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Wapassou Wapassou album cover
2.91 | 41 ratings | 5 reviews | 7% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1974

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Melopée (4:05)
2. Rien (10:44)
3. Musillusion (4:00)
4. Châtiment (6:56)
5. Trip (13:45)

total time: 39:32

CD reissue:
1. Femmes-Fleurs (bonus track) (2:48)
2. Borgia (bonus track) (2:31)
3. Melopée (4:05)
4. Rien (10:44)
5. Musillusion (4:00)
6. Châtiment (6:56)
7. Trip (13:45)

total time: 44:51

Line-up / Musicians

- Freddy Brua / organ, electric piano, piano, synthesizer
- Karin Nickerl / vocals, acoustic guitar
- Jacques Lichti / violin
- Fernand Landmann / acoustic equipment

Guest musicians:
- Geneviève Moerlen / flute on `Melopée', `Châtiment'
- Benoît Moerlen / percussion on `Trip'
- Jean-Pierre Schaal / bass on `Trip'
- Jean-Jacques Bacquet / clarinet on `Musillusion', `Châtiment'
- Jean-Michel Biger / drums on `Trip', `Châtiment'
- Christian Laurent / electric guitar, sitar on `Trip'.

Releases information

Prodisc PS 37342
CD Musea Records FGBG4147AR

Thanks to Sean Trane for the addition
and to Aussie-Byrd-Brother for the last updates
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Buy WAPASSOU Wapassou Music

WAPASSOU Wapassou ratings distribution

(41 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(7%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(29%)
Good, but non-essential (41%)
Collectors/fans only (17%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)

WAPASSOU Wapassou reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by debrewguy
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars So here I sit trying to come up with words that might offer some comparisons to assist you as to whether this is an album for you.

Well, here is the best way I can describe it - Imagine early 70s Ange trying their hand at being the soundtrack era Pink Floyd. Or vice versa. For example - Borgia is, for the most part, a take on that oldest of blues & boogie riffs - A , C, D, then back to A. Have Pink Floyd play a stilted blues version, with the keyboards sound from Ange's Caricatures . Or if you're Canadian, and grew up in a small town and went skating at the local rink every Saturday, I'm sure you'll be asking if that wasn't one of those endless series of organ tunes that seemed to provide the backdrop for your weekend sortie. A little freakier, but not mind blowing ...

Melopee seems played on an instrument (or instruments) that approximates a mix of B3 Hammond & Mellotron. Add to this, a violin playing the same melody as the keyboard(s), a flute somewhat quieter, and after a few plays, you also hear an acoustic guitar in the background, accompaying the whole with a mellow spanish flamenco-ish lilt. Calm , and you do walk away afterwards with the song echoing in your head. In my case, at least until I heard all the instruments. Kind of like ... once the puzzle is solved, the interest is lost.

Rien, Misillusion and Chatiment do recall a lighter Univers Zero. They don't captivate me in the same way, and frankly, this comparison drew my attention more than the songs.

Trip, which ends the album, brings me back to the early Ange sound from Caricatures & le Cimetiere des Arlequins. The way the organ sounds, the way it is played, it even made me go back & listen to Caricatures to see if I was simply remembering a similar tune from that LP, but no. Just the sounds. Apart from the 2 minute or so raga outro ...

So how do I actually feel about the music ? Well, I can see the RIO/Avant tag. But for 1974, it sounds dated. For Avant-Garde, it really doesn't come across as experimental or adventurous. Not even compared to some of the Symphonic or even Krautrockers of the time. And finally, the compositions themselves fail to really stick around in my ears, and once I'm to the next CD, they have already left but little traces in my memory.

O.K., but much better later (Messe en Re Mineur). But then, everyone has to start somewhere

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Unique and obscure 70's French Chamber Rock trio,hailing from Strasbourg.The main core of the band had no rhythm section and included female guitarist/singer Karen Nickerl, violin player Jacques Lichti and keyboardist Freddy Brua.However on their self-titled debut from 1974 there are several session help on a few tracks, including some bass, flutes, clarinets, drums and percussion.The album was originally released on Prodisc, both the Musea and Belle Antique CD reissues some years later include the two tracks of their single ''Femmes- Fleurs / Borgia'' from the same year.

The original opening ''Melopee'' is a haunting number of mellow Chamber/Classical music with flutes and violins on the forefront,pretty hypnotic but quite engaging.With the long ''Rien'' the band mixes impressively Psychedelic and Chamber Rock: dark organ sounds, acoustic passages with scary violin parts and emphatic vocals by Nickerl present the really personal face of the band.''Musillusion'' is on the folkier side of things thanks to the combination of acoustic guitars and violins with some symphonic sections added and Nickerl again in good form.''Chatiment'' is the first track to contain the slow drumming of Jean-Michel Biger, again a nice blend of organ-driven CATHARSIS-like Psychedelic Rock and violin-driven Chamber music, supported by the expressive narrative vocals of Nickerl along with a great flute section by Geneviève Moerlen towards the end.The long closing piece ''Trip'' features also the percussion work of Pierre Moerlen's brother Benoit in a track which sounds like an extended psychedelic jamming with the fiery organ solos next to the drums and percussion before finally takes some short of ANGE flame, where organ and electric guitars combine nicely.The end of it belongs to the sitar sounds of Christian Laurent.

