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HELLEBORE

RIO/Avant-Prog • France


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Hellebore biography
Hailing from France, Hellebore was the collective effort of, Jean Cael (Bass, Crumar and Vocals), Alain Casari (Saxophone, Clarinet, Flute and Vocals), Antoine Gindt (Guitar and Crumar), Daniel Koskowitz (Drums, Percussion, and Vocals) and Denis Tagu (Piano, Organ, Guitars and Vocals). Stylistically Hellebores' sound is almost impossible to categorise. Forming and composing throughout a period where 'Rock In Opposition' was anything but flourishing, they held firmly to the roots of many earlier R.I.O. bands. Taking influences from pioneers such as Henry Cow, Etron Fou Lebloublon and Univers Zero (delving into their more sinister side).

To the distress of many, Hellebore was to only release one album "Il y a Des Jours". Originally recorded over a 20-day period, from December 1983 to January 1984, it was not until 1985, when "Il y a Des Jours" found the light of day, published under Ayaa Records. Taking into account the limited 1007 issues, alongside the extravagant sleeve and in lay design, "Il y a Des Jours" has become a much sort after item among collectors. The album moulds 7 blinding tracks, from as many genre one can possibly fathom; classical, Zeuhl, New wave, Free-Jazz, Electronic etc; while maintaining an almost dangerously relaxing state amidst the onslaught of oddities.

Though criminally over looked, Hellebore is a must for anyone interested in the more absurd forms of music. A masterpiece of R.I.O. and music in general. Essential listening.

== Written by Adam (Black Velvet) ==

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HELLEBORE discography


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3.59 | 16 ratings
Il y a Des Jours
1985

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HELLEBORE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Il y a Des Jours by HELLEBORE album cover Studio Album, 1985
3.59 | 16 ratings

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Il y a Des Jours
Hellebore RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by chamberry
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Hellebore is and odd little album. I'd say it's for people who would like a calmer Zeuhl or Avant- prog album. I find it too tamed to really shine, to be honest. Don't get me wrong, I like hushed albums, but some songs seem quite bland at times. The songs on side A are great, though, but side B tends to drag. I don't seem to remember much of the second half after I finish listening to the album. The first three songs have such a great atmosphere that it makes Il y a Des Jours worth at least a try. Who knows, maybe you'll find Umanak a good song after all.

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 Il y a Des Jours by HELLEBORE album cover Studio Album, 1985
3.59 | 16 ratings

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Il y a Des Jours
Hellebore RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars Sole album from this group who made a completely unlikely album released on the AYAA label (upon which Debile Menthol also released their albums), considering the unfavourable era they were in (the mid-80's) and Hellebore is best classified as Avant- prog and related to RIO or Zeuhl and chamber rock music and only 1000 copies were pressed. The album was graced with an artwork from the American collective Mnemonist (which had released a very apocalyptic Horde album, before transforming themselves into Biota), and the disturbing illustration fit the music rather well. A fairly acoustic quintet line-up (only some electric guitars) where three members (bassist Caël, guitarist Gindt and drummer Koskowitz) composed the music fairly evenly and separately, they recorded during the winter 83/84 the album and had a few more sessions from 82 to late 84, which are now added as bonus tracks on the Musea release.

Opening on particularly grotesque financial bourgeois questions with industrial noises in the background, Introduction Végétarienne soon veers towards a certain chamber prog between UZ and AZ, but apart from the intro, the music remains largely instrumental. Although not systematically, the next few tracks seem to evolve in the same realm with a bit of variation when heading towards a bit more to Miriodor's sense of burlesque music and comes close to free jazz improv on one number on the lengthier Umanak, but this remains thankfully short. When vocals are present, they range from vocalizing, to strange scats and at times a bit of Magma-esque choirs. In some ways Hellebore's album resembles a calmer Miriodor or Debile Menthol, but reminds me as well of Pataphonie's second album and at times early Univers Zero, although not nearly quiet as sombre.

As for the bonus track, they do sound like they were not recorded during the album's sessions, because the sound production is rather different. Les Lions (dating from mid- 82) sounds generally more aggressive with the guitar much more present (only wind player Casari is missing on this track) and a slightly more nihilistic and improvised. The next two tracks are the logical extrapolation of the album, the Oarystis tapes being supplied by the famous Chris Cutler.

While a very worthy album on its own, it is not really that essential considering the mass of records that shares the same musical traits in this Chamber Zeuhl RIO realm. But if you are a fan of this particular type of prog genre, Hellebore might just be indispensable for you. I'd recommend it to anyone into that universe, but maybe not as an introduction of a casual listener or someone just discovering the genre.

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 Il y a Des Jours by HELLEBORE album cover Studio Album, 1985
3.59 | 16 ratings

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Il y a Des Jours
Hellebore RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Yukorin

5 stars

It's 1985. I have a mullet. I'm dreading my 'O' levels. I'm under the snakebite induced impression that I look like John Taylor. I am masturbating furiously over my Athena poster of that tennis girls' arse and TV's Cleo Rocos and my only goal in life is to own a 2.8i Ford Granada.

This obviously mattered little to France's mysterious Hellebore whom the same year released 1007 copies on vinyl only of the seminal "Il y a des jours".

From the off we are treated to a heavily-treated male voice with that oft' classic touch of putting ones' hands on the record as it spins and making it slow down or speed up almost at will. This segues into the most heart-achingly beautiful segment as what appears to be a drum-machine (but apparantly isn't) has an emotional lovers tiff with woodwind and piano and, towards the end, a guitar motif so Satie-esque that it is practically beggin' to have the arse sued off it. Imagine a collaboration between Throbbing Gristle and Phillip Glass recorded on 8-track. Wonderful.

Next up is a jaunty accordian and synth Jazz nuanced little filly with sensational low-key bottom-end bass an' scatty drums that reminds one of Univers Zero but the production is so visionary and bleak that maybe Etron Fou is a better example although the musicianship on display here is of a quality that is rarely heard.

3 an' 4 continue in the jazz-band from hell style offering some Jannik Top bass growlin' and what appears to be cows mooing. Go Hellebore !

Demented guitar and a rhythm section that Mark E. Smith would cream himself over follow. Actually a lot of this reminds one of The Fall. A helluva lot better, mind. Eat Y'self Fitter excepted...

No.6 starts with mentally deranged vocals not unlike NWOBHM's Venom at their finest (but a world away from Tygers of Pan Tang). Similar to the I-am-Monkey-King of Vander near the end of Kohntarkosz. A surreal, long piece which absolves itself to become Ultravoxs' Vienna towards the climax only to decide to go to hell with Henry Cow. Complicated.

The vinyl ends on a melancholic, jazz piano-based number with some out of control sax. Stunning throughout.

By all means buy the Musea cd if you come across it on your travels but the original vinyl has the most beautiful hand-made sleeve I have ever seen. Multiple fold-out, original artwork, and a set of prints inside with the outer jacket numbered by hand. I have around 20,000 LP's an' this beauty is stunning !

This music is hard to categorize. It's free-jazz, trad-jazz, zeuhl, new wave, industrial, classical, folk, progressive, electronic blended into one of the finest (one shot or not) records that I ever heard. Top five material. Dangerously relaxing. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery whilst listening. Sublime.

Almost on a par with A-ha.

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