Monday, 31 August 2009

Michel - Altmayer Troll Vol 2 (1987)

Altmayer is the drummer of this very Zeuhl sounding album. "Troll 2" features many Magma musicians such as Klaus Blasquiz and Bernard Paganotti. Some might say this is a Magma rip off, but if it is, it's generally a most enjoyable one for sure. The bass dominates almost every track and there's plenty of ( english) Kobain styled vocals.

Highlights are:

"Igor - Dance and Rejoicings" with its Zeuhl bass and strings. this reminds me of Magmas "Ghost Dance" with vocals reminiscent of there "Merci" album'
"BreakDown" - is very fiery and enegetic. A nice blend of zeuhl/ jazz/ rock fusion.
"When Comes the Night" A beautifull song.
"Ankh" - The best track here with excellent strings,piano, vocals and soaring electric guitar.

Definitely an album for Magma fans. Although not brilliant, it does contain some magical moments.

Song/ Track Listing
1 - Igor ( Dance & Rejoicings )
2 - Break Down
3 - ud Ior less Ordek III
4 - Impressions Of Tomorrow
5 - Ankh (Carrousel Delight)
6- When Comes the night
7 - Some words about Trane

Line Up/ Musicians
Michel Altmayer - Drums, Piano, Chant
Nathalie Basset - Violin
Bernard Paganotti - Bass - Chapman Stick
Francis Moze - Fretless Bass
Roger Altmayer - Congos
Stella Vander - Chant
Klaus Blasquiz - Chant

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Bubu - Anabelas (1978)

Another one of those remarkable one off albums.

Hailing from Argentina. " Anebelas" is, in my opinion, one of the seven progressive wonders of the world.

The first song which clocks in at nearly 20 minutes is an absolute masterpiece. The King Crimson sound is most evident, but you will hardly hear it done so well, as here. The composition is just plain awesome with tempo changes and colors/textures galore, with a wide ranging instrumentation which includes violin, flute, saxophone and piano, besides the bass,drums and guitar. Check out the multilayered guitar solo section on this one, it's absolutely incredible to say the least.

"El Viaje de Anabelas" comes across to me , especially in the vocal department like a more inventive /intense P.F.M. Excellent once again.

"Sueños de Maniquí" is yet more Crimson inspired with plenty of guitar and riffing sax, like a "21st Century Schizoid Man" in places. There's just a hint of Zeuhl in places too! Another fantastic song.

I can't recommend this album highly enough.The musicianship is utterly superb. One of my all time favourites for sure!

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. El Cortejo de un Día Amarillo (19:25)
2. El Viaje de Anabelas (11:12)
3. Sueños de Maniquí (9:16)

Total Time: 39:53

Line-up / Musicians
- Sergio Polizzi / violin
- Cecilia Tenconi / flute, piccolo, bass flute
- Win Fortsman / tenor sax, words
- Petty Guelache / lead & backing vocals
- Eduardo Rogatti / guitar
- Eduardo "Fleke" Folino / bass
- Eduardo "Polo" Corbella / drums, percussion
- Daniel Andreoli / composition, arrangement

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Hidria Spacefolk - Symbiosis (2002)

This is one exceptionally talented band from Finland, who play music in the style of "Ozric Tentacles" but unlike them there music is much more progressive, diverse and less techno.

Although "Symbiosis" has the "Ozrics" sound theres also definitely some "Hawkwind" "Gong" "Steve Hillage" and "King Crimson" going on in there. Dark and intense passages interwoven with the more spacier rock grooves. There's also some really nice middle eastern and folky type sounds with flute in there. As always this band has an ever evolving progressiveness to there sound, which has a vast range of textures and colors with full on grooves. Indeed this is some of the best spacerock fusion your likely to hear. and is in a class of its own.

Stand out tracks are the last two. "Pangaia" in particular is an extraordinary track with "Hillage" like guitar and a spacey groove to die for! Brilliant!

