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EIDER STELLAIRE

Zeuhl • France


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Eider Stellaire biography
Eider Stellaire was founded in 1980 by drummer Michel Le Bars which played in Offering. The group had a previous incarnation under the name of Astarte, in which were 3 members of Eider's lineup - Michel Le Bars (drums), Patrick Sinergy (bass) and Jean-Claude Delachat (guitar). This lineup existed for 3 years. They separated in the beginning of 1980 and reformed at the end of that year as Eider Stellaire with several new members. Pierre-Gerard Hirne (piano, organ) was able to perform on piano the new musical ideas they wanted to develop. Veronique Perrault joined in as a vocalist. This line up along with Marrie-Anne Boda (flute, vocals) and Michel Moindre (saxophone) as guests, recorded their first and excellent self titled album. This album had the sound they were after but several more lineup changes occurred. Pierre Minvielle entered as the keyboards player, Ann Stewart (Shub Niggurath) became the vocalist, Frank Coulaud joined forces with Le Bars as percussionist and finally Marie-Anne Le Bars played the flute. This lineup recorded the second album released in 1986 and also named Eider Stellaire (therefore it is referred to as Eider II). Though perceived as more accessible than the first one, those two albums define the unique sound of Elder Stellaire: The Zeuhl influence from Magma (prominent bass and drums parts) spiced up with fierceness, only not as theatrical and somewhat similar to Eskaton's approach, and with a generous amount of jazz-rock. They recorded their third and last album called Eider III in 1987. Their albums have not yet been released on CD and the vinyl records are hard to come by and expensive. The first two albums are highly recommended for Zeuhl fans, especially those into Eskaton.

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Discography:
Eider Stellaire I, studio album (1981)
Eider Stellaire II, studio album (1986)
Eider Stellaire III, studio album (1987)

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

4.03 | 80 ratings
Eider Stellaire I
1981
2.33 | 18 ratings
Eider Stellaire II
1986
3.38 | 13 ratings
Eider Stellaire III
1987

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EIDER STELLAIRE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Eider Stellaire I by EIDER STELLAIRE album cover Studio Album, 1981
4.03 | 80 ratings

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Eider Stellaire I
Eider Stellaire Zeuhl

Review by HarmonyDissonan

4 stars I HAVE FINALLY FOUND A COPY!!! CHECK AMAZON, UK!

I had been checking Amazon and a few other sites for a copy of this since I heard the recordings on PA a few years ago. I found that it was very good album and although I actually haven't heard it all the way through uninterrupted, from how I had heard it on PA, there is no doubt that I can give this cd a 4 star rating. Possibly edited up to a 5 star rating after a full listen or two or three! Zuehl is my second favorite genre/sub-genre on PA, next to RPI though I really do think that this is a very accessible album! I don't think that love of Zuehl is a necessity for enjoying this fine recording. Check it out on PA. Along with giving a review of this album, I also wanted to let anyone know who might have been in the same boat as myself to check AMAZON, UK! I was surprised to see it there, and although it was a little expensive, aren't most sought after treasures! Pick it up while you can!

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 Eider Stellaire I by EIDER STELLAIRE album cover Studio Album, 1981
4.03 | 80 ratings

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Eider Stellaire I
Eider Stellaire Zeuhl

Review by Guldbamsen
Forum & Site Admin Group Site and Forum Admin

4 stars Zeuhl returns to its humble beginnings

(Thank you so much for this John!)

Eider Stellaire's first release has become somewhat of a cult classic, and deservedly so. The mix of jazz rock and that special unique shading that I'd like to call the teutonic touch, is here leaning heavily on the jazz side of things - making it an easy approachable album, and one that should appeal to a lot of different music listeners who like their fusion with a sprinkling of the serene and feminine.

That last part of the equation is all down to the two female vocalists of Eider Stellaire. Lingering and floating over the hard hitting jazz rock, you find an ethereal scat singing relying totally on wordless whispers and melodic effervescent emanations.

Now, personally I've always thought of Zeuhl as being the natural heir-taker of the European jazz culture that flourished after WW2. Heaps of Black jazz musicians now called France, Sweden, Denmark or even Germany their new home. Over here, they were synonymous with the American heroes that helped us trample Hitler's new world order, - AND they could play their ass off to boot - in a new and exciting way that soon took hold over our own musicians. All this may have started out as bebop, but like everything else, waves start as ripples, and these musicians were indeed the start of a wonderful sonic adventure about to unfold. France was no stranger to jazz, but this new wave of musicians still made serious ripples - soon inspiring the nation's youth to do their own thing with this newly found expression. By the end of the sixties the jazz world was again reinvented by artists like Miles and the whole notion of infusing rock within the classic mould, and sure enough, you were pretty soon spotting French artists mixing it up much like their contemporaries.

