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Zoviet France

Progressive Electronic

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Zoviet France Untitled album cover
3.90 | 4 ratings | 2 reviews | 33% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1982

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Ritual
2. Mudbast Boys
3. Sem Boys
4. Bring Hessa
5. Mounw
6. Ji Boys

Line-up / Musicians

- Ben Ponton, Lisa Hale, Peter Jensen, Robin Storey / all instruments, electronics and effects

Releases information

Red Rhino Records

Thanks to philippe for the addition
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ZOVIET FRANCE Untitled ratings distribution

(4 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(33%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(0%)
Good, but non-essential (67%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

ZOVIET FRANCE Untitled reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Dobermensch
3 stars A totally chaotic recording, without rhyme or reason. it's raw and abrasive in execution. Cheap technological recording techniques are used throughout this self titled album that is full of primitive looping.

This untitled album originally came in a painted Hessian bag - and has been known since as 'Hessian'. It's damn aggressive and completely tuneless but is compelling listening nonetheless. You could easily be forgiven for thinking that this was recorded by the inmates in 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'. Honestly folks, this is completely away with the bees.

'Ritual' kick starts their long discography off with peculiar wailing pipes and flute before some very heavy banging of drums and many demented screams and shouts. Believe it or not, there's even some straight electric guitar in there! It is however a totally bonkers recording with brutal stabs of horns at high volume intruding at many points. This is probably the only time they sounded like 'Throbbing Gristle'

'Mudbast Boys' reveals the only occasion I can recall hearing a real human voice on a Zoviet France recording. You probably won't like it though - as all thats uttered is 'Ok Boys' as battered irregular drums and a wildly out of tune piano flap about your face like a great big annoying moth.

'Sem Boys' displays the ugly raw, abrasive side to Zoviet France. It's the only tune I can think of where no effects are used at all. Everything is recorded at source in its original form. The funny thing is - they sound like a bunch of Comanche Indians.

Possibly one of the most annoying tunes of all time follows with 'Bring Hessa' a repetitive vocal diatribe which repeats the words 'Bring in Sheeves' but on listening sounds maddeningly like 'Bring in Cheese'. It reminds me a lot of the Roger Waters/Ron Geesin collaboration from 1970 - with all that whispering tomfoolery. Band members giggling in the background during the recording do not add to the finished product. Well, one thing's for sure. Once you've heard it you won't forget it. Believe me...

An unexpected tuneless funky bass brings in the 12 minute 'Ji Boys' which has a plenitude of destroyed piano and broken up percussion. Almost like a jig-saw that has been thrown up in the air in a fit of rage at being unable to find the missing piece. Five minutes in and things go totally AWOL - where blatantly loud clipped reverse drums and truly deranged bass guitar hammer out tuneless tones in this angriest of Zoviet France recordings. Those guitars come back in their shrilling, piercing manner which only adds to a fabulous ending.

The damage was done earlier on - in particular that 'Bring Hessa' track which is enough to try the patience of a Saint.

Review by LearsFool
5 stars Of all the great industrial bands of the genre's '70's and '80's heyday, Zoviet France were one of the the strangest. For one, they made unique covers for their LPs, here a burlap sack - though most often referred to as hessian material by fans. They didn't bother with an official title, so call it "Untitled", "Hessian", "Burlap", "Zoviet France", "Soviet France"... and, yes, they spelled it correctly this outing. And their music, at least on their now legendary debut, was not just as pitch dark and eerie as the other industrialists, it here switches between Throbbing Gristle style freeform soundscapes and a particularly tribal and brutal rhythm set. Those other industrial bands with rhythm were more standard and even already at times danceable. Only someone who's insane dances to this. This album is like listening to "Aumgn" and "Peking O" on repeat, with the tracks getting darker, weirder, more mechanical, and more tribal as they keep replaying, and eventually plumbing dark depths of irrational oblivion even Damo Suzuki himself was afraid of exploring. And, in the end, it is all perfect. Alongside "The Second Annual Report" this is a highpoint of the truly irredeemably lightless and sinister core of industrial, and as such is one of the genre's classics. If "Tago Mago" and "Klopfzeichen" are really your bag, then this, not even the works of TG, should be your very next stop.

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