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IGOR WAKHEVITCH

Progressive Electronic • France


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Igor Wakhevitch biography
Igor Wakhevitch is a a french "musique concrete" / electro acoustic composer who has worked in many musical directions, always sensitive to new ways of expressing sonic sound constructions. In different contexts, he explored the acousmatic approach of processed sounds but also occasionaly dissipates this compositional form into psych rock aesthetic. Igor Wakhevitch's musical universe is a patchwork of styles. His musical background is heavily influenced by contemporary avant garde, dodecaphonism and sound experimentations. At the end of the 60's, he notably worked for the french "Group of musical research" (connected to the ORTF) under the direction of Pierre Schaeffer. His first electro-acoustic pieces have closed relationships with others french precursors as Luc Ferrari or Bernard Parmegiani. "Logos" (1970) and "Aethenor" (1971) reveal pretty excellent spectral forms & modulations which concentrates the listener in seriously dark, immersive mentalscapes. A few pieces contain rocking, spaced out instrumentations in the genre of cosmic krautrock classics (during this early period, Igor Wakhevitch was also a great friend of Robert Wyatt et Mick Ratledge).

Published in 1973, the sumptuous "Hathor" marks a turning in IW's personal career. It was recorded after he met Terry Riley (the father of spiritualized minimalism). "Hathor" is deeply impregnated by magical and tellurical elements. In 1974, the surrealist painter Salvador Dali employed IW to write the music of his audiovisual "opera poème" in 6 parts, the result is named "Etre Dieu". During the 80's Igor Wakhevitch decided to live in the south of India, he wrote musical scores for the Goethe Institute and the National Center of Performing Arts à Bombay (in 1991). IW's last publications are largely reserved to theatre, opera performances, epic electronic pieces for orchestrations and straight meditative synthezisers. All IW's career provides a subliminal collection of experimental electronic recordings.

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IGOR WAKHEVITCH discography


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

4.07 | 26 ratings
Logos
1970
3.93 | 25 ratings
Docteur Faust
1971
3.80 | 24 ratings
Hathor
1973
3.27 | 12 ratings
Les Fous D'or
1974
2.58 | 7 ratings
Salvador Dali & Igor Wakhevitch: Être Dieu
1974
3.80 | 14 ratings
Nagual (les ailes de la perception)
1977
3.79 | 10 ratings
Let's Start
1979

IGOR WAKHEVITCH Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Boite
1971

IGOR WAKHEVITCH Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

IGOR WAKHEVITCH Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Donc...
1999

IGOR WAKHEVITCH Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

IGOR WAKHEVITCH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Nagual (les ailes de la perception) by WAKHEVITCH, IGOR album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.80 | 14 ratings

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Nagual (les ailes de la perception)
Igor Wakhevitch Progressive Electronic

Review by Dobermensch

3 stars A strange entity in the canon of Wakhevitch's work. This one is far more eclectic and difficult to pin down. There's a strange mixture of electronics and piano utilised for the duration of this LP but they're always kept separate.

Wakhevitch still manages to maintain that odd, off kilter weirdness that only the French seemed to pull off with aplomb in the 70's. Surprisingly Michael Gira of 'Swans' was once a big fan of big Igor which isn't really that surprising when you hear all the looped treatments that are very evident throughout.

'Spenta Aramati' sounds very much like the end of 2001 - Space Odyssey - where that guy with the wrinkly face is in the white room with the breaking wine glass. In God's zoo.

If any comparison could be made to 'Nagual', it would be with Faust. This however, is more clinical, less chaotic and far more refined. There are some beautiful moments such as 'Beginning Of Peter's Journey' which has a lovely piano tune that is echoed heavily, and reminds me of UK Kids TV programme 'Ivor the Engine' from the mid 70's.

It's also nice to know that Wakhevitch let 'Gabriel the Toad' from 'Bagpuss' play his banjo on 'The Smile Of Wolf On The Bench'. Sorry to you European readers with regards to these 70's UK programme references, but that's the imagery it conjures up in my head when I listen to this oddity. Childhood BBC memories.

There's some Ron Geesin-like piano exploits in 'Never Poem For The Other', before the unsettling 'In The Nagual's Time' starts, which has a creepy metronomic set of footsteps creeping upstairs as airy 1940' piano reverberations fill your headphones.

On 'Cinderella' a barking dog and the sound of pouring rain gives way to a pretty music box tune and trotting horse. Yeah, it's weird stuff folks.

