Exposé Online banner

Minimum Vital — La Source
(Musea FGBG 4075AR, 1993, CD)

by Henry Schneider, 1993-12-31:

La Source Cover art

La Source is Minimum Vital’s third CD and marks a break from the baroque and medieval flavor of their earlier releases. Although the CD artwork contains photos of medieval statues, the Minimum Vital quartet of keyboards, guitar, bass, and drums now plays a French form of jazz fusion. The lyrics of the opening song "Dance of Wishes (Song of May)" almost sound English but they are some sort of chant. La Source is mostly instrumental music by these accomplished musicians occasionally enhanced by soft falsetto vocals. The two songs that differ from the rest are "Les Mondes de Miranda" and "Ce Qui Soustient." "Les Mondes de Miranda" has a folk music theme reminding me of Amazing Blondel except for the brass samples. "Ce Qui Soustient" is a medieval rondo from the 14th Century by Guillaum de Machant given a wonderful treatment by Minimum Vital. I could almost picture myself in a cloister listening to this song. La Source is an interesting album that marks the evolution of the band.


by Peter Thelen, 1993-10-01:

On this, their fourth outing in nine years, les frères Payssan and company continue moving boldly into new territory, while retaining the essence of the sound that makes them unique among modern French bands – offering some oblique references to the neo-Canterbury styles of Camel, Happy the Man and Sky, yet sounding like none of the aforementioned, developing those elements and attributes that set them apart from their contemporaries. The subtitle "Huit Chants de Lumière" should offer a clue: in addition to further refinements in their basic sound, they have given it new life with the inclusion of vocals on every track, although they remain primarily an instrumentally-oriented band. As always, the sound is dominated by Jean-Luc's ripping guitars and the colorful keyboard pyrotechnics of brother Thierry. Bassist Eric Rebeyrol and drummer Christophe Godet seem a bit more animated this time out and are offering more punch to the arrangements, as evidenced in the highly charged "Tabou," nine minutes of pure brilliance. Another track of special note is the acoustic guitar-driven "Les Mondes de Miranda," with its strong folk spirit, jazz and classical influences, energized guitar and accordion solos – this is quite possibly the album's strongest cut. The only fault I find in La Source is that one or two of the tracks seem a bit more lengthy than they need to be with extra and unnecessary repetition, but this is a relatively minor flaw. Overall this is an exceptional album by one France's most unique bands.


Filed under: New releases , Issue 1 , 1993 releases

Related artist(s): Jean-Luc Payssan, Minimum Vital / Vital Duo

More info

Latest news

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Haystacks Balboa - Detoxified – This one came out around 1970, a one-off by a New York based band whose members weren't even listed on the LP jacket, and were never heard from again, so far as this writer knows. For some unknown...  (1999) » Read more

Ian Carr's Nucleus - Out of the Long Dark & Old Heartland – One of the last incarnations of Nucleus from the late 70s featured Carr along with long-time cohort Brian Smith on reeds. Geoff Castle, Billy Kristian, and Roger Sellers rounded out this version of...  (2003) » Read more

Musicante (Guillermo Diego Ensamble) - Sonoridades Mexicanas – While not exactly a reissue, this compilation by Guillermo Diego y Musicante includes all of the material from their 1987 album A los Cuatro Vientos, plus two tracks from 1982's Buscando un Tesoro,...  (1994) » Read more

Fancyfluid - The Sheltering Sea – Not having heard Fancyfluid's second album, this – their third – is a vast improvement over their debut Weak Waving. Musically the band has come a long way, they are tighter and more...  (1995) » Read more

Canzoniere del Lazio - Miradas – Part of what makes certain 'progressive' music interesting, especially that which hails from areas outside the US and UK, is the amount of the local culture that is applied to the music...  (1995) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues