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YOCHK'O SEFFER

Zeuhl • France


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Yochk'o Seffer picture
Yochk'o Seffer biography
Yochk'o Seffer is a Hungarian born musician who is among the finest winds player (mainly alto saxophone) in the history of progressive music. After spending much of the 1960s in Paris playing with a host of jazz musicians in a variety of clubs, he was recruited by Christian Vander in the early days of Magma and can be found on the album "1001 Degres Centigrade", as well as the two Univeria Zekt recordings. He soon left that band and with ex-Magma keyboardist Francois Cahen founded the band Zao, with whom he appeared on most of the band's recordings. During this time he also had stints with a improvisational jazz group named Perception and a jazz-rock group named Speed Limit. After recording Zao's fourth album, Seffer departed the band to embark on a number of solo efforts, but always associated with a group name. His first and perhaps most important such endeavour was Neffesh Music, which saw the recording of three LPs in the late 1970s - "Delire", "Ima", and "Ghilgoul". Their style is distinctly zeuhl but reflects Seffer's vision of his musical roots and the musicianship is nothing less than first rate. In the early 1980s Seffer embarked on another trio of albums with the title "Chromophonie", and his latest effort "YOG" commenced in 1996 with the release of the album "Pitchipoy". Yochk'o Seffer has collaborated with a panoply of wonderful musicians over his decades-long musical career and produced some of the finest zeuhl and jazz oriented music one will find on this site.

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YOCHK'O SEFFER discography


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YOCHK'O SEFFER top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.39 | 10 ratings
Neffesh Music: Délire
1976
3.81 | 14 ratings
Neffesh Music: Ima
1976
4.19 | 21 ratings
Neffesh Music :Ghilgoul
1978
2.46 | 4 ratings
Chromophonie 1 : Le Diable Angélique
1982
2.46 | 4 ratings
Chromophonie II
1982
4.07 | 5 ratings
Adama
1986
3.08 | 3 ratings
Prototype
1989
0.00 | 0 ratings
Ornette For Ever
1996
3.17 | 3 ratings
Yog I - Pitchipoy
1997
4.00 | 2 ratings
Yog 2 - Sefira
1998
0.00 | 0 ratings
Coïncidences (with Sylvain Miller)
2000
0.00 | 0 ratings
Sax Septour: Benyomash
2002
3.00 | 1 ratings
String Orchestra
2004
4.00 | 1 ratings
Yog 3 - Yochk'o Seffer Big Band
2006
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Voices of Tarogato
2006
4.00 | 1 ratings
Ezz-Thetics Travel
2008
3.00 | 2 ratings
Condor
2010
4.00 | 1 ratings
Acel Toll
2011
0.00 | 0 ratings
From New York To Budapest
2013
0.00 | 0 ratings
Acel III - Lyrikus-Szozat
2014
0.00 | 0 ratings
Hangosh - L'Homme Primitif (With François Causse)
2016
0.00 | 0 ratings
Neffesh Music - Sugàrzo Terep
2019

YOCHK'O SEFFER Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Magyar Ló
1976

YOCHK'O SEFFER Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Chromophonie
2010

YOCHK'O SEFFER Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.05 | 3 ratings
Chromophonie
1996
3.96 | 4 ratings
Neffesh-Music
2001
4.00 | 2 ratings
Adama/Ima
2003
3.52 | 4 ratings
My Old Roots
2007
4.87 | 6 ratings
Noce Chimique
2011

YOCHK'O SEFFER Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Septuor
1976

YOCHK'O SEFFER Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Chromophonie II by SEFFER, YOCHK'O album cover Studio Album, 1982
2.46 | 4 ratings

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Chromophonie II
Yochk'o Seffer Zeuhl

Review by bartymj

2 stars Chromophonie II starts off with Seffer going as far back to 'classic' Zeuhl style as I've heard for a while, with a suspenseful jarring piece, the only difference from Magma and others being the lack of drums. It doesn't really appeal to me but is far more Zeuhl like than the straight jazz of some of his other pieces.

Gyehenna-tuze is faster paced, but follows the same setup of saxophone and piano. It's as suspenseful and dramatic but the change of pace makes it a much more interesting track for me. Following the halfway point of the track the jamming saxophone fades away and we are treated to some brilliant piano work which is a highlight of the album.

