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Yukorin View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Eider Stellaire
    Posted: August 04 2006 at 05:53

      ☆   The Official Eider Stellaire Appreciation Thread ☆


Anything and everything relating to Thee Godz of LoungeZeuhl please share here !


                                           ♪ ☆ ♥










     (fully expectin' 3 figures on this thread before sundown...)
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 04 2006 at 06:00
Another one of those rare pieces from France

I have only heard their self titled effort and old friend played it for me a few times and I overall quite impressed I was surprised how melodic it was for a Zeuhl album. I am not sure whether they have released anything else? I have been looking around for this for a while but as far as I know there have not yet been a CD reissue Have you heard any news on this happening?     
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 04 2006 at 06:21
I heard from listennow801 on this site that the drummer and leader Michel LeBars has destroyed any master-tapes relating to Eider Stellaire and is refusing any attempts to get their work put on cd. From the same source apparantly Alain Labon from the mighty SoleilZeuhl label has tried in vain to get their back catologue reissued.

As far as I know they only released 3 albums which I own prompting the question 'Why don't you do it yourself ?' I would but I'm a technophobe and haven't got the faintest where to start.


I'll post pictures of their albums soon.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 04 2006 at 06:38
http://mitglied.lycos.de/RafaelKozub/zeu/p/eider/1.htm

one of the very few sites with info about Eider Stellaire. What language is this ?
   










From the top: The original handmade sleeve to their 1st album. Impossibly rare. The reissue cover of the 1st album. Eider Stellaire 2. And lastly Musea's pull-out-all-the-stops for their 3rd and presumably last album.


I've scanned these in from the internet. When I get a bit of time I will take some decent pictures from my collection.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 04 2006 at 06:40
Yes I will be interested in seeing their other releases. It is rather a strange reaction to getting his bands material re-released, obviously some underlying reasons! I'm affraid I am a bit of a technophobe was well so I'm not going to be much help. But I think there are other on this site that might have some clue... maybe oliver?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 04 2006 at 06:43
I'm quite sure it is the reissue cover I have heard. Also I think you will find that is polish, but this is only coming from my untrained eye.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 04 2006 at 06:54
Thanks Black Velvet ! Any Polish speakers here willing to do a rough translation ? !

Also anyone got any other links to the mighty Stells' ?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 04 2006 at 06:58
Here is decent review outline the sound of their music.

"Eider Stellaire (1981)

Like a number of excellent French progressive rock releases from the 70s, Eider Stellaire’s self-titled debut is an album that has criminally gone without CD issue since its original vinyl release. The style here is Zeuhl, and you all know what that entails; growling bass, thunderous drums, heavenly Fender Rhodes, organ and synthesizer motifs. Still, Eider Stellaire present a style that is perhaps more infectious and melodic than that of their forbearers, Magma, aligning themselves closer to the Eskaton interpretation of straight up ass kicking.

Opener "Onde" is a throttling piece of Olympian grandeur, as a grooving, fuzzed-out bassline is perfectly accented by kick drum and distorted organ chords. "Arctis 6e éphéméride" at first almost evokes a funk feel with its brisk bass motif and strident rhythm. Here, venomous guitar solos alternate with wordless female chanting to haunting effect. Undoubtedly, the album centerpiece "Légende" is the definitive cut here. The bass is once again incredibly active, exploring the upper registers with some incredibly nimble lines, while guitar and keyboards alternate main melodies and solos. The dynamics and musicianship present here on this track are consistently intriguing, moving from dense, dark themes, representing the kind of Zeuhl we all know and love, to a more euphoric and optimistic tone that is clearly their own. In all, Eider Stellaire’s debut is an essential piece of the French Zeuhl puzzle (they would reportedly go downhill rather quickly after this release), though collector’s will find this a costly and difficult record to track down. However, I can’t quite believe that this album will remain unreleased on CD for long, as the group certainly stands abreast with giants like Magma, Zao, Weidorje and Eskaton. - Greg Northrup [October 2002]"

Also this is a link to a breif biograghy which has been transtated from french quite poorly, but the point is clear enough.

