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HONEYELK

Zeuhl • France


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Honeyelk biography
Honeyelk are a jazzy zehul band hailing from the city of Toulon in France, they were led by the Blanc brothers, Gerard playing both electric and bass guitars and Christian playing the drums. During the early and mid 70's they were involved with several bands mostly playing covers of other progressive rock bands. They first started composing original material as Honey Dream, then consisted of 5 musicians, adding 2 guitarists and a keyboard player to the brothers lineup. As they wanted to keep evolving and started touring, one by one the members left to pursue other careers, leaving the brothers alone. But dedicated to their project they continued by going to London to recruit english musicians, but unfortunately came back empty handed when the auditioned members found out the brothers intentions were to go back to France. By now they have changed their name to Honeyelk and started recruiting what would become their final lineup. By mid 79' after a few lineup changes, they added Pierre Yves Maury playing Clarinet and Saxophone, William Grandordy playing Piano and Synths, and Frank Lovisolo playing guitars. Financing it by themselves, over a space of two days and two nights the band have recorded two songs in total of 26 minutes, which was supposed to be their album's first side. Although writing more material, they didn't record anything else since they felt it was too out of date for the time, and not fully representative of their sound. The album was released with only those two songs and titled "Stoys Vi Dozévéloy", only 1000 copies were pressed and sold that time. On December 2nd 79' one memorable concert took place and recorded in front of 1000 enthusiastic people, featuring their entire repertoire. After the show and the release of their album, which both got very favorable reviews, the band felt they could make it on a national scale. But when contacting a few studios for the recording of their second album, they found out the costs were too high. Those high hopes turned into a string of disappointments, when a chance for them to open for Magma didn't came through when the gig was canceled, and other unsuccessful gigs also took place. in addition to that their promotion and distribution was too confidential, causing the brothers to put the band on hold for a while.

In the early 80's, after the departure of Lovisolo, Grandordy and Maury, the band still haven't gave up their dream to record a second album. Inspite of building a recording studio n...
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En Quête D'Un Monde Meilleur...En Quête D'Un Monde Meilleur...
Import
Musea 1979
Audio CD$17.99
$94.24 (used)

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HONEYELK discography


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HONEYELK top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.90 | 14 ratings
Stoys Vi Dozévéloy
1979
3.49 | 11 ratings
En Quete D'un Monde Meilleur
1995

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HONEYELK Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Stoys Vi Dozévéloy by HONEYELK album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.90 | 14 ratings

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Stoys Vi Dozévéloy
Honeyelk Zeuhl

Review by Sagichim
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

3 stars This is the only album Honeyelk released during the band's lifetime, it contains the original recording and mix of what was supposed to be only the first side of their debut, but since they were not happy with what they had, they never recorded anything else that time and released the album as it is with only two lenthy songs, clocking at 26 minutes only. Later on in 1995 Gerard Blanc (singer and bass player) remixed the album and added 4 more songs, the album was released that year titled "En Quete D'un Monde Meilleur". Because of not having a record label, the band had to finance everything on their own. The mixing was done in a small private studio in Paris and I guess that was the reason why the quality is not that good. The mix is not perfectly balanced and there are a few moments of chaos here and there (not in a good way I mean). Further more due to not having any professional help while recording, the outcome is far from perfect and other issues like timing and out of tuning also occurs. Most of these problems were fixed in the reissue, and now definitely sound much better and more balanced, such a great job was done. But honestly I don't mean to sound too negative since I really do like this little album inspite of all its problems.

So basically Honeyelk plays a typical style of Zehul mixing some jazz and and RIO elements. The music is mostly dark and haunting (well of course). There's a strong Magma influence, and their style definitely resembles other progressive bands like Zao and VDGG. The music is not heavy at all but also far from being laid back, that's because of the band's overall sound and instrumentation. The leading instruments here comes from Pierre Yves Maury playing the clarinet and saxophone, he is playing all the leads and responsible for the melodies too, of course there's a big help from keyboards and piano which are also always present and help to create their unique sound. Although Frank Lovisolo is credited as being a part of the band playing electric guitars, he doesn't really contribute much and his role is very minimal, I mean there is more guitar playing in bands like ELP, VDGG or Banco which didn't concentrate on guitars that much. The reissue also indicates that Blanc wasn't that satisfied of Lovisolo's guitar parts since he took a lot of them out, making the guitar almost non existent.

