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Setna - Cycle I CD (album) cover





3.93 | 53 ratings

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2 stars The Zeuhl tradition of French groups continued in the recent years with bands like Setna, practically formed during a night of the year 2001 at the "Beteau Ivre" in Rouen, when the original members Nicolas Cande (drums), Christophe Blondel (bass), Florent Gac (electric piano) and Nicolas Goulay (keyboards) were jamming on stage.The official formation though dates in 2004, when Sylvain Gand'rio joined the band on vocals.After some live concerts, mainly in Jazz festivals, Setna reappeared as a sextet in 2006 with Natacha Jouet replacing Gand'rio and Guillaume Laurent joining the rest on soprano sax.The first album of the band ''Cycle I'' was recorded at the Gare Aux Musiques Studio, featuring Magma's guitarist James Mc Gaw and Benoit Bugeia on electric piano as guest musicians.It was released in early 2008 on Soleil Zeuhl.

Setna's style focuses on the softer side of Zeuhl with strong Jazz hints and minimalistic rock practices.They come close to the ethereal sound of AD VITAM, building their musical ideas on dreamy female voices, smooth sax lines and laid-back electric piano.The music is mellow, at moments melancholic and even obtains a nice, poetic underline due to the crystalline chords of Natacha Jouet, but what should be an advantage for the band becomes its own flaw during the process.This work rarely takes off the ground, insisting constantly on somber textures and relaxing jazzy soundscapes, which could have been easily described as Lounge Jazz, delivering a number of tracks with the same atmosphere and reasonably some strong similarities due to the soft instrumental executions.Some more dynamics were desperately needed, the beautiful electric piano, the lyrical tension and the efficient bass work are all welcome and nicely performed, but the album lacks in energy and noise.The later tracks fortunately contain a fair amount of them, offered either by James Mc Gaw's guitar plays or the more uptempo textures and the more evident presence of some nervous Moog synthesizers, which build a nice dual performance with the electric piano.This is exactly when the French band recalls COS' ethereal but still complex and intricate sound on albums like ''Viva boma'' or ''Babel''.

Second half of ''Cycle I'' appears to be much better than the soft, slightly depressive first one, as a whole though this is a rather uneven album and a band, which will propably satisfy the closed circle of Zeuhl and Jazz fans...2.5 stars.

apps79 | 2/5 |


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