Eider Stellaire


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 04 2006 at 07:11
Superb zeuhl article with a bit on Eider Stellaire I just lifted wholesale...



When considering the legacy of Magma - which continues to this day, one mustrecognize the huge wake they left behind: Many of France's best musicianswere once members, or associates of members, or somehow were touched bytheir influence. Thus, their pervasive effect on the French Jazz- Rock scenecannot be understated. After Magma it would never quite be quite the sameagain. In this piece I will attempt to cover (albeit briefly) some of themany spin-offs, feeders, side projects, and solo works by many of Vander'sformer and current associates. This overview is not intended to beexhaustive and complete - instead it is intended to establish some of the relationships between certain formations and musicians who carried the zeuhl spirit forward, and give some information regarding them.

Magma's personnel roster was always in a state of flux. It can be easily established that no two albums feature the same lineup - always someone leaving or joining. One of the first members to leave the group was bassist Laurent Thibault - even before the first album was recorded, he had excused himself to concentrate on production and lights. Eventually he moved on to starting his own record label (Theleme) and producing other bands. It wasn't until the late seventies until Thibault finally released an album under his own name, a blend of ethereal flowing progressive rock with a female chorus, eventually becoming more sinister and chaotic as it progressed, with certain elements of Magma still very much in evidence.

Hungarian born reedsman Yochk'o "Jeff" Seffer, who had played with Vander in other formations prior to Magma, joined the lineup in time for their second album. Previously, Seffer had played with the jazz unit Perception, whom he would rejoin again only a year and a half later after leaving Magma. But Seffer would leave his mark on the Magma sound, and Magma would leave its mark on him. Altogether, Perception would release three albums between '71 and '74, all worthy of investigation. Perhaps better known is Seffer's formation with keyboardist Francois Cahen, who also left Magma about the same time: Zao recorded a total of five albums between '73 and '77 (although Seffer was not involved in the fifth) and the lineup included stellar musicians like bassist Joel Dugrenot, drummer Jean-My Truong, vocalist Mauricia Platon, and bassist Gerard Prevost. Zao's reissues have been well documented in the pages of Expos?, in fact a detailed review of their second album "Osiris" can be found elsewhere in this issue. And, of course, last year Zao reformed with Seffer and Cahen last year to record a brand new album "Akhenaton". Yet another band which Seffer was involved with in the mid- seventies - and which roughly paralleled Zao, was Speed Limit, a band led by drummer George Jinda, and also featuring Joel Dugrenot and then Magma bassist Jannick Top. Speed limit would record two albums, both self-titled, in '75 and '76. Both are very difficult to find, but well worth the search. By the end of the seventies, Seffer would be directing most of his energy to his solo project Neffesh Music, with a sound which involved much of what he had accumulated in Zao, Speed Limit, and other bands, but also with avant-garde neo-classical and folk-music influences from his native Hungary. Four Neffesh Music albums were recorded, but only three have been released; the third, "Ghilgoul" from '79, has just been reissued by Musea, and all come highly recommended. Through the eighties and nineties, Seffer has remained busy, releasing several solo albums, as well as periodic reformations of Zao. The eponymous release by his nineties jazz quartet Mestari was reviewed in issue #6. He has, no doubt been one of the most prolific ex-members of Magma.

During and after Zao, Francois Cahen has released several piano based albums, although his solo work tends to reflect a bit less of the Magma essence than that of his cohorts. His playing style is very lyrical and original, with more of a purely jazz style. One of his best known recordings is perhaps "Faton- Bloom", recorded with ex-Gong saxophonist Didier "Bloomdido" Malherbe.

