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Zao - Kawana CD (album) cover





4.12 | 56 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars "Kawana" released in 1976 would be ZAO's most popular album thanks in part to how accessible it was, and also to the addition of MAGMA violinist Didier Lockwood. If you want to see Lockwood at perhaps his finest check out MAGMA's "Live / Hhai" record from 1975. Unfortunately when things seemed to be going so well for the band Seffer decided to leave and go solo, so he could do his own compositions and have complete control. Lockwood and Truong would then leave to form a band called SURYA. I have to tell you there is some amazing music on this album. I don't think it's their best, but two songs on here are right up there with their best compositions. Namely "Natura" and "Free Folk". I can't put into words how great the five members of this band are individually. "Kawana" is Hebrew for "pure intention".

"Natura" opens with piano and cymbals / drums before bass and then sax arrives. Violin joins 1 1/2 minutes in.There is a darkness to this song until before 3 minutes in when it changes and the tension disappears. It is so uplifting because the burden seems to be gone and everything is now lighter. The sax after 4 minutes is prominant, but the bass is relentless with the drums.The intensity comes back 6 1/2 minutes in,and it's cool to hear the nod to Zeuhl (MAGMA?) to end it. "Tserouf" is filled with intricate and beautiful sounds. A great rhythm of drums and bass is danced on by the violin and sax. A change after 2 minutes as the tempo picks up. So much going on but everything is in it's right place even at this fast pace. The violin and sax trade solos as Cahen has some fun on the piano. The drumming is outstanding in this fantastic passage.

"F.F.F.(Fleurs For Faton)" or "Flowers for Cahen" features dark sounding piano melodies that are joined by the violin that only adds to that feeling. "Kabal" is led by the sax and drums as the keys are sprinkled in. It turns into a collage of beautiful sounds. "Sadie" is mellow and slower paced with smooth sax melodies and light drums. Violin is tasteful as well. "Free Folk" opens with vocal melodies that remind me a lot of Zeuhl. Liquid sounding keys, drums, sax and bass(it's all over this track) lead the way. A great sound 2 minutes in. The bass and drums briefly become heavy. Check out the violin after 4 minutes. Lockwood shines ! The drumming is incredible ! The bonus track is called "Salut Robert !" and it's a live song at almost 13 minutes in length. A different lineup for this one though as Lockwood,Truong and Prevost aren't on this one. This doesn't disappoint at all, the percussion, sax, bass, piano and drums(o.k. I should have said the whole band) are absolutely killer on this live song.

Another winner from ZAO. 4.5 stars is my rating. It's just sad to think that this lineup would break up after this record.

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |


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