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YOG SOTHOTH

RIO/Avant-Prog • France


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Yog Sothoth biography
Not to be confused with the Shub-Niggurath song with the same name as this band, still they sound quite like them. Yog Sothoth was a dark and brooding quintet heading from France which consisted of Pascal Morrow (violin), Philippe Guillot (saxophones, flute), Jean-Yves Joron (keyboards), Pierre-Gedeon Monteil (bass) and Olivier Lechien (drums). Their sound easily reminds of bands like Shub Niggurath, Vortex and Art Zoyd with a very dominant Jazz edge to their music that borderlines Zeuhl terretory at times. Their self titled debut album, released in 1984, never got much attention after the band disbanded around the same time but should definitely be heard by any enthusiast of the mentioned bands since Avantgarde Jazz and Chamber Rock are common elements in this release. Not easy listening but incredibly rewarding nevertheless!

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4.07 | 8 ratings
Yog Sothoth
1984

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 Yog Sothoth by YOG SOTHOTH album cover Studio Album, 1984
4.07 | 8 ratings

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Yog Sothoth
Yog Sothoth RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Just like Shub-Niggurath, Yog Sothoth was a French avant-prog ensemble bearing both the name of a Lovecraft monstrous character and a penchant for the preservation of chamber-rock in the 80s. It is a pity that Yog Sothoth could only release one single album, since their music is tremendously good, prominently based on somber and dark moods full of neurotic vibes and provided with a pertinent dose of aggressiveness: all in all, the sonic focus is versatile enough as to give room for a noticeable amount of free-jazz developments and agile extra colors. In this way, Yog Sothoth seems to lean closer to DŁn than to the aforementioned Shub-Niggurath, although from a deeper perspective, Yog Sothoth keeps a clear peculiarity amidst the standards of RIO. With two long tracks and a third one that goes around the 5 minute mark, the band enjoys the expanded rooms and takes advantage of them in order to confidently explore the potential intensity of the motifs. 'Nekrosis' fills the album's first 18 minutes, getting started with a brief, ceremonious fanfare of sax and trombone, and then moving on through a dynamic display of a distinct motif, grayish and playful at the same time. Along the way, the piece absorbs a diversity of tonalities that range from the extroverted to the mysterious, and from the intense to the subtle. A special mention has to go for the incendiary violin solo that shines with a bizarre light, and the same goes for the weird tenor sax solo that is featured during a free-jazz section. There are some jazzy sections that, strangely enough, may remind us of the Canterbury-style dynamics, but then comes a section heavily rooted in the zheul thing, featuring a synth solo that mixes the cosmic and the wild. Shortly before the 14 minute mark, the band starts a gradual development of the climax, whose coda ends on an eerily lyrical note. 'Maint Reve Vesperal Blule par le Phenix' closes down the album's first half in an exercise on Dadaistic chaos, pretty much related to the challenging formlessness of musique concrete. The album's second half is totally occupied by 'Fou: L' Art Noir', undoubtedly the most monumental piece in the album. Starting with dense flows on piano soon joined by the drum kit and a distorted bass guitar, the installation of a jazzy chamber-rock motif sets things for the whole ensemble. A few seonds short of the 10 minute mark, things get pulsating in a zheul kind of way: the frontally dissonant violin solo brings a solid contrast against the warm (while still experimental) bass lines. This particular section ends with a chaotic frenzy, giving way successively to a very different section, a languid one full of cosmic nuances. The opaque mood is very convenient to convey a sensation of being kept at distance from a mysterious thing that never seems to show off. With the emergences of a violin-flute duet and a stunning vocal solo (performed by guest Cathy Camilleri), the stage is set for another jazz-dominated section. The presence of conversations augments the free-form feel that rules this section. The last passage is lead by a violin-sax duet that is very reminiscent of "1313"-era Univers Zero (the first 2 albums). Without equaling the sinister majesty of Univers Zero or Shub-Niggurath, and also without matching the graceful finesse of DŁn, nevertheless, Yog Sothoth deserves real attention from fans of avant-prog all over the world.

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