Backing up for a moment to the early days of Magma, flautist/saxophonist Teddy Lasry, who remained with the band up through early '72 - long enough to record two albums - and compose one track on each, split the band around the same time as Seffer and Cahen. After playing in other bands and doing session work, as well as returning to Magma in time for the recording of the third album, he began releasing a string of highly regarded and very original solo albums in the mid-seventies. Of these I have heard only two - "E=Mc2" and "Seven Stones" - both outstanding. Others have received varying recommendations. Regrettably, to date none of these have been reissued. Maybe a future suggestion for Seventh or Musea.

In 1972, Magma undertook a tour of Belgium, with a young band called Arkham as the opening act, playing a Soft Machine styled original music. At the end of the tour Christian Vander asked two of the members to join Magma - keyboardist Jean-Luc Manderlier and drummer Daniel Denis. Though Manderlier would stay on through their next album MDK, Denis left after only a few gigs, and started a new band which would eventually become Univers Zero, creating a most intense and sinister style of chamber rock, who's legacy of five albums should be known to all.

Bassist Jannick Top, who came to Magma in time for the third album from a band called Troc, played with several other bands (including the aforementioned Speed Limit) and did quite a bit of session work as well. His unique, thunderous bass style became part of the sound that defined Magma in the post-MDK period. Top stuck around long enough to record three albums with the band, split for a while, and then return to be a major contributor to "Udu Wudu." During his time away, he formed the Utopic Sporadic Orchestra (also featuring ex-Magma saxophonist Richard Raux), which sadly never released an album, but a Jannick Top single "Utopia Viva"/"Epithocanthropus Erectus II" was released during that period. He also did quite a bit of session work, and can be found playing on albums by Nyl, Andre Ceccarelli, Dayde, J.L.Bucchi, Omataxalia, and others. Since his final departure from Magma in early '77, Top has been doing regular session work and soundtracks - and recently produced a couple soundtrack albums with ex- Transit Express keyboardist Serge Perathoner. The one titled "Music Film Scoring" contains some heavily zeuhl influenced pieces that would be of interest to any Magma fan.

Magma's 1976 graduating class produced a number of spin-offs worthy of note. First and foremost is the seven-piece band formed by bassist Bernard Paganotti and keyboardist Patrick Gauthier, also involving names like Michel Ettori and Jean-Philippe Goude, among others. Paganotti, who had been Top's replacement, joining Magma in mid-'75 , has a similar bass style - perhaps a bit more punchy and fluid, and he brought this with him to Weidorje, a band with a sound very close to Magma itself, the chief difference being the vocal approach. Although Weidorje was together and gigging for nearly four years, they only managed to produce one eponymous album in '78, which stands as testament to the compositional prowess and spirited musicianship of this lineup. In fact a full album's worth of material had been written for a proposed second album, but remained unrecorded (as live tapes from their latter days will reveal). Most of these compositions would find their way onto the solo albums of Weidorje's members after the band split in late '79, but a couple that didn't were included as bonus tracks on Musea's CD reissue of the album.

After Weidorje, Jean-Philippe Goude would be the first ex-member to release a solo album, the highly regarded "Drones" in 1980, which involved most of the Weidorje lineup. The sound is very much in the same vein, but as might be expected, is a bit more keyboard oriented (a full review of the CD reissue is in issue no.4). Next to release an album was Patrick Gauthier, with his incredible "Bebe Godzilla", again employing many of his former Weidorje and Magma colleagues, as well as his earlier bandmates from Heldon (a full review of this album is featured in issue no.6). Both Goude and Gauthier have remained active to this day, Goude moving more in a neo-classical direction, while Gauthier has moved closer to jazz.

