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Sean Trane View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Xaal and Wapassou
    Posted: June 28 2006 at 06:19
Xaal appears to be in the tradition of KC influenced french band that sterted with Carpe Diem , then Shylock and nowadays with Nebelnest. Can be classified as Zeuhl, too
 
 
Wapassou however is more difficult to understand/describe. I heard their Salammboo record and it is sometimes close to an opera.
 
 
Anybody heard of these two groups?


Edited by Sean Trane - July 20 2006 at 05:57
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 28 2006 at 06:26
Is that second record you mentioned inspired by Flaubert's "Salammbo" novel? That would be interesting, as that novel is one of my all-time favourites...
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 28 2006 at 07:37
 
here is what GEPR has to say about those two
 
 
Wapassou [France]

Wapassou (75),

Messe En re Mineur (76),
Sallambo (77), >>> it is about the Phoenician Queen I think, no idea that Flaubert wrote about her or notWink
Ludwig (78),
Genuine (80),
Orchestra 2001-Le Lac D'Argent (86)

French progressive rock band with instrumentation oriented around a keyboard/ violin/guitar/drums (in that order of prominence) setup. They play what is often described as a spacy-progressive rock, and have to date released six albums, including one with the aid of an orchestra. Their best is probably Messe En Re Mineur, which is a single 40 min. track on two sides of an LP.

Sort of a chamber progressive band, who's early albums featured no percussion and were sort of like a more melodic version of Univers Zero (albeit quite a bit earlier.) Their best is supposed to be Messe En Re Mineur Since this is the only one I have, I haven't been in a rush to get the rest. Can be quite mesmerizing at times, though.

Interesting French symphonic progressive with lots of violin. Most feature side-long compositions, and a very strong classical influence (Bach, etc.) The band consists of Freddy Brua (keyboards), Jacques Lichti (violin) and Karen Nickerl (Guitars). Only the last album features a drummer. Some vocals on the first album, but the rest are nearly all instrumental. Their first album is different from the rest, with sort of an Art Zoyd-ish feel, but very substandard. The last ..Lac D'Argent is a much more polished album with an instrumental pop feel, beautiful stuff, but very different than the others. Best places to start are Messe En Re Mineur or Ludwig.

I have their self-titled first album from 1975. Essentially, the band consists of keyboards, violin, and female vocals in French. Various guest musicians contribute occasional oboe, flute, or other instruments. Due to the lack of drums and bass, and the prominence of the violin, the band has a dreamy "chamber ensemble" feel. If the writing were a bit more inspired they might have been an excellent band. Unfortunately, the music fails to be very involving. Messe En Re Mineur is said to be their best so I'd look there first.

 
 
 
Xaal [France]