Very Very highly recommended then, especially if your into " Ozric Tentacles".

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Terra Hidria (7:03)
2. Reversion (1:39)
3. Kaneh Bosm (5:13)
4. Kaikados (6:18)
5. Nasha Universo (5:15)
6. Jahwarp (5:48)
7. Agents Entropos (3:13)
8. I-Mantra (5:14)
9. Pangaia (11:42)

Total Time: 51:25
Line-up / Musicians

- Kimmo Dammert / bass
- Mikko Happo / electric guitar, digeridoo, harp
- Teemu Kilponen / drums, percussion, voice
- Janne Lounatvuori / synthesizers, electric and acoustic piano, organ
- Sami Wirkkala / electric, acoustic and midi guitar, mandolin, sitar, jawharp, synthesizers

Guest musicians:
- Teemu Väisänen / flute
- Olli Kari / marimba, vibraphone, percussion
- Tuure Paalanen / cello
- Mikko Rajala / violin
- Sabrina / voice

Hydria Spacefolk-Nasha Universo.mp3

Download mp3

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Ragnarok - Ragnarok (1977)

This first release from Swedens "Ragnarok" ( not to be confused by others of the same name) is their first and highly acclaimed release. Until recently i had only heard there "Fata Morgana" album which is far heavier and different to the one we have here.

With progressive rock and folk elements "Ragnarok" is very tranquil and spacey throughout with superb acoustic and electric guitar work. One can certainly hear some "Pink floyd" "Camel" in places and the folk elements are strongly "Flasket Brinner" styled.

There's also some really splendid flute and keyboards giving just a hint of "Jethro tull" maybe.

Add to this a top notch production and you have a fantastic album. If you like the aforementioned bands this is a must have!

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Farvel Köpenhamn / Goodbye Copenhagen (2:30)
2. Promenader / Walks (4:40)
3. Nybakat Bröd / Freshbaked Bread (3:01)
4. Dagarnas Skum / Foam Of The Days (8:07)
5. Polska Fran Kalmar / Reel From Kalmar (0:46)
6. Fabriksfunky / Factoryfunk (4:49)
7. Tatanga Mani (4:34)
8. Fiottot (1:23)
9. Stiltje-Uppbrott / Calm-Breaking Up (4:21)
10. Vattenpussar / Pools Of Water (4:08)

Total Time: 43:19

Line-up / Musicians
- Lars Peter Sörensson / drums
- Stefan Ohlsson / drums, guitar
- Peder Nabo / flute, guitar
- Staffan Strindberg / electric bass
- Peter Bryngelsson / guitars
- Henrik Strindberg / electric guitar, flute, Soprano flute, Soprano saxophone

Ragnarök from Sweden

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Heldon - Interface (1978)

The French "Heldon" was formed in the 70's by guitarist "Richard Pinhas".

Synthesizer / sequencer and Frippian guitar dominates nearly all of there albums.

"Interface" in particular is very intense with elements of Zeuhl and "King Crimson" progressive like guitar explorations, with a heady dose of mechanical and chaotic experimentalism. There's also some Can like sound in there too.

Not really there most accessible album for the most part, but nonetheless excellent when your into there sound, which is quite unique really. The title track "Interface"
is the highlight of the album. A lengthy instrumental which sounds like "Weidorje" and "King Crimson" on a bender .

Songs / Tracks Listing
1. Les soucoupes volantes vertes (2:28)
2. Jet Girl: in New York or Paris, equivalent / in south Bronx (9:53)
3. Bal-a-fou (7:25)
4. Le fils des soucoupes volantes vertes (1:56)
5. Interface (19:02)

Total Time: 40:44

Line-up / Musicians
- Richard Pinhas / Moog III et B, guitar, electronics
- François Auger / drums, synthesizer, composition (4)
- Didier Batard / bass (4)
- Patrick Gauthier / Minimoog, composition (3), Moog bass

Friday, 21 August 2009

Strave - Visions (1981)

A very obscure gem of a record. Definitely for fans of zeuhl music. Not surprisingly really as "Bringolf" was once a stand in drummer for "Christian Vander.