The last standard-bearer of Weidorje was Paganotti himself, whose new band Paga would include two Weidorje compositions ("Mitchinoku" and "Une Parcelle D'Urantia") on their first, self-titled album from '85. This album would also feature Gauthier, Goude, and other ex-Weidorje members Alain Guillard, Yvon Guillard, and Kirt Rust - in short, a Weidorje reunion. For the second Paga album in '88 "Haunted", the sound would move a bit more in a rock-fusion direction, while still employing a solid zeuhl underpinning. Ex- Magma lead vocalist Klaus Blasquiz became a full member of Paga for this and all subsequent projects. A third album "Gnosis", moves their sound into more acoustic based realms (see review of "Gnosis" in issue no.3). All three Paga albums are highly recommended.

Also from the class of '76 was violinist Didier Lockwood, who has been involved in numerous projects since leaving Magma's touring lineup. His first - and most zeuhl influenced project was Surya, with his brother Francis (keys) and also featuring Sylvain Marc on bass, drummer Jean-My Truong and second keyboardist Luc Plouton. Marc and My-Truong create a solid zeuhl bottom end while Plouton and the Lockwood brothers evoke a powerful and highly melodic fusion, with violin soaring over all. Some may be reminded of Ponty, yet the sound here is more punchy and animated, perhaps less emotional than Ponty. Since then, Lockwood has released numerous albums under his own name, moving gradually into a more lite-jazz sound. He also participated in numerous other projects, including Fusion (more on this later), Clearlight, Pandemonium, Uzeb, Philip Catherine, and Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and was also a member of Zao for the album "Kawana".

Lastly from the '76 graduating class was keyboardist Jean-Pol Asseline, who joined shortly after the release of Kohntarkosz and is featured only on Magma's "Live" album (and other live albums from that period). Of interest here is the group Rhesus O, which Asseline was a member of before joining Magma. With a sound close to early Magma, the album also featured early Magma alumni Richard Raux, Alain Hatot, and Francis Moze, as well as Bernard Paganotti. After his tenure, Asseline has more or less disappeared from music.

Although he stayed on board to record one more album with Magma, keyboardist Benoit Widemann kicked off his solo career during a period when the band had temporarily broken up (around "Udu Wudu") with his solo debut "Stress". He continued as a member of Magma (though dropped out of the lineup periodically to do session work and gig with other bands) while a second solo album "Tsunami" was released in '79. Unlike the first, this was more of a full band with woodwinds and keyboards fronting a fresh and novel jazz-rock sound, with folk, neo-classical and Caribbean influences. On a few tracks he goes full solo, which breaks up the album nicely. It was summer '81 when Widemann teamed up with Vander, Top and Didier Lockwood to record their one-off project Fusion, a Magma side-project that explored more conventional fusion styles, offering each musician plenty of room for soloing - very unlike what they had done in Magma. Still, this is a strong album and well worth attention. Widemann would record one more solo record "3" in 1984, another winner, at least as strong as "Tsunami". "Fusion" has seen CD release, but sadly none of the Widemann solo catalog has been reissued (rumor has it that Musea has secured the rights to the first two, but when they will come out is anybody's guess).

Before the "Attahk" album, in '77, there was a whole new surge of activity in the Magma camp. Bassist Guy Delacroix - from Alan Stivell's group, replaced Jannick Top, yet by the time the band hit the road Delacroix was joined by a second bassist Jean-Luc Chevalier. Delacroix' activity outside of Magma has been limited mainly to session work on albums by Francois Breant, Benoit Widemann, Dan Ar Bras and others, and had left Magma by the beginning of '79. Chevalier, who had previously been a member of Zig-Zag, remained with the band until '83, eventually switching to guitar. In 1984 he released his first album with his band Dromadaire, a powerful zeuhl-tinged jazz outing also featuring Jean "Popov" Chevalier (drums, sax, clarinet), Marc Eliard (bass) and Pascal Vandenbulcke (flute), who had split by the second album "Tibet", leaving the group as a trio. Chevalier has continued to release albums through the eighties and nineties, each being further removed from the zeuhl sound, moving in a more purely jazz direction. His latest "Le Km5 a Bangui" is reviewed elsewhere in this issue.