Seemlessly, some good electronic keyboards are introduced after a good 15 mins with 'Chirakan-Ixmucane' which has similarities with the more atmospheric parts of Jarre's 'Oxygene'. This is a difficult album not only to rate but to review. It's fairly minimal, excellently recorded with very clear sound separation throughout. A good solid straight 3 stars for this one, even though I can't find any faults with it.

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 Nagual (les ailes de la perception) by WAKHEVITCH, IGOR album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.80 | 14 ratings

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Nagual (les ailes de la perception)
Igor Wakhevitch Progressive Electronic

Review by admireArt

4 stars "Perception to the blind!"

This Igor Wakhevitch's album is a musical understanding of his readings of Carlos Castaneda's recountings of his "magical" encounters with mexican sorcerer "Don Juan". (To younger generations which are are not familiar with these teachings or books, imagine "Star Wars", "Matrix" and "H Potter", compressed, reloaded and FOR REAL!).

Anyway, I have not been fond of much of this musician's work, his opera-like electronics are not very much in my likings, and this work is not that easy to aquire. So after deciding to aquire it, I got to listen to it, with my expectations not that high. I found out a very astonishing Prog/Electronic album.

Not opera-like at all, it is almost an all "instrumental" album, with scarce human voices here and there. It could be in fact, the music for a "theater play" of these books, its "soundtrack". Of course its "not geographical exact" version, but not such a thing exists either way.

The concept itself, is far too extensive, as to single point each of its branches, so in able to compress the experience, Igor Wakhevitch, writes a wide variety of songs that hold on to the concept, but not to a single "style". He composes and plays: From "dark" experimental electro/acoustic songs to "noise" like ambients, to native like ritual music, to classical like piano or harp pieces, to pure and bright analog-electronic synth music, to folk-like (or his idea of mexican folk music) songs. All blended but not mixed-up. Every song is rich as unique, to stand alone or with the whole concept of the project.

Therefore it offers an almost "flawless" experience, and the best of all, are its highly inspiring and achieved, compositions and performances, without ever sounding pretentious at all.

****4 + "something" PA stars.

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 Logos by WAKHEVITCH, IGOR album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.07 | 26 ratings

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Logos
Igor Wakhevitch Progressive Electronic

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

5 stars The French thickens

Talking about experimental albums from the past century and France - you're bound to wind up at the mad eccentricities of Igor Wakhevitch. With a musical upbringing many of us only can dream of, this cat studied under the majestic hands of both Olivier Messiaen and Pierre Schaeffer before the vastness of the outside world hit him over the head with a shovel: Stockhausen, Soft Machine, Varese, The Floyd - everybody was experimenting, trying to use the musical language in ways it had never experienced before.

One might be tempted to say, that Wakhevitch took this lingo evolution the furthest. Trust me, most people who encounter his music either run screaming for the hills with faces full of confusion and disbelief, or they start building large plinths on public squares in his honour.

Whereas most of the music claiming to have artistic leverage and refined haute couture trickery infused in its arteries more than often is based in ludicrous lyrics and mystical stage costumes, you sense that you're on an entirely different planet with Wakhevitch. His debut Logos is a sonic collection of poems reflecting a contemporary ballet's finer inner workings......This is stage blood, creaking window panes, dusty cobwebs vibrating to the age old world of the theatre. If this is a soundtrack to a ballet, I'd love to see the dancers....

The music is ritualistic and deeply fascinating. It shimmers and lurks with strange hovering almost static segments, where polyphonic musical voices pop up in the most odd of places. Unlike post rock where the crescendo is nigh on foreseeable, you DAAAAAAWWW get the DOOOOOUUMNM feeling BAAAAAAAAAAHHH with DOOOOOOUMM Igor that he seeks to highlight other moments in his music. It's perplexing at first - it even gets annoying - I seem to remember getting furiously angered with myself and the music, because it didn't behave as 'normal' music did. "AAAARGGGHHH!!!!!! Follow the Goddamn rules why dontjah!?!?!?!!"

I had long conversations with myself, trying again and again to prepare my mind to let go of its mental levies and let it all fall down. Surrender to the madness I say!!!! I succeeded in nothing however, and the feeling of being left on the side of the road every time I put the album on, only grew with subsequent attempts I had. I felt lost.

