A Progressive Rock Sub-genre

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Zeuhl definition

Zeuhl is an adjective in Kobaan, the language written by Christian Vander, drummer and founder of the French band Magma.

Pronunciation: zEU(h)l, while the EU are like a French E with a slight U, and the (h) is a semi-silent letter which is an integrated part of the EU, totaling in a "syllable and a half".

The word means celestial, although many times it is misunderstood as meaning "celestial music", since the members of Magma describe the genre of their music as Zeuhl. Zeuhl Wortz, though, means Music of the universal might.

The genre is a mixture of musical genres like Neoclassicism, Romanticism, Modernism and Fusion. Common elements: oppressive or discipline-conveying feel, marching themes, throbbing bass, an ethereal piano or Rhodes piano, and brass instruments.

Current team members (2/2/2014):
Steve (HolyMoly)
Luca (octopus-4)
Ori (frippism)
Ian (Nogbad_The_Bad)
Keishiro (DamoXt7942)

Zeuhl Top Albums

Showing only studios | Based on members ratings & PA algorithm* | Show Top 100 Zeuhl | More Top Prog lists and filters

4.30 | 397 ratings
4.26 | 558 ratings
4.23 | 332 ratings
4.27 | 130 ratings
4.18 | 345 ratings
4.32 | 86 ratings
Top, Jannick
4.19 | 205 ratings
4.21 | 120 ratings
4.11 | 260 ratings
4.55 | 29 ratings
Thibault, Laurent
4.10 | 242 ratings
4.08 | 308 ratings
4.35 | 35 ratings
Bondage Fruit
4.10 | 87 ratings
4.09 | 91 ratings
Universal Totem Orchestra
4.01 | 275 ratings
4.12 | 69 ratings
Universal Totem Orchestra
4.23 | 33 ratings
4.18 | 40 ratings
4.05 | 73 ratings
Eider Stellaire

Zeuhl overlooked and obscure gems albums new

Random 4 (reload page for new list) | As selected by the Zeuhl experts team

Bondage Fruit
Happy Family

Download (Stream) Free Zeuhl MP3

Open player in a new window

Download (Stream) Free Zeuhl MP3

Latest Zeuhl Music Reviews

 mhnthtt-R by MAGMA album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.18 | 345 ratings

Magma Zeuhl

Review by BatBacon

4 stars I think "apocalyptic musical" would be a fair way of describing this album (and most of the Magma albums). Talk about drama, this album opens with a bang! After a short second of silence a dead serious voice speaks to you in a languish you don't understand. Then comes another bang! Typical for a Magma creation, very serious and very very exciting. I can't say that I have any idea at all about whats going on, I never have any idea at all when it comes to Magma, but thats not a bad thing.

The music is melodic and, in some weird way, very beautiful. At the same time its dramatic and very haunting, and even though all the lyrics are written in Kobaan, the strange languish created by Christian Vander, you get the feeling of something terrible going on. I don't know, but I like to think the story got something to do with the destruction of some civilization somewhere in universe, as it is known to be a common theme for the conceptual music of Magma. Drummer and bandleader Christian Vanders playing is as driving as it is mindblowing! Who ever thought jazz drums could create a feeling this ominous, its like hes playing theater with his drums. He also provides the album with his scary, almost preaching voice, which in combination with the choir of destruction (thats the sound of it, anyway) should be able to lay ground for some really nasty nightmares for those listening to mhnthtt-r just before bedtime.

Just like a great movie, this album has a great dramaturgy. There is ups and there is downs, often the songs builds up really slow to keep the excitement on top and the listener very alert. It goes from slower and more atmospheric phases to fast and action packed phases. Also the end pursues this dramatic way of storytelling; with some very serious words the album comes to an dramatic but quick conclusion. Those last words will keep on echoing in your head (even though you still don't have a clue what they meant), thats exactly how powerful this piece of music is. The silence after the music is over is almost as important as the music itself.

 Mais On Ne Peut Pas Rver Tout Le Temps  by THIBAULT, LAURENT album cover Studio Album, 1979
4.55 | 29 ratings

Mais On Ne Peut Pas Rver Tout Le Temps
Laurent Thibault Zeuhl

Review by BrufordFreak

5 stars A recent discovery that has quickly climbed into my Top 5 All-time favorite Zeuhl albums. There are such great riffs, melodies and oddities throughout the brief album's four songs. Plus, there is a milder, subtler, more delicate side to this music than is common to most Zeuhl music--at times almost dreamy or bucolic--and yet the tapestries of each song are quite full, mature and fascinating. And with its excellent recording and production this one stands up incredibly well with the passage of time--better than most other albums from its era. Learning that Laurent was MAGMA's original bass player and later member and songwriter for MOVING GELATINE PLATES makes complete sense. The bass playing is so sublime! And the bold use of recording samples and world voices/vocals to accompany the music is breathtaking if not revolutionary. And I can't help but mention the always wonderful presence of "Northette" Amanda Parsons!

