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PRIAM

Jazz Rock/Fusion • France


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Priam biography
The French instrumental progressive fusion quartet PRIAM was founded out of the ashes of the late-eighties progressive rock group ARLEQUIN. Their music is complex with busy interaction between players. PRIAM is one of the most adventurous groups of recent years, with a very virtuoso guitarist (Chris CASAGRANDE) and a rhythmic section very well structured and versatile, involved softly in keyboards that invite you to wonder. His influences are exceedingly diverse, ranging from classical giants like BACH to prog rock luminaries YES, ANGLAGARD and MAGMA to fusion pioneers MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA.

PRIAM'S debut CD "Three Distances... Irregular Signs" were a strong debut that promised a lot for the future. Now the future is here and the band have developed even further on their second CD "Diffraction". Their new album includes an adventurous mix of diverse musical elements such as classical, jazz-rock, ethnic influences, and a well hung dose of retro space prog. They've also got a whole bunch of guest musicians on sax, clarinet, electric violin etc. PRIAM has once again made an album with originality, quality compositions and complexity. Probably one of the most interesting bands from France today. Highly recommended!

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DiffractionDiffraction
Import
Musea 2001
Audio CD$12.82
$9.99 (used)
DiffractionDiffraction
2002
Audio CD$17.55
$87.14 (used)
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PRIAM KEITH When The Lights Are Low DOT DLP 3018 LP USD $14.95 Buy It Now 18h 4m
The Piano and Strings of Priam Keith 1956 Mono LP VG+ USD $12.99 Buy It Now 3 days
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PRIAM discography


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

3.95 | 19 ratings
Three Distances... Irregular Signs
1998
4.01 | 19 ratings
Diffraction
2001

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PRIAM Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Diffraction by PRIAM album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.01 | 19 ratings

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Diffraction
Priam Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Tszirmay certainly does a better job than I will at explaining this band and album. They're listed under Jazz / Fusion which is not being completely misleading, it's just that this band refuse to be pigeon-holed to one genre. So to say they're Jazz / Fusion only reveals a part of their repertoire. Their goal is to play unique music and not re-hash the same old [&*!#] if you will. So we get spacey, compex, KING CRIMSON-like World / Fusion music. How's that (haha). Yeah these guys are different alright. Very adventerous and complex as well.

"Diffraction (Open Limits)" is the almost 15 minute opener which opens with lots of atmosphere and it's dark. It kicks in at 2 minutes and the bass is prominant. It settles after 3 1/2 minutes with synths and other sounds. The guitar, drums and bass come and go at will. This is really good. The guitar is Fripp-like but different. Synths and faint vocal sounds come in. A calm after 7 1/2 minutes. We get a beat before 9 minutes then the tempo picks up as bass and keyboards join in. Spacey synths before 11 1/2 minutes as it settles. It kicks back in before 13 1/2 minutes. "Congruatic Boulevard" opens with people taling in the background as synths, bass and drums build. The drums are great as the sax comes in. We get both sax and clarinet here as they cry out. It settles before 5 minutes to end it. "Sranitio Rosa Del Oeste" is the second longest track at almost 13 minutes. Guest violin in this one. All kinds of different sounds come and go early. It kicks in powerfully 1 1/2 minutes in with chunky bass. It settles with some nice guitar, drums, bass and vocal melodies 3 1/2 minutes in. An amazing sound here. The tempo continues to change. A very cool section arrives around 9 minutes as we get percussion. Whispered vocals a minute later as percussion, drums and bass continue.

"Sensitiviris (Chrysalid Square)" is all about the atmosphere early. This has to be heard really. So many intricate sounds. It kicks in around 4 1/2 minutes. It's heavy after 7 minutes. "Stella..." opens with not much going on early as sparse sounds come and go. A choir of male and female vocals arrives after 2 1/2 minutes.They stop 4 1/2 minutes in. "...In Face" opens with sounds that slowly build. Drums and vocal melodies after a minute dominate the rest of the way except for the spacey ending. "Lakeside 7:30 AM" is interesting. I like how it eventually brightens from that gray intro. Lots of synths and chunky bass when the full sound arrives after 2 1/2 minutes. It blends into "Feel D-Fract" where we get those faint voices again. A sudden calm after 3 minutes. Birds and voices can be heard, barely.

