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François Breant Sons Optiques album cover
3.18 | 14 ratings | 5 reviews | 7% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1978

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Les journaux annoncent le guerre
Generique 3:37
2. Vacances a Concorneau 3:04
3. De retour a Paris 4:09
4. Scenes de foule et de pursuite pendant
le Carnaval 3:52
5. Dilemme de Jeanne au restaurant Chinois 4:01
6. Survol del Rio 3:07
7. Et retrouvailles avec Bruno 9:41
8. Baiser au crepuscule et Fin 4:14
9. Les souffleurs de Verre* 3:50
10. L'age d'or a Montlhery* 5:27

Line-up / Musicians

Francois Breant / piano & digital keyboards;
Eric Letournex / alto saxophone
Jean-Luis Chautemps / tenor saxophone
Albert Marceur / percussion
Emmanuel Lacordaire / drums & percussion
Guy Delacroix / bass
Pascal Arroyo / bass
Didier Lockwood / violin
Marc Perru / guitar

Releases information

LP: Egg 900.584

Cd re-issue Musea

Thanks to Sean Trane for the addition
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FRANÇOIS BREANT Sons Optiques ratings distribution

(14 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(7%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(29%)
Good, but non-essential (29%)
Collectors/fans only (36%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

FRANÇOIS BREANT Sons Optiques reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars Bréant's first solo album came after years of being around the French prog scene, an dit was recorded with his usual partner in crimes, Perru, Arroyo and Lacordaire, but a few added high-profile "guests" like Didier Lockwood and Albert Marcoeur. Both his albums claim links between sound and visuals. Sons Optiques is a difficult to classify oeuvre because it touches soooo plenty of styles of music, that none seem to be a perfect fit on your shelves. Personally I would put this one not too far from Zeuhl and RIO, but then again the jazz rock and symphonic prog labels re both applicable. Both albums were issued on the very collectible EGG label. Bréant will play an array of keyboards, but will favour many times the piano over synths. Bréant's albums might also be reminiscent of JP Goude's or Wideman's records

Recorded in the famous Hérouville Chateau and produced by master producer Laurent Thibault, Breant's Sons Optiques is anything but accessible, although some passages might appear ridiculously easy. But many of the tracks are pushing RIO-like, the opening one, even ogling towards Univers Zero. There is a fairly constant Zeuhl reminder (although not quite as much as in the follow-up VEL), but what gets this album's special feel is the incredible mix of influences, a bit like what you'll find on producer Laurent Thibault's album later that year. The concept throughout the album is a sound description of different stages in a child's life during the WW2 and was set as an original soundtrack for an imaginary film Succès De Foule is an incredible track that comes very close to Isao Tomita's very early works on Snowflakes Are Dancing and the closing Baiser Au Crépuscule is almost Henry Tomita Cow-esque.

Added on are two early 80's tracks that have been reworked in 01, for the release of this album. How much were these two track rewritten is anybody's guess, but they do sound out of context with the rest of the album, even if it's clear it isn't the same recording sessions. Souffleurs De Verre is very much a piano piece while the Montlhéry track has an almost semi-dance groove. Nothing horrible, but not bringing in added value on the original album. Much recommended..

Review by Neu!mann
3 stars C'mon, people. There must be more than (at this writing) two of us here at Prog Archives with a copy of this rare but rewarding French LP gathering dust somewhere in his music library. It was a fairly unique artifact when new in 1978, and even today is an admirably eclectic achievement by an obscure artist who should have been better known outside his native country.

The cover photo shows Bréant clutching what looks like a reel of 35mm film stock: a visual clue to the cinematic nature of his (entirely instrumental) music. You can hear it in the first dramatic fanfare of the opening track, complete with hair-raising Halloween scream and ominous piano arpeggios. And you can perhaps discern an imaginary narrative in some of the track titles (but don't quote me on that).

For the sake of lazy reference a comparison could be made to JAN HAMMER's early LP "The First Seven Days", another not exclusively keyboard-driven exercise with Jazz Fusion colorings: hardly Prog Folk, as it was originally labeled here. And there's a Zeuhl connection too, always a handy point of reference for music so hard to classify. Francophile proggers should recognize the name of Didier Lockwood, responsible for the occasional electric violin fill.

The energy of the first few tracks isn't sustained for the length of the entire album, and by the middle of Side Two Bréant seems to be squeezing as many keyboard sounds as he can into each remaining number. But the music has aged remarkably well since 1979, and I'm reassured to find it not entirely forgotten after so many years.

A quick personal postscript. I probably bought the album on the strength of its label, the always reliable Egg Records, at a time when imported music was still easy to find in the US (at least in the San Francisco Bay area: I'm guessing it was an impulse buy at the late, legendary Rather Ripped Records in Berkeley). The LP managed to survive all of my misguided vinyl purges over the years, which if nothing else is a testament of sorts to its enduring quality.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars French keyboardist Francois Br'ant was born in 1947 in Rouen and had a decent career as a member of late-60's Psych/Jazz Rockers Cruciferius as well as Prog Rockers Ergo Sum and Nemo until the mid-70's.From this point he became a back up musician for singer Bernard Lavilliers, but in late-70's he returned with the solo album ''Sons optiques'', originally released on Egg and also King Records for the Japanese market.A handful of old bandmates and well- known musicians helped with the recordings, such as guitarist Marc Perru, with whom Breant collaborated in all of the above groups, ex-Nemo bassist Pascal Arroyo as well as Magma's bassist Guy Delacroix, wind-instrumentalist Albert Marc'ur, already known him from Nemo, drummer Emmanuel Lacordaire also from Nemo and Didier Lockwood on violins.

Breant's musical flexibility was already known from the past and ''Sons optiques'' is another good example of his diverse music tastes in composition.His keyboard and piano work is dominant throughout the album and Breant explores the territories and limits between different fields such as Electronic Music, Zeuhl, Jazz, Fusion and Avant-Garde Music.This unmet blending of course hurts a bit the album's consistency but the overall result is trully experimental in a positive way with Breant offering a virtuosic and ecstatic performance as a whole.The album has often a strong MAGMA influence with some inventive and dissonant piano textures by Breant, often flirting with obscure Avant-Garde soundscapes, and a really spacey atmosphere created by his synthesizers.He is helped by the violins of Lockwood and the percussions of Marceur to make this approach sound even more outlandish.Other tracks are certainly closer to Jazz/Fusion, especially when Jean-Luis Chautemps and Eric Letournex with their saxes take over, with superb piano/synths movements by Breant and the whole back- up group delivering a solid background.Still these pieces have an overall cosmic feeling due to Breant's bizarre electronics.The Musea CD reissue contains a couple of bonus tracks composed by Breant in early-80's at home with a sound close to a mix of Avant-Fusion and Zeuhl.

A bit too cosmic for my tastes, but ''Sons optiques'' weird mix of sounds is actually attractive and inventive.Recommended, especially if you like experimental,electronic or Avant-Garde flavors thrown in your music menu.

Review by kev rowland
2 stars This is a reissue of a 1979 French instrumental progressive jazz album, with two extra 'songs' that were recorded in 2001. It also has some classical leanings and to be honest is an album of background music, certainly nothing more and perhaps something less. François was a keyboard player who had been on the scene in France since the early Seventies but this was his debut solo album. It is mostly piano/keyboards but there are also plenty of others involved including violin and sax. I am sure that some people will enjoy this but it is not something that I can imagine myself returning to again.

Originally appeared in Feedback #70, Oct 02

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars Francois Breant was very active in the French music scene in the seventies with various bands and projects, but having a break in the late seventies allowed him to create two studio albums. This his debut is more in the Rio/ Avant style overall but there's more to this than that. Really cool to see Didier Lockwood on violin here having enjoyed his work with MAGMA and ZAO especially. Albert Marcouer adds cymbals and timbales and then there's bassist Guy De Lacroix who had a couple of stints with MAGMA and played on the "Attahk" album. We also get alto and tenor sax while Breant plays a variety of keyboards here.

"Les Journeaux Annoncent La Guerre Generique" got me going the first time I heard it as we get a strong UNIVERS ZERO vibe. Dramatic outbursts of drums, synths and more before a haunting calm arrives but then it kicks in again as contrasts continue. How beautiful is this just before a minute and then it kicks in again. So good! An almost silent calm arrives after 2 1/2 minutes before those dramatic outbursts return. Oh and check out the bass 3 minutes in.

"Vacances A Concarneau" has plenty of intricate sounds with some piano outbursts as the synths come in over top. It's all quite restrained. Some brief guitar just before a minute. The violin comes in ripping it up after 1 1/2 minutes. Themes are repeated then more violin around 2 1/2 minutes that's really impressive.

"De Retour A Paris" has some beautiful piano melodies as the sax joins in. The tempo picks up before 2 minutes as we get piano and sax leading. A calm takes over quickly though that is quite gorgeous with those vocal melodies helping out. It picks up again like before to that Symphonic sound that brings Oldfield to mind.

"Scenes De Foule Et De Pour Suite Pendant Le Carnaval" opens with outbursts of different sounds that will come and go then it settles into a piano, synths and timbales led groove. So much going on here though, bass too. Some vocal melodies come and go sounding like mellotron choirs before it turns avant before 2 1/2 minutes.

"Dilemma De Jeanne Au Restaurant Chinois" has these slowly pulsing synths to start as some sparse piano joins in. Some outbursts of sound and atmosphere follow. It picks up before 2 minutes with Marcouer doing his thing then it calms right down again with atmosphere and sparse piano coming and going. "Survol De Rio" is piano, synths, percussion, violin and more. A pleasant sound here. Sax before 1 1/2 minutes.

"Scenes De Mobili Sation Et Retrouvallies Avec Bruno" along with the opener are my favourites. This is the longest track at close to 10 minutes. Sounds like mellotron choirs again but it's real. Synths and atmosphere before a minute as the mood changes. Marcouer helps out here along with Lockwood. It seems to start over at 2 1/2 minutes with piano outbursts and atmosphere as we get some space too. Drums and violin a minute later as the music starts to come alive with energy. Atmosphere and violin melodies after 4 1/2 minutes as it changes again. Some interesting sounds here. Kind of haunting as well then it starts to build with plenty of synths and more.

"Briser Au Crepuscule Et Fin" ends it and we get piano, synths and violin coming and going. A GENESIS vibe with those synths before a minute surprisingly that will come and go. A change before 2 1/2 minutes as sounds pulse then sax and much more take over. It settles with piano and violin after 3 minutes.

The album cover with Breant pulling the film out gives us a hint at his idea for a sound and visual recording. Of course hanging out with a bunch of Zeuhl musicians over many years has to have an influence as well. A really solid album that Avant fans should appreciate.

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