This hearkens back to the early energetic magma style, especially with the vocals and the brass section, but is perhaps more jazzier. We also have here two bass players.

"Vison" kicks off the album with excellent vocals and brass. Super intricate drumwork from "Bringolf" ala vander style, and great guitar work too from "Alain Eckart". This sets the tone for the whole album really, "Plus One" "Plus Two" has great marching drums and plenty of brasswork before exploding into a funky bass and screaming vocals, lurching into Udu Wudu territory. Great stuff, as "Ma Ho Peneta" which follows is in a similar vein, but even more energetic with plenty of fiery sax solos and some frippian guitar.

A really good album then for fans of Zeuhl and jazz/rock alike. Magma fans will just love this one! If anyone has there first album " Strave" i would love to hear it!

Tracks / song Listing

Vision (10:18)
Plus I (2:12)
Plus II (8:00)
Plus III (2:30)
Ma-Ho.Peneta (13:20)

Line Up / Musicans

Bass Guitar -
C. Boussard
S. Bringolf*
Guitar -
A. Eckert* , A. Lecointe*
Saxophone -
P. Geiss*
Trumpet -
D. Petitthory
Tuba -
B. Eck
Vibraphone -
E. Séjourné*
Vocals -
Mano (7)

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Island - Pictures ( 1977)

Hailng from Switzwerland , " Island" played a very dark progressive rock with many intricasies, which definitely on occasion recalls the likes of "Gentle Giant" and "VdGG". The bass playing is quite impressive and the interplay with drums, keys, winds and vocals is excellent. Oh! and there's some Zeuhl in there too!

Of Special mention is the title song which has an uncanny mix of "Magma" " King Crimson" " Gentle Giant" styled vocals and fragmentary canterbury leanings. "Empty Bottles" the bonus song is a fantastic lengthy mostly instrumental jam with bass and drums leading the way amidst the twisting and turning winds and keyboards. This song is rather different to the others.

"Pictures" is quite a rare album these days, even on CD.

All in all a very tight and well played album - there's also a nice "Giger" cover.

Line Up/Musicians
Benjamin Jager - Lead Vocals - Percussion
Guge Jurg Meier - Drums -Gongs - Percussion
Peter Scherer - Keyboards -Pedal Bass - Crotales - Voices
Rene Fisch - Saxes - Flute - Clarinet - Triangle - Voices

Track Listing
1 - Introduction
2 - Zero
3 - Pictures
4 - Herold and King (Dloreh)
5 - Here and Now
6 - Empty Bottles ( Bonus Track )

Monday, 17 August 2009

Pancake - No Illusions ( 1979 )

Pancakes third and last album is a scorcher.

More rock based than previous albums but with a more polished and refined sound with touches of "Eloy" , "Jane" and even "Babe Ruth" maybe . Like "Babe Ruth " "Pancake's " "No Illusions" also has female vocals - albeit German accented by one "Biggi Zmierczak"

This is probably my favourite Pancake album which alternates between heavyish melodic / symphonic guitar based passages to lighter moments and many shifts in mood but still firmly rock based , but certainly not your average straight ahead rock. much more progressive / krautrock in that department. Excellent and quite unique sounding really, despite the obvious ELOY comparison and i find the female vocals very nice indeed!

Check out " I Try" ," Autumn Leaves" and the brilliant outro of " Dream Delta Land " for the "Eloy" sound taken to another level.

Once again a completely different line up here with only the original guitarist, who really excels himself on this one!

A fantastic obscurity from a sadly neglected band, of which all albums are really worthy of a listen for anyone into Krautrock / Progressive Rock music. A great pity they only released three albums , which leaves one wondering what delights may have followed !  


