Minimum Vital — La Source
(Musea FGBG 4075AR, 1993, CD)
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.
by Henry Schneider, 1993-12-31:
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.
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more
Richard Johnson and Jud Martindale - Creatures of Habit – For those interested with tracking down the roots of master acoustic fret bender, Richard Leo Johnson, look no further! Uncovered from the independent release catacombs is a 1993 gem from Johnson and... (2000) » Read more