Minimum Vital - Au Cercle De Pierre

Year of Release: 1998
Label: Musea Records
Catalog Number: FGBG 4229.AR
Format: CD
Total Time: 62:06:00

A live release from one of my favorite bands, and a great one at that. From the moment the first track begins, "Pour Le Temps Présent" you know that they were on this night. The sound is clear and well mixed, audience sounds only appear between tracks ... which does give this less a live feel than a more natural sounding recording. Or maybe European audiences aren't as rowdy as American audiences. Well, listening to the ovation they get after track 7, that's not a true statement. Maybe a more attentive audience on the Euro side. [My subsequent festival experiences tell me that the rowdiness is more a thing for pop audiences rather than prog audiences, and is probably not exclusive to any one country].

However or whichever, this is a very clean recording. I'm too distracted by listening to this disk to do much writing about it - it and they are that good and that involving. Jean Luc Payssan's guitar playing here is magical, Sonia Nedelec vocals are light, soft and warm, and though she sings in the upper ranges, she is far from shrill. I think of her as a melding of Marilyn McCoo and Sarah Brightman ... if they were [to sing in] French. Lovely vocals.

The other vocalist here is Jean Baptiste Ferracci, who has a great voice, a perfect complement to Nedelec's. And I don't want to overlook the spectacular keyboards of Theirry Payssan, the drums of Charly Berna, or the bass of Eric Rebeyrol.

I mentioned in my review of Esprit D'Amor that I had been hoping for English translation of the lyrics - I find that still true, but I don't know if this would be as effective if they were sung in English. There is such an natural musical quality to French (to Italian and the other romance languages as well) ... that English and other Germanic languages do not have [in my opinion].

The closing track is a studio track, previously unreleased, entitled "Le Dernier Appel De La Guerre." This starts out as an acoustic guitar led track that made me think of several different artists - Acoustic Alchemy, Craig Chaquico, Paul Speer ... and when you add in sax, there's a bit of Rippingtons sound here. Now, I don't suspect that any of these artists provided any influence, but as close to jazz as Minimum Vital got on their earlier disks, this probably comes even closer. Because of the direction they wanted to take with Esprit, this instrumental track was left off - it is an excellent track.

This is an enhanced CD, containing live footage of some tracks, biography, discography ... and more.


Pour Le Temps Pr?sent (5:29) / Zapata! (4:53) / Song A Cinq (6:34) / La Maldita (3:30) / Sarabande No. 1 (7:07) / Ronde (10:11) / Au Cercle De Pierre, J'ai Danse (9:05) / Ce Qui Soustient... (2:40) / Esprit D'Amor (6:53) / Le Dernier Appel de la Guerre (5:44)

Jean-Luc Payssan - guitars and backing vocals
Thierry Payssan - keyboars and backing vocals
Eric Rebeyrol - bass
Sonia Nedelec - lead vocals
Jean-Baptiste Ferracci - lead vocals
Charly Berna - drums
Peter Acock - saxophone (#10)

Envol Triangles/Les Saisons Marines (1985/1987)
Sarabandes (1990)
La Source (1993)
Esprit d'Amor (1997)
Au Cercle De Pierre (1998)
Atlas (2004)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin FR

Added: September 7th 1999
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 888
Language: english


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