Although the music is quite intricate and complex, the band is not tight enough, they are at some points but other moments are too loose, and that's where they lose a few points. The compositions are long and although they are not perfect and suffers a little from an incoherent level, they do have some very good and inspired moments, one thing that I do miss is more killer interplay between them all. The music is moving from intricate aggressive playing derived from a killer bass to other passionate vocal parts, Gerard Blanc is delivering some stunning workouts, no doubt about it. Maury is definitely good playing both dissonant and melodic leads and pretty much gives the overall music it's vibe. It doesn't really detract from my enjoyment but the drums work is a little unstable, I hear some awkward and hesitant drumming here and there, again not tight enough. Another thing that I really like about them is the singing, not only is Blanc a capable bass player, he is also a great vocalist. Because french and english are obviously not interesting enough, Blanc is singing in his own made up language, which gives the music much more character. He is passionate and also sounds very much like Peter Gabriel.

The 1995 reissue "En Quete D'un Monde Meilleur" offers a more stable and balanced mix with a refined sound, on the other hand, this original recording offers a more rawer sound with much more evident guitar playing. For example, the third and final part on the second track is where it's most evident. I like that psychedelic guitar flying over everyone, this is really good. More over this version offers a different ending and is also one minute longer with more vocals and music, both versions are equally great though.

This is recommended to all Zehul fans which are looking for more music to settle their hunger. Although this is not the best album in the genre and it does have a few problems, you might find them unimportant compared to the music and ideas delivered. You can pass this over if you already have the 1995 reissue, but also this is worth tracking down for a reasonable price. 3.5 stars.

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 En Quete D'un Monde Meilleur by HONEYELK album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.49 | 11 ratings

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En Quete D'un Monde Meilleur
Honeyelk Zeuhl

Review by Sagichim
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

3 stars I had big expectations for this album, I thought this would turn out to be another lost jewel, something that would turn out to be another Weidorje, Paga or Shub Niggurath in quality I mean, but as it turns out this wasn't as exciting as I hoped. So first of all let me introduce them, Honeyelk are a 5 piece band from France who have released one EP in 1979. This EP had 26 minutes of music and included two songs. In 1995 those two songs were remixed and released by Musea while adding 4 more live bonus tracks, and by this made it a worth while purchase. Honeyelk are playing in a typical french style which is a mix between Zehul, Jazz and Avant-garde. They are mostly influenced by Magma and VDGG, even the singing isn't in french, it's made up, maybe they know Kobaian or is it Honeyelkish? anyway this is one part that I do like about them, it gives the music a lot of character. The lead vocalist sounds exactly like Peter Gabriel in his sleep, mumbling and singing all kinds of weird stuff, like a weird languaged dream, personally I find the vocals to be one of their best qualities. The sound is also rich and enjoyable since there are more than just the usual instruments involved, they added Sax, Clarinet and Piano. Although it's far from being laid back, it is not heavy at all, no distorted guitars whatsoever.

Unfortunately this album puzzles me. While I do enjoy every part of it, when it ends I don't feel like this was so exceptional or groundbreaking, if I had to put my finger on it I'd say it's lack of cohesive songwriting and lack of really killer interplay. On the other hand it is never bad, not even for a second. As it seems to me the band could use a little more practice to tie up their loose ends, this is most evident in the drums department. It's either this style of music wasn't suitable for drummer Christian Blanc or maybe he didn't have so many takes when recording to get it fully right, which also means more practice together. Don't get me wrong it's not like that all the time, I'm sure some people wouldn't mind that at all, but I hear some awkward and hesitant drumming from time to time, especially when he is trying to be fast. The rest of the band is good, especially the bass player which plays some delicious hooks every now and then, and delievers a punchy deep bass sound like is popular in this genre. The main problem here is that the music does not stay on the same level all the time. It ranges from very good to mediocare but also doesn't reach any recommendable heights.