Some place around summer time, some 7 or 8 months after I'd burned it over to my I-pod and gladly forgotten about its existence, I obliviously pushed play whilst lying down on the beach. I think it was the sun that had blinded me, but I'm eternally grateful for its bright lights of the day. Nothing happened at first, mostly because I was expecting something different - but then at the flick of the switch the music ran over me with complete utter grace - a word I dared not associate with it the first time around. With the erratic movements of waves beneath my feet and the everchanging pulses of wind huffing and puffing at my parasol - Logos started to make sense.

Like a weird dream of reptiles and shadows a slow theatrical music emerges. Droning voices flickering on the air together with a delirious Saucerful of Secrets sheen that permeates the organs. The sudden jolts of choirs shooting up like involuntary bean-sprouts now feel more integrated and purposeful, and you see why it has to be this way. I finally understood the irregulars that needed to exist for the music to work properly.

It was like Zeuhl music had dropped its throbbing rhythms and melted into an old ancient electronic Indian chant. This is truly the stuff the Navajos call prog...

I believe Wakhevitch is a genius. With just under a half hours worth of music - Logos manages to interweave modern classical music into a ritualistic polyphony of metal hissing, choral magnitude, galloping percussions, musique concrete and fidgety jello-like shadings from the experimental rock world.

Before I stop, I'd like to mention that for some remarkable reason all Wakhevitch albums seem to have red music on them. When I hear his repertoire, almost instantly a ruby red colour starts to emanate from way back in my subconsciousness. Like a wound unattended it bleeds its way through the entire record leaving a strange morbid trail of just how far and wide I got with every bewildering listen.

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 Logos by WAKHEVITCH, IGOR album cover Studio Album, 1970
4.07 | 26 ratings

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Logos
Igor Wakhevitch Progressive Electronic

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Logos by Igor Wakhevitch reminds me of Tangerine Dream's Electronic Meditation - a dissonant spooky jam session whose lukewarm production values add a "found music" overtone to proceedings. It's like someone happened to catch this weird Igor-helmed cult in the middle of some sort of strange ritual and happened to have a tape recorder handy. As I understand it, this was the soundtrack to a ballet, and like other freakout dance tracks from the era such as Soft Machine's Spaced I think it loses something from not having the dancers there to perform for you whilst you listen to it; on its own, it lacks a certain frisson which some freakout albums from this period manage to capture and some, sadly, don't.

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 Salvador Dali & Igor Wakhevitch: Être Dieu by WAKHEVITCH, IGOR album cover Studio Album, 1974
2.58 | 7 ratings

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Salvador Dali & Igor Wakhevitch: Être Dieu
Igor Wakhevitch Progressive Electronic

Review by Epignosis
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

1 stars It is rare for someone to be a virtuoso in more than one field. Salvador Dalí is perhaps my favorite painter, but his branching out into the audio world is bizarre in an unwelcome way. Perhaps someone fluent in French could appreciate the experience better, but as an album, Être Dieu sends me to sleep. More than that- this may be the most monotonous thing I've ever forced myself to sit through: Recommended for those who want to hear a man talk in French for a very long time.

"Ouvertüre und Erster Auftritt" Thunderous narration and windy squalls compete with crashes and low synthesizer lead. An ominous choir enters. After a spell of narration, it sounds like extraterrestrials are firing lasers in an operating factory. This opus also contains dark orchestral movements, splashes of cymbals, and shrill feminine vocals.

"Zweiter Auftritt oder Kampf mit dem Engel" Bizarre percussion and dramatic speaking opens this second part. A lot of it is barely audible. Vocal passages are extremely eccentric. Operatic singing and strings make up the end.

"Dritter Auftritt und Erster Abgang" Menacing strings and the sound of a cockerel underscore a foreboding voice. Clucking continues. One might as well be listening to a sermon in barnyard. After the seventeen mark is the first trace of honest-to-god music. It's rock, and it's good! It is a stark and welcome contrast from the tedium to which the past hour was devoted. It is a shame that it goes away in favor of more talk, though eventually a shadowy organ arrives.

"Im Traum" This is a cut from someone's Halloween mix tape, complete with gales and moaning people. And it has dungeon sounds. I think. The music (?) morphs into something pleasantly cinematic halfway through.

"Vierter Auftritt oder Das Glaubensbekenntnis" Sounding like something from a made-for-TV fantasy movie, this has exotic chants and unusual sibilating. Arguing (I think) comes later. More talk (and more talk) follows. A breezy bit of nonsense takes up after a while. Then there's the circus music with the blurting of a word I don't know. Then footsteps. Then more talk. Then quiet.