Line Up / Musicians

Biggy Zmierczac - Vocals
Ralf Schibe - Bass 7 Vocals
Uli Franke - Keyboards & Vocals
Walter Negele - Guitar & Vocals
Hans Derer - Drums & Vocals

Track Listing
1 - Just Miss your Smile
2 - Fire And Rain song
3 - Dream Delta Land ( Prt 1 & 2 )
4 - No Touch Of Ilusions
5 - Autumn Leaves
6 - I Try

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Xaal - On The Way ( 1991 )

Shame that Xaal only released two albums, as this one, the first, is a real Zeuhl inspired gem.

Fronted by a very talented lead guitarist ( Jayde Ayache ) this power trio from France created some great Magma, Wiedorje , King Crimson styled music. Very energetic jazz/rock instrumental music for sure, where we are treated to a dazzling display of just guitar, bass and drums. Although there is some brass and keys on some tracks .

Although the Zeul flavors are prevalent there's also more than a nod to Frances " Shylock" and Belgiums " Present". The melodic guitar lines are also sometimes reminiscent of "Camel"

For zeuhl fans this is the one to get, rather than Xaal's second album "Second Ere", which is also fine but not really up to the standard of "On The Way"

Check out the live video below.

Songs / Tracks Listing

1 Child (L'Enfant) (6:25)
2 Walk (Ballade) (Version) (5:32)
3 Hhunk's Garden (le Jardin) (3:58)
4 On the Way (en Chemin) (6:37)
5 Talisman (5:14)
6 Old Butterfly Hunter (le Vieux Chasseur de Papillons) (7:40)
7 Ascension (6:38)
8 Byblos (11:09)
9 Final (:52)

Line-up / Musicians
Nicolas Neimer Bass
Xaal Arranger, Performer, Main Performer
Jad Ayache Synthesizer, Guitar (Synthesizer), Guitar, Guitar (Electric), Guitar Synth
Patrick Boileau Percussion, Drums, Engineer
Alain Guillard Sax (Tenor)
Yvon Guillard Trumpet
Stephane Jaoui Keyboards

Xaal - Live MJC Curial 1992 - The Walk (Balade)

Download mp3

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Pancake- Out Of the Ashes

Different to there first album " Out Of the Ashes " is lesser psychedelic/krautrock styled with more of a "Pink Floyd" and dreamy "Pulsar" "Jane" "Novalis" type sound. Indeed, this is all so much more symphonic/progressive than the previous "Roxy Elephant".

Emphasis is more on vocals, keys and guitar, of which guitarist " Walter Negele" is the only original member here..

Favourite track is "Arctic Ocean" which has excellent melodic high fyling guitar from "Negele".This sounds very close to " Pulsar " to me in many respects. Superb stuff! Just to stir things up there's also a nice funky psychedelic number "Cakey Funk"

All in all another great album from Pancake.


Track Listing:

Painted Rush Hour
Arctic Ocean- a. Fool's Nightmare- b. Back In The Reality
Cakey Funk
Rainbow - Suite- a. Introduction: Colors In The Rain- b. Winds of Thor (including the Appearnce Of Aeolos)- c. The New Day- d. Gone With the Wind
Out Of The Ashes

Line Up
Heinz BertschSynthesizer, Keyboards
Hans DererPercussion, Drums
Peter IndrakBass, Violin
Walter NegeleGuitar
Rainer RohmPercussion, Vocals

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Lucifers Friend - Beggars Banquet ( 1974 )

Probably "Lucifers Friend"

best album, which is not really Krautrock, but far more 70's british prog rock sounding. In fact you'll find some "Beggars Opera" similarity, especially on the lengthy opener "Spanish Galleon" which is a fantastic mix of styles. One minute jazzy, then prog rock and amazingly almost breaking out into Santana .......... " Oye Como Va " no less!

Every track is great here except one "High Flying Lady-Goodbye", which is really a straight throw away rock number, when compared to the rest of the tracks.