The remix version of the two main pieces sounds better and more balanced than its original version on the EP, not only the sound quality is much better but some parts were dropped and other enhanced,making this an interesting reissue. "Stoyz (Duel à Vie)" the opener is divided into three parts and it's the best track on the album. It starts very promising with an excellent rhythm, great drive from bass and drums, I wish they could have maintained it. The first part is very good with passionate vocals and a memorable sax and clarinet lead. The second part which explores a different idea, is where they don't exactly shine, the awkward drumming is more evident here and it's overall mediocare but again very good vocals. The third part unites the piece and repeats the melodies from previous parts, overall I'm satisfied. "Do Zé Vé Loy (Terres De Sagesse)" again have a great begining with some punchy slaps from bass and drums. A cool and fast bass line leads the way as the song keeps evolving, going through several ideas. The song changes half way and leads to a RIO tinged Zehulic interlude but returns to normal and doesn't bring anything new to the table. The third part is completely different, and as nice as it is it doesn't feel like a sequential continuation. I thought my CD progressed to the next track but this is still the same song. The bonus tracks doesn't save the album and are fairly different from the main pieces. They are heavy on the vocals and are much more laid back, a lot of Fender Rhodes and good atmosphere, sounds like Cos than anything else really. Again still good all the way.

Overall this is a good album and although it's not hanging in the big boys league, I still can recommend it to any of you Zehul fans, it is an album worth having to complete your collection, and I believe most of you will warmly embrace it. This is one of the best 3 stars album out there, 3.5 actually but very close to be rounded up to 4.

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 En Quete D'un Monde Meilleur by HONEYELK album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.49 | 11 ratings

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En Quete D'un Monde Meilleur
Honeyelk Zeuhl

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars A bit of a let down, this album.

I really like their first release, the Stoys EP. So I moved onto this album with high hopes.

Honeyelk does a pretty jazzy version of zeuhl and they can be compared to Magma. The difference is that where Magma is intense, Honeyelk is very laidback. I would label their music as lounge-zeuhl. The tempo is very pedestrian throughout.

The album opens with their best song by a large margin. Stoyz (Duel à Vie) is a superb piece of zeuhl by all standards. The album tails off a bit after that in a pedestrian lounge-zeuhl fashion with a large chunk of jazz. The bonus tracks does not add anything of value to this album.

This album is a let down in my estimation and I prefer the EP. But it is still a pretty good album, saved up to a three stars award by the inclusion of Stoyz (Duel à Vie). But I feel let down, though.

3 stars (barely)

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 Stoys Vi Dozévéloy by HONEYELK album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.90 | 14 ratings

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Stoys Vi Dozévéloy
Honeyelk Zeuhl

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars Honey elk; the type of dreams the hibernating grizzly bears in Alaska have at this very moment.

The French zeuhl band with the same name on the other hand have had their dreams about Magma before they commited these 25 minutes over two songs to a master tape in a studio somewhere. It is not known if Christian Vander & the rest of Magma dreams about grizzly bears, though.

Twenty-five minutes, two tracks. That is the bare bones of this release which is listed as an album here. EP is probably a more fitting listing, though. But it does not matter at all. The music is very Magma'esque. The music is driven by a saxophone as the main solo instrument, supported by some good vocals (in Kobaian ?) and the usual keyboards, bass and drums. The music is not particular dark and the songs has a bit of a symphonic prog setup over it. The music also have some avant-garde RIO feel over it too.

The quality is good throughout, without offering anything particular news to this genre or to the mankind. The first song Stoyz is more zeuhl like while the second song Do Zé Vé Loy is more avant-garde like and based on a mood than technical brilliance.

In short; this is a good zeuhl album which should appeal to any zeuhl fan. It is not an impressive release by any means and it will not win this band or this genre any new fans.

3 stars

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 En Quete D'un Monde Meilleur by HONEYELK album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.49 | 11 ratings

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En Quete D'un Monde Meilleur
Honeyelk Zeuhl

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This has been on my "want list" for a long time.Thankfully I was able to get a copy of this recording a couple of weeks ago, and believe me it didn't disappoint. This band is from France and released this album back in 1979. The core of the band is the Blanc brothers who play bass and drums as well as sing. I was surprised at how young the band looked in the pictures in the liner notes, especially to be playing such complex music. A tribute to their talents no doubt. They were known as HONEY DREAM doing covers of KING CRIMSON, GENESIS and YES before they changed their name and started moving in a new direction composing their own songs. They decided to sing in their own made up language(sound familiar) because Gerard had no desire to go back to singing in French which he felt lacked sufficient feeling, and he ignored English as well "wishing to be utterly original". The liner notes describe their sound as mixing "The energy and power of MAGMA, the technical virtuosity of ZAO and the harmonic richness of GENESIS, not to mention the European classical overtones and the power of the likes of VDGG.The music rested on a base of eternally-evolving rhythmic meters, with innumerable changes, accelerations and breaks in tempo. Passages of furious activity would alternate with other, quieter, more ethreal ones".