"Finale und Zweiter Abgang" A thick choir opens the final movement. Much of this consists of distant strings. Piano bashing ensues. There are further cinematic qualities that represent one of the rare high points of this nearly three hour drudgery.

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 Les Fous D'or by WAKHEVITCH, IGOR album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.27 | 12 ratings

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Les Fous D'or
Igor Wakhevitch Progressive Electronic

Review by Dobermensch

4 stars Not much is known about Igor Wakhevitch, but from what I gather he was pretty messed up in the head, where tales of hallucinogenic chemicals are legion.

'Les Fous D'or' is an avant garde opera replete with wobbly Eve Brenner soprano vocals. Add to this some cello and stabbing trumpet all drenched in reverb and you'll have some idea what this strangest of all Wakhevitch albums sounds like.

The cover artwork sums it up well. It sounds how it looks - like a mentally deranged 'Peter and the Wolf'. Doom laden piano chords appear half way through which are guaranteed to put shivers up your spine.

Frederic Lodeon and Henry Smith's vocals gradually emerge from mid album beginning off just unusual, but steadily becoming more and more bizarre the further into the album you get, particularly on 'Ritual of the Masters of the Doll' where you'll be left looking over your shoulder nervously, expecting ghosts to emerge from walls.

This is the kind of music I'd expect the baddie from 'Blair With Project' would listen to in a deep, dark forest all alone, just waiting on a victim.

A fascinating piece of strangeness which is continually captivating and ultra odd with its mixture of electronics and opera.

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 Let's Start by WAKHEVITCH, IGOR album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.79 | 10 ratings

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Let's Start
Igor Wakhevitch Progressive Electronic

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars This is Igor's last 70's legendary work and, as far as I know, his last musical creation put to disc. Released again on the Pathé label, this album features a vaguely erotic artwork (I'm probably below the belt here), and it is well in the continuity of Nagual, but better and more experimental (read minimalist and dadaist). It's probably Igor's closest he got to Krautrock, and in many ways, TD's Zeit or Atem comes to mind.

Opening on the almost-sidelong title track (23-mins+), we discover a synth and kb-only (with some possible percussions) track where dramatic vocal eructions (and eruptions) and echoed & looped spoken words are providing haunting and dronal soundscapes, where oscillators, sequencers and phasers reign supreme. The short Fruit Garden is an electric piano piece. On the flipside, the 12- mins+ Eriador opens on monophonic synth lines, but gets dubbed soon enough multi-echoed, but overstays its welcome until some organ keys add some contrast and provoke a total change of ambiance for the second half. Monks In The Snow returns to the Zeit/Atem realm, but beware of the screechy and strident arrows piercing your armour, despite the soothing presence of wind noises. The closing Ramallah's Road returns to the piano, but this time acoustic, before jumping electric and electronic.

This last inaptly-titled Let's Start (by the end, maybe?) is one of my fave of Igor's works aftr Faust and tied with Logos, but despite its minimalist ambient nature, it could indeed be a good starting point to his discography. Whatever happened to Igor??

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 Donc... by WAKHEVITCH, IGOR album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1999
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Donc...
Igor Wakhevitch Progressive Electronic

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

— First review of this album —
4 stars This six-disc boxset is the only way to get Igor's full 70's works, whether in one piece or if you wished for a single album. If you were opting for the latter, you'd have a hard time choosing just one separate album, because all of Wakhévitch's work is relatively similar to the other albums he made: highly experimental doom electronic avant-garde music, with a constant progression, away from the musical mainstream and conventions. Some of that music that can be loosely linked to the "rock scene", in part due to the appearance of the Triangle pop-rock group in his first two albums, especially in his second opus Dr Faust. These two can be seen as Igor's rock phase, and IMHO, this is his most interesting period.

Of course, you'll also find the two "esoteric" schmaltz albums of Hathor and Fous D'Or albums, which don't find much grace (especially the latter) to my eyes or ears. We'll call this his esoteric phase. Missing from this Donc boxset, supposedly gathering all of Igor's 70's works, is his Salvatore Dali collaboration from 74, and if I haven't heard it, it's rumoured to sound a bit like the Nagual album and its surrealist soundscapes. As for the closing Let's Start, it is one of his better works. The last two art h closest to Tangerine Dream IMHO.

