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Alta´s Apsara / Altais album cover
4.05 | 2 ratings | 1 reviews | 50% 5 stars

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 2015

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Enfer Mais (Studio) (11:29) *
2. Apsaras (Live) (12:36) *
3. En D'Autres Lieux (Live) (13:28) *
4. O Rages (Live) (6:16) *
5. Ici Et Maintenant (10:15) *
6. Altais (7:37)
7. Promenade... (3:57)
8. Gravitation Zero (2:11)

Total Time 67:49

*Earlier incarnation of the band under the name 'Apsara'.

Line-up / Musicians

- Sigourney Beaver / layout
- Vincent Poix Daude / guest, saxophone
- Francine Michiels / photography
- Ann Stewart / vocals
- Franck W Fromy / guitar, sleeve notes
- Veronique Verdier / guest, saxophone
- Michelle Puttland / synth
- Benoit Delacroze / mixing
- Isabelle Nuffer / piano, vocals, synth
- Altais / mixing, producer, music, arrangements, recording
- Franck Marchebout / recording
- Pierre Hoch / photography, design
- Aymeric Leroy / liner notes
- Sandrine Fougere / vocals
- Emmanuel Pothier / mastering
- Olivier Le Vacon / mixing
- Philippe Goudier / bass, vocals, percussion
- Jean-Marie Sadot / bass
- Patrick Joliot / percussion, drums

Releases information

Soleil Zeuhl Soleil Zeuhl 47, Soleil Zeuhl Soleil Zeuhl 48 CD, Album CD, Maxi-Single, Reissue All Media, Limited Edition

Thanks to historian9 for the addition
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ALTA¤S Apsara / Altais ratings distribution

(2 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(50%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
Good, but non-essential (0%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

ALTA¤S Apsara / Altais reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars 4.5 stars. I'm not sure where to start with this one but thankfully Aymeric Leroy did the liner notes here in both French and English. APSARA were a young French band in the early eighties who struck up a friendship with a band called GORGONUS who weren't far from them geographically. Both were playing live gigs and both were huge MAGMA fans catching their heroes live as often as they could. APSARA was a six piece formed in 1981 with two key future members of SHUB NIGGURATH in Franck Fromy and Ann Stewart who would become a couple in APSARA and they connected well with the couple in GORGONUS namely Jean-Luc Herve and Veronique Verdier. So they decided to join forces along with a couple of other musicians and soon this partnership became known as SHUB NIGGURATH.

So we get 5 tracks from that early APSARA lineup with Fromy and Stewart. It opens with their only recorded studio track called "Enfer Mais" at 11 1/2 minutes while the other four tracks are live from 1983. When these members left to form SHUB NIGGURATH, APSARA originally kept going with the same band name until they realized there was a Japanese band called APSARA so they changed it to ALTAIS. We get three tracks from them and about 14 minutes worth of music. This was recorded on 8 track tape in EIDER STELLAIRE's basement. I love the connections at this time with members from these bands having these friendships and members going from one band to another. ALTAIS would open for EIDER STELLAIRE and ESKATON in December of 1985 just before this EP was recorded.

This is a great idea in my opinion adding APSARA's recordings to ALTAIS' making this a worthwhile compilation album. I also like that there's three members that appear on both of these recordings. Even the music of APSARA and ALTAIS is similar being very MAGMA and thus Zeuhl driven while SHUB NIGGURATH would push those Zeuhl influences to the side more. Both were six piece bands although APSARA has a guest violin and sax player and no keyboards while ALTAIS featured both electric piano and synths but no guitar. Both have great female singers by the way and ALTAIS uses a male singer to great results. Hopefully that wasn't too confusing.

"Enfer Mais" the only studio recording we have is a fantastic way to start. Dark and heavy as female vocals start to chant. Love the fuzzed out bass and APSARA had two bass players! It becomes pretty intense at times then the sax joins in. Check out the bass after 1 1/2 minutes. Nasty! The drumming is becoming more prominent as well. The rhythm stops around 3 minutes as sounds come and go with chants over top. It kicks in again before 4 minutes where the sax, bass, vocals and drums standout. A drum display before 6 minutes then it kicks in with a bass-led Zeuhl rhythm with dual female vocals. Guitar before 7 1/2 minutes and some screams after 8 minutes. The guitar is crying out after 9 minutes and I love that fuzzed out bass. Amazing vocals before 11 minutes along with the guitar.

Next are the live tracks from 1983 and the sound quality could be better at times but I'm happy with this overall. It was recorded on cassette tapes which were kept in someone's drawer for 30 years. "Apsaras" opens with female vocal melodies as fuzzed out bass, a beat and more arrive. Nasty fuzz here then some dissonant sax just to test how thin our skin is. Some chalkboard-like scraping noises with the violin that follows just to see if your awake or not around 2 minutes then it kicks into a mid-paced groove. Some angry guitar around 7 1/2 minutes from Fromy then the song slows right down 8 1/2 minutes in as it winds down to the end.

"En D'avtres Lieux" has this hellish rhythm with violin over top as the tempo picks up. Abrasive guitar comes and goes as they seem to jam here. Some very nasty bass before 6 minutes as it settles back some in tempo. An experimental section follows then the tempo picks up again around 9 minutes as they proceed to rip it up. The guitar is at it again then this experimental calm arrives after 12 minutes to end it.

"O Rages" opens with violin sounds as male spoken words arrive and they will stop just after a minute as the violin then changes styles to a slower more melodic sound. I'm actually reminded of David Cross and KING CRIMSON before 2 minutes. Some disturbing screams arrive as they come and go and the violin is matching those screams. A change 3 minutes in to a Zeuhl rhythm. Nice. The sound quality might be at it's worse late in this song.

"Ici Et Maintenant" is the final live tune from APSARA. It features violin early with a heavily distorted sound. It picks up before 2 minutes. This is good! Guitar before 3 minutes then back to the violin. Some male chanting this time around 4 minutes. Great sound after 4 1/2 minute but it's changing a lot here. Some screams follow as that nasty violin arrives. A disturbing and slow rhythm continues with creepy samples of children laughing and screaming. Man that SHUB NIGGURATH vibe is strong here. This insanity continues to the end.

Next are the three tracks from ALTAIS clocking in at around 14 minutes. I was already familiar with this very short EP as I own it and feel it's close to perfection but again way too short. Again I'm so glad they decided to combine these two related bands. "Altais" opens with the wind blowing as female vocal melodies join in. That Zeuhlish rhythm kicks in around a minute with deep male chants. So good! The tempo then picks up as the male vocals continue then the female returns around 2 1/2 minutes. Synths 3 minutes in as a calm with almost spoken deep male vocals arrives. Theatrical female vocals as well then it all kicks in again before 4 minutes with fuzzed out bass. Synths are back before 4 1/2 minutes with female chants, drums and bass. So good! A New Wave sound can be heard with those synths before 5 minutes. Twas that time I suppose. Theatrical vocals continue both male and female then the tempo picks up again before 7 minutes. Fun stuff!

"Promenade..." is my favourite song on here. It's the electric piano for me, I love Fender Rhodes. Love the energy too as we get this driving rhythm of electric piano, drums and bass. An absolute killer track that turns a little experimental late. "Gravitation Zero" is the 2 minute closer that sounds nothing like the rest of this recording. This is spacey with synths and vocal melodies creating a very surreal vibe here.

An absolute must for Zeuhl fans out there and one of my favourite releases from 2015. This is an archival release that is well worth tracking down but limited to 500 copies I believe. Don't miss out!

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