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SERGE BRINGOLF

Zeuhl • France


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Serge Bringolf biography
Serge Bringolf is a drummer and composer hailing from France. He has worked with numerous musicians, the most well known of which is work that he did with Jaco Pastorius in the 1980s. Bringolf's music is often characterized as jazz-rock, but it is more appropriately placed squarely within the Zeuhl genre. One can hear very clear strains of Magma's influence throughout all of his solo work, nonetheless Bringolf's sound has more often been compared with that of early Zao, Art Zoyd and Jaques Thollot. His moves are outstandingly tight.

Bringolf released three albums under his own name in the early 1980s, two studio and one live. He also released an album with Siegfried Kessler titled Agboville in 1983. The latter is a drum and piano album without the largess of sound so notable in his other solo efforts. It is more reminiscent of the elemental tone which flavors Christian Vander's Wurdah Ïtah, yet it can justly be compared to many other Magma inspired efforts. In 1981 he was featured on The Alain Eckert Quartet's one private release, Quartet. Eckert was a guitarist with Art Zoyd, and the album displays a lot of similarity to Bringolf's first (1980) solo release Strave - colored with the discernable influence of Central European music. Vision, Bringolf's second release from 1981 [on whick Eckert also plays], displays a more inventive feel overall. There is still much here that will appeal to the 'standard' Zeuhl fan, but it has a distinct edge of its own to it; an air of originality which ventures beyond the 'traditional' Zuehl (Magma inspired) themes which he explored in Strave.

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StraveStrave
Import
Soleil Zeuhl 1980
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SERGE BRINGOLF top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.71 | 12 ratings
Strave
1980
4.79 | 10 ratings
Vision
1981
0.00 | 0 ratings
Agboville
1983

SERGE BRINGOLF Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Strave Live
1983

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SERGE BRINGOLF Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Vision by BRINGOLF, SERGE album cover Studio Album, 1981
4.79 | 10 ratings

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Vision
Serge Bringolf Zeuhl

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

5 stars After the release of his first album (a double) in 1980 called "Strave" the band just sort of faded away with all but one musician ( and Serge) moving on to other things. Enter ART ZOYD guitarist Alain Eckert who played on those early classic ZOYD albums ( and live with NATIONAL HEALTH in 1979 as heard on their "Playtime" recording) who asked Serge if he'd consider joining his project called the ALAIN ECKERT QUARTET. Serge did so playing drums and adding sax just like on his "Strave" recording. Then in 1981 Serge was putting a new lineup together for his next record and contacted Eckert about playing guitar on it. He obliged along with the bass player from the Eckert Quartet. The trumpet player and French horn player from the "Strave" lineup returned and Serge hired a second bass player. Also the vocalist from the debut returned and Serge hired a new sax and vibraphone player. So like the first lineup we get nine players (they counted ten on the debut but that included an alto flute player who performed on one track only). So to simplify, this new lineup has no violinist like the debut did as he was repleced by the guitarist, and a second bass player is here instead of the trombone player.

Compared to the debut this is in the same style but is harder edged and certainly more compact as it's a single album and not a double like the debut. I do like this one quite a bit better. By the way many compare this record to MAGMA's "1001 Centigrades". Certainly Bringolf and Vander are both incredible drummers and composers. Bringolf was influenced the most by Tony Williams though.

"Vision" opens with vibes as drums and vocals join in. This is melow and relaxed as the singer repeates the line over and over and then backing vocals help him out. A change before 3 1/2 minutes as the vocals stop and the music becomes more passionate. Man this guy can drum ! Vocals are back after 4 1/2 minutes and the horns help out too. Things are ratcheted up a notch around 6 minutes. Amazing ! Eckert starts to rip it up on the guitar before 7 minutes. Nice. In the liner notes they say this song hints at "Kobaia" instrumentaly and ZAO's debut becaue of the scat singing. "Plus I" is a short piece where the horns blast in a dissonant manner on and off throughout.

"Plus II" is where the drums kick in leading the way along with the basses and a bass horn. After 3 1/2 minutes these high pitched vocal expressions join in. I'm reminded of Zeuhl here because of the prominant bass. The horns then join in. So good ! "Plus III" is an intense piece with the drums standing out along with the chanting. Horns and more help out as well. "Ma-Ho. Peneta" is the final and also longest track at almost 13 1/2 minutes. Horns, chants and drums lead early then it settles some as the bass growls. This sounds so good. The chants will come and go.A change 7 1/2 minutes in as the sax will start to solo at will over top. Vibes replace the sax after 10 minutes as the guitar lights it up. It's the vocals turn before 12 minutes then the horns return.

I wasn't expecting this to be so good. A must for fans of both JRF and Zeuhl.

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 Strave by BRINGOLF, SERGE album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.71 | 12 ratings

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Strave
Serge Bringolf Zeuhl

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

4 stars Teutonic fusion

Zeuhl has always been a branch of the jazz rock happening in the late sixties early 70s, and whilst a group such as Magma started out on the jazzier side of things, their real characteristic sound that made them (somewhat) famous is infinitely more rooted in the rock side of the equation. The best word I can come up with, that somehow encapsulates this magnificent genre, although there are many different aspects to it, is perhaps teutonic. Serge Bringolf's Strave certainly fits the teutonic moniker. It's music that towers high over you like one of those mechanical octopus robots from War of the Worlds - walking rigidly through the landscape with the confidence of a true colossus.