On the boxset and booklet presentation front, there are many infos lacking, like line-ups, the liner notes being weird, esoteric, voluntarily evasive and bizarre and uninformative. The boxset's artwork is somewhat reminiscent of Igor's debut album Logos. The six discs comes in white paper envelopes with a number (fortunately chronologically sequenced) and colours roughly reminiscent of the album's artworks (except notably for the Fous D'Or, which is yellow instead of green). The front artworks are all assembled in one big folded page, but there is not much else. It's not like one would have a choice, though. From my informations, the albums are unavailable separately in CD format, so the boxset might just be the only way to go, unless finding the original vinyls.

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 Nagual (les ailes de la perception) by WAKHEVITCH, IGOR album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.80 | 14 ratings

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Nagual (les ailes de la perception)
Igor Wakhevitch Progressive Electronic

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars While I may have not appreciated the preceding album Fous D'Or, the least we can say is that Igor's musical aesthetics are definitely not straying from its original path drawn out in the arly part of the decades. In some ways, Nagual is just as unnerving and almost irritating as its predecessor, but at last it doesn't put forward any of that spoken esoteric bull[&*!#] right in your face. Oh yeah sure, there is a Mayan or Meso-American mythology concept (the nighttimes tropical forest artwork of Olivier Legris points to it), but it avoids the ridiculous Christian-related liturgical narratives, incantations and pagan-idol adoration bits encountered in his previous works. The music was created for an experimental theatre group taking residence at the Paris Opera, under the direction of Carolyn Carlson, already responsible for Les Fous D'Or

Clearly rid of the intrusive vocal interference of the last two albums, Nagual's almost-all instrumental and mainly-electronic music gets all the space it needs to develops its wings and shows its charms, despite letting some room for acoustic instruments interventions (both string instruments and piano). The unconventional vocals are mainly concentrated in a short section of the early musical progression. If there is a haunting shamanic drums sequence that can give you a tribal ambiance, it's followed a bit later by some kind of semi- celtic jig, it sms to lack a clear musical direction, especially when confronting the titles and their sonic contents.

The minimalist piano and electronic drone of Never Poem has a Terry Riley influence that gives an avant-garde flavour that otherwise lacked in many parts throughout the course of the album. However, I'm not exactly sure how this all relates to the semi-Chinese and semi- medieval acoustic string device used in Smile Of The Wolf piece to the supposedly Mayan mythology, but the Tangerine Dream-like synth layers of the closing Chirakan piece is not really Meso-American-sounding either.

A vast improvement of its predecessor, Nagual is still a very intriguing concept (well matter of speech, really), precisely because it doesn't have any logical explanation to the conceptual soundscapes, but then again, not everything needs explaining. One of his better later albums, this is also one of his less-logical one as well, despite not straying from his general musical quest.

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 Les Fous D'or by WAKHEVITCH, IGOR album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.27 | 12 ratings

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Les Fous D'or
Igor Wakhevitch Progressive Electronic

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

2 stars Fourth and very schizophrenic album, Les Fous d'Or is again in Igor's logical musical continuity, going more experimental, but keeping a lugubrious doll-related esoteric/religious concept, that I won't even bother understand and explain. Figure it out for yourselves, but the artwork his from his brother George. Just know that the project was coupled with a dance choreography under Carolyn Carlson's direction.

Opening on some kitschy French-spoken narrative, the Cornerstone side features some lengthy soothing and cosmic electronic soundscapes, interrupted by dumb liturgical mass lectures. A while later, one has to "suffer" some Devil's Trill violin lines with some agonizing diva (Eva Brenner) yodels, rendering the listening particularly difficult if you're afraid of ridiculous and sinister rising-from-the-dead ambiances. The Fous D'Or flipside is not much easier, because the agonizing diva hasn't croaked yet and she's billing overtime hours on your brains' patience budget. Even the 'tronic soundscapes are patience-grinding and are fast eroding it, especially once the newborn cries, loony laughter and clown-horns are spilling from your speakers.

To be honest, this is easily Igor's lesser and more ridiculous work, mixing French narratives and declamations with English titles. To think it took two years for Igor to generate such nonsense is actually just as mind-boggling as the music is, but this is not a positive thought. Best forgotten if you ask me, but you might not have a choice in avoiding it, because it comes in the 6-discs Don boxset, but no doubt it will stay at the bottom of the box.

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