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Zao Shekina album cover
3.84 | 64 ratings | 5 reviews | 19% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Joyl (3:52)
2. Yen-Lang (8:07)
3. Zohar (10:54)
4. Metatron (8:15)
5. Zita (4:34)
6. Bakus (5:12)

Total Time 40:54

Line-up / Musicians

- Yochok'o Seffer / saxophones, clarinets, vocals
- François "Faton" Cahen / keyboards
- Gérard Prévost Electric / bass
- Jean-My Truong / drums
- Pierre "TV Boum" Guignon / percussion
- Michèle Margand / violin
- Marie-Françoise Viaud / violin
- Françoise Douchet / viola
- Claudine Lassere / cello

Releases information

LP RCA Balance FLPI 0097 (1975) / CD Musea FGBG 4067.AR (1992)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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ZAO Shekina ratings distribution

(64 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(19%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(55%)
Good, but non-essential (19%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

ZAO Shekina reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars I guess I shouldn't be so shocked at how good this album is, I mean Seffer and Cahen were a big part of MAGMA's early sound, and the first two ZAO records blew me away. I really am starting to adore this band. ZAO had to replace Joel Dugrenot on bass as he left to join CLEARLIGHT. So the deep vocal melodies he provided on "Osiris" would be missing on this one, leaving Seffer's higher pitched vocal melodies as the only vocals on this album. And really those vocals are the only link to the Zeuhl sound that is left. Not content to just repeat themselves there are some chamber-rock passages, as well as some dark, atmospheric soundscapes to go along with the Jazz melodies that are at times Zeuhl flavoured. For this record only they added a female string quartet named THE QUARTUOR MARGAND. This made ZAO an eight piece band and gave them more options when it came to the sound they wanted to create. The pictures in the liner notes are a real treat. There is a picture of all eight taken outside with most of them wearing coats. There is another picture of the four ladies all smiling happily, and then one more of them all 8 playing their instruments. When Seffer left the band after the "Kawana" album to do his solo stuff, he did so with the help of the QUATUOR MARGAND on his first album called "Ghilgoul". By the way this album's title is in reference to the place where God's presence resides. I think it resides in this music as well.

"Joyl" hits the ground running with an uptempo melody of sax, drums and keys. It calms down quickly though with sax being the most prominant instrument. The percussion is a nice touch, and the strings make a couple of appearances. This all sounds so good ! "Yen.Lang" features the whisper of the clarinet to open. Very atmospheric as vocal sounds, keys, cymbals, bass and clarinet slowly come and go with no real melody. There is an Eastern feel to this hence the song title. This is so different from anything ZAO has done before. It's far removed from either Jazz or Zeuhl. Violin starts to rise slowly out of this soundscape 5 minutes in getting louder and louder. Drums and clarinet are added. This sounds so amazing ! It's dark and the clarinet is relentless. A real chamber rock sound.

"Zohar" is where Jean-My Truong reveals that he is one of the best drummers on the planet. The bass throbs and the sax blasts away, but it's the awe inspired drumming that is the focus. The string quartet takes over completely 2 1/2 minutes in. I'm reminded of UNIVERS ZERO 3 1/2 minutes in as it sounds quite tense. The quartet stops 5 minutes in as we get a change in climate. This time it's percussion with spacey keys. Nice. It ends with a fantastic jazzy melody that has to be heard to be believed. The sax 9 1/2 minutes in is a highlight. "Metatron" opens with vocal melodies before the song takes off with sax and keys leading the way. The bass is prominant before 2 minutes and the drums are out of control. Vocal melodies are back with bass,drums and keys.This is unreal 3 minutes in. At this point i'm sitting here shaking my head and laughing. Seffer is blasting off sax solo after sax solo. Vocal melodies dominate 7 1/2 minutes in as it gets very Zeuhl-like. "Zita" is a slow moving track with vocal melodies, strings, keys and clarinet all taking part. Well done. "Bakus" opens sounding like a GENTLE GIANT song until the vocal melodies arrive. Uptempo with some more crazy drumming. Sax and percussion after 3 minutes.

4.5 stars. This rating may go up in time. This is another killer ZAO record.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Opening with one of my all-time favorite 'happy songs', "Joy!" (3:54) (10/10) a song that just grooves and gets into your bones so that you can't help but get up and dance, be happy, the rest of the album is interesting for the range of emotions it takes the listener through.

2. "Yen-Lang" (8:10) retains more of the band's Zeuhl foundations with its quiet start and slow build using a pulsing, bass-infused almost single chord (single key) melody line. Flute and strings are awesome on this one. (9/10)

3. "Zohar" (10:53) opens at breakneck speed with all band members laying it all on the line--though none more than drummer, Jean-My Truong. By the third minute the music transitions radically to an all-strings format. At 5:00 bass, drums, keys and percussion sneak back in while strings disappear. Cahen's experimentation with keyboard sound takes over for a bit. Though the band is tight in their occasional ensembleness, the song lacks cohesion and overall feels a bit more like a experiment in experimentalism. (8/10)

4. "Metatron" (8:17) opens with Zeuhlish voices and sax and bass before taking off on a run through a series of challenging sections of disciplined precision-timed chord sequences. At two minutes, driving bass and drum race us along while keys, horns and voices move at a deliberately contrasting snail's pace. Things finally shift around the frenetically paced drums as bass and keys open the way for some sax and keyboard solos. Very reminiscent of both Weather Report and even Brand X. Impressive song. Impressive drummer! (9/10)

5. "Zita" (4:38) opens quietly with strings and electric piano weaving into a little soundtrack chamber music exercise with a kind of sound similar to Eberhard Weber or Vangelis. The presence of the lone soprano voice slightly in the background is a cool effect. Beautiful and peaceful. (9.5/10)

6. "Bakus" (5:13) is just weirdness--though keys, bass and drums really put their Zeuhl chops on full display here. Really it's just Seffert's vocals--sounding more like the fore-runner of those from 21st Century Japanese bands Koenji Hyakkei or OOIOO. Solid song. (8/10)

Though Seffers, Cahen, Prévost and the rest of the band continue to move farther away from their Magma roots, and more into that of the Jazz-Rock/Fusion sub-genre, this is still an album I'd classify as 'Zeuhl'--unlike their next one, Kawana, which is pure jazz fusion (despite the addition of violinist Didier Lockwood). There's something I like so much about this album. Kind of like the way I feel about AREA's Arbeit Macht Frei versus the more polished and virtuosic follow up, Crac!

4.5 stars.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Bassist Joel Dugrenot moves on and is replaced, and the electric violin of Jean-Yves Rigaud is replaced by a full string quartet. This leaves Seffer as the only vocalist, so the Zeuhl-style vocals are pretty limited at this point. Its alsmost pure Jazz fusion at this point, that said the Zeuhl ... (read more)

Report this review (#2535192) | Posted by bartymj | Wednesday, April 14, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars First of all Zao came out from MAGMA project so the first i sayed before getting it was poor, if it comes from MAGMA, it must be cool! and so it was, i really like this album, it has lot of things from MAGMA's sound,. One thing that i can say is that the ZOHAR song is really a pearl, with his vi ... (read more)

Report this review (#159521) | Posted by MasteR ProggeR | Tuesday, January 22, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The third work released in 1975 "Shekina". Work that added string quartet to member. The MAGMA color was lost, and it became a mysterious, delicate sound. A mysterious Oriental melody is used. It is momentarily as Bartok. It is music that looks like initial WEATHER REPORT. They finally reached ... (read more)

Report this review (#81856) | Posted by braindamage | Saturday, June 24, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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