Exposé Online banner

Various Artists — Puissance 13+2
(Musea FGBG 4087.AR, 1971/1993, CD)

by Peter Thelen, 1994-02-01:

Puissance 13+2 Cover art

This exceptional live set was taken from a series of live performances at Le Parc du Chateau d'Herouville. Again, it must be remembered that this album is a cross-section of French rock at the time, and features progressive, as well as blues-rock, psychedelic, and folk-rock styles. Don't let that make you hesitate, though - this album is great from beginning to end, all 75 minutes of it. There are some bands featured here that you will hear nowhere else, and for other artists such as Catharsis, Catherine Ribeiro and Alpes, and Alain Markusfeld, this makes a great introduction. Ergo Sum kicks it off with a spirited version of "All's So Comic," then Magma takes over with a very early version (maybe the earliest...) of "Mekanik Kommandoh." An outstanding track by Spectre (this is their only recording!) is followed by two folk based tracks by Mor - an early band which featured Dan Ar Bras and two other guitarists. Then we move into a three track blues set with Zabu and Solitude before coming back to more progressive turf with Steve Warring (an American artist), Voyage, Design, and Contrepoint. The album then moves into near psychedelic territory with contributions by Catherine Ribeiro, Claude Engel, and Catharsis. Then a track by another American artist, Roger Masson, with the closing track offered by the Alain Markusfeld group, featuring Geza Fenzl and Joel Dugrenot. Although a few of the better known early French bands are not featured here (Triangle, Alice,etc), this is as good an introduction as any to that scene.


by Henry Schneider, 1993-12-31:

Puissance 13 + 2 presented an assortment of French bands on this interesting and varied compilation. The first song is Ergo Sum’s "All’s So Comic" that is the same track as on their Mexico release. This is a live recording jam packed full of Magma and Zao influenced French progressive jazz and fortunately minimal vocals. It is easily one of the best tracks on both discs. Next in line is Magma’s excellent example of zeuhl music: "Mekanik Kommando." The mood then shifts to a Lovecraftian synth rock anthem by Spectre called "Arkham." This song strongly reminded me of an obscure track "Xmas Hills" by an equally obscure Australian band Cybotron. Shifting musical gears again, we now hear two acoustic folk ballads by MOR. MOR was probably the French equivalent of Crosby, Stills, and Nash. Still in the acoustic mode the next song is Zabu’s unaccompanied "Informer Blues." This acoustic version sounds as if it was recorded on a porch in the Deep South. It captures the grit of Robert Johnson and Lightning Hopkins. Picking up the tempo now is Solitude with two blues rock numbers, "Been Gone So Long" and "Jappy’s Boogie." "Been Gone So Long" is straight ahead blues rock like the early output of Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Johnny Winter, etc. In fact it reminded me of Jimi Hendrix’ "Red House" without the guitar pyrotechnics. "Jappy’s Boogie" is a boogie woogie tune that reminded me of Nicky Hopkins’ early seventies output. Again the mood changes and we hear an expatriated American Steve Warring playing a Blue Grass rendition of "Bill Bailey" sung in French! Now things become interesting for the prog fan! The next two songs by Voyage and Design are excellent French examples of Krautrock. On the heels of Design is Contrepoint’s Canterbury jazz of "Unfathomable of the Seventh Time." Things start to get a little strange with Catherine Ribeiro and Alpes with "Aria Populaire." "Aria Populaire" has the feel of a 60s protest song but there are only Catherine’s wordless vocals. Again we are treated to some excellent acoustic guitar work in the form of Claude Engel’s "Promenade." Engel’s folky style is akin to John Fahey and Leo Kottke. Moving back towards the experimental we hear the dreamy acoustic sound of Catharsis and their outstanding contribution "Charles." "Charles" is a cosmic raga with wordless vocals, Farfisa organ, acoustic guitar, and Arabian rhythms. At various times I thought of Pink Floyd, Renaissance, and Yatha Sidhra. Another abrupt shift in mood is the other American’s (Roger Mason) contribution. Musea lists him as a Cajun performer yet "On a tapé" is some exceptional banjo picking country blues. Closing out the disc is Alain Markusfeld with "Iguana." If you are familiar with Alain’s solo work you would not recognize his playing. Absent are his intricate guitar riffs. Instead "Iguana" is more like Bill Nelson’s early guitar experiments. Puissance 13 + 2 is such a cornucopia of music styles that it may have something for everyone but you may have to wade through a lot of music you don’t want. To me the best tracks are by Magma, Catharsis, Voyage, and Design and are worth the price of the CD.


Filed under: Reissues , 1993 releases, 1971 releases

Related artist(s): Magma, Yochk'o Seffer, Dan Ar Braz, Alpes, Ergo Sum, Zabu, Alain Markusfeld, Catharsis

More info

Latest news

2018-05-14
Glenn Branca RIP – Experimental guitarist and composer Glenn Branca has died at the age of 69. He was known for compositions featuring large ensembles of guitars, and for the use of feedback. He founded his band Theoretical Girls in the mid-70s as an art-punk answer to what he saw as the increasing commercialization of punk music. His compositions were highly influential, with such figures as David Bowie, Thurston Moore, and John Lurie among his fans. » Read more

2018-04-05
OBEY Convention XI Set for May 24-28 in Halifax – As the 2018 festival season rapidly approaches, we’d like you to be aware of a real treasure of diverse and creative music that’s going to take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next month. The OBEY Convention is on its 11th outing, and features a wide range of artists from around the world. From avant-industrial noise to experimental takes on Classical Chinese music, from chamber jazz to doom metal, from ambient soundscapes to Canadian First Nations drumming, you’d be hard pressed to find a festival with more variety in sound anywhere in the world. » Read more

2018-04-04
Close to the Rain Festival in Bergen Announces Lineup – Now in its second year, the Close to the Rain Festival of progressive music is scheduled to take place in Bergen, Norway, on June 7 - 9. They've got an amazing slate of bands lined up, including such powerhouses as Anekdoten, Major Parkinson, Arabs in Aspic, Tusmørke, and many more. » Read more

2018-03-01
Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington and Oregon. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more

2018-02-26
Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Niacin - Niacin & High Bias – The cover of the first Niacin shows the venerable Hammond B3, a creature of legend. So you get an idea what you are in for. Who is Niacin? I think this would be called a "pet project" where...  (1999) » Read more

Ian Anderson - Plays the Orchestral Jethro Tull – Over the last several years, Ian Anderson has been taking breaks from his regular band work for the occasional solo album and tour. On this occasion, his four-piece backing band is supplemented by a...  (2008) » Read more

Thule - Frostbrent – Frostbrent is the third album by the now three-man Norwegian outfit Thule. Again, here's an album esoteric enough that it could only find its market in the underground progressive scene, yet...  (1994) » Read more

Amon Düül II - Nada Moonshine # – If there was one German band that embodied the true spirit of German "space rock," it was A.D.2. They took the early vibes of Pink Floyd and carried them into a whole new dimension of...  (1995) » Read more

Tony Harn - Revealed in Black and White – Tony Harn’s latest is another easy recommendation for Exposé readers of all stripes. After flirting with a group format on his last outing, the English guitarist’s fourth album is a...  (2007) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues