoll Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars After ''Musiciens-Magiciens'' Luc Serra left Atoll, but the rest of the band immediately found his replacements in the nearby Metz-based band Divodorom, a band which included also future Ange member Jean-Pierre Guichard.Guitarist Christian Beya and violinist Richard Aubert enter the picture in 1974 and the next year comes the ambitious album ''L'araignée-mal'', recorded at Studio Gang in Paris and released on Eurodisc.

The addition of a violin player led Ange to a more complex and a bit jazzier album compared to the debut.Of course the opening ''Le photographe exorciste'' is on par with the previous release, dramatic and spacey Symphonic Rock along the lines of PULSAR with slight KING CRIMSON vibes and over the top vocals.Trough ''Cazotte No.1'' is delivered the more Fusion style of the group, all instrumental violin-driven Prog/Fusion with evident funky rhythmic parts, close to the likes of DIXIE DREGS.''Le voleur d'extase'', which closes the first side of the original LP, is a mix of the two Atoll styles.Very lyrical and atmospheric Progressive Rock supported by extended Fusion instrumental parts with violin on the forefront.Here PINK FLOYD and CLEARLIGHT meet DIXIE DREGS in a quite demanding piece of music.

The second side contains propably the most ambitious track ever written by Atoll, the eponymous 22-min. epic composition, divided into four part.It opens with the smooth and proggy Electric Fusion of ''Imaginez le temps'', featuring plenty of intricate moments, followed by the monumental ''L'araignee-mal'', where a lovely groove is built on Michel Taillet' synths and the great rhythm section, accompanied by Balzer's excellent dramatic, vocal performance.The Fusion side of Atoll returns with ''Les robots debiles'', rich and furious instrumental Prog with few vocals but sharp musicianship based on synths, clavinet and guitars.The closing ''Le cimetiere de plastique'' finds the group in a mood for more spacey, atmospheric textures, followed by a frenetic instrumental theme with angular guitar solos, violins and electric piano.

This is definitely the most demanding work of Atoll.Not entirely consistent, but certainly a very complex album of 70's French Prog with a very eclectic approach.Some of its parts are also trully intricate.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

 Tertio by ATOLL album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.68 | 93 ratings

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Tertio
Atoll Symphonic Prog

Review by Christian Locke

4 stars The album Tertio by the French group Atoll is the most mature album they ever produced. It is classified as symphonic prog at the prog archives website which makes sense in the same way that Yes would be classified as symphonic prog.

There is also a good deal of Zeuhl influence inspiring this record, of particular note is the high pitched falsetto vocals on the album's last track, the fourteen minute "Tunnels," featuring Stella Vander from the French Zeuhl band Magma.

The drummer on this record Alain Gozzo is completely off the charts good and shines on every single track with panache and diversity, as a drummer there are some interesting things happening that are worthy of investigation. The bassist is very much matched with the drummer, the keyboards and guitar are very reminiscent of Yes, and the vocals sung in French are unique and at times theatrical.

The female vocals in this album are a highlight to me and I applaud any band that can compose male female vocal interplay as good as this. Come to mind, is it not interesting that Yes never included female vocals in their music?

 L'Araignée-Mal by ATOLL album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.12 | 180 ratings

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L'Araignée-Mal
Atoll Symphonic Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

4 stars The second album from Atoll. And a pretty big break with the debut album too. Chris Beya is in and I refer to the Atoll interview with him for his views on Atoll.

I have now become side tracked so let me get back on track again.

Out is the pure Genesis rip offs and in is a blend of French symph prog (Ange) and Mahavishnu Orchestra'esque like prog rock. There is also some strong King Crimson and Magma elements on this album. The music is complex as in a blend of symph, eclectic and jazz. But there is also some pastoral bits here. The use of violin is a dominant force here. So is the keyboards and there is also some guitars here. The vocals are very good btw.

I would label this album as a symphonic eclectic fusion album. Or as a French prog rock album. The French scene is not like any other scenes and they do their own things. Something I really appreciate. What we ends up with in L'Araignée-Mal is a great album with great songs and musicianship and a lot of intricate details.

L'Araignée-Mal is one of those many great French prog rock albums well worth checking out.

4 stars

 L'Araignée-Mal by ATOLL album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.12 | 180 ratings

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L'Araignée-Mal
Atoll Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Opening as it does with the dark and foreboding Le Photographe Exorciste, dominated by spooky Mellotron and bass, you'd be forgiven for thinking that L'Araignee-Mal ("The Evil Spider") would be an intriguingly original horror-prog album. Sadly, the dark tone is not sustained over the course of the entire album (though some dark Crimsonish guitar sections do creep in here and there), with the titular sidelong epic sounding rather anonymous and pedestrian to my ears - ticking all the symphonic prog boxes without doing anything particularly novel with the format. A competent and well-performed but not spectacular album from this French band - probably the best one I've heard from them so far, though there's really not much to choose between them.
 Musiciens - Magiciens by ATOLL album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.57 | 97 ratings

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Musiciens - Magiciens
Atoll Symphonic Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars A competent but not exceptional debut album from Atoll, which has a fairly diverse sound but regularly returns to pastoral prog of the Genesis variety - possibly influenced in this respect by the work of fellow countrymen Ange. The production job isn't brilliant and none of the compositions really stand out as being exceptional; furthermore, vocalist André Balzer's contributions seem to be rather lacklustre, though they're not particularly clear in the mix so it's possible this is a production issue. There's clearly talent here, but they seem to be still working out how to make use of it; still, the album is a fun enough listen by itself. Three stars and no more.
 Musiciens - Magiciens by ATOLL album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.57 | 97 ratings

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Musiciens - Magiciens
Atoll Symphonic Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars Well, well, well........... I was leaning back in my sofa with a satisfied grin and awaiting an Ange like album when I first put on this album. I was in for a big surprise........

This is the debut album from the French symph proggers Atoll. A band with a very good reputation. So I purchased some of their albums.

This debut album is style wise all over the shop. From country to eclectic to folk and a bit of symph prog too. They even touch base with disco and zeuhl too on this album. A very eclectic mix, it has to be said.

The quality is not that great though........ with the exception of the title track and the closening track Je suis d'ailleurs. Both are very good symph prog tracks with a lot of what later became known as typical French symph prog. The rest of the songs are blowing hot and cold. Some of the melody lines here, the disco stuff, is cringeworthy. But the French people has always done it their way and Atoll is no exception from that rule. Hence, this is a bit of a bizarre album. But it is saved by those two above mentioned albums. It is a good album, but not perhaps an album that will get much airplay in my household.

3 stars

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