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Cheval Fou


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Cheval Fou Cheval Fou album cover
2.81 | 15 ratings | 5 reviews | 7% 5 stars

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 1994

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Mercury Messenger (2:12)
2. Kheops (5:35)
3. Etna (7:06)
4. Hannibal (18:06)
5. Meteorites (5:56)
6. Isthar (1:48)
7. Actreids (2:46)
8. Croisades (2:34)
9. Dans L'Oeil De L'Oeil (4:48)
10. Birth (1:23)
11. Marion Dreams (2:32)
12. Sunset Laser (8:19)
13. La Fin De La Vie ... (12:44)

Total Time 73:49

Line-up / Musicians

- Jean Max Peteau / guitar, bass
- Stephene Rossini / drums
- Michel Peteau / guitar, saxophone

Releases information

CD Legend Music LM9004 (1994)
CD Psych Up Melodies PUM002/01 (2011)

Buy CHEVAL FOU Cheval Fou Music

CHEVAL FOU Cheval Fou ratings distribution

(15 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(7%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(13%)
Good, but non-essential (60%)
Collectors/fans only (13%)
Poor. Only for completionists (7%)

CHEVAL FOU Cheval Fou reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars French act CHEVAL FOU was active from 1970 until 1975, with Jean-Max Peteau (guitars, vocals), Stephane Rossini (drums, vocals) and Michel Peteau (guitars, vocals, saxophone) as permanent members and, I assume, at least a couple of guest musicians contributing to the proceedings whose names have been lost in time. They never released anything while active, but in 1994 the short-lived French independent label Legend Music issued a compilation of recordings by the band made back in the early 70's. As the same label reissued Cheval Fou's successor outfit NYL's sole release with additional bonus material at the same time, it is likely to suspect that the label got access to recordings by both these projects at that time. Out of print for a good few years by, this compilation was reissued by new indie label Psych Up Melodies in the fall of 2011.

And this compilation of recordings by Cheval Fou is of a character thaqt makes it a production for the specially interested to seek out. Relatively harsh, slightly primitive psychedelic rock is the name of the game, with a firm emphasis on fireworks drums and tight interwoven guitar constructions with occasional freakout moments. Dual guitar motifs with one dark-toned and a lighter toned contrasting psych-tinged or soloing a common feature, staccato guitar constructions interwoven with the drums another regular feature. In style and expression often closer to the excursions made by German bands at the time, and as such music of a kind and character that might well interest krautrock aficionados.

The backside of the medallion is the quality of the recordings scavenged to assemble this disc. If they are live in studio or live on stage I can't tell, but what's certain is that they weren't made with any thought towards making them commercially available. Most likely time has taken it's toll on the tapes that recorded them too, but at best these recordings corresponds to what you'd get on low quality bootlegs in yesteryear. Two rounds in the studio remastering them to as high a level as possible makes them listenable, some of them even passable, but by and large most people expecting to listen to material at a certain minimum quality will find this album wanting.

That is, apart from final track La fin de la vie. This one exception appears to be a good quality studio recording, and of such quality that I wouldn't be surprised if I learned that at least some of it had been recorded at a much later date. Elegant, repetitive tribal rhythms and spoken words reciting a story of some sort, at first by a child and later by a grown man, with dampened fluctuating instrumental textures placed way back in the arrangements. Some kind of simplistic precursor to later day projects such as Trey Gunn's Quodia project from a few years back. Less refined and in French, but sharing many obvious similarities.

All in all an album for those with a special interest in early 1970's French psychedelic progressive rock, with qualities that should make it an interesting experience for like-minded krautrock fans. As long as they can cope with the rather extreme lo-fi quality that define all but the last track on this disc.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Obscure French Psychdelic Rock band, which existed between early- and mid-70's.Cheval Fou reputedly hailed from Paris and were fronted by brothers Jean-Max and Michel Peteau (both guitarists and singers) along with drummer Stephane Rossini.While the band had recorded several tracks around the time of its existence, none of these actually saw the light until 1994, when a collection of tracks was released in CD format on the French label Legend.The same album was re-released more recently by Fabrizio Di Vicino's Psych Up Melodies.

The sound of these recordings (clocking at 75 minutes) is pretty bearable considering they were rather amateur productions, just do not expect that much, we are talking about some early-70's tapes here, and the result is quite satisfying yet a bit dated.Musically the band delivered a two-sided rock style.The one is deeply grounded in the Kraut/Psych-Rock mannerisms of ASH RA TEMPEL, early GONG and AMON DUUL, and the music is often led by repretitive guitar rhythms, long and trippy semi-improvisations, sound effects, while vocals do not come easy, being slightly distorted or delivered under wordless chords, still they hide a charming hidden power.The later combined with the long guitar tremblings of Plateau brothers, the sound effects and the drum work of Rossini offer the more narcotic music you can ever listen too!The other foot of Cheval Fou steps in the typical Heavy/Psychedelic Rock of the era, where the guitars play the basic role and offer powerful rhythms and sharp solos next to some very confident drumming.Nothing of course to get excited about but this pretty solid 70's Heavy Rock with some interesting guitar workouts and at moments appear even some prog-inclined breaks with complicated structures.The truth though is that most of the album's legth is dedicated to the trippy musicianship, which seems to be the band's main priority.The vocals as mentioned are an acquired taste.Narrative, melodramatic and often distorted, they seem to fit perfect to the overall atmosphere, but I can also see some of the listeners to be turned down by the excessive vocal approach.