What sets this particular brand of jazz rock aside, is what Magma then proceeded to do with the genre, but I happen to think it happened even earlier than that. Zeuhl is not necessarily made up of a pseudo universe with its own strange lingo. Sure that's what it has become and known for, but when you start looking around at other artists from around the same time, you'll find a lot of the same essentials roaming freely: like the teutonic trade, the almost ritualistic rhythms, the apocalyptic menacing drive - all of this is also very present in a man like Igor Wakhevitch's music, - and well he got it from Luc Ferrari, a now famous composer that has influenced many an experimental musician - and he then got a thing or two from Edgard Varèse and so on... Again, we've said this thing over and over again: nothing exists in a vacuum. Not prog rock nor Zeuhl for that matter.

All of this ranting surely has a point, you must be saying to yourself by now, - and it does! I promise. This album was released at the beginning of the 80s, where music that put back the experimental quotient in the spotlight was a rare commodity outside of the RIO inspired groups that literally were in bloom. Eider Stellaire's debut is a throwback to the early fusion sage-rated days of Zeuhl. Reminding this listener of Magma's 1001 Centigrades that also wielded an uncanny jazz rock attitude, this album manages to put its own spin on something that by 81 was old and tried, yet somehow it comes off sounding as fresh as ever. The reason behind, according to my own uneducated guess, is the way it was captured on tape. Sounding like a regular live feast gone metaphysical right there and then at the recording session, it luckily avoids all of the androgynous studio tinkering that was going on at the time, where drums weren't aloud to sound like drums, synths should sound like plastic velcro and well just the whole notion of recording music separately and metronomic. All of that was frowned upon - or maybe the lack of money simply made the decision beforehand, - either way, the album is free of those 'dated' and lacklustre trades of the time - sounding meaty, vivacious and monumentally fresh - still after some 30 years!

Beautiful towering drum patterns - sounding like cataclysmic events happening all over each other - backed up by the deepest sweatiest bass you'll ever come across. Electric piano tip toeing its way into your heart with a small melody on its lips, often holding hands with a marvellous sounding organ that benefits the music by breathing air into the midst of things. This is surely fusion that reaches for the skies like huge buildings and skyscrapers rising up on the horizon.

I recommend anyone with a penchant for fusion to look into this record. It's an easy approachable bugger that'll charm its way down your trouser, like a lovesick ferret on the prowl. This could very well be your first time together with a Zeuhl album, and what a way to pop your cherry! 4.5 stars

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 Eider Stellaire I by EIDER STELLAIRE album cover Studio Album, 1981
4.03 | 80 ratings

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Eider Stellaire I
Eider Stellaire Zeuhl

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

4 stars Similarily to the Magma debut, this Eider Stallaire contains a lot of jazz and fusion elements which make it more approachable. Of course as almost all the Zeuhl it's not an easy listening thing.

The first impact is given by bass and drums, few seconds and we are already very close to Magma, at least to the debut. The electric piano offers the jazz parts while the guitar is more rock-oriented. What in Magma is the brass section, is here represented just by the sax helped by the guitar on medium pitches. "Onde" (Wave) has the only defect of being not conformant with the track's title. Specially in the most chaotic part. I mean that in this jazzy excited track ther's nothing that can make us think of waves of any kind. There's a remarkable guitar riff over compulsive bass and drums. It's the peak of the excited part, then they slow down and leave room to the piano. The track is closed by few guitar notes in a quite sudden end.

The second track, "Arctis 6eme éphéméride" (Arctic 6th Ephemeris) is closer to Magma but even of this track the guitar makes the difference as it sounds very rock. If you like being dragged out by repetitive compulsive rhythms this is your pot. Sometimes it gets more quiet, but even then, the bass is still percussive and obsessive. The main theme is based on four notes only sung by the two vocalists. The track seems to be built around these notes. It's so good that when it ends after 7 minutes I'm unhappy as it could have been extended for more time.

"Legende" is the easiest track. If it wasn't for the typically Zeuhl vocalists it could be considered "fusion". Also in this track there's more jazz and rock than in a standard Magma track. The excellent jazz piano solo is the remarkable thing of this track. The two vocalists are more "soul" and less "operistic" and the guitar is unusually distorted for Zeuhl. However in this track there's room for every instrument. The bass, too, has its moment while the drummer "pumps" throughout the whole track.