Discography
On The Way (91, aka En Chemin)
Seconde Ere (93)
French instrumental fusion band with a strong link to the Magma sound, but occasionally reminding of Shylock, Crimson, and other bands on the euro- fusion-funk axis. They are a three piece (4 Piece on the first album) of guitars, bass and drums, with some guesting by Magma's recent horn section. The first album has five long tracks that tend to ramble in self indulgence a little (hey, what's wrong with that?), while the second has a much more assertive sound, with very strong rhythms, ripping guitar, mid-length tracks, and a more directed melodic approach. Outstanding.
Sort of mild progressive fusion in the style of Crimson's Red or Lark's Tongues. On the Way is all instrumental and I usually wished they would open up a little more and lose control. Their sound has a kind of sameness that wears thin after 60 minutes.
Xaal are a French band who play a brand of progressive rock verging on fusion, that compares well with contemporaries Minimum Vital, Edhels, and the like. The music on On the Way is all-instrumental, and, perhaps a bit more guitar-dominant than the two bands named. The core line-up does not include a keyboardist, but a guest player is listed, along with a couple of others who make occasional trumpet and sax contributions. The performance is pretty good and energetic, and, if you enjoy the "French instrumental progressive' sound, this should be a worthwhile disc.
Excellent French fusion trio consisting of drums, bass, and guitar/guitar synth. On the Way in a conceptual instrumental album that brings to mind French fusion bands such as Zao and Weidorje, and perhaps a bit of Brand X. Songs range from four to eleven minutes in length and serve as showcases for some tight interplay between these guys. I've had the CD only a short time but I have grown to like it a great deal. Excellent and recommended progressive fusion from the current progressive scene.
On the Way forges ahead into the French "zeuhl" music. Based largely on pioneers such as Magma and Univers Zero, Xaal's music has the rhythmic proficiency of both the aforementioned bands, and even some horn guest spots from former Magma-ites. But rather than re-live old glories, Xaal takes the sound into new directions. Their melodies are based around a heavy, riffing guitar and occasional keyboard backdrops. Occasionally they remind me of Voivod! Led by busy drumming and an active bass, the music contains the weirdness, inconsistencies, and drive that early Magma had, without the repetition that turns many people off that band. The creative level here is something right out of the seventies and hopefully this will inspire other nineties prog bands to become more self-indulgent. This was, IMHO, one of the strongest new releases in 1992. Highly recommended.
For the first ten listenings I couldn't decide how much I liked On the Way, but after another ten, it promised to become one of my favourites. This album has more of a spark of creative originality than Änglagård, although it's less immediately impressive. It's all instrumental (except for one mad groan), and fairly sparse-sounding because there are few keyboards. It has more variation than Änglagård, and has that certain quality which I can't really describe, which makes an album suitable for continual repeated listening without getting boring.
French band whose debut was more than welcome for exhausted classic prog sound after Time finally overcame senseless, vacuous and no doubt submissive Eighties. Ambitious mix of classic French prog, zeuhl and fusion has proven solid and substantial despite not the best sound-cloth. Esp. guitar was constantly wheezing. Melodies and arrangements are effective and are able to echo in one's mind for quite a time. Interesting enough, I traced some atmospheres which was to find in 1997, on Voivod's Phobos, with only slightly different effect. I also traced a riff similar of Ozzy era Black Sabbath, too well-known to me (after having chance to hear plenty of their copycats) to please me. Anyhow, sufficiently efficient and much better than Änglagård whose debut provided me another disappointing revelation. Seconde Ere is tighter. Production is far better than on debut. Guitar of Jad Ayache is powerful and loud, bass is throbbing somewhere near while drums push altogether in a very decisive way. Band managed to maintain all their characteristics. One is to hear instrumentally full-grown mix of Present, Magma, King Crimson, VDGG and bands' unusual talent for making haunting melodies and rich themes which summon reminiscences of ancient times (era Aries and beyond), but which can not abandon tense atmospheres. As on En Chemin, a trumpet and two saxes are beside. Trumpet and alto sax can be heard on excellent "Rah", while soprano sax veawes additional melodies on strongly middle-Eastern inspired 10+' "Al Abad". Overall, while quite Present-ish, they remind me of Tiemko's L'Ocean a bit. Musea had cut prices on both mentioned releases (from the previous sentence), and if you're interested, don't dither to grab 'em both. Quite good and quite recommended. -- Nenad Kobal

 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 28 2006 at 08:08
Out of those two bands I know only Wapassou - I have their "Messe En Re mineur" and find it to be an excellent album.
 
Xaal sound very interesting from the description above.
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 28 2006 at 08:34
I checked both GEPR and ProgGnosis, and it seems that "Salammbo" is indeed about the Carthaginian princess who is the protagonist of Flaubert's novel of the same title. It's a read that every proghead should love.... Very decadent, quite a lot of violence and some implied sex! And the album cover has some artwork by Gustave Doré... Uhmm... You've really made me curious, you know!Wink
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 28 2006 at 09:34
Originally posted by Ghost Rider

I checked both GEPR and ProgGnosis, and it seems that "Salammbo" is indeed about the Carthaginian princess who is the protagonist of Flaubert's novel of the same title. It's a read that every proghead should love.... Very decadent, quite a lot of violence and some implied sex! And the album cover has some artwork by Gustave Doré... Uhmm... You've really made me curious, you know!Wink
 
 
I am about to make your curiosity climb the walls of your office .. After one listen, this Sallambo album sounds fairly Italian-styled symphonic prog
 
 
(feel free to start droolingWink)
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 28 2006 at 10:25
Wapassou was a very good band and should have a place , Xaal is one of the best examples progressive fusion bands during the 90's.  For some reason(Zeuhl categorization?) french progressive music is the redheaded stepchild of the archives.Lamp
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 28 2006 at 13:31
^^^
That is why we have several key members here, such as Sean and yourself, to strengthen this weaker point and make the different musical domains in the archives represented as it should suitably be.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 28 2006 at 13:59
I still believe it's very wrong to move threads like this one into "Assorted & miscellanious / Non-prog music" department. There should rather be an area called "Prog music, not in Archives yet" here.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 29 2006 at 02:40
 
 edit
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Edited by Sean Trane - July 20 2006 at 05:55
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 29 2006 at 02:45
Please, dear admins, could you either bring this thread back to its original place or at least move it to suggest new bands section?

Edited by avestin - June 29 2006 at 02:46
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 29 2006 at 09:57
chill, they will come around! TIME
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 29 2006 at 10:01
Wapassou is actually quiite interesting , but this salammbô album is not that rock >> very progressive and classical though.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 30 2006 at 04:54

Wapassou – Salammbô

 

Taken after Gustave Flaubert’s book, this is the group’s third album and as you might have guessed a conceptual one. Two tracks only each filling up a side of vinyl, both of them highly theatrical musically speaking, and no bass and drums, this is a rather puzzling but very charming, oscillating between classical music and rockier moments (the synthesisers moments). If the words descriptive music can ring you something, this might just a fitting definition of it.

