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Setna - Guérison CD (album) cover





4.07 | 92 ratings

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5 stars Coming almost 6 years after their highly regarded debut, Setna's follow-up marks a shift in the band line-up, most notably the replacement of the distinctive female vocalist Natascha Jouet with charismatic male Yannick Duschene, but still highlights the musicians forging ahead with their own interpretation of the Zeuhl genre, with heavy inclusions of Canterbury sound jazz, fusion, avant- garde and experimental electronic elements. This makes Setna much lighter in tone for a Zeuhl band in some respects, but never any less dramatic or complex. Although indexed into 17 tracks on the CD, it's really three extended pieces and two bonus tracks, but all coming together to form a continious, sweeping and near-orchestral grandiose work.

`Cycle II:1-3'(9:52) sees the band enter with swallowing bass and sprinkling raindrop piano, slowly working up a groovy funk fusion by way of hypnotic Zeuhl explosion, with an almost Michael Jackson-esque glee! You listen closely trying to make out small fragments of audible clear words through breathlessly exhausting and indecipherable scat-vocals, with the most secret and placid of shimmering Rhodes purring in the background. Searing and manic Canterbury-fueled fuzz organ intensity before jazzy glistening electric piano ambient breezes finally lift us to safety in the clouds above. The piece is meant to represent moving beyond one's fear, filling your life with joy, creativity and peace, so hopefully listeners will open themselves to that possibility.

`Triptyque pt 1' (8:27) highlights human madness and chaos, quickly recalling `Welcome'-era Santana molten rapid-fire twisting electric guitar fusion over pools of Mellotron waterfalls. Soothing Magma-styled gospel vocals intertwine with acoustic guitar, before a final joyous and sweet rising vocal crescendo over intensifying drumming, snarling bass and weeping piano. `Triptyque pt 2' (9:45) symbolizes solitude and sadness, before a glipse of a solution. Crying sorrowful calls, acid- fried David Gilmour-like lazy lead guitar over jazzy drumming picking up and dropping back in tempo with twinkling Soft Machine spastic Mini-moog eruptions. Soon haunting majestic Mellotron choirs and sweet falsetto tones dart back and forth between punchy and heavenly while the Rhodes positively hums. `Triptyque pt 3' (8:04) offers meditation, a reflection on human nature, advancing into harmony. The opening ambient passage is full of suspensful ghostly electric piano that sneeks up behind wrapped in hypnotic murmurring bass, before the pieces turns confronting and somber with thoughtful clarinet and ethereal phasing droning voices to envelope you. The gentle shower of electric piano and lapsteel guitar bring positivity and warmth.

The title track `Guerison' (14:58) represents the parasite, a process of healing and a fresh start. Overall very percussion driven, it begins with a machine-like hum and other-wordly electronics that make for briefly uneasy listening, but soothing vocals and twirling Mini-moog turn the direction more reassuring. A funky wah-wah guitar and Canterbury-fuelled fuzz organ blowout that would make Caravan smile makes for a perfect and uplifting way to wrap the album, although a couple of shorter bonus tracks allow an alternate approach to two earlier passages to be heard.

`Guerison' is certainly one of 2013's best albums, and along with Rhun''s `Fanfare du Chaos', offers a unique and individual take on the Zeuhl genre performed by a group of talented musicians. It is frequently thrilling, varied, warm and joyous, almost taking on a spiritual quality to lift you into the blissful heavens. Progressive listeners who find the darker and oppressive elements that frequently define the Zeuhl genre may want to consider this album and band first, as they perhaps offer a more approachable and human take on the style. `Guerison' is a truly divine and rapturous experience, an absolute joy to listen to over and over, so don't miss out on it.

Five stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 5/5 |


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