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Igor Wakhevitch - Hathor CD (album) cover

HATHOR

Igor Wakhevitch

Progressive Electronic


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philippe
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Content Development & Krautrock Team
5 stars Formed in classical music and ancient member of the french "group of musical research" (GRM), Igor Wakhevitch explored various musical genres but with a constant fascination for opera, visual art and choregraphies. His way of using analog synth and electronic modules enable him to make a name among the great figures of the 70's kosmische-psychedelic gallery. "Hathor" is what I would like to call a "space opera", built around moody/damaged/ massive spaced out synthesizers and eerie, operatic, majestic atmospheres. The album concept is about the "creation", "death" and "resurrection"...consequently a few compositions are punctuated by narratives in french, speaking about old latin religion. The opening track is a gorgeously dark, creepy electronic hymn with deep synth strings, classical choirs and narratives. without transition it directly carries on circular electronic motifs & various combinations of sounds, always terrific and haunting. A lugubrious, powerful organic church like drone sequence progressively appears. A fantastic drone based composition, delivering an atmosphere of pure madness. "Rituel de guerre des esprits de la terre" is a tribal electronic, fantaisist piece with drums and bizarre noises. "Cris pour les sabbats infernaux" is full of incantations, crying, claustrophobic, plaintive voices. "Office de la levée des corps" is a funereal, religious chant, including narratives in latin. "Amenthi" carries on the same cavernous droney chant but features electronic oscillations. Totally unique and attached to the musical personality of Igor Wakhevitch. A marvellous, enigmatic and ritualistic voyage. A masterpiece highly recommended for fans of Art Zoyd, Pierre Henry, Philippe Besombes...

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Send comments to philippe (BETA) | Report this review (#137156)
Posted Saturday, September 08, 2007 | Review Permalink
snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Early electronics sound based dark mystic bombastic opera-like musical album. Some speaking vocals (on French), heavy, almost ritual, organ drones. Plenty of spacey electronic sounds all around.

Unusual combination of classically-rooted music and easy-accessible melodic electronic. Looking at the time of release, I understand that it's a very early electronic opera experimental work, with characteristic sound .

It's interesting music. I can hardly to say I like it, but even after some repetitive listening it had plenty of attraction, saving some secrets deeply under the surface. In whole, quite experimental work, but should be really interesting for early electronic music researchers.

I am not sure how much this album could attract just regular listener, though.

My rating is 3,5, rounded to 4.

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Send comments to snobb (BETA) | Report this review (#283531)
Posted Wednesday, May 26, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars 'Hathor' (Horus's enclosure - for all you Egyptologists out there), begins off in almost Biblical proportions, like the soundtrack to 'The Ten Commandments' with a massive wall of sound followed by a deafiningly loud and ominous rich baritone voice who sounds like the prophet of doom.

Some highly advanced pro 70's keyboards quickly enter the frame which squirt and drone all over the place, panning from ear to ear creating a cacophonous racket. Incredibly good electronics that sound way in advance of their years.

Famously, Michael Gira of 'Swans' fame proclaimed this and it's accompanying box-set, one of 'the strangest artists I've ever heard'.

Super deep multi choral voices appear on 'Office de la levee du corps' (whatever that means), which sounds like one of the creepier moments in the 'Omen' with some Tangerine Dream 'Alpha Centauri' sound effects thrown in, which really gives me the creeps in its extreme malevolence. It's quite unlike anything else I've heard.

This highly original and downright unsettling album could seriously damage friendship - with either neighbour or spouse. So watch it folks!

Apparently Wakhevitch studied piano under the tutelage of Olivier Messiaen which would explain a lot, because he was a bit mental as well.

It's the little details that add flavour which make this an excellent recording. There's so many twists and turns that are all unexpected, particularly the spoken voice which truly put shivers down my spine and raised my eyebrows in the most unnatural of ways. The only thing that prevents a 5 star here is the fact that it's all over in what seems the blink of an eye in 34 minutes. It feels more like 15! Brilliant!

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Send comments to Dobermensch (BETA) | Report this review (#414954)
Posted Saturday, March 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
colorofmoney91
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Hathor is experimental, ritualistic, enigmatic progressive electronic album by electro- avant-gardist Igor Wakhevitch. Compared to Wakhevitch's previous release, this album is much calmer. The music on Hathor is much more about atmosphere than bizarre experimentation with symphonic and krautrock psychedelia touches. These tracks follow in the ambient, drone, and buzz classes of electronic music, but also features dramatic spoken word passages in French, choir singing, disembodied demonic voices, and strong and demanding electronic pulses.

For anyone looking for a less avant-garde introduction to Igor Wakhevitch's music, this is probably the best bet. But this and Docteur Faust make up the essential Wakhevitch. Though I don't enjoy this albums calmness over Docteur Faust's confusing collage of experimental electronic-symphonic sounds, Hathor serves as a much tamer album for relaxing and meditating in an atmosphere of darkness and uncertainty. Highly recommended.

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Send comments to colorofmoney91 (BETA) | Report this review (#439065)
Posted Monday, April 25, 2011 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
3 stars Wakhevitch's 3rd album makes a decisive turn towards progressive electronic territory. Hailing from 1973 it is quite unique, different from Schulze and Tangerine Dream as it emphasis avant-garde composition and theatricality over improvisation and cosmic exploration. It's still quite spacey but in general it rather reminds me of the avant-garde works from Vangelis.

