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Happy Family - Toscco CD (album) cover


Happy Family



3.87 | 118 ratings

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4 stars Toscco is an extravagant display of ferocious complexity, oppressive power, and addictive motifs. It is complete with the brief splashes of beauty, worn in The Great Man, and scattered conservatively throughout the rest. These moments stand in stark contrast to the chief hyperactive and violently busy portion of the album. However, never does their coming seem abrupt or synthetically woven.

In a Zeuhl way, it often depends on rhythm, and in a Japa-Zeuhl way the extreme complexity and hyperactivity. But being entirely instrumental, it is often far from the genre of Zeuhl, and closer to modern avant-garde. In either catagory, it is a proud victory, borrowing influences from Magma, Gentle Giant, King Crimson, and perhaps even chamber-rock acts such as Univers Zero. A beautifully diverse array of textures, electronic and acoustic, increase the perfect of the vision. The blistering guitar/xylophone duet on top of a delicious drum/bass duel is a real highlight.

Often, the extreme complexity is just overwhelming. The compositions are so complicated that they just feel jagged. Picture something like John Cage's Sonatas & Interludes For Prepared Piano, but less dissonant, played by a full band, and that may describe songs like The Three Leaves Insect and He is Coming at Tokyo Station. Not always are the compositions so, though. When they are, they are normally countered with a simpler section to keep the balance.

Don't dismiss this album if you are no Magma fan. This is really a different Zeuhl than the fathers'. It is easiest recommended for fans of intense and intelligent heavy, noisy, maybe darker prog. It is a testament to potential of modern music, with slick sound production, phenomenal compositions, and a slightly metallic touch. Happy Family's Toscco is a masterpiece.

Shakespeare | 4/5 |


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