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5 Aug 2016

Vortex ” Les Cycles De Thanatos ” 1979 French Prog jazz rock

Vortex ” Les Cycles De Thanatos ” 1979 French Prog jazz rock


Ah, I see that rejoice: finally death metal on the Super Site Progressive Mr Prog ... éh not, Vortex is the French prog, from Lyon as! Spheroe and Pulsar (it combines some skills technical and moods, but being particularly focused RIO or Zeuhl ). This album (actually their second) was recorded between July 77 and July 78, which is a bit surprising because their music is entirely instrumental although cited among the participants a comedian (???) is really beginning to sounds mid-70s, but no guitar-based wind instruments, vibraphone and various percussion instruments ( "skins ...). Distributed relatively comfortably for French self-produced (circulation 3,000 copies relayed by Le Chant du Monde), it contains only three long pieces whose main composers are the brothers Jacques and Jean-Pierre Vivante (holding the bass and keyboards, respectively) and which denote a jazz-rock inspiration on the first face ( "God is good for you, John," with Sunny Jammes invited the violin, is supposed to be a mockery to McLaughlin - - while the "Prolegomena" use a succession of themes that are repeated on expanding, which leads to think that the group has chosen his name) while the second face ( "the Thanatos Cycles" - the song) is more of a contemporary music prog , which causes an introduction and therefore very longuette emmerdante (before that the atmosphere finally sépaississe a bit to revive the style of the first side). Reputation a little overrated, but interesting to add still a collection of genre . ......

Les Cycles de Thanatos is a dark-sounding album integrating rock, jazz, and neo-classical elements. Probably the most dominant feature on the album is the dark brooding neo-classical rock, sounding not unlike Univers Zero or Art Zoyd. In addition, there are Zeuhl-ish jazz rock passages that remind me of Zao, Moving Gelatine Plates, instrumental Zappa, and Potemkine. An excellent album of typical French avant-garde/underground music. //......

Over four years after their superb self-titled debut album's release, finally came out on an independent label called Faites-Le-Vous- Même (FLVM is DIY in French) their second (and last) album called Les Cycles De Tanathos (based on you know what book, right? ..), but the group had finished the album for over one year, but where unable to find a label to issue this little pearl. In the meantime, the group had undergone a few line-up changes, losing some mostly growing from a quintet into an octet, something not exactly wise for a group whose music was not exactly drawing huge crowds.

The opening track God Is Good To You is more of late 70's JR/F tune in the JL Ponty style than anything they had gotten us used to in their debut album. The following Prolegomènes (of which we have a previous version in the bonus tracks of the debut album) starts out on a Ratlege/Jenkins mode, staying jazz for a while, but as the track extends it goes more progressive, flirts with RIO, borders with Chamber Rock, reaching the sublime between the tenth and the twelfth minutes and subtly veering Zeuhl in the lasrt two minutes. Awesome stuff and just a preview of what's to come on the flipside.

The Cd reissue gives us the full 25 minutes of the sidelong title track, something that had not been feasible on the vinyl of those years. Indeed the epic Tanathos starts out heavily depressive and AZoyd and UZero are not far away in terms of gloomy ambiance. Yes, obviously there are also many moments when HCow or Hatfield &TN are hinted at, principaly

Again with the Cd reissue this second album comes with two bonus tracks, and just as it was the case with the debut album, they add much value to the original album, so much that you'd swear they'd always been part of it. Hypopotalamus Negro is subtle and superb deconstruction of a Zoydian Zeuhl music into a simpler but just as superb jazz-rock. Ivanoe (Invanhoe for the English) is more of a full-blown Mahavishnu Orchestra-style jazz-rock-prog again growing a bit softer into a mid-70's Weather Report.

Just as incredible as its forerunner, Tanathos is a splendid album veering between chamber rock, Zeuhl, JR/F and RIO, and it might just be that it is the single best example of the four distinct styles merging together to form one single musical ensemble. Clearly Vortex has not usurped its name......

VORTEX has expanded their lineup from a five piece band(on their debut) to an eight piece band for this one.There are also two guest musicians who each play on one track. I really enjoyed their first one, but this one has topped it as far as i'm concerned. I know I tend to gush when i really like an album, so let's just say this is the perfect record to review on this special day(December 25). The first two songs very much reminded me of one of my favourite bands ZAO, while the over 25 minute epic is like a cross between UNIVERS ZERO and ART ZOYD. Interesting that ART ZOYD actually played on stage with VORTEX to perform this very song. Certainly the album cover has more to do with this self titled track then it does the first two songs.The fact there is a guest basson player on it pretty much says it all doesn't it ?

"God Is Good For You, John" is apparently a reference to John McLaughlin. Once it gets going the air is filled with some beautiful guest violin melodies and intricate sounds. I love this track. It reminds me so much of ZAO. Piano and light drums help to create that jazz flavour. Bass comes to the fore 3 1/2 minutes in. This sounds so good. "Prolegomenes" opens with percussion and cymbals that build as piano, xylophone and horns come in. It kicks into gear 2 1/2 minutes in with drums and sax leading the way. Great sound. The bass becomes more prominant. Check out the drumming that follows. A change 5 minutes in as it becomes more jazzy. Terrific uptempo melody. Percussion before xylophone returns 7 minutes in. A darker more dramatic sound a minute later with some prominant drumming to follow. The uptempo melody of earlier is back to close out the song.

"Les Cycles De Thanatos" begins slowly and darkly with what sounds like solemn sax and basson. This slow moving UNIVERS ZERO("Heresie") flavour continues for over 4 minutes. Then it comes alive, and the sound is filled with suspense and tension as we continue in "Heresie" territory. This is chamber music at it's finest. Incredible intricate sounds come and go including percussion and sax. Amazing stuff. The tempo picks up 16 1/2 minutes in and it's not as dark either. Again we get lots of intricate sounds that are fabulous. An actual catchy rhythm before 21 minutes that turns into an uptempo mind boggling section 2 minutes later. This song has to be heard to be believed. And heard many times to be comprehended. The two bonus tracks begin with "Hipopotalamus Negrus" that quickly shows off the band interplay as we hear a collage of intricate sounds. The last 2 minutes turn into a calm, cool jazzy vibe with smooth sax melodies along with bass, light drums and piano. "Ivanhoe" again features so many different sounds coming and going after the 1 1/2 minute dramatic intro.The sound becomes light and smooth as sax becomes more prominant later on.

This is jaw-dropping music folks. And if your a fan of ZAO or UNIVERS ZERO you owe it to yourself to track this recording down. A must have......

If Vortex stayed for a long mythical legend of the progressive scene, this is the only record they have. In recent years, the classic combo sum original formation of the whole now shows clearly more orchestral ambitions, quadrupling the number of stakeholders in the wind instrumentalists, also providing a large percussion section (xylophone, vibraphone , timpani). Having also since discovered a real passion for the works of Stravinsky, Orff, Messiaen and Bartok, the Vivante brothers will use their free time to writing, and writing only, a great work, they are now fascinated by the counterpoint. And indeed, "The Cylces Thanatos" - the album, but above the title - demonstrated exceptional maturity, where jazz and progressive joined contemporary music. If Magma could serve as a model at the beginning, we are now closer to Art Zoyd or Univers Zero. Dark and ominous, dark long climb spiral like leaves presage its title, this long series deserves the monumental reputation that sticks to the skin and has caused so much lust. Fruit of painstaking records, twenty-five minutes and more of their magnus opus stand out quite clearly the other titles that accompany it, only etched in subsequent sessions after Vortex, as a group, could prowl its equipment at different concerts. We are then closer to the collective improvisation of the ball partition, but in one case as in the other, the Jacques arrangements qualities and Jean Pierre Vivante remain a balancing act. And in this setting that seems to want to leave no room for the slightest bit of light, Vortex does not lack despite everything to also play the card of humor, or more precisely the irony (the emphatic reference to Mahavishnu Orchestra "God is Good for You, John "into the form, or the final carnival of" Prolegomena "), without it comes taint in any way the credibility of their work. Late Scan this colossal work is accompanied by the remains of some significant bonus tracks, the sharpest color fusion between + Arti Mestieri and Weather Report, making the whole necessarily essential........

- Jean Pierre Vivante / fender rhodes, yamaha organ, piano
- Jacques Vivante / bass
- Gérard Jolivet / saxophone
- Christian Boissel / fender rhodes, hautbois, English horn
- Jacques Guillot / saxophone
- Jean-Michel Belaich / drums
- Alain Chaleard / percussions
- Maurice Sonjon / percussions

Sunny James / violin
Michel Boissel / bassoon

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. God Is Good For You, John (4:28)
2. Prolegomenes (11:43)
3. Les Cycles De Thanatos (25:16)

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..





Cassete Deck

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