My information say that Michel Peteau and Rossini went on to form Nyl just a year after Cheval Fou disbanded.The legacy they left with their previous group is sure to please all fans of hypnotic and Psychedelic Rock, creating series of tracks strongly influenced by the monsters of the genre aforementioned.Warmly recommended.

Review by Conor Fynes
3 stars 'Cheval Fou' - Cheval Fou (48/100)

For every band that found a place of significance in the progressive rock pantheon, there are at least a dozen that time never saw fit to remember. In some cases, it was a matter of the band simply not being good enough; in others, it may have been due to lack of commitment, inspiration or luck. Yet thanks to records like PsychUp and the widespread use of digital file sharing, these once-forgotten acts have been given another chance to be heard. So it is for Cheval Fou, a French krautrock act that never left the demo stage. Cheval Fou (or 'Crazy Horse') would eventually develop into the spacier Nyl and release a more realized LP in 1976 (with Jannick Top in the credits as guest bassist no less!); all we have from Cheval Fou is this collection of recordings from '71-75.

When reviewing Nyl's self-titled, I wrote that it felt like their compositions had been written solely as a framework for performance and musicianship; the songwriting was nothing without the way it was presented. I feel similarly about the French trio's work as Cheval Fou, except instead of their technique and skill with performing, it's effects and texture that are getting the showcase. At seventy minutes in length, there isn't a single song or riff that stands out or merits respect for the way it was written. When there are conventional riffs, they're kept minimalistic to the point where you might have thought Cheval Fou were intentionally trying to keep it simple. There is a wide variety of material on these demos, ranging from murky ambient to driving rock rhythms, but never once does the miasma solidify into something focused or memorable. The production is about as lo-fi as you can get without recording with a banana and a tree stump, and while the garage-style production would have hurt the music in most cases, Cheval Fou's murky krautrock sensibilities benefit from it.

Ultimately, in spite of its no-budget recording and forgettable songwriting, Cheval Fou are saved in large part due to their work with soundscapes. It sometimes feels as if rock instrumentation has been tossed in a cauldron and broiled to the point where the effects are louder than the instruments themselves. Echoes are aplenty, and the vocals (when they're there) are usually screeched and off-key. Somehow, the atmosphere works: Cheval Fou make themselves out to be unlikely adepts in the art of creepy atmosphere. Don't let the colourful cover and psychedelic improvisations fool you; there are moments on this album that get downright frightening. I know it's a central aim of psychedelic rock to mimic some element of mental distortion, but few are able to explore its frightening implications like Cheval Fou do here. That potential makes it all the more disappointing; with this excellent grasp of atmosphere, Cheval Fou could have done something great if the rest of their craft had been improved upon. Alas, no amount of effects can help forgive essentially weak compositions. Close, yet so far away...

More a demo compilation than a full-length, this weird trip into lo-fi psychedelia only ever found a release in 1994 with the short-lived Legend Records, and more recently in 2011 with PsychUp. Its production values are about what you'd expect from an early 70's demo, and it comes off as a largely aimless reproduction of hazy Krautrock aesthetics. For what it lacks in composure, however, Cheval Fou conjure some fiercely mind-bending soundscapes and ambient effects here; it's a shame they never went any farther with it than this.

Review by DamoXt7942
2 stars Should unrefined whinny be thought as a kind of counterpart of crazy soundscape of this obscure French combo? A short-lived unknown act CHEVAL FOU had left a number of sound material during their lifetime, and finally their heritage created from 1971 until 1975 has been compiled in 1994. Sounds like every track in this compilation would be flexibly played and poorly mixed / mastered / produced (like in a home studio), honest to say. Sometimes we can come across such an artist who would have an economical issue but work for fascinating production especially in Krautrock scene, and CHEVAL FOU were one of mysteriously seductive rock relics without exception, let me say.

A few tracks like "Kheops" or some short ones can be heard as so-so produced improvisational psychedelic guitar-oriented works seasoned with spacey synthesizer flavour and vocal cheap tricks. There is also dissected sound / noise collective or variation like "Actreids". On the other hand, some longer tracks are melodically / rhythmically collapsed and destructed completely. Afraid if they would have played seriously and sincerely, or have created material under psychically medicated consition, sadly.

In conclusion, this creation is considered as nothing but an outcome of weird assortment with poor production. Please listen to this obscure compilation not as a completed work but as a toybox featuring flexible material. You can feel as if you would be drenched in "Karawane Der Mystiks" by Blumen Des Exotischen Eises, "With (Junk-Saucepan) When (Spoon-Trigger)" by Mahogany Brain or "Essais" by Semool. Recommended not for every progressive rock fan but for a bigot of Krautrock obscurity, like me!

Latest members reviews

3 stars The one and only album from this French band. Cheval Fou was led by Michel Peteau, the man also responsible for Nyl. It's album has received very favourable reviews. Where Nyl are more space rock, Cheval Fou is much more Krautrock. This despite of Cheval Fou being French. Don't mention the war. ... (read more)

Report this review (#576467) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Sunday, November 27, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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