Natsar II is a very short track, making use of chanting Zeuhl vocals over both piano and saxophone sections.

Mizwa Part 2 starts very calmly in contrast to Natsar II, but is played slightly off-key, still giving it that slightly suspenseful alien feel. Saxophone pieces from half way in complement the same airy piano playing, and overall for me this is probably the best track on the album.

Its more of the same in Galgal, a lengthy track which to be honest is too similar to the opening track to be of much interest to me, as is Daath at the end.

Definitely worth listening to Gyehenna-tuze and Mizwa Part 2, but other than that it does fizzle out a bit for me. Better than Chromophonie 1 though.

 Chromophonie 1 : Le Diable Angélique  by SEFFER, YOCHK'O album cover Studio Album, 1982
2.46 | 4 ratings

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Chromophonie 1 : Le Diable Angélique
Yochk'o Seffer Zeuhl

Review by bartymj

2 stars Seffer does diverge from Zeuhl pretty quickly, but will always come back to the style within his music.

I've had to piece together this album using a combo of Spotify and YouTube to listen to all the tracks.

The title track is mainly a piano/violin piece, with a little guitar thrown in. Seffer's piano is the pace setter for Horvath on violin. Its relatively high paced, and the piano riff in particular gives the track a sort of 'duel' feel to it. Half way through it fades back a little, with Horvath plucking at the strings and Seffer playing softly but still keeping up the pace. This only last for a minute though as Horvath then goes into overdrive with some rapid and sometimes jarring work. This and the piano faces away, replaced by saxophone and guitar for the last couple of minutes. Its certainly interesting, but does feel like its missing something.

Os-Gyoker probably wouldn't be out of place on an early Magma album. It's quite a dirge which doesn't get out of first gear other than some occasional frenetic and distorted violin. This contrasts quickly with Bela bacsi emlekere, which although with plenty of jarring notes is relatively chirpy and upbeat to start with. Again, strong interplay between piano and violin as it goes back to the style of the first track. The remaining three tracks are much more about the piano, and to be honest, I got a bit bored as none of them really lead anywhere. Seffer is clearly talented but for me it just doesn't hold interest for long enough.

 Neffesh Music :Ghilgoul by SEFFER, YOCHK'O album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.19 | 21 ratings

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Neffesh Music :Ghilgoul
Yochk'o Seffer Zeuhl

Review by bartymj

4 stars Many say Yochk'o Seffer's third 'solo' album is his best - and perhaps the clue is that the full album is on Spotify (other popular streaming sites are available) unlike his previous work which has to be jigsaw-ed together from other albums.

Somewhere within the realm of avant jazz / Zeuhl, this is... pretty good.

Dag opens with a great rolling bassline and drums, with Seffer's sax/piano interplay at the fore. The jarring piano chords in particular give it a slightly Zeuhl feel, as does the appearance of the string quartet in the second half, which play an eerie suspenseful tune which contrasts completely with that bass and drums which don't change at all throughout.

Sifra begins with extraterrestrial piano before violins join in to give it a fairly melancholy feel. A sudden change on the 5 minute mark brings in the sax, bass and drums, in a lengthy passage fairly similar to Dag with the piano increasingly jarring, but still really excellent.

Dailn is a short track that puts Dominique Bertrand at the fore with brilliant bass, before Larma which is the most Zeuhl- like track, beginning with typical Magma-style vocals and a much slower, military tempo.

The title track Ghilgoul begins with ghostly, wailing vocals, joined by a faraway sax. Very haunting. The vocals fade away after four minutes and are replaced by piano in a duet with the sax. The string quartet continue the slightly haunting theme, particularly plucking strings, reminiscent of a psychological thriller.

There's also several bonus tracks with other guest musicians if that wasn't enough for you.

Definitely an excellent album if you're fans of eerie jazz & zeuhl

 Neffesh Music: Ima by SEFFER, YOCHK'O album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.81 | 14 ratings

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Neffesh Music: Ima
Yochk'o Seffer Zeuhl

Review by bartymj

3 stars Sadly as with a lot of Seffer albums I've had to piece this together from random tracks on compilations and unfortunately I've only got two out of three tracks, missing the 20 minuter. Nevertheless here's a short review.

