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Jannick Top - Infernal Machina CD (album) cover

INFERNAL MACHINA

Jannick Top

 

Zeuhl

4.23 | 101 ratings

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friso
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Jannick Top - Infernal Machina (2008)

French ex-Magma bass-player Jannick Top is often credited for being one of the main founders of the illustrious 'Zeuhl' genre. His heavy distorted and alternative grooving bass style has become a recognizable feature of most Zeuhl releases since then, including Magma albums after the Vander-Top period.

On this album Top borrows heavily from the Magma legacy, mainly re-using the minimalistic parts of the style and by re-using harmonic findings and chord progressions from the Konterkosz period. We can also find some bass rhythms from the Udu Wudu album. The album is dark and brooming and develops very slowly towards its heavy finale, with heavy drums of Christian Vander himself (and shine he does!). Top introduces a new female vocal style that reminds me a bit of the soundtrack of the 'Ghost in the Shell' movies, it has an Japanese feel to it.

Some highlights are the acoustic bass parts on the opening section, the brilliant free-jazz guitar solo near the ending, the brilliant drums of Vander on the latter parts of the album and the overall dark atmosphere. I'm less enthusiastic about the length of the pieces (for me the album could have had a running time of 40 min. instead of 55 min.), the muddy recording sound and the finale with the piano-melody that gets pretty irritating after a while.

Conclusion. Though I would qualify 'Infernal Machina' as a fine album of the genre, it surely lacks the innovative qualities and composition values that we've seen on the recent Magma albums. I always felt the appraisal for Top's role in the Magma story was a bit overdone, but this album really proved for me that it is Vander who is the sole mind behind the Zeuhl genre. Even on this album he saves the show with his amazing drums that cut through the otherwise way too lifeless sections near the ending. Still fans of the genre find themselves with another fine album that is worth investing some time in. Three and a halve stars, and by the way; a great leap forward from his Soleil d'Ork album.

friso | 3/5 |

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