"Tetra" is the darkest track, instead, maybe because is based on minor chords. Also in this track there's a lot of rock, specially when the guitar leads. This is a track that can attract fans of other subgenres like Eclectic, Canterbury and JR/F. It features also a very interesting sax solo.

The bonus track "Nihil" is slightly different from the others. I don't know if it comes from a different period or not, but even if it's very good it is more "magmatic" than the rest. The few vocals are more operatic, the track structure and the chords are very jazzy. A very welcomed bonus.

Together with Eskaton, even if not as light as Eskaton, this album helps in defining the Zeuhl as a true genre and not just as a Vander's invention. I don't see it as a masterpiece, but it's an excellent album and fully deserves the four stars rating.

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 Eider Stellaire I by EIDER STELLAIRE album cover Studio Album, 1981
4.03 | 80 ratings

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Eider Stellaire I
Eider Stellaire Zeuhl

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Rich fusion escape

You don't have to know much about the Zeuhl scene or even appreciate its better known acts to enjoy the debut of this little-known French band. Far from the oppressive forced marches of Magma what we have here is essentially a talented fusion band. Eider Stellaire formed around 1980 and released three albums in that decade, although the latter two are not nearly as acclaimed as this debut. What makes this album somewhat special, beyond the monster chops, is that it is richer than some of the dryer jazz-fusion work. This album adds some decorative sound elements to its core of solid instrumental rock.

The players are absolutely adventurous and solid, laying down jams with superb bass and drums, lead guitar, Rhodes piano, and saxophone. Relentless and driving are words to describe the ever building jams. Contrasting moments of sound make it even better. The piano solo at the end of "Onde" close down the ferocious jam that preceded it, gives it mood and mystery. A bit of flute now and again is rather unexpected here. "Arctis" and "Legende" up the ante with wordless female vocals doubling lead guitar lines. "Nihil" features the oppressive Zeuhl sound coming from a steamroller bass and repetitive guitar leads tempered only by the occasional female vocals which are somewhat softer. Talk about a maniacal conclusion to the album, simply nuts! Pretty much essential for fans of sassy fusion. Not my favorite genre but I enjoyed myself nonetheless. 7/10.

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 Eider Stellaire I by EIDER STELLAIRE album cover Studio Album, 1981
4.03 | 80 ratings

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Eider Stellaire I
Eider Stellaire Zeuhl

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars A unique Zeuhl album which combines classic jazz chops, a fine command of Zeuhlish rhythms and compositional abilities on a par with the likes of their main inspiration Magma, but also a hefty chamber rock influence by way of Univers Zero, the guitar soloing of Jean Clude Delachat in particular reminding me of elements of Univers Zero's first three albums. It's a tricky one to review, particularly since there aren't many fusion-RIO-zeuhl mashup groups out there, though on balance I think the Magma influence shines through most clearly. In this, they compare favourably to peers such as Eskaton, and if anything bring a bit of originality to the table whilst still accomplishing their main mission of paying tribute to the masters of Kobaia.

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 Eider Stellaire I by EIDER STELLAIRE album cover Studio Album, 1981
4.03 | 80 ratings

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Eider Stellaire I
Eider Stellaire Zeuhl

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'Eider Stellaire I' - Eider Stellaire (8/10)

Eider Stellaire were a virtually unknown act back in their day, and for all intents and purposes, they still are. However obscure they may be to virtually anyone outside of the avant-garde and Zeuhl music circles that the band's brooding jazz fusion would largely cater to, Eider Stellaire's debut album is considered a classic of prog music. Influenced by the jazzier explorations of Zeuhl deities Magma, this instrumental fusion act makes an interesting blend of the familiar and strange with this album. It is an apocalyptic gem of cosmic jamming.

Although considered to be part of the Zeuhl scene in progressive rock, Eider Stellaire's musical foundation is in jazz fusion. This band has as much in common with 70's era Miles Davis as they do with anything Christian Vander has touched. Call it what you want, Eider Stellaire focuses their debut into a swirling mass of loose explorations, apocalyptic jazz freakouts, and sci-fi flavoured themes. Although this nearly verges on what I might label as 'jam' music, Eider Stellaire's style is hard to pin a description on. They are a dynamic jazz group that emits an unsettling atmosphere similar to the feeling that Robert Fripp's (of King Crimson) guitar work creates; free to doodle around, yet bound by a sense of foreboding and apocalypse. Taking the cosmic vibe of the album into account, it's like 'Eider Stellaire I' is a soundtrack to a ghost lost in space, floating in orbit around the wreckage of a lifeless space station.

Percussionist Michel LeBards captures my interest the most here, forging the backbone of the band's performance with unrelenting jazz fills and constantly evolving rhythms. There are vocals here, but they can still count as being part of the instrumental body due to the fact that they are not forming lyrics, but instead simply there as sound to back up the rest of it. A solid trademark of this band's work is the heavy bass presence, which often takes lead of the band when the electric guitar isn't buzzing strong. Eider Stellaire are a very capable group of musicians, and the music they make reflects this in the sense that it is constantly changing. Despite being a jam album, there is a creative chemistry in the music that fuels these compositions. Zeuhl and progressive fusion are not my thing usually, but I am glad I have found this obscure classic.

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 Eider Stellaire I by EIDER STELLAIRE album cover Studio Album, 1981
4.03 | 80 ratings

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Eider Stellaire I
Eider Stellaire Zeuhl

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

5 stars EIDER STELLAIRE are a band i've heard about for years but had really resigned myself to the fact I would probably never get to hear their debut because the band owns the rights to their music and have stated numerous times it will not be re-issued.Then one day while on Youtube I somehow (by accident) found several of the tracks from the debut and was promptly blown away by what I was hearing.In fact the first song I listened to "Onde" sounded just like ONE SHOT when the guitar and electric piano kicked in. Now I really needed to find a cdr of this some how and some way. Enter Bonnek (again) to the rescue and I have been listening to this on and off ever since.Then this week we got the shocking news that Soleil Zeuhl is re-issuing this monster. It was actually leaked as the formal announcement is to come September 8th according to Alain the man behind Soleil Zeuhl. Maybe then we'll get the details as to how this came about and why the band changed their minds. Regardless this is huge news. I honestly feel that this is best Zeuhl album I have ever heard.The drummer Michel LeBards used to play drums with OFFERING while Vander sang but he eventually decided he wanted to form his own band to do his own take on Zeuhl. And while some have said there is nothing new here compared to past Zeuhl albums I have to disagree. First of all to be Zeuhl it has to have some of the same characteristics like that driving rhythm along with electric piano and chanting (usually). What makes this different is how aggressive the guitar is. Sure MAGMA has and does use guitar but not nearly as in your face as what we get here.We also get some sax and flute. I have to say that the drumming, bass, guitar and electric piano are all so amazingly well done.These are hired guns man and they don't fool around.

"Onde" opens with drums and bass before the electric piano and guitar kick in and i'm drooling at this point.The sound gets fuller quickly and the guitar is lighting it up.There's an incredible moment 2 minutes in as the song seems to restart.The bass and drums are relentless. Nasty bass after 3 1/2 minutes and check out the drumming ! The keyboards kick in and the guitar becomes abrasive after 5 minutes. Piano only late then the guitar joins in to end it. Not worthy !

"Arctis 6eme Ephemeride" opens with the bass,drums and piano standing out.The tempo picks up after a minute then we get female vocal melodies that will come and go.They're a really nice touch actually.The guitar turns aggressive here and later before 4 1/2 minutes. Big finish.

"Legende" has guitar before a minute and he's letting it rip before 1 1/2 minutes and a minute after that. Piano leads before 3 1/2 minutes then it settles with female vocal melodies before picking up and turning nasty.

"Tetra" is my favourite along with the first tune. Keyboards to open then it kicks in with some power. Love the drumming.The guitar starts to solo over the bass and drums. Hell yeah it does ! It settles back then kicks back in.This is so freaking good. Sax after 4 1/2 minutes.The guitar is back late to end it.

"Nihil" has these female vocal melodies and electric piano that come and go early on. It then kicks in around a minute. It settles back then kicks back in before 4 minutes. A relentless attack after 5 minutes then it settles back with female vocal melodies and drums to end it.

I will defintely be picking up the re-issue when it comes out. I understand there will be a bonus track from the same period. Masterpiece !

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 Eider Stellaire I by EIDER STELLAIRE album cover Studio Album, 1981
4.03 | 80 ratings

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Eider Stellaire I
Eider Stellaire Zeuhl

Review by Tapfret
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Magmapomorphicism

Sub-genre: Zeuhl (A prog dictionary picture)
For Fans of: Magma
Vocal Style: Female harmonies, operatic overtones.
Guitar Style: Varyingly distorted "single coil microphone" tones. (thank you for the clarification JC)
Keyboard Style: Rhodes, Clean Rhodes, overdriven Rhodes? more Rhodes. Some piano.
Percussion Style: Rock/jazz kit played in classic Zeuhl style.
Bass Style: Slightly overdriven picked electric.
Other Instruments: Sax, flute
You are not likely to enjoy this album if: you find Magma to be brooding, droning and unvaried.



