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Offering - A Fh CD (album) cover





3.78 | 23 ratings

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3 stars The third and final Offering album, with Christian Vander again exploring life outside Zeuhl and Kobaia (mostly). Not as Coltrane-heavy as the previous two albums but still a decent part of Vander's wider discography.

It starts on a bum note though, with the first track taking the title literally, a cathedral organ solo. Meh.

Cosmos starts with dark piano chords before becoming more ethereal thanks to the dual female vocalisations. Its not a dynamic track on its own but is a pre-cursor to title track Affieh which starts with similar vocals but a faster paced piano and cymbals. Interplay between these vocals and Christian Vander's early Zeuhl style 'lyrics' is excellent, with the track building in intensity with a range of percussion too. Some lyrics also in English ('Just for you'). After the intensity of percussion and piano peaks after 6 minutes it settles back down to the original cymbal roll and light piano chords, building again with even more dynamic vocal interplay. Probably the best track on the album (and the 2nd longest at over 10 minutes).

The next section begins with deep male vocals from Vander and a handful of guests, with the women joining in for a full choir after a minute and a half. As the title would suggest, the accompanying piano is very march-like, but unlike peak Magma this isn't quite the dystopian military march and is a lot more upbeat.

Magnifi is a mysterious sounding monologue accompanied by alternating piano chords and string effects, a strange interlude. The prelude to Purificatem is the most jazzy track, mainly due to the freeplay saxophone and piano, starting slow and lazy but building quickly into fast tempo free jazz after half the track with the addition of drums.

Vander's piece de resistance is the 26 minute Purificatem, which can be broken down into several phases. It begins like a classic early Magma jazzy Kobaian track, with Vander's vocals alongside jazzy sax, glockenspiel and drums, with just a hint of foreboding thanks to the rolling piano chords. After 4 minutes or so, Vander's smooth vocals become more abstract and scatty, with the instruments following suit, becoming more chaotic as his 'manic' vocalisations build in intensity. This continues to a crescendo and at half way the vocals give way to a 3 minute jazzy instrumental which peaks and troughs between minimal and intense. Vander then returns and the track gets even more intense, with him and the saxophone practically screaming at each other before everything slows to a break on 17 minutes, but it builds quickly up again for a second shouting match. Vocals return periodically for the remainder of the track, with the intensity still shifting up and down, often signified by strong low pitched piano chords (think of cartoons dropping a piano out of a window...). Cracking track.

I'd therefore focus on the two longer tracks - the rest seem a bit like filler really. Hard to compare the three Offerign albums, they're all good in very different ways!

bartymj | 3/5 |


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