It appears Jean-My Truong disappears from the percussion stand on this album. If you've read any of my other Seffer/Zao reviews you'll know I think this is a bad thing. Alas.

Ofek starts with a sort of Arabian feel of Sax, Cello and female vocals before breaking into a rapid jamming session where immediately I forget its not Truong on drums. It's very tight, and very good. Vocals disappear for the rest of the track and most other instruments are there just to add some rolling noise, including a xylophone(?). Strings add a jarring almost horror style effect at certain points where it becomes less of a jam, a little slower, and a very good section with the quartet mixing with sax before finishing with more of that xylophone tinkling. Really like this track.

Noce Chimique starts where Ofek left off in a way, only with more piano, and more vocals. That slightly arabic feel is back with the vocals for a minute or two over rolling drums. The piano then takes over from the vocals in a lengthy jam before a strings-only section and then the return of a saxophone. We get all arabic again for the last minute or two. Its more sectioned out than Ofek and so doesn't flow quite as nicely but still decent.

Shame I haven't got the other track, as these two aren't bad at all. Slightly better than Delire which I listened to first

 Neffesh Music: Délire by SEFFER, YOCHK'O album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.39 | 10 ratings

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Neffesh Music: Délire
Yochk'o Seffer Zeuhl

Review by bartymj

2 stars It's a little easier to piece together Yochk'o Seffer's early work with streaming services now available. Sadly though on Spotify I've only tracked down four of six tracks on this album, but at least its the four longest ones.

Seffer didn't quite leave Zao behind here, the excellent drumming of JM Truong is present, although a lot more minimal than in Zao and only on a couple of tracks. There's also no bass guitar, and much of the album does just feel like a jamming session for Seffer on his sax - it is essentially a solo album after all.

Heart is mostly a free jazz number, with Seffer competing with himself - sax vs moog, and Truong just setting the pace on drums. Its not bad, but doesn't really go anywhere. Jonetsu for Judith is a much better example of Seffer's real technical ability on all instruments, and the jarring piano chords do give you a hint of the Zeuhl influence still being there. A background of string rather than drums adds to the eerie nature of this track which is probably my favourite. Orkana is back to the chaotic jamming session but this time mainly moog over Truong's drumming. Unfortunately I haven't been able to listen to Streledzia or Ima, but Delire, a lengthy 13 minute track is another jarring chaotic jam in the first half, with a minimal string piece in the second. Not much going on for me.

If you like jazz jamming dive in, if you like technical saxophone with a hint of Zeuhl listen to Jonetsu for Judith. And yes, admittedly two short tracks I have no access to. But still, didn't hear much to consider it essential.

 My Old Roots by SEFFER, YOCHK'O album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2007
3.52 | 4 ratings

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My Old Roots
Yochk'o Seffer Zeuhl

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 3.5 stars. Another compilation album from Seffer that features music handpicked from 2 of his studio albums. In this case it's "Chromophonie 1" and "Delire" and the closing number was previously unreleased and recorded in 2005 with his Hungarian friend Lajos Horvath who is nothing short of incredible on the violin. We get ZAO drummer Jean-My Truong on a couple of tracks but he really is not a factor here being more in the background as strings, sax and piano lead the way here. No bass either is credited. The Margand String Quartet is here on several songs.

I actually quite enjoyed this but found it a little one dimensional surprisingly given it's a compilation record. The toughest song to appreciate is "Delire" at over 13 minutes being so repetitive with the sax, strings and piano. This one is not easy to digest at all. We get Zoltan Fekete adding guitar to one track and at that just to open the song but I'm not into his style. "Os-Gyoker" is a haunting piece that could have fit on his "Ghilgoul" record. Horvath adds violin on this one as Seffer offers up creepy piano lines at times. No Zeuhl on this one, more of a Classical bent to the music here.