The addition of brass / string and woodwinds really adds a lot of colour. This is true progressive rock at its best with lots of complex but flowing arrangements and the vocals are excellent.

A great prog rock album then, especially if you like " Beggars Opera " " Blood Sweat & Tears" early "Chicago" and " Santana "

Songs / Tracks Listing
1. Spanish Galleon (11:50)
2. Thus Spoke Oberon (6:44)
3. High Flying Lady-Goodbye (3:40)
4. Sorrow (11:36)
5. Dirty Old Town (4:46)

Total Time: 38:36

Line-up / Musicians - John Lawton / vocal
- Peter Hecht / piano, organ, mood, synthesizer, Fender Rhodes
- Dieter Horns / bass, backing vocals
- Peter Hesslein / guitar, 12 string guitar, acoustic guitar, percussion, backing vocals
- Herbert Bornhold / drums, percussion, backing vocals
Guest musician:
- Herb Geller / Soprano saxophone solo on (1) and flute on (4)

Lucifer's Friend - Spanish Galleon

Eider Stellaire 1 ( 1980 )

Eider Stellaires first and highly sought after album is one of the definitive zeuhl works. Right up there with the likes of Eskaton. Magma inspired music at it's best.

Unlike many Japanese magmaesque bands, which come across as too bold, heavy and just plain schitzophrenic musically , such as Ruins, this stuff is the real deal without the bombast.

Unusually for this style of music lead guitar is most prominent ( recalling ' Present ' ) and also keyboards. Making for a real treat with the splendidly rumbling bass and drums. Celestial passages are interweaved expertly with the more dynamic and heavy structures. Vocals are excellent and the whole album at only 39 minutes is perfecltly balanced and flows as a whole.

Founded in 1980 by drummer Michel Le Bars Stellaire made only 3 albums. 1 is quite rightly considered a masterpiece.

A MUST HAVE for Zeuhl fans!!!

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Onde (1. LP Seite) (8:35)
2. Arctis 6eme éphéméride (7:04)
3. Légende (2. LP Seite) (5:37)
4. Tétra (6:32)
5. Nihil (7:26)

Total Time: 35:14
Line-up / Musicians

- Patrick Singery / bass
- Jean Clude Delachat / guitar
- Pierre Gerard-Hirne / piano, organ
- Michel LeBards / drums
- Veronique Perrault / vocals
- Marie-Anne Boda / flute, vocals
- Michel Moindre / saxophone (4)

Eider Stellaire

Carol Of Harvest ( 1978 )

A masterpiece of an almost perfect combination of psychedelic/ folk and progressive rock.

Hailing from Germany Carol Of Harvest sole album is a real collectors item , selling for hudreds of dollars.

Imagine if you will , german bands Emitidi and Holderlin fused with Rennaisance and Pentangle, and you will have a pretty good idea of the style of music on offer here. Although bands like the ones just mentioned only hinted at this. Sounds closer to me like " Solstice " with the roaring emotive power.

The simplistic but superb ( english )vocals by one Beate Krause are really delightfull and the longer songs such as "Put On Your Nightcap"and "Try a Little Bit" give the band plenty of room to stretch out with soaring lead guitar and expressive harmoniuos , synth mellotron infused passages, full of atmosphere. Most of the songs do sound similar , but more like a theme everything seems to flow as a whole.

If your a fan of the aforementioned bands then this is an ESSENNTIAL album.

Carol Of Harvest - Somewhere At The End Of The Rainbow

Present - LE POISON QUI REND FOU ( 1985 )

Presents second album continues in a similarly dark, macabre way as the first, but In a way, more gothic sounding than previously.

With a slight change in line up ( the bass player ) there's also an operatic styled female vocalist on the 15 minute + opener, which fits in very nicely. The dual pianos and the metronomic groove, with Trigauxs insane guitar all makes for quite the trip.