Delacroix' replacement in Magma, Michael Herve, came from a group called Zou, along with keyboardist Andre Herve and vocalist Maria Popkiewicz. The latter stayed on for some time, but the Herve brothers were gone in less than a year. Michael would join another brother Jean-Luc for the first (cassette) album with his new six-piece band Shub Niggurath, a dark and experimental avant-garde formation, like a noisy and industrial answer to Univers Zero. Shub would go on to release an LP, another cassette, and a CD, but all without Michael's participation. Nonetheless, these albums are spirited and challenging, and definitely worthy of investigation.

No overview of the zeuhl school would be complete without the mention of the group Alien, a band which, at various times in the late seventies involved many members of Magma, including Vander himself, but left no recorded evidence from this period. Magma's next bassist Dominique Bertram would be an ex- member of Alien, and was also a member of Yochk'o Seffer's Neffesh Music, and a member of Zao beginning in the mid-eighties, and is featured on the latest album "Akhenaton". He's also credited with numerous sessions, as well as a solo album featuring appearances by several other Magma members. Also from Alien was guitarist Jean-Michel Kajdan, who has also played with Francis and Didier Lockwood, Sylvain Marc, and released several albums under his own name.

The eighties were even more turbulent as far as lineup turnover within Magma, people coming and going nearly constantly. The final year of the band (post- "Merci") featured two outstanding drummers, as Vander left the kit to concentrate more on vocals, production, and keyboards. Claude Salmieri, who came to Magma fresh from Transit Express would in turn end up in the second lineup of Paga, eventually leaving that group (in the early nineties) to go solo. Michael Le Bars, on the other hand, was strictly moonlighting from his regular band Eider Stellaire, who had at that time released two outstanding and heavily zeuhl influenced albums, and would go on to release a third.

Unfortunately, none of the Eider Stellaire albums have seen a CD reissue to date. All are very worthwhile.

One band that was heavily influenced by the Magma sound in the early eighties was Troll, which featured drummer Michael Altmayer, violist Nathalie Basset, and bassist/guitarist Jean-Pascal Boffo. During their prime period (81-84), they had no releases, and the only evidence from that period are two live demo cassettes. In the mid-eighties Boffo left to launch his solo career, taking some of the original Troll repertoire with him. A new, studio version of Troll was put together by Altmayer and Basset in 1986, and an album was recorded with the participation of many ex-members of Magma, including Stella Vander, Klaus Blasquiz, Bernard Paganotti, Francis Moze, and Alain and Yvon Guillard. An album (LP) was recorded, and released by Musea in '88. This album contains several outstanding tracks (plus a few that are not so spectacular), and is another worthy of interest.

In addition to those projects by the Magma alumni, there are countless other artists and bands who have absorbed some of their influence, without actually sharing membership. Some, such as Eskaton, Xaal, and Honeyelk have produced a music that is very close in style, yet incorporating certain elements that set them apart. Others, like Jean-Paul Prat, Serge Bringolf, Potemkine, and Rahmann, that operate in the jazz space just outside the Magma orbit, but have obviously been touched by their influence, combined with other equally unique influences. Indeed, this extended family of musicians and bands could go on to include half of the musicians in France!

In closing, it should be evident that we've just scratched the surface here. To do a truly comprehensive article covering all of the projects by ex-members of Magma and various related projects, as well as all of the bands influenced by Magma and the variations on the zeuhl sound, it would take a huge volume that space does not permit. This should offer some key starting points for the intrepid explorer. It might be added that many folks who have found the music of Magma a bit too harrowing initially have come to it over time via the spin- off groups. In fact, the music of Paga, Zao, Widemann, Gauthier and others tends to be a bit more accessible, in a jazz-rock sort of way. For starters, one may want to check out the Musea CD compilation Enneade, which features one track by Magma (from the "Merci" period, don't expect MDK), as well as tracks by Troll, Xalph, Paga, Yochk'o Seffer, Eskaton, Eider Stellaire, Francois Cahen, Univers Zero and others, and offers a good introduction to the "Magma" sound.