 Neffesh-Music by SEFFER, YOCHK'O album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2001
3.96 | 4 ratings

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Neffesh-Music
Yochk'o Seffer Zeuhl

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Another compilation album from Yochk'o Seffer but this one has a lot of value compared to the "Chromophonie" compilation record I just reviewed. Half the tracks here are previously unreleased including an outtake from the "Ghilgoul" sessions called "Mazal". These tracks have bass and drums unlike the previous compilation I just reviewed including Jean-My Truong on three tracks but there's also two other drummers. And on bass Dominique Bertram who is nothing short of incredible. Oh and how about Mauricia Platon on vocals on that classic opener "Noce Chimique". We get the Quatuor Margand string quartet on five tracks. Seffer adds his usual sax, piano and bass clarinet but also synths and vocals. His Hungarian friend Lajos Horvath adds some unbelievable violin on several songs here. This is outstanding music!

Top three would actually include two of those previously unreleased tracks but first the opener "Noce Chimique" from the "Ima" album. By the way we get two songs from "Delire" another one from "Ima" as well as one from "Ghilgoul" on here. The opener is about the sax, bass and piano early before Mauricia arrives and check out how haunting it gets. Piano and bass lead before 3 minutes then add violin and drums at 4 1/2 minutes. Love that bass. Strings alone lead before 6 minutes for a minute then it's bass, soprano sax, drums and vocals. Bass is the focus from around 9 1/2 minutes to after 10 1/2 minutes when drums, sax and vocals return. Go Mauricia!

I also really like "Kalapoch-Tanz" with the piano and violin leading the way early before it turns more lively when bass, drums and sax arrive. Atmosphere after a minute and this sounds really cool. Just so impressive then Seffer lets it rip on the sax. Oh my! Last top three would be "Aditys" and in part for that Zeuhl rhythm. Synths on this one as well making it sound a little unique. Seffer adds vocals here too making it sound even more Zeuhlish. There are eleven ultra talented musicians on this recording and a one of a kind vocalist which makes this a must for fans of adventerous music.

 Chromophonie by SEFFER, YOCHK'O album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1996
3.05 | 3 ratings

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Chromophonie
Yochk'o Seffer Zeuhl

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 3.5 stars. Seffer released "Chromophonie 1" and "Chromophonie 2" back to back in the early eighties. This particular album is a compilation of tracks from those two recordings and this was released in 1996. I am such a big fan of Yochk'o Seffer going back to the early MAGMA days but especially when I discovered ZAO. Seffer is Hungarian and has lived in France for years and we share the same birthday!

This is mostly Seffer but he has a fellow Hungarian violinist playing on three tracks and that female string quartet called QUARTUER MARGAND found on a couple of ZAO albums playing on two songs. And that's it, no drums, bass or guitar. Seffer plays bass clarinet but mostly sax here and piano. So yeah tough to rate because the music is over my head and the enjoyment factor isn't that high much of the time. And this is a compilation of previously released songs. I review as a fan not a critic so I went with the 3.5 star bailout. I really like it but I don't love it.

I really enjoyed Natsar II" for the vocals even though this song is the shortest at under 2 minutes. The next track "Bela Bcsi Emlekere" is great for the piano and violin interplay. A treat. I liked the start of "Galgal" with the multi-horns with piano. Sax and piano will share the spotlight on this one. Lastly "Mizwa I" for again the violin and piano. Just outstanding music here and the piano takes over after 5 minutes right to the end on this over 9 1/2 minute track.

I'm glad Musea released this as I have little in the way of releases that are quite like this.

 Yog I - Pitchipoy by SEFFER, YOCHK'O album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.17 | 3 ratings

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Yog I - Pitchipoy
Yochk'o Seffer Zeuhl

Review by pedestrian

3 stars In short, this instrumental album would suit fans of the fusion end of Zao with a particular penchant for saxophone. While this is certainly an aquired taste, it's a very solid 3 stars! But sitting through the whole thing in one sitting is too much for most.

Pitchipoy finds Seffer returning to his alto sax, which according to the liner notes he'd abandoned since the sixties, a statement I find strange since he plays the alto a fair bit on his album Prototype and indeed all 7 saxophones and more on Adama. Be that as it may; on Pitchipoy he ONLY plays the alto sax meaning his sound is very homogeneous, to the point of monotonous.

