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Minimum Vital - Capitaines CD (album) cover

CAPITAINES

Minimum Vital

Eclectic Prog


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5 stars They 've done it !!!

After twenty years of music, Minimum Vital produced an huge record full of mysterry and imagination.

As a self produced band, Minimum Vital suffers in their first CDs of poor sound and production. I had the chance to listen them on stage, and since very early times, the band was very impressive. Years after years, CDs after Cds they searched and finally found their own music : a kind of mix between symphonic prog (Yes, Genesis, Camel,..) Folk-prog (Mike Oldfield especially, ...) and some world music;

Payssan brothers delivered in "Capitaines" captivating melodies.Each song has is own feeling, but the entire CD is very coherent and the global atmosphere is really cool

This music is rich and addictive. I've the feeling than this last effort could be loved by a large audience in the prog community.

Give them a chance. Listen to "Capitaines". I'm sure you'll make a great discovery.

Report this review (#248640)
Posted Saturday, November 7, 2009 | Review Permalink
Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars Delightfully symphonic, here is an album that is a mixed bag. While much of it falls into the unremarkable category, there are some absolutely stellar moments to be heard (like the opener- would that the whole album possessed such masterful charm). Very little is bad, but a fair bit tends to be derivative or repetitive. I find the lead guitar refreshing throughout, both in tone and technique. Overall, this is a fine acquisition, especially for those who would be interested to hear what it might sound like if Steve Hackett teamed up with Gentle Giant.

"She Moves Through the Fair" A masterful beginning, the opening track boasts a smooth bit of clean electric guitar, synthesizer, and, while maintaining a cheerful pace, introduces terse vocal moments similar to those on early Steve Hackett albums. The music is a bit disorderly when broken down into parts, but sounds magnificent as a whole (Hackett's "Ace of Wands" comes to mind).

"Avec Uppsala" On the other hand, this saccharinely giddy bit of semi-tribal music is not for me, and though I don't care for the synthesizer work, the lead guitar throughout is spot on. The music overall could be best described as modern Yes on happy pills.

"Mauresque" After a decidedly symphonic introduction, this piece has light percussion, a steady bass, and plenty of synthesizer to go around. Light harp and whistle develops a more pastoral feel.

"En Terre Etrangère" I can't shake the belief that this piece belongs in the soundtrack of a goofy kiddie movie (Spy Kids 15: Porky's Curse perhaps). It has a rather dull denouement where it is easy to lose interest, all the way to when the track fizzles out.

"La Croix De Bourghi Bandô" This brief song is almost as peppy as "Avec Uppsala." It has some interesting bass and organ interplay, and the ever-so-solid lead guitar is there.

"Le Chant De Gauthier" Hand percussion and light electric guitar ease in organ and other instruments to craft the album's longest track. Once it gets going, it maintains a repetitive rhythm that gradually becomes more irritating, largely due to the inappropriate organ tone and the grating vocals. The lead guitar as usual compensates for a great deal of any shortcomings.

"En Superbô" Clean guitar with a bite offers a faded backing for graceful piano and jazz guitar to dance over. Those sections are far superior to the verses, which don't seem to fit the music well. The subsequent guitar and synthesizer work are excellent, however.

"Capitaines" More swampy guitar and over-the-top layered vocals begin this one. Hand percussion and intricate guitar work weave in and out with the rest of the instrumentation. After a rhythmic change, a synthesizer solo ensues.

"La Route" Acoustic guitar and a mandolin lead plays with each other before another playmate- a whistling synthesizer- joins the game. It has an archaic minstrel feel, somewhat similar to some of Gentle Giant's comparable recordings, even vocally. An explosion of organ and electric guitar facilitates further vocalizations.

Report this review (#254013)
Posted Wednesday, December 2, 2009 | Review Permalink
Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars French outfit Minimum Vital is yet another example of a band that have produced a strong album in 2009. There has been quite a few of those so far.

In this case we're served a delightful, beautiful blend of folk msuic and symphonic progressive rock. Wandering, acoustic guitar motifs and hand drums makes up most of the folk aspects of this production, with some flute soloing as an additional trait. Fluent guitar soloing and lush keyboard textures makes up most of the symphonic aspect of this excursion, with a few examples of dramatic, staccato tangent explorations and rich, multiple layered and epic soundscapes presented on occasion too.

The compositions are mostly freely flowing affairs, light and positive in mood. Mellow, subdued passages are blended with pacier energetic ones, and the band comes cross as experts in the art of taking a song from a low key, sparse beginning to a rich, orchestrated ending. And while most of the tracks blends the two stylistic expressions they explore, we're alos served some compositions with an emphasis on either one or the other genre.

These light, fluid ventures might not be to everybody's taste; but personally I found them to be a pleasing and intriguing experience - to be filed under positive progressive rock.

Report this review (#258182)
Posted Monday, December 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The only other album that I have by this French band is "Sarabandes" from almost 20 years earlier. So yes their sound has changed. For me I kept thinking of Mike Oldfield, especially with the acoustic and electric guitar tones. Even the music itself is very intricate and upbeat in the Oldfield style. Of course there are differences but that would be my reference point, and I don't like this nearly as much as I do "Sarabandes".

"She Moves Through The Fair" sounds much better when it kicks in just before a minute.Vocals follow. Not a bad opener. "Avec Uppsala" opens with percussion and vocals as other sounds proceed to come and go.This is catchy with lots of intricate sounds.

"Mauresque" features intricate guitar, bass and synths standing out. Oldfield-like electric guitar follows.Then we get this Celtic sounding flute before 3 minutes as it calms down. It kicks back in after 4 minutes. "En Terre Etrangere" is dominated by keyboards.Vocals before 3 minutes as interesting sounds follow.

"L Croix De Bourghi Bando" is fairly uptempo with vocals. Guitar and organ help out too. "Le Chant De Gauthier" has organ and percussion leading the way early. Guitar and a fuller sound before 1 1/2 minutes. It settles again as contrasts continue.

"En Superro" is eventually led by vocals and a beat. Synths and guitar take over. I'm just not into this one. "Capitaines" is laid back as vocals join in. It picks up before 2 minutes with lots of guitar and percussion. "La Route" opens with acoustic guitar.Vocals before 1 1/2 minutes and vocal melodies follow. It picks up after 2 1/2 minutes. Catchy stuff. Cool song too.

3 stars from me but I know there are those who would really love this album.

Report this review (#486521)
Posted Tuesday, July 19, 2011 | Review Permalink

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