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Dün - Eros CD (album) cover





4.24 | 511 ratings

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5 stars My 30th review: The album to scare the hell out of people

For my 30th review I decided to write about one of the greatest and least known albums in prog. Surprisingly enough this was released during the early 80s...

I've always said that if you want to scare the hell out of people, you just have put on a Zehul album (preferably Magma) and make them believe you are into some sort of cult or something. This time you don't even have to say anything and before the second note is played you'll see fear in people's eyes... but what you'd expect from an album that intends to unify every single prog sub-genre?

This French group of extremely talented musicians decided to embark on a pretentious and highly dangerous project: to fuse every single style of prog known into a new and very original sound during the very dawn of the classic era of prog. It was dangerous because it could easily end in massive bombastic pretentious prog chaos and/or be relegated to obscurity. Fortunately the goals where fully accomplished and this naturally produced prog heaven but, sadly, it was in fact relegated to obscurity.

The final result is a very tasteful and equilibrated blend of jazz-rock, free jazz and symphonic progressive rock with a touch of psychedelia, all joined together by a masterfully engineered Avant/Zehul aesthetic. With these influences the natural references are Frank Zappa, John Zorn and, to a lesser extent, Magma. And not only that, the instrumentation used is also a reflexion of their eclectic influences: we have the typical setup of guitars, keyboards, bass and drums/percussions, enhanced by the addition of a vibraphone and wind instruments(flute and sax on the bonus tracks). not expect a Magma album here, although it is labeled under Zehul this work has little to do with Magma's operatic "cult" style. On the other hand, they both share a heavy reliance on percussions and are rooted in jazz. This one could've easily fit under Avant/RIO but Zehul is also an appropriate denomination.

The music is very complex with lots of dissonance and every single musician and instrument has its chance of shining without disrupting the coherence and natural flow of the piece (although it isn't very smooth to start with).

The album gets started with L'Ã?pice, which, as the entire album, is a very challenging piece of music with lots of turns and time signature changes dominated by polyrythmic arrangements. L'Ã?pice comes off as a team effort featuring sections that highlight the guitar, vibraphone and piano, the later played in a very rhythmic fashion complementing the work of the dominant percussions.

Arrakis is a piece that builds from a subtle rhythmic piano playing similar to the one on the previous track and is joined by a flute which plays the main melody (although not really melodic.... if you know what I mean...) while the rest of the instruments are added delicately one by one to the musical mix (sort of like Mike Oldfield does in Tubular Bells). The xylophone comes first, then the bass, the electric guitar appears playing some subtle (but not less weird and complex) lines and finally the percussions appear to lead the music into a dynamic explosion of mad jamming.

Bitonio follows with the most melodically rhythmic (if such a term exists) piece of the album with mind-blowing solo piano sections and an impressive rhythmic work by the bass, percussions and vibraphone. The secondary participation of guitars and flute contributes to produce the overall avant feeling characteristic to the piece. This is the kind of thing that would give Robert Fripp a heart attack and makes me want to yell: "AVANT HEAVEN!"

Eros finishes the album with an intriguing avant style. It starts featuring the flute more than aptly backed and joined by the so called "rhythm section" (if you can identify a particularly percussive group of instruments) comprised by bass, percussions and vibraphone. The piece gradually develops into a heavier establishment with spacey keyboards that disappear while the intensity of the jamming increases to later finish very subtly... with the risk of being repetitive: Avant Heaven!

The bonus tracks are also amazing, featuring earlier and somewhat different versions of Bitonio, Arrakis and Eros with the addition of a sax to the instrumentation. Acoustic Fremen closes the album with the only previously unreleased bonus track, the only acoustic piece performed by the band featuring only the flute, sax, and acoustic guitar. Very enigmatic and soft track, still complex and very avant but allows the listener to take a breath after all the previous madness (which, apparently, was the purpose of the piece during live performances).

The musicians involved here are all highly talented and deadly precise with a mind- blowing capacity of jamming and writing extremely complex and coherent music. Here they recorded an album intended to be of a very challenging nature and revolutionary.

Listening to this album, more than a musical experience, is an intellectual challenge. What can I say?...I love challenges!

5 stars for one of one the few true progressive albums. Here the band tried to push the boundaries of music and they accomplished it in a brilliant way.

Recommendation: before your first listen make sure you have your good diapers on, more so if you are new to prog.

Not recommended for the faint hearted and prog newbies.

ProgressiveAttic | 5/5 |


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