Summary: The whole of the Zeuhl sub-genre is frequently targeted as stagnant. But fans of Zeuhl can point to some very unique manifestations of the movement. The Japanese interpretation of Zeuhl (Koenjihyakkei, Bondage Fruit, Happy Family) as well European Zeuhl like Eskaton and Universal Totem Orchestra are able to fit the Zeuhl parameters while maintaining their individuality. Eider Stellaire I sadly misses the mark. They are firmly entrenched in Magma-esque derivation.

The Rhodes keyboard and overdriven bass sounds are oppressively delivered. There are times where the guitar work, something not as synonymous with Magma, hints at a shift in direction; just not far enough to remind you that you are not listening to Magma. For the most part the arrangements are delivered with proficiency. These are certainly well-trained quality musicians. From the standpoint of recording quality, the mix comes across fairly well balanced. There are times that the vocals sound scratchy. Not likely due to the vocalists, but more likely somebody dropped the microphone in a barrel of Chenin Blanc.



Final Score: Repeated listens found nothing to really hook me. It is certainly a proficient clone, but a clone nonetheless. The musicianship is good, but not Magma level. I am sure that many diehard fans of the sub-genre would find Eider Stellaire I absolutely essential. Then again, I consider myself to be a pretty hardcore Zeuhl fan and I will not likely listen to it often. Good but not essential. 3 stars.

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 Eider Stellaire II by EIDER STELLAIRE album cover Studio Album, 1986
2.33 | 18 ratings

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Eider Stellaire II
Eider Stellaire Zeuhl

Review by Bonnek
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

2 stars After their stellar debut, Eider Stellaire are caught struggling to adapt to the 80s. And it's not a success, like most Prog bands that tried to tune in with the times, they made the mistake to use the typical cold and clean sounds of the 80s, it's something that worked perfectly for the 80s bands themselves, but it doesn't seem to agree with Prog at all.

The songs are quite ok, the mood is lighter then the debut, almost frivolous at times, but the stark rhythms are still present, as are the typical drilling Zeuhl bass grooves. Fferyllt is an exception, it's very avant, almost like Univers Zero from the same period. Celebration de l'eau is my preferred track, it abandons the gated drum sound for a minimalistic approach with eerie keys, bass and sound effects.

There's not much to say about this 27 minute short album. It didn't satisfy the fans of the debut and it would surprise me very much if it did win over any new fan.

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 Eider Stellaire I by EIDER STELLAIRE album cover Studio Album, 1981
4.03 | 80 ratings

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Eider Stellaire I
Eider Stellaire Zeuhl

Review by Bonnek
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars "Eider Stellaire I" was my first non-Magma Zeuhl experience, taking place in 1989 at around 5u30 in the morning at a student's party, at a moment where the DJ thought the "Tetra" and "Nihil" tracks from this album would be an effective way to get everybody leaving the party. Well it didn't work for yours truly, that's exactly when I got to dance and there's no stopping me once I get started.

At first I thought this music was Magma, something from an album of the "Udu Wudu"/"Attahk" period. Of course I was slightly drunk at the time so I didn't notice the instrumentation has more prominent guitars and much less vocals then anything from Magma. Having delved a bit further into Zeuhl, the closes comparison would be Eskatron's debut, but with classic electric Rhodes piano instead or Eskatron's keyboards.

In agreement with previous reviews I can confirm that there's not much new about this album compared to previous Zeuhl offerings. So you get prominent drum rhythms, sometimes heavily marching, sometimes slightly funky; they blend in perfectly with the persistently drilling fretless bass guitar loops. Jazzy keyboards and melodic touches from the guitars and wordless vocals complete the sound. The vocals consist of two harmonic female voices only, and similarly to Eskatron, they are much scarcer and less intrusive then Magma.

Despite a lack in innovation I can't ignore the quality that reaches my Zeuhl-sensitive ears in each of the 5 tracks, and while not as defining as "MDK" or "Köhntarkösz", I'd still place this one right next to Eskatron's and Weidorje's brilliant debuts. 4.5 stars

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Thanks to avestin for the artist addition.

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