The first cut here perfectly puts this imagery into focus. Rumbling fusionesque drumming with a unique sound to it - that has me thinking old hollow fuel containers and skips turned into percussive instruments. Swarming around these wonderful and rather tribal sounding drums, is a fantastic bass that edges its way into the most narrow of musical corners - sweeping every little note and expression around it up - enhancing it and then putting a spin on the sucker. Like most of my Zeuhl records, Strave is about the close and loving bond between these two pelting lovers. On this opening track the feel is almost symphonic - it is gentle and swaying - huge in size - opening up in these towering sonic sculptures. Had it not been for the openly tsch-tsch-tssscchc old school jazz rhythm - this one could have been a terrific symphonic epic with all what that entails of exotic fruits and capers. But it isn't - because hanging lightly onto the suave and docile teutonics here is this cold ethereal female voice, that to start with sounds just like an overweight opera-singer getting surprised in the shower with a sudden burst of ice cold water: AAOOOUGHHHHHH WOOOOOAAAAARRHHGGG. Instead of pausing her early morning shower serenade, she stumbles a bit thereby altering the tone of her voice slightly - picks herself up heroically and suddenly hits that sweet lofty spot, where this kind and jazzy brand of Zeuhl suddenly comes together and grows in size like a small horse on viagra.

After this piece of ethereal Zeuhl - I felt like I had this under wraps - like I knew what this thing was all about, but alas - or should I say fortunately I was dead wrong. Not that I wouldn't mind a whole album filled with music like this, but this is a double album, and when that second track first gets going, you just know you're in for a real treat.

I'm not going to make a track by track review - mostly because I am far too messy and all over the place for such a thing to work well, but also because it would take me half a bible to do so. Stick with the bible, if you want length ladies! I would, however, like to mention the second track here that kind of shatters one's hopes for a full so-called ethereal Zeuhl album. It is an astonishing track, and to people like myself who have grown up in Denmark with all these famous children's stories around them(Scandinavia has had a long-standing tradition of imaginative children's literature fx Astrid Lindgren), just think of Folk og Røvere I Kardemommeby! Alright that probably didn't make much sense to most of you people, but this track reminds me so much of a book called Folks and Robbers in Cardamom Town(Loosely translated). This town is home to a lovable group of thieves who every night go out and rob whatever they can find. They usually sing about it in loud voices as well, which kind of ruins the plot altogether. Anyway, when these guys go out to sneak in the middle of the night - with cat paws and stealth mode, albeit singing, this is the kind of music I get. This Zeuhl! Man I was almost in tears - laughing like a buffoon when I first made this strange connection. Katjing! It's those robbers man!

Enough of that already! Yeah well sometimes I have to stop myself, before everything winds up in preschool city talking about Care-bears and Bugs Bunny. Let's get down to brass tax here! If you want something out of the ordinary - something that swings, towers overhead you with the will of a dozen cement crows - basking dark fusion and Zeuhl vibes in your face like it was going out of fashion, then throw your dog in the river immediately and get this pronto! Occupying the jazzier realm of Zeuhl, Strave utilizes tight and dry rhythm textures that seem to float alongside a wonderful concoction of reeds, doomsday piano, violin, operatic yet soothing vocals and bass lines that could borrow their way down to China inside the first few bars. A deep sonorous bass mole.

Strave is unique in the way that it feels like an early fusion record with all the maniacal slingshot manoeuvres and grand hand gestures that such a thing entails, although bearing a striking resemblance to what the Zeuhl acts were trying to do towards the end of the 70s, which was funnelling the music downwards into the ground - making it earthier and more funky. Here it's exactly that as well as being the direct opposite - even if that makes absolutely no sense at all. Oh well, I've done my job if you're just as confused as I am. This is after all music...

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 Strave by BRINGOLF, SERGE album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.71 | 12 ratings

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Strave
Serge Bringolf Zeuhl

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Serge Bringolf is certainly a very talented drummer but his talents go far beyond the kit. He's a great composer and also plays sax and guitar. He was influenced early on by KING CRIMSON, JETHRO TULL, SOFT MACHINE and LED ZEPPELLIN, but his biggest influence was Tony Williams, the legendary Jazz drummer of course. So yes he was sort of drawn into that Jazz style but certainly on this album we get a strong Zeuhl flavour as well. He used to frequent a concert venue that drew many French bands annually like VORTEX, ART ZOYD, GONG, ZAO, POTEMKINE etc but also a lot of English bands like NATIONAL HEALTH, Hugh Hopper, Elton Dean etc. It was at this venue that this double album was recorded in 1980 and it was Serge's first. Some call this Big Band Zeuhl because of the brass section and that it's a 10 piece band.

