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Corima - Quetzalcoatl CD (album) cover

QUETZALCOATL

Corima

 

Zeuhl

3.84 | 39 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars CORIMA is one of the many newer zeuhl bands inspired by influences far outside of the confines of classic Magma. This band that originated in 2005 in El Paso, Texas by high school friends Francisco Casanova (keyboards), Sergio Ravelo (drums), Juan Tarin (bass), Erik Martinez (guitar), and Jaime Silva (guitar) began by playing music influenced by several progressive rock bands such as King Crimson, Gong, ELP, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Soft Machine and local El Paso homies The Mars Volta which instilled a sense of punk energy into their oft frenetic stylistic approach.

Soon Erik Martinez and Jaime Silva left the band and CORIMA became a trio and together released a CD-R self-titled debut and then set out on an East Coast tour of the USA which found them touring the big cities of New York, Philadelphia and Washington DC. In 2009 Casanova and Revelo moved to Los Angeles to expand their horizons and immediately began playing as a duo and in the process met bassist Ryan Kamiyamazaki and saxophonist Patrick Shiroishi and then invited them into the band which led to a more energized sound that crafted various progressive rock sounds around the more frenetic zeuhl approach as heard by other Japanese extremists such as Ruins and Koenjihyakkei. After a few more members to join, CORIMA was ready for action.

This new formation of CORIMA led the band into the studio where they recorded the first "proper" album QUETZALCOATL which was picked up by the French label Soleil Zeuhl and released in 2012. The band continued its massive touring schedule playing some renowned gigs and has in the process attracted a larger fanbase. QUETZALCOATL is a lengthy album just passing the 69 minute playing time and features 17 tracks most of which are below the 4 minute mark with only a couple exceptions, the most extreme being the 17 minute "Tezcatlipoca." The subject matter revolves around the Mesoamerican feathered serpent god QUETZALCOATL although the nonsensical lyrical content seems to be either gibberish or a self-constructed language in the vein of zeuhl founders Magma.

As far as zeuhl goes, CORIMA is rather traditional with bubbly bass driven rhythmic drive, accompanied by subtle accentuated percussion and stentorian multi-vocal parts fueled with jazzy melodic counterpoints. The saxophone brings some straight on jazz to the forefront at key moments however the addition of the violin not a standard zeuhl instrument brings a bit more of a gypsy swing feel to the overall mood in the vein of prog violinists such as Jean-Luc Ponty. The music while generally operating on fast frenetic tempos also sounds somewhat laid back as the tones and timbres are warm and inviting. It's not really until the swarm of vocal attacks really bring out the most bombastic features of CORIMA's approach. There are moments such as on the end of "Khozmikh Kavhiledrios" where all the instruments go stark raving mad and the violin suddenly sounds like a tortured cat.

I'd be remiss without mentioning the behemoth 17 minute blockbuster "Tezcatlipoca" which single-handedly swallows up a good quarter of the album's run. Well, it starts out with a nice vocal harmony session much in the spirit of classic Magma and then starts to engage in some weird Philip Glass style instrumental antics as heard on the fast parts of "Koyaanisqaatsi" or "Glassworks" but then ramps up the energy level and becomes more like a less frantic Ruins or a more polished Kenjihyakkei. From there the band pulls off some of its most ambitious instrumental gymnastics and technical workouts all the while keeping a smooth seamless rhythmic drive from derailing. The band's creativity just ramps up from there with a consistently entertaining delivery of changes including some of those Balkan folk swings as heard on classic Area's albums like "Arbeit Macht Frei." By far my favorite track on this excellent album.

The album concludes with a whopping seven more shorter tracks but doesn't let up in intensity and for many this entire experience will be an energetic overload but for those who love a feisty virtuosic performance for over an hour's playing time, then you can't go wrong with CORIMA who fall squarely into the classic zeuhl territory of French artists but engage in a violent punk-infused display of vitality unlike any other. The beauty of CORIMA though is in how well they walk the tight-rope between the traditional sensuality of the classic Magma style and the harsh anarchic approach of the Japanese invasion of the world of zeuhl. It certainly never ceases to amaze me how this seemingly simple style of hypnotic and receptively grooved style of progressive rock can evoke such varied creative responses with such acts emerging from unexpected parts of the world like Los Angeles! This is an awesome zeuhl experience!

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |

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