I should mention that the vocals at times remind me of Peter Gabriel making this a very interesting listen to say the least. I like the story in the liner notes about the band playing for 90 minutes to a packed house of a thousand enthusiastic people, and then giving five encores !

"Duel A La Vie" and the next track were the only two songs on the original album making it just under 26 minutes. Four bonus tracks have been included which add just over 15 minutes worth of more music. The first track kicks in fairly quickly and when it settles we get those Gabriel-like vocals 1 1/2 minutes in. He can be quite passionate as well. Such an incredible sound here. A dead calm after 3 1/2 minuters before it kicks back in with drums leading the way. Piano and sax after 5 minutes. A Zeuhl-like vocal melody follows and then it calms right down again. Vocals are back 7 minutes in as it gets melancholic. Vocal melodies with prominant drums follow. A change 10 minutes in as the soundscape from earlier in the song returns with vocals. Nice. "Terres De Sagesse" is spacey to start with synths as sax, drums and guitar come in before a minute. Piano then bass follows as the tempo picks up. Fantastic sound 2 minutes in. The drumming is so crisp.Vocals after 3 minutes. The melody stops 4 1/2 minutes in. Love the sound a minute later, there is a lot of tension. Sax leads the way 7 minutes in then vocals return. A change before 9 minutes. Amazing sound a minute later with drums and horns. It then settles with piano, vocals and sax after 11 minutes. What a ride !

"Osmose (live)" features piano and some atmosphere. Vocals before a minute. Spoken words 4 minutes right to the end as the crowd cheers. "Rencontre D'un Soir (Impro)" is the only track with violin on it. It opens with piano and guitar as vocals come in. Vocals become passionate as the music gets louder. Violin 1 1/2 minutes in as it settles some. Very cool sound here. Vocal melodies before 3 1/2 minutes. Then the vocals return with drums, violin and piano standing out. This is like a piece of heaven. "Message En Breaks" is a short well done drum solo."Qu'une Meme Lumiere Guide Nos Pas" is another short song with reserved vocals that grow louder with a mellow background of strings and electric piano.

This surpassed my expectations by quite a large margin. Highly recommended to fans of ZAO and WEIDORJE.

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 Stoys Vi Dozévéloy by HONEYELK album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.90 | 14 ratings

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Stoys Vi Dozévéloy
Honeyelk Zeuhl

Review by Shakespeare

2 stars Honeyelk was an extremely short lived French Zeuhl group, who released but two albums, both in 1979. This second, Stoys Vi Dozévéloy, is a very jovial and upbeat brand of Magma's genre, with strong dependence on saxophone. Despite having the album reissued somewhat recently (or so I heard), Honeyelk remains an extreme obscurity. Sound quality is absolutely terrible, and is the biggest hindrance to the album, though not the only.

The compositions are somewhat uninteresting. There's a bland decency to the songwriting, that makes it less than memorable. But, the compositions are by no means bad, and the playing is all very good (drumming by Christian Blanc being the most noteworthy). It's also really, really short. It could very have been an EP. Apparently, when the album was reissued some bonus tracks were thrown in, but I've heard those were less than essential.

Honeyelk is a completely alright Zeuhl band. It is no starting place for the genre, nor is it a highlight. But it is a really nice album, and any Zeuhl fanatics might want to pick it up.

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 En Quete D'un Monde Meilleur by HONEYELK album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.49 | 11 ratings

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En Quete D'un Monde Meilleur
Honeyelk Zeuhl

Review by zebehnn

4 stars This is a obsucure and very rare zeuhl album by this french group, And it is infact very good, if you are into Magma and such you will love this album. The first song is insanely good, and the rest of the album is just as good. It can sometimes remind me of 1001 degrees centigrade (the horns) The only thing that drags this album down is some of the vocals are a little weak at times, but overall a excelent album worth tracking down.

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