This album is the first outing of the new band/concept YOG, following on previous concepts Neffesh Music (his best) and Chronophonie. The new element in YOG is the introduction of electronic and programmed elements, tastefully introduced by Thierry Maillard. Secondly, synthesizer (also Maillard) are pretty ubiquitous througout.

The liner notes sum up the sound pretty aptly: "[Pitchipoy] celebrates the meeting of Bartokian folklore with Cuban binary feeling and American groove." The rhythm section is essentially fusion, with the groovy chops of Zao drummer Jean-My Truong at the center and Seffer stalwart Dominique Bertram on fretless bass. Needless to say they are absolutely first rate.

But this is by no means your regular fusion! First, anyone who knows Seffer will know he never stick to scales and chords you'd know the names of. His trademark tonality is all over this album, which most would call atonal although as always extended from Seffer's three sources of inspiration: Hungarian folk music, Bela Bartok and John Coltrane (the latter two he shares with Christian Vander). Finally Seffer and as usual Seffer's self-made "scupltophonies" (wind instruments which are essentially hollow sculpturs with a sax mouthpiece) feature, although not prominently. The most accessible track is probably the closer "Batkol", employing Cuban-esque "dancing rhythms" as Seffer calls them; I'd like to see the disco putting this album on...

On the whole there is a serious danger of an overdose of Seffer's sax playing, especially with only the alto throughout. With a few exceptions, it's midtempo fusion with little dynamics. Seffer isn't much into ballads and soft & tender playing, but goes on and on at a steady forte, constantly moving through his strange scales. With the groove relatively unchanging for stretches it can get monotonous. From now on I will not listen to the entire album in one go, but one or two tracks at a time. The keys innovative synthesizers and occasional strangeness of the sonic sculptures add variation, but you have to listen properly to enjoy it.

As an aside the cover artwork, designed by Seffer himself, puzzles me no end. Seffer own YOG painting would have been mightly cool on its own, but then he's decided to take a picture of himself with his alto dressed in dubious fashion, cut it out with scissors and stuck it on top, and written text all over it with two different fonts, huge letters, one of them with a silly effect. Is this some kind of split personality? One an accomplished painter, sculptor and musician, the other the most amateurish graphic designer?

 Neffesh Music: Ima by SEFFER, YOCHK'O album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.81 | 14 ratings

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Neffesh Music: Ima
Yochk'o Seffer Zeuhl

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars It was great to finally spend some time with this recording. While I much prefer the followup "Ghilgoul" there's lots to enjoy here. Three long tracks make up this album released in 1977 and it's pretty cool to see some of the names involved here from Seffer's former band ZAO. Mauricia Platon adds vocal melodies but she's not nearly as upfront as she was on ZAO's debut. Still it's great to hear her. Dominique Bertram on bass played on some later ZAO releases. We also get that all female string quartet from ZAO's "Shekina" album. On drums is Manu Katche who played with Jan Garbarek. A solid 4 star album in my opinion but something is lacking personally for me to up this rating.

"Ima" is the almost 20 minute side long suite. Quite abstract sounding if you ask me. Humming sounds as female vocal melodies join in. Sax joins in after 2 1/2 minutes. Kind of an eerie vibe here as it plays out. Bass 15 minutes in as the vocals step aside changing the flavour somewhat. Some new experimental sounds start to come and go before 17 1/2 minutes. Quite avant sounding here to the end.

"Ofek" opens with sax, female vocal melodies and more. Kind of melancholic before the tempo picks up as drums, keys, bass and more jump in as the sax and vocals step aside. Love the drumming, so intricate. The sax is back before 3 1/2 minutes. The string quartet arrives a minute later. Nice. The sax is back before 6 minutes as the drums pound away.

"Noce Chimique" opens with drums and bass as keys and sax join in. Female vocal melodies follow as we get runs of sound here. The vocals become more of the focus before 1 1/2 minutes. Some discordant piano before 3 minutes as the vocals stop. Strings before 4 1/2 minutes along with some nice bass lines. Strings only at 6 minutes then a minute later sax, drums, bass and more take over. I like this section. Vocals back to the fore around 11 minutes.

Thanks to naturalscience for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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