 

Enhanced by another Gustave’s artworks (Doré on this one) as a sleeve, this trio (violin, (sometimes) fuzzy guitars, KBs ranging from piano, organs and synths) augmented by Mrs Fizelson’s vocals here and there, is achieving quite an impressive show of mastery of their musical propos. The music peaks between the 11 th and 13 th minutes of the second track, sometimes reminding you of a much-happier Univers Zero.

 

If you love grandiose ambiances, with aerial atmospheres, this little gem can be right up your alley, digging up a highway to your musical orgasmic fields. Do I make sense? No? Blame on this album ;-)

 

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 30 2006 at 05:00
So, it seems I was right on that issue.... Showing off my literary knowledge, as usual! Wink It does sound extremely intriguing (not to mention worthy of inclusion in the mighty PA), but I cannot refrain myself to recommending the book also. It's a superb read - especially if you can read it in the original (and of course, Hugues, you can!Smile). Very, very decadent and blood-drenched...
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 01 2006 at 09:16
" Out of those two bands I know only Wapassou - I have their "Messe En Re mineur" and find it to be an excellent album.
 
Xaal sound very interesting from the description above. "
 
As opposite, I'm not familiar with Wapassou (it sounds really interesting), but I happen to own XAAL's first album "En Chamin"... and let me tell you, they're amazing. They anticipated that KC-meets-Present modern soundging prog that NeBeLNeST, some years later, would take to its almost-perfection. XAAl should be here for yesterday, so to speak... but hey, what the hell, Queen and use are in the Archives, so we're OK, right?
 
   Kind regards.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 01 2006 at 13:09
Originally posted by Cesar Inca

 
As opposite, I'm not familiar with Wapassou (it sounds really interesting), but I happen to own XAAL's first album "En Chemin"... and let me tell you, they're amazing. They anticipated that KC-meets-Present modern soundging prog that NeBeLNeST, some years later, would take to its almost-perfection. XAAl should be here for yesterday, so to speak...
 
 
Thanks Cesar
 
 
Here is the review I cooked up for this album
 

XAAL – On The Way (En Chemin)

 

In the lenghty French prog tradition of heavily Crimson inspired bands (such Carpe Diem, Shylock and recently Nebelnest), came out in the early 90’s Xaal, a guitar-lead trio that gets some help either from a keyboardist on some tracks and some brass section in other (and both on the second last track). Clearly this instrumental trio was at the top of their game and from these years, there were not many new generation groups that were able to top them.

 

 

Starting out on three very familiar APP notes, the album is a conceptual piece about a Child’s way to his destiny and the tricks, traps and other obstacles of life on his road to fulfilment. Yes, these guys have clearly heard some King Crimson, but they are jazzier than the Fripp boys, but there are ever-so subtle hints of Magma also.

 

Not everything is perfect on the album, most notably the weak KB on the closing moments of the title track but on the whole, the album holds its own without ever being really brilliant either. The climax of the album comes with the second-last 11-min Byblos (and its incredible middle section where the brass section is contributing to the madness that Alamaailman Vasarat would make theirs a decade later, and the incredibly violent Final.

 

Not an easy listen for casual progheads, partly due to the instrumental nature of their music, Xaal’s first album is certainly worth a spin, but nothing absolutely essential either.

 

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 12 2006 at 07:06
Cesar , Feel like writing a bio for Xaal
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 12 2006 at 23:34
Hi Sean... maybe I do, well... yes. How long do I have?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 13 2006 at 00:12

With only two albums in their curriculum vitae, released in a 2-year span, it’s incredible how the French power-trio XAAL managed to leave such a rich testimony for contemporary prog rock. Formed by guitarist Jad AYACHE, bassist Nicolas NEIMER and drummer/percussionist Patrick BOILEAU, XAAL offered an exciting, stylish mixture of KC-meets-CAMEL oriented sound (not unlike their legendary compatriots of SHYLOCK) and RIO at its least inscrutable (imagine PRESENT with a more patent dynamics and a bit less sinister), craftily seasoned with noticeable touches of jazz-rock. The trio decided to increase their sonic spectrum via the help of guests - on wind instruments mostly - for some extra colors, but all in all, the threesome were exclusively responsible for their own sound’s core.

 

The paradoxes of mixing roughness and sophistication meet an amazing fruition in XAAL’s two only albums, “On the Way” [a.k.a. “En Chemin”] (1992) and “Seconde Ere” (1993). It is a general consensus that the rough aspect is more pronounced in the latter album, sadly their last one for good.

 

Recommended to fans of King Crimson’s legacy, RIO with a more accessible vibe, as well as lovers of psychedelic-oriented prog (NeBeLNeST) and jazz-rock with proggy twists (BRAND-X, RETURN TO FOREVER, TRIBAL TECH). Those nostalgic of SHYLOCK and PULSAR are potential lovers of XAAL, too.

 

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