A strong opener 'Hymne' makes for an epic and disconcerting opener for synths and chorus. At the end, French recited 'poetry' make this track quite pedantic and a bit cheesy actually. It's a common problem with all Wakhevitch releases I've heard. Luckily the compositions remain at a high level throughout, exploring new forms as well as sounds. Like many avant works, it makes this the sort of music that I do enjoy very much at an intellectual level but that I find difficult to connect to on an emotional/intuitive level.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#509541)
Posted Friday, August 26, 2011 | Review Permalink
Guldbamsen
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP
Site and Forum Admin
4 stars Inside the pyramid

This is a strange beast to say the least, and should probably be approached with caution. I mean, it feels like two different albums decided to work together, and out of this rather peculiar meeting came the weird and schizophrenic anomaly: Hathor.

Hathor was the Egyptian goddess of love, music and beauty - and bearing that in mind - projecting images of pyramids, solar devotion, high priests, magic and wonder, - then this album just might work for you, because most people will probably need some kind of help getting through the mystical and slightly avant garde world of Igor Wakhevitch.

This album is two faced like I said earlier, and on one hand you´ve got a hypnotic and trance inducing electronic Zeuhl music, that reminds me of both Art Zoyd´s Berlin and Popol Vuh´s In den Gärten Pharaos. You know that staccato and tribal percussion - building and building, sounding like music should to a 20th century Indian Shaman - accompanied by some spooky frog-like synthwork that jumps rhythmically every now and again. -On the other hand half of this album contains what can only be described as an evil ritualistic mass - done with electronics and various ominous sounding choir voices. These shift from deep bellowing chanting monks to operatic and dramatic sequences as well as spoken word poetry and whispering voices casting long forgotten spells.

Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde you say? Not entirely, but the outer extremes of both these sonic personalities are thankfully interwoven in Wakhevitch´s completely original way of creating atmospheres through electronics. All the pieces are soaked in all kinds of synths and moogs, but you certainly won´t hear a keyboard solo - what he does is more like laying down a foundation of brooding and evocative surfaces - sounding like he´s summoning magic overhead the majestic presence of the Sphinx. At other times he merely adds colour and juice to the tracks through noises and bleeps, which range from underground moog burps to what sounds like electronic frantic grasshoppers, cockroaches and buzzing robotic flies - all weaving about in ecstasy.

I was listening to this during a power cut just an hour ago, and I finally saw the light inside my darkened apartment. The goddess of love didn´t exactly descend from her solar empire, but I did imagine all these wonderful images of an Egyptian death mass from the insides of a holy temple of stone with beautiful brown women wearing gold - moving like serpents, High priestesses with red feline eyes and a large gathering of devotional followers all chanting along with the powerful electronic orchestra banging away to the far right of the enormous altar of Hathor.

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Send comments to Guldbamsen (BETA) | Report this review (#547696)
Posted Monday, October 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
3 stars Third Igor album in so many years, and this on brings yet another dimension, without straying from his gnarl musical aesthetics. We're still dealing with an electronic-sprinkled classical modern-symphonic canvas, and this time, the French narratives are a lot more present, something roughly useful (yet cheesy and embarrassing, like so many narratives) if you wabnt to make something of the concept album this is. As the album's title suggest, we're dealing with a pre-Roman and pre-christian sects and their related religious mythology, and the afterlife. Roughly, we're dealing with the Egyptian death cults and whatever Satanist bull[&*!#] that ensued in the last two centuries: read, watch and listen to the Lucifer Rising project with Jimmy Page, Bobby Beausoleil and Alistair Crowe links, for another similar example (with some incredibly excellent music. Anyway, this third Hathor album present a bland and blanc artwork, got released Atlantic, but did not feature the Triangle pop group, as its predecessors did. Instead, we find organist Estellet-Brun, Guy Boyer, the Ensemble Polyphonique (this album is much more vocal and lyrical than its predecessors) and the pop group Pachacamac.

In some ways, Hathor is Igor's gloomiest album ever, often sinister, but not really scary: actually if you're an atheist, this is pretty laughable. You could imagine a clown-ier or kitschy Shub-Niggurath (for those who know them), but the quality of the music and soundscapes avoid ridicule or pastiche. The nearly-symphonic electronic soundscapes opening the album could have you think of Tangerine Schulze intro with aerial choirs, but soon enough the 'grandiose' narratives pull you in the satan-derived concept, before diving us in the sea of oscillating and pulsing electronic sounds and hypnotizing rhythms of Grand Sabbath and Rituel De Guerre. A bit later, the crowd-rising harangues and the Latin mass incantations are downright silly, and will most-likely make you reach for that ffwd button on your remote control, past the first few listens. Once the music returns, we still have to deal with dronal choirs, but the sinister farce has stopped, to leave a haunting soundscape of Amenthi, but it overstays its welcome. Howling owls greet you in the night-ending dawn (Aurora), with some soothing liturgical organ.

A thankfully fairly-short album Hathor might have gained somewhat from being a wordless concept and maybe gain a few more instrumental passages. Indeed past these doubtful conceptual meanderings, we're left with a very groundbreaking electronic soundscape album that can only impress the historically-conscious music-heads. Too bad this would- be masterpiece of an album is littered with esoteric junk, though.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#778804)
Posted Thursday, June 28, 2012 | Review Permalink

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