Peter T. Thelen 1995
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 04 2006 at 07:20
I just began reading this an yes definately a superb, informative article I will be sure to have a thorough read when I have some more time.

Also I thought I would ask. If I were to try and track down one of the original vinyls which one would you suggest as the best and most complete?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 04 2006 at 07:31
I picked their first 2 off ebay. The star-covered 1st cost around 80UK pounds and I think I paid around 30 quid for the 2nd. The 3rd was issued by Musea and is a lot easier to find. I strongly recommend not starting with their 2nd as it is a bit of an acquired taste and doesn't sound anything like their sh*t-kickin' debut.

The specialists Alan and Steve at their Ultima Thule record shop in Leicester, England may be able to help. Also I'm pretty sure they still have back copies of the awesome Musea compilation 'Enneade' which features previously unreleased zeuhl tracks including one from Eider Stellaire and an absolute belter from Eskaton !
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 04 2006 at 08:02
Thanks Yukorin for the information. I will have to keep my eye out on ebay till I find at least something spanning from this band.. unfortunately there is nothing at the moment *sighs*. Also I will definately have a look into the Ultima Thule records shop. I have heard good things about these guys, also I might be spend some more time in England soon so this might being someting to keep in mind.


    

Edited by Black Velvet - August 04 2006 at 08:03
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 04 2006 at 08:10
Hi Black Velvet ! No doubt you have this link so let's share this specialist progressive rock record shop with everyone:

http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/ultimathule/


    my last links didn't work so fingers crossed on this.


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 04 2006 at 08:12
Oh bugger !


        http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/ultimathule/
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 04 2006 at 08:16
, for some strange reason it keeps getting redirected to this page!

Wow that really is an amazing store and the prices are very decent was well, especially for what you are paying for. I though my local one stock a lot of rare stuff, especially from the Japanese scene but I have never seen anything like this before
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 04 2006 at 08:24
Yeah the nice thing is it's run by a couple of hippy brothers Alan and Steve Freeman who, I'm guessing, don't get a lot of punters in through the doors so I always received very detailed and informative replies whenever I called them or e-mailed. I'm out the country now so I haven't spoke to them for a coupla years but on the off-chance they are reading this thread: Cheers fellas !
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 04 2006 at 08:32
I will be sure to do some deals with them in the future, firstly on this compilation you are talking about, as I really do want to look into zeuhl in a lot more depth so this could be a perfect place to start. What other than Eider Stellaire and Eskaton is on the disc?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 04 2006 at 08:38
Bear in mind this came out in the late eighties so it isn't exactly Golden Era zeuhl ! However the Eskaton, Eider Stellaire, and, if memory serves, Troll selections are awesome and well worth it. Univers Zero and Shub Niggurath also feature and, it pains me to say this, a piss-poor offering from Magma

Try musea+enneade and you should be able to find the track listing.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 04 2006 at 08:47
hmmm... this is getting more intreging. A nice little list, from many artist I have not heard of.

for those interested:
MAGMA
TROLL
ZALPH
Bernard PAGANOTTI (MAGMA & WEIDORJE)
Yochk'o SEFFER (MAGMA & ZAO)
ESKATON
François "FATON" CAHEN (MAGMA & ZAO)
SHUB-NIGGURATH
EIDER STELLAIRE
MUSIQUE NOISE
FARBEN
ALTAÏS
UNIVERS ZERO

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 04 2006 at 10:01
Although the 'Troll' track on here is superb please don't make the mistake of buying anything else by Michel Altmayer aka Troll.

      I had one album which looked quite promising. Guest appearances by Klaus Blasquiz and Liza Deluxe (Magma) but after one week and 30 listens later I left it near some garbage bins in South London with a message for the next poor sod.
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