None of this is an easy listen to say the least. Much more for the adventurous listener who wishes to step beyond the likes of say King Crimson and Magma. Very worth the listen though and definitely stands up to repeated listens for the sheer complexities.

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Le Poison Qui Rend Fou, Part 1: Ram Ram Va Faire "Pif Paf" (15:23)
2. Ersatz (5:09)
3. Le Poison Qui Rend Fou, Part 2: Didi, Dans Ta Chambre! (9:41)
4. Samana (9:14)

Total Time: 39:27

Line-up / Musicians - Roger Trigaux / guitars

- Alain Rochette / pianos, synths
- Daniel Denis / drums, percussion
- Ferdinand Philippoi / bass


- Marie-Anne Pollaris / vocals (track 1)

Promenade Au Fond dun Canal (part I).wmv

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Present - TRISKAIDEKAPHOBIE ( 1980 )

The title translates as fear from the number 13, which aptly describes this Universe Zero offshoot album with members Roger Trigaux on guitar/ keys, and Daniel Denis on Drums.

The epic first song "Promenade Au Fond D'un Canal" is a scorcher and the highlight! Dark intense , cyclicly minimalistic stabbing piano twists and turns with tempo changes galore, while the searing lead guitar almost pulverise the listener. This reminds me in parts of some Samla Mannas Manna but much darker and more violent. An exceptionally doom laden atmosphere permeates this piece with its driving throbbing bass, piano, and drums, The Frippian guitar blasts and drones at the finale, where Trigaux delivers some exceptionally searing and screaming lead guitar is, well .... devastating!!

The other two tracks are similar to "Promenade" . A litle less intense and more piano based, but nonetheless excellent.

TRISKAIDEKAPHOBIE is A brilliant piece of RIO meets Zeuhl , especially " Promenade " This is still my facvourite of all the Present tracks i've heard and ranks also with the very best of Univers Zero.

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Promenade Au Fond D'un Canal (19:15)
2. Quatre-vingt Douze (15:36)
3. Repulsion (3:27)

Total Time: 38:18

Line-up / Musicians

- Roger Trigaux / guitars, pianos
- Alain Rochette / pianos, synths
- Daniel Denis / drums, percussion
- Christian Genet / bass

Monday, 3 August 2009

One Shot - ( 1999 )

Comprised of mostly ex-Magma musicians " One Shot's " debut album is an excellent jazz-rock come zeuhl fusion.

Extremely well played instrumentals with the electric guitar at the fore. There's a touch King Crimson on some tracks too. Favourite has to be the closer " Riff Fantom " although every track is splendid.

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. M.D.M. (8:25)
2. Monsieur G. (4:37)
3. Trente Trois (5:24)
4. One Shot (10:10)
5. La Main Du Diable (11:26)
6. Un Jour Dans L'Est (10:00)
7. Riff Fantom (9:23)

Total time: 59:25

Line-up / Musicians - Emmanuel Borghi / Fender Rhodes, synthesizer

- James MacGaw / guitar
- Daniel Jeand'heur / drums
- Philippe Bussonnet / bass

Peter Frohmader - Orakel / Tiefe ( 1983 )

Using a wde range of descriptive sound colours The opening " Orakel " sends us on a very mysteriuos trip in typical Frohmader style. Very otherworldly realms are perfectly realized here with it's melange of cyclical synthesizers, drums and violin.

Some zeuhl flavors in here but with much uniqueness,and very heavy on atmosphere which drips by the bucketload. Superb entrancing stuff which is totally captivating.

"Tiefe" is more soundscapish but no less impressive and entrancing than "Orakel".The shimmering synth/ organ / drones are ethereal and dark, and tripped out. A mesmerizingly intense dreamscape that takes one to the far alien recesses of ones mind. I.m reminded of some Tangerine Dream " Zeit!, although this has a different feel to it.

The earlier works of Frohmader are for me his best works. Another ESSENTIAL listen here!!

Songs / Tracks Listing
1 - Orakel
2 - Tief

Download mp3

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