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Unit Wail - Retort CD (album) cover

RETORT

Unit Wail

 

Zeuhl

3.97 | 22 ratings

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BrufordFreak
4 stars The sophomore album from these young and ambitious Zeuhl-meisters. The dark CRIMSONian tone is still here, but the band has cleaned up the schizophrenic soundscapes and matured quite a bit in the compositional department, employing more multiple themes per song than before. Though interesting and creative sonic explorations continue for the bass and keyboards players, not so much for Franck's lead guitar. Still attracted to shorter song formats, the band has included their first longer song ever in the finale, "Aqua Permanens."

1. "Kakodeamon" (3:40) great opener! What a pace! Let's me know how these guys have grown: far more cohesive King Crimson-influenced Zeuhl. A top three song. (9/10)

2. "Peregrinatio" (4:11) kind of a continuation and variation on the opener with more synth and lead guitar inputs and more prominent "lead" bass. Mellotron is much more prominent--and ubiquitous--on these songs than on Pangaea Proxima. (8.5/10)

3. "Tertium Comparationis" (3:33) It's like that bass is talking to us! Electronica synth and Fripptonian guitars. After 90 seconds there is an unexpected quieting while TOBY DRIVER-like effected lead guitar plays some notes in the background. Then Mellotrons drench the scape as we return to the opening weave. Interesting. Perhaps this is where Toby got some of his impetus for turning back to 1980s techno-soundscapes. (8.5/10)

4. "Concupiscentia Effrenata" (3:28) sounds like a mix between OZRIC TENTACLES and some of jazz-rock fusion's more adventurous keyboard explorers (Herbie Hancock, Jan Hammer, Chick Corea, Edgar Winter, Moogy Klingman). Very jazzy. A top three song for me. (8.75/10)

5. "PumaPunku" (5:35) very CRIMSON-like. My other top three song. (9/10)

6. "Numinosity" (4:03) surprisingly sedate and straightforward (for a King Crimson-inspired song). (8.25/10)

7. "Agathodeamon" (4:07) love the 1970s-like harpsichord hits! Very cinematic with it's long start-n-stop first half and brief passages into fifth gear--like a car chase scene. (8.5/10)

8. "Coincidentia Oppositorum" (3:47) (8/10)

9. "Fixatio" (4:20) I still get a kick out this band's use of the "harpsichord" sound--especially when the music turns so dark and CRIMSON-like as it does here. Then there's the Jaco Pastorius tribute in the middle. (8.25/10)

10. "Aqua Permanens" (6:46) more harpsichord! More cerebral, methodic and NIL-like in its Zeuhlishness. I like the Jaco display in the middle of this one much more than on the previous song. (13/15)

Total Time 43:07

I don't know why, but bass and drummer Adrain Luna and Philippe Haxaire, respectively, are much more tame in this collection of songs than on the band's debut. As a matter of fact, the entire album's collection of music seems more sedate and controlled (and Mellotron-dominated) than the display of wild on-the-edge reckless abandon that Pangaea Proxima put forth. It's as if the band recorded the songs of Retort after the one night of wild amphetamine abuse explored on Pangaea Proxima.

I really have trouble rating this next to its predecessor as they are two completely different animals, wild and tamed--and yet only one year apart!

B/four stars; another very nice contribution to the 21st Century Zeuhl renaissance and a nice show of growth and maturity from this energetic, creative band. Highly recommended for lovers of Zeuhl and 2nd incarnation King Crimson (1972-5).

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |

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