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Jannick Top


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Jannick Top Soleil D'Ork album cover
3.71 | 29 ratings | 4 reviews | 24% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2001

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Epithecantropus Erectus (6:52)
2. Utopia Viva (6:53)
3. La Musique Des Spheres (8:29)
4. Mekanik Machine (9:24)
5. Soleil D'ork (6:19)
6. De Futura (22:47)
7. Glas (7:30)

Total Time 68:14

Line-up / Musicians

- Jannick Top / bass, guitar, drums, etc.

- Klaus Blasquiz / vocals (4)
- Claude Olmos / guitar (4)
- Richard Pinhas / guitar (6)
- Patrick Gauthier / keyboards (4)
- Jean Schultes / drums (1-3)
- Christian Vander / drums (4)
- Dakar / percussion (3)
- Doudou N'Diaye Rose / percussion (3)

Releases information

Unreleased recordings from 1974-76

Artwork: Liliane Mangavelle

CD Utopic Records ‎- EX 6245 (2001, France)

Thanks to anael for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy JANNICK TOP Soleil D'Ork Music

JANNICK TOP Soleil D'Ork ratings distribution

(29 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(24%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(28%)
Good, but non-essential (34%)
Collectors/fans only (14%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

JANNICK TOP Soleil D'Ork reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by laplace
5 stars Jannick Top, being the champion of discerning prog bass guitar, is a musician who suffers from applied superlatives - terms like "bulldozing", "tectonic" and infamously, "dinosaur-skinning" are often related to his trademark zeuhl low-end. However, listening to this collection of his own work it might be that, on the famous Magma classics he may have been a little restrained.

"Soleil d'Ork", despite being studded with guest musicians (and if you follow the french scene, you'll know their names) is All About Jannick(TM) and is naturally written with the Kobaian rhythm section in mind. Consequentially, the record is almost totally saturated with funky bass and matches pulse with the ever-beating wardrums of planet Ork. If you're familiar with Magma's "Udu Wudu" then you should be able to recognise this shared song form - those alien disco synth melodies twinned with those trolled vocals while those doomy bass patterns churn and coil across that military drumdropping and the slither of hissing hi-hat, together defining battle anthems that endlessly loop. I do hope you like this formula, because the Wahrgenuhr certainly does.

Luckily, the songs diverge a little; "Epicanthropus Erectus" is a dark cave-groove with curious fiddlings; "Utopia Viva" is a glorious celebration which tests funk positive; "La Musique des Spheres" (a title you might recognise) is a spooky field of spacy-gothic echodrum ambience that feels like the evil-ternative Jean-Michel Jarre as reprogrammed by the Borg. All these songs are very long and don't really deign to conclude in any meaningful way, suggesting, of course, that the people of Ork live a toroid lifespan where they can see through time in both directions - what need is there for an ending when the temptation is there to scry it directly and ruin the surprise? Much more sensible to live the groove eternal.

"Mekanik Machine" is really special and a total treat for Zeuhl-lovers, because THE CORE is present - by the forces of Vander, Top and Blasquiz combined, this becomes the album's true centrepiece, as well as a possible "lost" Magma song. However, although there's even a little electric piano during the pensive moments, thanks to Jannick's direction everything else is light on the jazz and choral fronts, so the tasteful light and shade is foregone, leaving the song to culminate in one big rumbling, shrieking, pounding explosion of classic zeuhl ridiculousness. Again, it doesn't really end so much as become gradually more haywire and frenetic, but that's practically the album's concept (even if I have to attribute it as such myself) and if you've ever wanted to hear Magma being as heavy as a ton of doom metal CDs, come hither.

The title track should be vaguely familiar, and I suspect it's the same piece of music filtered slightly differently. This is a slightly disappointing moment - I wanted to hear it trolled more, or at least distorted beyond recognisability. If anything, it serves as a reprieve between two titanic epics, because you've read the tracklist and you know what comes next...

The man may be more famous for guiding such musical luminaries as Johnny Halliday and Celine Dion slowly around the studio by the hand, but "De Futura" is his true calling card, right? Here it is in a much more peculiar form, bookended by gibbering demonic voices (or possibly cows on motorbikes) and a despondent kobaian monologue, and once we've entered zeuhlspace some of you might be disappointed, as the Orkish funeral march is propped up this time by that most accursed of man's creation - the drum machine. Still, I really think this punishing heartbeat of the future fits the tune well and adds an even more robotic element, and the lack of more subtle drum textures pronounces this version of the epic as "pure" as can be. You may disagree and crave the variety that Mr. Vander always brings; just think of Top's "De Futura" as the original recording reflected on an oil slick.

The final piece, "Glas", is a trek across the dunes of Ork towards a temple of the bells, complete with sand-laden wind bearing down your respirator and distorted, distant everythingness. I'll mention "Hyuponia" here in the hope that someone will understand the reference.

Frankly, you may have noticed by now that this album is perhaps not aimed at your classic moog-rocker, being mostly ambient or doomy for its entirety, and for this reason, I can't recommend it unreservedly. However, I'm giving it a full five stars because it is an essential element of any prog collection also featuring "Kohntarkosz" - if you like doom metal, funk, industrial or power electronics, then doubly so. I'd just like to say that this is my favourite record from another planet.

Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars That noise you hear is my head bouncing off my computer desk in frustration. Why did it take me so long to get into Zeuhl ? I had this vision that Zeuhl was this dark, tribal music with chanting, so I stayed away. When I finally decided to check it out I found it was this dark, tribal music with chanting and I love it ! Jannick Top who played bass for MAGMA on three of their studio albums, as well as Vander's first solo record, offers up a collection of his finest compositions from 1974-1980. There are some legendary guests of course, but this is mostly Top's instrumental work including playing all the instruments on a couple of tracks.

"Epithecantropus Erectus" is different with those male vocal chants that are both deep and rough with high pitched female vocal melodies joining in. The instrumental work includes angular guitar with a pulsating rhythm of bass and drums. Some piano too. "Utopia Viva" features what sounds like synths, as drums pound away and bass throbs relentlessly.This song has an appropriate title as it has an euphoric feel to it. Lots going on in this tune, and we get some sax before 5 minutes. "La Musique Des Spheres" consists of heavy drums and a spacey soundscape throughout. This is an absolutely killer song. There are two guest percussionists on this one. "Mekanik Machine" is my favourite song and includes some MAGMA members including Vander on drums, Blasquisz on vocals, Olmos on guitar("MDK"), and Gauthier on keyboards. As laplace points out this sounds like a lost MAGMA song. The vocal melodies are fantastic, both male and female. The guitar is amazing as well and tempos change often. She can really hold a note as heard 3 1/2 minutes in. The bass is quite chunky. The song speeds up before 8 minute to a frenzied soundscape including some screaming guitar. Great song !

"Soleil D'Ork" is dominated by Top's bass lines and lighter sounding male vocal melodies. This has such an incredible hypnotic sound to it. "De Futura" is almost 23 minutes long and features the amazing talents of Richard Pinhas from HELDON on guitar ! Jannick had guested on one of HELDON's albums in 1976. It opens with dark sounds as we get lots of atmosphere. Spoken words 1 1/2 minutes in and a melody before 3 minutes. Here we go ! Drums pound as guitar, bass and male vocal melodies fill out the sound. Some killer angular guitar melodies and then after 7 minutes the guitar and vocal melodies combine beautifully. The vocal melodies do stop at times but the beat is relentless. It speeds up 14 minutes in. This is great ! Pinhas lays down some terrific guitar melodies as it starts to speed up again. Spoken words to end it with some eerie sounds. "Glas" opens with the wind blowing as we get a dark, psychedelic vibe happening. It sounds like waves in the background as sleepy vocals arrive into this haunting atmosphere.

There is no doubt about this being a 5 star record. This is Zeuhl music at it's finest.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Jannick Top was a Magma bassist for years. This album is his debut (but in fact it is a collection of his solo pieces, recorded during some years). Some Magma musicians participated on this recording, so it is not strange that music there is zeuhl.

I am not a Magma maniac, even if I can find many their moments quite interesting. So, speaking non-Kobaian language, what the listener can find there?

Very characteristic bass from Jannick for sure. Then, tribal drumming, strongly Carl Orff influenced neo-classical chorals. Dark industrial atmosphere. Some funky groove. Hypnotic pulsation. In whole - strange parallel world. Can't imagine someone can love this music, but for sure it is not your regular sleepy neo-symphonic clone. Music for adults with interest on other side of life.

Are these compositions interesting? Yes, for sure. Is this music pleasant? No way!

Possibly I am not enough deep in Kobaian world, but if early Magma's albums sounded as picture of outer world (space?) for me, with all that meKaniK dark industrial totalitarian sound, this Jannick album, strongly Magma-influenced, sounds as soundtrack for excursion to cold-war time Soviet bunker (we have such kind of entertainment for tourists there, and it is an expensive one).

Great thing with this music is - it works. Bad thing - how much I am interested to accept this soul-destruction meKanism flying around of my rebel's soul. Anyway, this music is not soundtrack for escalators.

Possibly valuable release for Magma fans. For all others - just think twice before you will push "Play" button.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I hate to be the dissonant voice here but I really can't hear the merit of this Zeuhl album. As much as I adore Jannick Top's bass guitar, he doesn't convince me at all here.

The album consists of Jannick Top recordings from the second half of the 70's and mainly features alternate versions of songs he wrote for Magma's Üdü Wüdü, even though some come with an alternate title. None of these versions adds anything to the known Magma takes. Quite the contrary, despite the involvement of Blasquitz, they sound lifeless and muffled. It's like Magma with all sparkle and creative vigour sucked out of it. Da Futura suffers most of all, without Vander's drums it remains a monotonous and lifeless affair.

Only half of the album consists of original material, but also that remains rather demo-ish and ultimately unfulfilling, the funky Utopia Via and Mekanik Machine have potential but the demo quality makes them a difficult listen. An exception comes with La Musique Des Sphères, a very dark and atmospheric instrumental with a haunting synth and eerie tribal percussion. It evokes a cosmic ambience not unlike Magma's Ork Alarm, another Jannick Top composition. Glass is the 4th and last bit of original material and would make good film music.

Even considering myself quite a fanboy, I fail to see how this collection of alternate takes and demos would interest anyone but the really dedicated fans. Apart from La Musique Des Sphères, there's nothing with much appeal.

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