"Delire" is Jazzy to start with bass then the horns blast followed by vibes and vocal expressions.This continues until we get a change after 5 1/2 minutes.Vocals and a MAGMA flavour come in but this is lighter and more orchestral. It's still really good though.Vocals stop before 11 minutes as it settles some with bass and cymbals supporting as different sounds come and go over the next five plus minutes to end it. "Strave" opens with drums as deep bass lines join in. Horns and vibes follow.Violin comes and goes. Horns lead again then the vibes before 6 minutes. A calm 8 minutes in as drums only offer up some random patterns. Bass before 11 minutes as other sounds join in including vocal expressions. A Zeuhl flavour to the vocals 16 minutes in that go on until after 18 minutes. Nice.

"Utopie" opens with a beat as horns join in followed by vibes and violin. I like the repetitive horns here. Vocal expressions after 6 minutes. A change after 9 1/2 minutes.Violin joins in then the bass leads before 12 minutes.The violin is back then horns. Flute late. "Jodwernssen" opens with the horns blasting and then it settles in before a minute.Vocals join in briefly but they will come and go. A change 4 minutes in as a Zeuhl rhythm takes over. Another change before 9 minutes and this reminds me of the bass on EIDER STELLAIRE's debut as the horns play over top.Violin late along with flute and vibes.

I would have liked this more if it was a single album but it's hard to complain about so much great music even if it is kind of samey throughout. A solid 4 stars.

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 Strave by BRINGOLF, SERGE album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.71 | 12 ratings

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Strave
Serge Bringolf Zeuhl

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

3 stars Thanks Gabriel (look one page upwards, it's Tsevir) for telling me about this album. Because after few months of occasional listening of "Strave", I still don't know what to write about it. That is, however, not bad thing at all (instead of some who would feel confused), I take it calmly. For certain artists, it's understandable. Not just this, it's completely natural, it's part of their music.

However, I'm enjoying it. So you can read "inside" review of Gabe's, as he is fan of this genre. I am still on the edge of Zeuhl, listening just few albums from this tiny genre (however so mysterious that it is enough for ten times more albums from any other genre) that I can be called wannabe Zeuhl fan. Still in beginning.

And this is very important, perspective, experience (how many other albums you've heard, with which you can compare) and your relationship. I see transcendental elements in Z-et music. So I think that this is not too much sounding as Magma (obvious comparsion) is, it's rather more Jazzy album. And I mean typical Miles Davis Prog Jazz, his best era from late 60s. Not too much chant singing, if so, it's rather subtle and only sparsely used. Trumpets and xylophone-like instrument are dominating (one with force, other one in disguise) and helps to set mood closer to Jazz, some kind of brass band. However, it's still Zeuhl because of certain feeling that's there. And so, drumming is important (as in Magma, leader is drummer, so unusual in other genres), plays vital part in how you perceive the music. Your liking will also probably depend on how much you can follow delicate drumming. Rare thing in Zeuhl is use of violin (prominently in Utopia.

So I think that 4(-) is good rating from a little bit confused listener. As with similar music, you have to be in such mood to listen this, but when you are (and I'm now), you will enjoy it.

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 Strave by BRINGOLF, SERGE album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.71 | 12 ratings

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Strave
Serge Bringolf Zeuhl

Review by Tsevir Leirbag

4 stars A forgotten album; an excellent debut by a man who is not really well known for his musical work

Serge Bringolf's first album, Strave, is an impressive effort. Classified as zeuhl, but including lots of jazz to it, he achieved to create a unique sound. Of course, since Bringolf is a drummer (and a good one), the drums are very important on this album. Adding to that the incredible bass player François Grillot, the impressive brass section consisting of Jean Golanet (trumpet), Philippe Gisselmann (saxophones) and Pascal Beck (trombone), you have a good idea of how the music sounds. You just need to throw in some great, effective choral vocals. It is also worth noticing the violin, which gives a folk emotion, by moments.

Strave is a double album that consists of four long epics, ranging from fifteen to approximately twenty minutes. Simply put, it is a long album. Surprisingly enough, it does not get boring, every moment of it is enjoyable, and that is quite a rare thing on albums of such length.

The first piece of the album, Délire, is probably my favourite as it efficaciously shows the intensity that Bringolf's band is capable of. It is the perfect example of the fusion between jazz and zeuhl I was speaking about.

Strave is good too. It is not the greatest piece of the album, but some violin parts are quite impressive, not in a manner of virtuosity, but as a powerful element in the music. It gives a folk note to the composition, as I was referring to. This piece also features a great drumming performance, showing Bringolf's mastering of his instrument.

Utopie is more of a "classic" zeuhl piece. I love the intriguing, but lively mood in it. The vocals are particularly noticeable here and the level of composition is once again admirable. It also features some of the greatest bass lines I have heard, and definitely Grillot's best performance of this album.

The album ends with Jodwerssen, which ends the album on a high note. It is definitely good as a closer. It could be described as a reminder of the previous pieces, as it mixes the best elements from each of the compositions, notably the bass and trumpet remarkable performances, the drums' jazzy feel, the virtuoso violin and the choral works.

If you are able to find this album, you definitely should take the chance to get it; I promise it is worth it. A truly inspiring mixture of genres.

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