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Nyl - Nyl CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.52 | 20 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars The obscure sole and self-titled release in 1976 by commune collective Nyl, based around guitarist Michael Peteau of French group Cheval Fou, enjoys a slightly higher status these days due to the involvement of the more well-known Magma bass player Jannick Top on some of the tracks, and what a schizophrenic little album it is! Jumping from Sixties-styled instrumental fuzzed-up acid rock jamming, wasted ballads, jazz-fusion spasms and teasing psychedelic fragmented interludes, `Nyl' is full of ideas and a constantly up-tempo energy that makes for an infectious if deliciously incoherent listen!

The album opens with a catchy heavy pop ballad `Abery', guitars chiming on the verses in between plentiful toasty soloing breaks and a coarse male vocal struggling with the English language ? all part of its charm! `Nyarlathotep' is a teasing two minute psych freak-out, a foot-tapping, hip- swivelling grooving stew of guttural repetitive spitting vocals, manic thrashing drumming, acid-rock guitar wailing and slinking bass spasms. `Shatt' is a fleeting little sax drift that barely runs a minute, and both the frantic `Dromadaire Bleu' and trippy `Idha' are part dirty jazz-rockers with driving sax bursts and Ash Ra Tempel-like spacey distorted guitar jamming, the former peppered with a middle-eastern flavoured mantra-like guitar theme and the latter even offering some unravelling synth spirals.

The lengthier opening cut that opens the second side, `Nyl', rumbles with a Krautrock-fuelled intensity, as maddening repeated vocal outbursts chant over dramatic announcing sax, punctuating Zeuhl-like aggressive bass murmurs, drifting faraway flute trills, electric guitar ripples and bubbling synth gurgles. `Ailes D'Or' calms down for a gentle melancholic ballad with the addition of female guest vocals for a weary tune that wouldn't have sounded out of place on any Amon Duul 2 album (nice mud-thick bass from Jannick throughout too), and `Dervishes' at first appears to be another fuzzed-out electric guitar roar but it surprises with gently grooving and playful country-rock licks. Sadly, one piece off the original LP appears to be missing entirely from the CD re-release, `Blue Eyes (Revox Tape)', for reasons explained below.

Rather frustratingly, despite adding over thirty minutes of bonus tracks and alternative takes, the latest CD reissue on Psych Up Melodies in 2011 only includes eight of the nine original LP pieces (a disappointing decision), as well as completely rearranging the order of the album (strike two, as programming the disc to closer resemble the original vinyl reveals a greater flow) and giving one or two pieces a touch-up remix (bingo, strike three). This sort of `re-writing' of history should never happen, as the original LP format should be replicated as closely as possible, no matter even if a particular track doesn't quite measure up to today's audio standards. Those so-called `imperfections' on these rough-around-the-edges, shambling psychedelic discs are exactly what fans expect and want to hear preserved. Still, with a bit of personal re-burning of the CD, you should be able to get album as close to the original as possible.

But all the same, it's the music, no matter how it's presented here, that impresses, so if the idea of a dirty and unpredictable mix of Sixties-sounding psych rock jamming, krautrock messiness, trippy space-rock and jazz-fusion energy sounds perfect, you can't go wrong with Nyl and their short but precious debut. It's a spiky, unpolished and addictive little gem from the vintage era well worth rediscovering today.

Four stars - and play it loud for the best results!

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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