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Dün - Eros CD (album) cover

EROS

Dün

 

Zeuhl

4.23 | 495 ratings

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VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Review Nş 527

In the 70's, France became as one of the leading European nations for progressive rock music. Symphonic rock in the tradition of King Crimson, Genesis and Yes was represented in France especially by Ange, Atoll, Pulsar, Mona Lisa and Clearlight. At the same time, a phenomenon appeared in France that would become known as Zehul, a sub-genre of the progressive rock. It was born from the band Magma and was created by Christian Vander, the drummer and founder of that group. The term that gives the name is an adjective in Kobaïan, an artificial language, designed by Vander himself. Influenced by Magma and by Henry Cow, the British band responsible from what became known as RIO, several French bands were born such as Weidorje, Art Zoyd, Shub-Niggurath and Dün. The last one will be the subject of this review.

Dün was a French progressive rock band, active from 1978 to 1981. During those years, they played shows with Magma and Art Zoyd. Dün isn't a mainstream band but it's highly regarded, a RIO-inclined band but with firmly roots in Zeuhl. They almost became a part of the short-lived Rock In Opposition grouping of bands in Europe in 70's. Strictly a regional phenomenon, "Dün recorded their only album "Eros", a quite rare LP. "Eros" was reissued in CD. It includes the four original tracks of the LP plus five bonus tracks, four of which are early demos of the tracks on the original LP release.

"Eros" was released in 1981. The line up is Jean Geeraerts (electric and acoustic guitars), Bruno Sabathe (piano and synthesizer), Pascal Vandenbulcke (flute and recorder), Alain Termolles (percussion, xylophone and vibraphone), Thierry Tranchant (bass) and Laurent Bertaud (drums). It has also the participation of Philippe Portejoie (saxophone).

Probably, the main inspiration of Dün is Frank Zappa's works. The similarities can be heard especially in a similar approach to the music, but also in the rhythmic layer. In addition, Dün has clear influences of Magma and Henry Cow. And, in a lesser extent, King Crimson, Gentle Giant and Mahavishnu Orchestra are clearly noticeable here. Dün shares with all these bands the ability of combine ambitious rock, jazz, especially fusion, and the 20th century avant-garde music. The instruments used by the group, beyond obviously guitar, bass and percussion, include many others. The flute, piano, sometimes the synthesizer, as well as the vibraphone and xylophone have an important role in their music.

The four compositions are very complex. It's completely instrumental, except for a few vocal noises in the second half of the album. That strongly distinguishes them from Magma and generally the typical Zeuhl, Gentle Giant and most of Zappa's music. The pieces are very free in nature, full of rhythmic twists, dynamic jumps and frequently changing motifs. Unpredictable structures are reminiscent of Henry Cow's achievements. The atmosphere on the album is quite dark. It brings to mind associations with Zappa and Gentle Giant. Some guitar parts are associated with King Crimson. The whole album is influenced by Magma, who in a similar but with a different effect, drew from jazz and avant-garde.

About the pieces, "L'Epice" is a good indication of things to come on the album. It's a very consistent track, consistent in that the level of frantic jerking and twisting stays roughly the same throughout. The track includes a few recurring themes in its winding structure. The music is very complex with lots of dissonances going on throughout the entire track. "Arrakis" starts off simply with keyboards playing, and flute joins in before long. Its beginning could introduce a Henry Cow piece with its quiet and strange piano harmonies. The use of the tuned percussion is a reminiscent of Zappa. This song, in particular, brings to my mind scenes from Frank Herbert's "Dune" series. The track has a proggy ending. "Bitonio", at a mere seven minutes, is the baby of the bunch, but it's no less wonderfully complex than its siblings. At times bombastic, at times subdued, it retains an almost spooky air with mind-blowing solo piano sections and an impressive rhythmic work by the bass, percussions and vibraphone. The best are the vocal grunts towards the end. The title track "Eros" finishes the album with an intriguing avant style. It's similar in structure to "Arrakis", slow at the beginning but building up to a frenzied final. It starts stilly commanded by flute. It gradually develops into a heavier foundation with some spacey keyboards that disappear while the intensity of the jamming increases closing the album.

Conclusion: "Eros" is a classic Zeuhl instrumental album that appears on the progressive lists all the time, as one of the best progressive rock albums ever. This is one of those rare cases that sounds like the band came out of nowhere and invented the music for themselves, knitting it with wisdom, love and passion. You have to admire the inventiveness and sheer originality of this amazing album. Based on Frank Herbert's "Dune", it's a showcase of musical virtuosity. They seamlessly combine the influences of Magma, Frank Zappa, Henry Cow, Mahavishnu Orchestra and some others, adding their own fluffy touch interpretation and creating a true amazing piece. But, despite all those influences, Dün manages to sounds like nobody else. I recommend this album to any lover of Zehul, RIO and avant-garde prog music.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 5/5 |

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