A truely progressive and adventerous band. Highly recommended. 3.5 stars.

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 Diffraction by PRIAM album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.01 | 19 ratings

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Diffraction
Priam Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars Another Prog original that goes unrecognized .Priam (a name straight out of Greek mythology, king of Troy) is a talented French prog band that has a banquet load of tasty entrees to offer on this their sophomore effort. Led by the unbelievable Chris Casagrande on guitar and synths, Priam surprises the unaware listener with a heady elixir of ultra modern flavorings while still in complete reverence to progressive fusion in the recent King Crimson/DFA/ Holdsworth mould. Intense and loopy, quite dissonant and stop/start like rush-hour Paris traffic, the sonic chefs (keyboardist Laurent Lacombe-Colomb, twisted bassist Bertrand Hulin-Bertaud and the oddly monikered Emma M. on pulsating drums) forage aggressively into hyper-complicated runs that defy logic but resolutely anchored in bliss. The whopping title track, all 14+ minutes of unparalleled gymnastics has the headphones spinning, a classic hard-ass riff introducing a shiny ambient mid-section heralded by some nimble drumming and a few reptilian synthesizer solos that are to die for. The contemporary guitar sortie ain't too shabby either, obviously inspired by the brilliant axe pioneer Allan Holdsworth with winks at Richard Pinhas of Heldon legend. Guitar scholars will need to hear this combination. "Congruatic Blvd" is a funky avenue, bustling with urban energy, adding sublime atonal sax forays to highlight the stiletto fashions, shuffling crowds and the blazing neon lights. A careening bass keeps this municipal lunacy in check, almost entering Gong-Shamal territory but harder in demeanor. A gigantic 6 minute traffic light that is green all the way! Another shining megalith is next, the nearly 13 minute "Granito Rosa del Oeste", a deathly leap into overt experimentation, where cubic synths vie for the Rubik completion, displaying a wide array of sounds and speeds, suddenly exploding into a monster jam, a bass rampaging mercilessly like some insane virus and some mammoth guitar sailings, breakneck or sustain, oblique and yet linear. Casagrande really gets to jump up on the altar, bending notes that would make John MacLaughlin smile, erecting a lengthy launch pad of wicked licks and devilish solos that even nod at Carlos Santana. Creative pools of ambient shadings keep the pulse beating, percussives keenly handled (or should I say fingered) to maintain the energy, showing that Emma can really teamwork together with guest David Beaufour. Amazing piece of music. You want to see what confidence can do, then how about another huge sucker in "Sensitiviris", a 10 minute lunge into prog's kitchen? A heady vintage of current effects, synths bubbling like freshly uncorked Veuve Cliquot champagne, ready for some upcoming tryst, groping hungrily for the pleasure regions ("Erogenous zones I love you!") and boldly caressing the instruments of ecstasy. A hypnotic volley of guitar solos creeps into the mix, a still smirking bass orchestrating the pathos and a slew of obtuse themes (some soft, others hard, always unforeseen) that slither into dense sonic cross currents where the Casagrande axe can flicker brightly. Highlight reel stuff. "Stella" is not about Belgian beer or Christian Vander's wife but rather a short aural pond of more percussives, a brooding interlude that veers into a "In Jerusalem " like feel, Gregorian chants from the University of Toulouse that is completely surprising within such a hard-jazz context. More gentle bells wave this adieu. "In Pace" certainly starts out peaceful and meandering, slowly morphing into some insane wailings from the assorted vocalists, the bizarre, tribal and primitive colliding with 21st century technology, hinting almost at Deep Forest territory. The superb drumming again is to be applauded heartily. Bassist Hulin-Bertaud's composition is next, the blooming "Lakeside 7.30am", a contemplative bobbin of relaxed threads, where synths, guitars and drums weave a majestic tapestry, surely another highlight to this unique jewel, one of those tracks that one can listen to all day , yawnless. "Feel D-Fract" is the glorious finale, a sibilant brew that is every bit as wandering as vintage Tangerine Dream but infused with Gallic inspiration and heavenly arrangements (more Choir). Languorous and euphoric, this bubbles along lustily, then suddenly stops dead. Probably the most modern artwork adorns this precious addition to my collection, this needs to be heard by those still searching for Nirvana. You know who you are .(No not the Cobain band). 5 easily bent waves