Notice that the Musea CD reissue however will open with the two tracks of the band's 1974 single.''Femmes-Fleurs'' is a typical organ-led Psychedelic Rock cut with a steady hypnotic groove and a decent electric guitar performance, while ''Borgia'' contains some more dynamics,sounding though stylistically quite dated despite the nice organ solos.

A good mix of Psychedelic and Chamber Rock by a band with a sound of its own.Today the album has lost much of its freshness, possibly due to the lack of some true energy, but still surprises with the decent concept of combining two different music approaches.Warmly recommended.

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A fascinating debut album from a male and female member Seventies musical collective with a skewed split personality of styles and sounds, French group Wapassou would eventually become an avant-garde/chamber prog/rock-in-opposition act of note in the second half of that decade. But while there's the first emerging signs of that on their self-titled first album from 1974, the band were also experimenting with psychedelic, Krautrock, folk, raga and symphonic passages, making for an exploratory work searching musically in so many teasing little glimpses of schizophrenic directions.

Opening instrumental `Melopée' is a melancholic but wistful searing violin, flute and classical guitar folk rumination, keyboards shimmering gently with restraint in the background. The churning and senses-rattling `Rien' races in and out of a wealth of fascinating little themes in almost eleven minutes, Karin Nickerl's breathy pained vocal both reflective and weary over despondent piano, straining synths and scratchy violin responses. The piece quickly turns frantic and dangerous as electric piano and manic acoustic guitar picking grows in urgency, and pulsing electronics and mischievous droning organ brings a nightmarish mood. `Musillusion' closes the first side and is a shorter medieval-flavoured folk lament with droning choir-like vocals, Karin's slightly flat voice giving the piece an eerie despondent quality.

After a first side that was entirely devoid of drums altogether or anything except the lightest of percussive elements, the symphonic `Châtiment' maintains a nicely clipping beat (with almost an accidently modern trip-hop kick to it decades too early!) as Karin's breathy spoken-word purr drifts in and out of aching violin, dancing flute and spectral Ange-like keyboards. The almost fourteen- minute instrumental closer `Trip' sounds like nothing else on the disc (partly due to the addition of several guest musicians), with a Krautrock, raga and psych-rock flavour to the constant spacey electronic drones, lengthy jamming keyboard runs over lively drumming, hypnotic percussion and relentless snaking bass. Acid-fried electric guitar jamming simmers in the background, and sitar groans to life and builds wildly in the climax.

Oddly (and rather frustratingly, because there shouldn't be this kind of `re-writing of history'), the reissue licensed from Musea Records not only adds two instrumental recordings from a 1974 single to the front of the album (they should at least be tacked onto the end of the disc as `bonus tracks'), but it fails to even list them on the back cover. A bit of internet sleuthing reveals they are `Femmes-Fleurs', an easy to enjoy mix of plodding electronics and fuzzy distorted guitars that remind of the title-track opener of Pink Floyd's `Obscured by Clouds', and `Borgia', a throwaway but upbeat jig-like psych-lite rocker full of sprightly Hammond organ and spirited violin.

Initially confusing on first listen, `Wapassou' proves to be an unpredictable and exciting curio if you can connect with the somewhat gloomy mood of the pieces. Each track has a sparse, low-key production and is full of interesting (if not always the most skilled) playing, and there's a constant tasty roughness and natural fragility to the entire set that creates a very permeating and highly distinctive atmosphere. Don't instantly dismiss the album, let it take its time to reveal its precious secrets, and you'll likely find a welcome little unexpected gem.

Four stars.

Latest members reviews

1 stars I'm genuinely surprised that this is a real album. A real album, it was actually released on vinyl/CD and it's an album you can actually buy with your hard-earned money. Crazy! Don't get me wrong, I absolutely do not hate this record. The thing is, there is just nothing to hear there. It sounds ... (read more)

Report this review (#2486452) | Posted by Harold Needle | Sunday, December 20, 2020 | Review Permanlink

3 stars A strange debut drom the obscure french band Wapassou. This is hard to rate. This band have no drums and bass guitar, only keys, electric/acoustic guitar, violin, and the haunting vocals by Karen Nickerl. But this first album includes some additional instrumental, like flutes, bass, clarine ... (read more)

Report this review (#982754) | Posted by VOTOMS | Thursday, June 20, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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