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Eskaton - 4 Visions CD (album) cover

4 VISIONS

Eskaton

 

Zeuhl

4.25 | 140 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars Eskaton is probably regarded as the best Zeuhl band after Magma, and it's haed to deny that they are indeed among the better ones in the style, but if you are to include Art Zoyd, Univers Zero and Present into the ball game, this position is likely to be challenged. The group was named after an old Germanic legend of god's cyclical creation of humankind, and their first album, only ever released in cassette in the 70's, was reputed really rare. Until the mid-90's when the mis-titled Ad Perpetuam Memoriam label (now long defunct) released a Cd version of this album, which has become almost as rare since. Apparently (I have no confirmation of this, but APM had not found the master tapes, so their reissue was taken from a cassette. Graced with a superb artwork and lyrics sheet, Four Visions has yet to receive another legit release (a boot version is out there)

If musically Eskaton is undoubtedly Zeuhl, and their themes are not exactly about the joy of sunbathing (more like bathing in the Sun), the tome of their music is not nearly as oppressive as in Magma's albums. Starting with the eponymous track, the group plunges into a mas world of crazy bass thumps, topped by some of the most bizarre lyrics (just Imagine Gong's Camembert gone French), Eskaton brings a much wider spectrum of mood than Magma's terribly fixed, sombre mythology. Don't get me wrong, Eskaton has its own mythology, but it's more accessible, partly because sung in French (instead of the seldom-used Kobaian) but the music is more moody as well and this group pretends to some real solos from the front instruments, namely Blésing's blazing and fiery guitar. Attente is another 10-minutes epic, which will ravish Zeuhlheads. Both the lengthy Ecoute and the shorter Pitié are again small tour de force where the Fender Rhodes layers help hide and conceal the powers of Eskaton unleashing mayhem with Bernardi's bass sounding like cannonball blasts whizzing by your head. Both Paule and Amara's voices manage to pull their own advantages over a raging background as well as in the quieter moments.

Clearly one of the evident flaws of Four Vision is the lack of real good production, but there is absolutely nothing shameful on the album proper. This is however not the case with the bonus track (from a first session) where it sounds like a really dirty vinyl playing with the stylus needle filled with dust and hair, even stopping at once. And the real sad part is that Le Cri is yet another beautiful moment and the real audible problems occur in a solemn and quieter moment. Whether APM could've done it better in restoring the track is up to the listener, but overall, the album proper is indeed well transcript-ed enough to digital for most Zeuhleads to achieve a least a few Aural orgasms.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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