"I had to resign myself, many years ago, that I'm not too articulate when it comes to explaining how I feel about things. But my music does it for me, it really does" - David Bowie
RIP Mr Bowie...
I listen to many different bands and artists and regardless of musical genres, Marillion became and remains my favourite band for many years now. It's the band I saw live the most, the band from whom I own the most records (and dvds/blurays!), I joined the French fan club for a while and Steve Rothery is one of my favourite guitar players, I like to say he's my David Gilmour.
Most importantly, it's the band who brings me the most emotions and the greatest inspiration (by the way, it meant so much to me to have my first album reviewed in an issue of Prog Magazine dedicated to Marillion, a nice coïncidence!). I'm talking about Marillion with Steve Hogarth here. No debate here about which is the best era, who is the best singer or anything, I love Marillion with Fish for many reasons as well, but Marillion post 1989 speaks to me the most emotionally and, to put it simply, I love Steve Hogarth's broken charismatic emotional voice, and his lyrics too. His live performances are also amazing. Their albums are not all equal in terms of quality of course but I nearly always find in their music this particular moment which gives me goosebumps.
Brave is one of my favourite albums ever, but there are so many essential songs, moving, haunting, devastating or just simply beautiful songs in their whole discography... Here is my personal selection in chronological order :
- Easter (Seasons End, 1989)
- Seasons End (Seasons End, 1989)
- The Space (Seasons End, 1989)
- Splintering Heart (Holidays In Eden, 1991)
- Runaway (Brave, 1994)
- The Great Escape (Brave, 1994)
- Out of This World (Afraid Of Sunlight, 1995)
- This Strange Engine (This Strange Engine, 1997)
- The Invisible Man (Marbles, 2004)
- Ocean Cloud (Marbles, 2004)
Share your favourite songs below 😉
Halloween by Pulsar
Very unique dark progressive rock, sung in English. It's definitely one of my favourite French prog records.
Two long tracks of pure fascinating progressive rock which reminds of Genesis and Pink Floyd. Some vocals sound a bit like early new wave at times!
En Regardant Passer Le Temps by Carpe Diem
En Regardant Passer Le Temps is Carpe Diem's first album and one of my favourites from France. It sounds quite dark but maybe not as much as Arachnoïd.
It's not that easy to compare to their British counterparts, they created a very unique musical world that blends progressive and space rock in an obscure way.
Taï Phong by Taï Phong
Taï Phong is well known in France to be the first band of famous songwriter Jean-Jacques Goldman, who played the guitar and sang. The Single "Sister Jane" was a massive hit. This album is great! Not very dark compared to my other picks and very dynamic. It's hard to choose the first album over their second, I love them both equally. The high pitched vocals can be surprising buy if you enjoy Rush or Pavlov's Dog, you have to give Taï Phong a listen!!
Le Cimetière Des Arlequins by Ange
Au-Delà Du Délire and Get Apens are two other favourites of mine, great albums but I think that Le Cimetière des Arlequins is my favourite album by the most famous French prog band. The vocals are very theatrical and the music quite symphonic in the vein of Genesis.
Le Cimetière Des Arlequins is a very good place to start your journey through the French scene, this album is quite characteristic of French dramatic style and more accessible than the other titles in this selection.
Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh by Magma
Magma is the best French band, period. Only joking but to be honest, and it's just my opinion, I mean it. It's my favourite French band anyway. I picked Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh because it's an iconic album and truly characteristic of what is Magma but there's so many fantastic albums in their catalogue, from the 70's to nowadays. Üdü Ẁüdü may be a better way to discover Magma as it is more accessible but you can't go wrong with MDK, it's dark, evil, even martial. So unique that it became a style on its own called "Zeuhl". A must-have!
L'Araignée-mal by Atoll
Second album by Atoll released in 1975. It's another typical dark theatrical French prog rock album, in the vein of Carpe Diem.
Maybe not the best sounding album from this list but it's a fantastic album anyway, highly recommended if you like obscure dramatic prog rock.
Arachnoïd by Arachnoïd
Again, a very dark album and another hidden treasure from France released in 1978.
This is the only album by the band unfortunately but what an album!! This is vintage keyboards heaven. I'd say the music sounds more like Pulsar than Atoll or Carpe Diem.
This is another must have in my opinion.
Douar Nevez by Dan Ar Braz
This one is more on the folk rock side. I HAD to pick an album from Dan Ar Braz or Alan Stivell. Douar Nevez is such a beautiful instrumental album mixing folk, celtic and rock in such a clever way that it's for me a perfect example of what progressive rock truly is. No less than Benoit Widemann from Magma plays the keyboards here.
This is one of my favourite title from this list. If you like 70's progressive rock and celtic music, you won't be disappointed!
Ile de Fièvre by Shylock
Late 70's French prog act. Ile de Fièvre is their second and last effort.
It sounds like a crossover between symphonic progressive rock and jazz rock. A bit of Genesis and King Crimson here and there with some kind of a fusion touch.
It's an album worth owning just for the great opening title track!
Le Petit Violon de Monsieur Grégoire by Mona Lisa
Le Petit Violon de Monsieur Grégoire is the third album by Mona Lisa released in 1976.
This is definitely the most similar album to Ange from this selection, so if you like them, you can't go wrong with Mona Lisa.
It's less dark than the rest of the French scene, Carpe Diem, Magma, Arachnoid...
Listen to some songs from this selection on Spotify (unfortunately all the albums are not available)
It seems like I love title tracks from Jethro Tull's albums... My favourite Tull era is from 1971 to 1979, hence this personnal selection but I admit I don't know the 80's era at all, should I?
- Thick As A Brick Part One (Thick As A Brick, 1972)
- Minstrel in the Gallery (Minstrel in the Gallery, 1975)
- Aqualung (Aqualung, 1971)
- Songs From The Wood (Songs From The Wood, 1977)
- Baker Street Muse (Minstrel in the Gallery, 1975)
- Heavy Horses (Heavy Horses, 1978)
- Cross Eyed Mary (Aqualung, 1971)
- A Passion Play Part One (A Passion Play, 1973)
- Dark Ages (Stormwatch, 1979)
- The Whistler (Songs From The Woods, 1977)
This selection may be subject to change (not sure about "Dark Ages" for instance. I could haved picked another song from Songs From The Wood or Heavy Horses quite easily but but I wanted to pick a song from an album not already mentionned). So apart from the first three songs, "Thick As A Brick Part One", "Minstrel In The Gallery" and "Aqualung", which are sheer masterpieces in my opinion, it may change!
Feel free to share your favourite Tull's songs below 😉
Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhuit! It's St. Patrick's Day so is there a better day to share with you some of my favourite albums from Irish artists? From various musical genres, here is a personal musical selection from a beautiful place I love and miss so much!
- The Chieftains - The Chieftains 3 (or 2 I can't really choose)
- Perry Blake - Still Life
- U2 - The Joshua Tree
- Rory Gallagher - Tattoo
- Thin Lizzy - Jailbreak
- Horslips - The Book of Invasions: A Celtic Symphony
- Clannad - Dúlamán
- The Corrs - Forgiven, Not Forgotten
- Fruupp - Future Legends
- The Cranberries - Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We?
May the Irish hills caress you;
may her lakes and rivers bless you;
may the luck of the Irish enfold you;
may the blessings of St Patrick behold you