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Runaway Totem - Andromeda CD (album) cover

ANDROMEDA

Runaway Totem

 

Zeuhl

3.53 | 28 ratings

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progaeopteryx
Prog Reviewer
5 stars This is my first listen to a band from the Zeuhl genre. I probably should have started with Magma after reading a little bit about this genre, but I couldn't resist the price I found this at on an online retailer's site. Further, after having read a few good reviews for Runaway Totem's Andromeda I was rather curious. This time curiosity didn't leave me with a dud (which happens more than I care for), but a surprising masterpiece.

I agree with other reviewers that there is a subtle darkness to the music on Andromeda, though it wasn't as dark as I expected. I think it's the symphonic nature of the music that counters this darkness. The music is also quite complex, but again, not as complex as I expected it to be after reading other reviews. Having never heard music in the Zeuhl genre, I was able to pick up King Crimson and Ozric Tentacles influences in places. It has the "angularity" (I can't think of a better word) and complexity of Crimson, yet there are places where Runaway Totem resembles a space rock band (notably the gurgling synths that appear here and there). I must admit that it took a little time to get used to the vocals of Roberto Gottardi, but I found them to grow on me through repeated listens as I realized the power of his delivery, although at times it seems he lacks skill and needs more work (maybe it was done this way on purpose?). Anyway, his voice is perfectly suitable to the musical style and I can't think of anyone I could possibly compare him with.

All of the songs on Andromeda are simply great. I was quite surprised right from the first listen, probably because I was expecting some difficult RIO-style. This is far from being a difficult listen. Kontakt, Tempus Fugiens? and Kadman Neso are killer pieces. They all have a complex and driving rhythm with complex and symphonic arrangements containing touches of space rock, occasionally showing some mild repetitiveness. The instrumental, Andros Medomai is a delightfully complex finale. The oddest song is OD .: OB .: with its three-point triangles following whatever OD and OB is. I'm wondering if it has anything to do with Magick or some Aleister Crowley thing? It has a strange beginning, but eventually kicks into a driving rhythm.

Definitely a masterpiece for me. I've been listening to this regularly for several weeks now and it has grown to become a significant contribution to my collection. If you haven't given Zeuhl a try, other than starting with Magma, Runaway Totem's Andromeda is an essential must-have. Highly recommended and well deserving of five stars.

progaeopteryx | 5/5 |

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