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Unit Wail - Pangaea Proxima CD (album) cover

PANGAEA PROXIMA

Unit Wail

 

Zeuhl

3.75 | 17 ratings

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octopus-4
Special Collaborator
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars The influence of Shub-Niggurath, coming from one of that band's founders, the guitarist Frank Fromy, makes this debut album very dark. Respect to the last unlistenable effort of Shub-Niggurath (Note: I thought it was the last, but after their 3rd album there's another released in 2009 I wasn't aware of) this album is very well played and arranged, so if you are in the right mood for this kind of sci-fi inspired dark and obsessive music, with jazz and classical elements fused together, this is a very good one.

The music is dissonant but not noisy, and even if dark, not horrorific as Shub-Niggurath were.

The track titles give the impression of a sci-fi concept,but of course, without lyrics this is hard to say.

"Mesozoic Cities" may be referred to the "Old Ones", and one of those cities could be R'Lyeh. The music is able to suggest images of chaos and weirdness, but it doesn't appear to be improvised. Each passage seems to be carefully planned, and this is more evident with "Ombos". I don't think one can improvise on that kind of signatures. Ombos was effectively an ancient city, known in ancient Egypt as "Nubt" on which there's a great necropolis.

"T'l't'" has a funky start and becomes dark when the guitar enters. Bass and drums play perfect Zeuhl in the Magma tradition. I don't know what the title means, unfortunately.

"Sargasso Sea" reminds to Lovecraft but also to "Le Bateau Ivre" by Arthur Rimbaud. A sea covered by algae on which ships can't move because of the absence of winds and any kind of possible monster behind the surface. This is one of the most rock tracks, easier maybe, but this doesn't subtract anything from its goodness. The guitar is remarkable on this track.

Few seconds of dark ambient can give the illusion of something relaxing, also because we are in "Outerspace". This is one of the most uptime tracks instead, with an incredible signature underlined by the slapped bass, but with a very good keyboard layer and the guitar which in some moments sounds like Andy Latimer (in terms of sounds, not of notes). For me the best album's track.

"Humanized Fish From Encelade" is the most chaotic track in terms of melodies and signatures, and Philippe Haxaire makes an excellent work with his drum kit. I'd like to see this performed live.

"Home Of Nowhere" transports us to the depest obscurity. Here the Shub-Niggurath imprinting is strong. Drums and keys are the main elements. It's so dark that the following "Magnetostriction" can appear "pop" in comparison. Surely it's more rock-oriented, more August Derleth than Lovecraft if this can give the idea.

"Holocene Extinction" is even relaxing. The music seems to describe a desert world after the extinction happened, but it's only for about 30 seconds, then drums and bass bring in some rhythm.However this is not "tragic" as the title could suggest. I must remark that Holocene is the current geological period so this is about "our" extintion, nothing to do with dynosaurs.

"Shambala" is more structured. After a Floydian beginning it becomes jazzy with bass and drums on fusion rhythms. The tempo is quite slow. I think this is the easiest track of ths album. Less challenging but being challenging is not a must.

I don't know what "three Eyes" should mean, but the dark environment is completely restored. If it wasn't for the guitar which plays long struggling notes, it would have a free-jazz flavor. Less than three minutes of crazyness.

"Subdeath" closes the album in a horrorific way. This track reminds me of the Shub- Niggurath debut. It features the only lyrics, a bass pitched speech, of the whole album. I don't understand what the speaker says but I would be curious to know it, also to understand if my interpretation of the music's meaning (if there's a meaning) is correct or not.

It's an excellent addition for who likes the darker side of Zeuhl, not for everybody. In my opinion is a 3.5 stars album which I round up because of the excellent musicianship of the band's members. It's a debut. If tehy won't loose the way as Shub-Niggurath have done with their third album, we can expect exciting things.

octopus-4 | 4/5 |

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