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 Three Distances... Irregular Signs by PRIAM album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.95 | 19 ratings

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Three Distances... Irregular Signs
Priam Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

5 stars Absolutely fantastic fusion act from France,who released two great albums before disbanding.Formed out of the late-80's group ''Arlequin'',PRIAM consisted of four talented and creative musicians with a wide range of influences,from straight jazz and classic progressive rock to electronic music and even techno.Keeping the rock element as their basis PRIAM released their first album ''Three distances...irregular signs'' in 1998.

This came as a total surprise to me,as I didn't expect to hear such a fantastic work by a totally unknown band.Their sound is the most balanced version of jazz/fusion,symphonic rock and space/electronic music you can find around.There are a lot of rhythmic parts,were bass and drums are leading the way,accompanied by virtuosic guitar soloing,then suddenly the storm is followed by the beautiful rainbow of the superb electronic soundscapes,delivering a great spacey atmosphere.Very often the music takes off,led by up-tempo grooves with nice interplays and majestic breaks,but you can also easily recognize the neo/symph influence on Chris Casagrande's solos.Recognizable is also the influence that ROBERT FRIPP had on Casagrande's style of playing with all these weird and complicated breaks and take-offs.At the end I'm sure you'll find yourself absolutely mind-blown by PRIAM's energy,creativity,balance and inspiration.''Three distances...irregular signs'' is easily one of the best modern fusion albums I've ever heard and should easily appeal to all prog rock fans without any exception!

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 Diffraction by PRIAM album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.01 | 19 ratings

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Diffraction
Priam Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by ghost_of_morphy
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Vive la belle France!

If there is one country that has never yet disappointed me with it's proud prog tradition and it's modern continuation of it, it is France. And 2001 was an excellent year for prog in France, bringing us both the sublime Strinkadenn Ys by Seven Reizh and the worthy Diffraction by Priam.

It may be difficult to categorize this music, but it is not at all hard for me to tell you what it sounds like. Think of some of the more complex recent King Crimson instrumental compositions. I have in mind things like B'boom, Level Five, Electrick and Thrak.) Throw in the jazzier, more uplifting sound of the stuff that Zao plays. And toss in just a dash of the atmosphere that Tangerine Dream can generate. That's what the music on Diffraction sounds like. Jazzy King Crimson tracks with some keyboard or bells to provide more atmosphere. All the tricks from the KC tracks the we proggers love are present: polyrhythms, sharp meter and tempo changes, virtuoso playing, atmosphere. It's all here and it's all done well.

Anyhow, if the musical melange I described above sounds attractive, this is a must listen. If it doesn't appeal to you, it's still worth a spin because it is so well done. I'll give this four stars, because it would most definitely be a fine addition to any prog collection.

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 Three Distances... Irregular Signs by PRIAM album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.95 | 19 ratings

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Three Distances... Irregular Signs
Priam Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Nilman

4 stars Priam was a king of Troy at the time of Trojan Wars In Greek mythology. He, or his family wasn't very lucky for his father and all brothers got killed in the first war of Troy. At the time of second Trojan war when Priam was the king after his father Laomedon, he wasn't succesful in defending the city, as we all know, and Troy was destroyed and his son Hector got killed by Achilles. For the counterweight he had 20 wives! ...If it can be considered as a counterweight for bad success, otherwise his heaven was was a truly deep hell.

How or why this name Priam is connected to the band, I don't know. Maybe they were as unsuccesful as their archetype was for they did release their second and last album at 2001 and their website seems to be closed as well.

I'm not an expert when it comes to fusion or jazz prog, but I've heard a some of them including a couple of albums that has rated very high. What I find as a main problem in fusion has been the virtuoso feeling they're up to. Too many albums I've heard where the guitarist is the center of the universe and the rest of the band is there just to support the king. Priam makes no difference in the overall situation - it's all guitar driven fusion rock, but the feeling it delivers does make the difference. The music flows with guitar, not for guitar and the music is great that sticks more to arrangements and songs than to instruments and playing. The guitar doesn't cover all but gives room to others too and there's nice and calm keyboard-orchestral moments in between. The guitar plays usually with high and echoing long emotional notes with sudden wasp-fast moments in between.

Songs fit together well making it a great whole being a pleasantly flowing enjoyment all the way through. Songs are individuals anyhow, for example there's a far-eastern, even arabic sounding acoustic song Signs Beyond The Euphrates that stands out like all of the songs here. They're nicely composed including slow and fast parts and all complex rhythms and changes still strictly following the not-showing-off-rule of the band - it all flows naturally. Vocals doesn't exist, but that's the guideline in fusion, I think. This is probably the best fusion album I've heard so far and it makes me want to extend my fusion knowledge. I myself enjoy this album very much and I cannot but recommend warmly it to you all too!

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 Diffraction by PRIAM album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.01 | 19 ratings

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Diffraction
Priam Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by kaligon

5 stars Magnificent, strange misic. Trip for the brain. The first time when i heard this album i thought "Oh, this is just other fusion band". I stoped my player and forgot for Priam. After some weeks i have to travel for 8 hours by train. I take some cd's and my cd-player. I put this album and i understood that i have a real treasure in my hands. My english is not so good so i prefer to stop here, but I only want to say that Priam are real progressive band. They move music forward.

Go on boys i want more.

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 Three Distances... Irregular Signs by PRIAM album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.95 | 19 ratings

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Three Distances... Irregular Signs
Priam Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars This is very Jazz-rock and do not hear much inspiration from Genesis, KC and Marillion as someother reviewers are hinting.

This debut contains much promises for future releases, with excellent musicianship, but clearly their biggest room for improvement is in the inspiration dept.

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 Diffraction by PRIAM album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.01 | 19 ratings

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Diffraction
Priam Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Greger
Prog Reviewer

4 stars PRIAM's debut CD "3 Distances /Irregular Signs-" (1998) were a strong debut that promised a lot for the future. Now the future is here and the band have developed even further on their second CD "Diffraction". They're magnificent musicians and on this album they've also got a whole bunch of guest musicians on sax, clarinet, electric violin etc. Their instrumental music is hard to categorize but could be labeled progressive jazz-rock while the song "-In Pace" has more in common with world music. PRIAM has once again made an album with originality, quality compositions and complexity.

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 Three Distances... Irregular Signs by PRIAM album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.95 | 19 ratings

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Three Distances... Irregular Signs
Priam Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Greger
Prog Reviewer

4 stars All instrumental progressive rock from France led by guitarist Chris Casagrande. This is their astounding debut album and it contains outstanding musicianship and compositions. Their music is a mix between GENESIS, ALLAN HOLDSWORTH, KING CRIMSON, MARILLION, UK, XANG, YES and ÄNGLAGARD. The guitar playing is in the forefront of the music that contains highly technical musical passages that leads from one track to the other. There are a lot of changing rhythms and odd-time signatures. Probably one of the most interesting bands from France today. Highly recommended!

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