Five star songs: All four: the RENAISSANCE/ANNIE HASLEM-guests-JACO PASTORIUS-era- WEATHER REPORT-like "Ore" (11:28) (10/10); the Crosby, Stills, Nash &Young meets early PAT METHENY GROUP "Aquadingen" (4:30) (10/10); "La caravane de l'oubli" (7:08) (10/10) has an awesome kind of STEVE HACKETT and STEVE HILLAGE feel to it--even moreso with the Arabic influences, and; the experimental marriage of driving jazz funk and pastoral folk sounds on "Mais on ne peut pas rver tout le temps" (8:21) (10/10).

Undoubtedly a masterpiece of cross-multiple-subgenres music. ESSENTIAL!

 Gurison by SETNA album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.18 | 40 ratings

Setna Zeuhl

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Setna prove that their command of fusion-oriented zeuhl (laced with a little Canterbury) on Cycle I was no mere fluke with Gurison, a more than competent followup which finds them focusing more intently on longer compositions. (Indeed, if you count the separate parts of Triptyque as being a single song the shortest piece on here is Cycle II, which is nearly 10 minutes long). Far from being an excuse for meaningless instrumental noodling, the band demonstrate their superior command of the subgenre, clearly drawing on the work of the likes of Magma without feeling bound to stick solely to the Magma aesthetic.
 Eros by DN album cover Studio Album, 1981
4.23 | 332 ratings

Dn Zeuhl

Review by monz

4 stars an italian point of view:

DN, French Band responsible of this unique (unfortunately) LP almost entirely instrumental, putative children (for the obsessive and disturbingatmospheres)of Christian Vander's Magma and then encased in the genre they created, the "Zeuhl". But to an heedful listening, in my opinion, there's a lot of genre and influences, being them enough "math" and eclectic in the way of conceiving music! .. I recommend it all!

for italian people: DN, band francesce autrice di questo unico (purtroppo) disco quasi completamente strumentale (Eros, 1981), figli putativi (nella atmosfere inquietanti ed ossessive) dei Magma di Christian Vander e quindi racchiusi nel genere da loro creato, lo "Zeuhl". Al contrario ad un attento ascolto, secondo me, non racchiudibili in un solo genere, essendo loro abbastanza "matematici" ed eclettici nel modo di concepire la musica!..ve lo consiglio tutto!

 Infernal Machina by TOP, JANNICK album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.32 | 86 ratings

Infernal Machina
Jannick Top Zeuhl

Review by siLLy puPPy

5 stars This album starts out sounding nothing like zeuhl. I was left wondering has this album been miscategorized? It begins as a spacey piano and cello piece that is dripping with melancholy probably an influence from Jannick's electronic band Space maybe? The album continues with the sounds of traditional Slavic folk divas like those heard in Les Mystere Des Voixes aka The Bulgarian Women's Choir with their unique and eccentric yet traditional style of a capella Slavic folk. In fact it doesn't really start sounding anything like zeuhl until track 4, when that unmistakable sound of the Mekanik Destruktiw period of MAGMA begins. With several members from that group on board here it is surprising that this sounds as unique and un-MAGMA-like as it does for most of the album.

I have to admit that upon first listen I fell in love with this, not only because it is a MAGMA-related curiosity but because it simply flows like a smooth babbling brook meandering from its source to the end point. The biggest surprise is that all of these rhythms, harmonies and the musical construction are actually based on a concept. The whole idea of INFERNAL MACHINA is recounted in the liner notes. Jannick is going for the deeply philosophical when asking if there are vibrating energy forms that are higher entities than we humans and how we relate to them. As stated by Jannick himself, "Infernal Machina thrives on the roots and energy of rock music reaching out to the contemplative lithurgic sounds from the Slavic east." He also states that he borrows symbolic elements from Pythagoreas, alchemy icons from the Middle Ages, from Bach and so on. Whoah! This is some deep stuff here.

With the proper rationing of sounds that lend to the perfect amount of time for each track and the crystal clear production I end up feeling totally satisfied after it ends. You know you have a masterpiece on your hands when you hear so many influences sewn together in an album that is basically an hour long continuous track that leaves you thoroughly entertained and mesmerized and looking forward to hearing it again. A very worthy addition to your collection from the extended MAGMA family.

 Nicolas II by POTEMKINE album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.94 | 36 ratings

Nicolas II
Potemkine Zeuhl

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Hailing from the more fusion-influenced side of zeuhl, Potemkine combine the more urgent- sounding aspects of the Mahavishnu Orchestra with a Magma-influenced zeuhl underbelly to create a hybrid which fans of both musical styles can appreciate. Those who dig what the RIO crowd or the more complex Canterbury units were doing in the late 1970s may also enjoy the album for its experimental take on jazz-rock (an element which underpinned many Canterbury and Rock In Opposition groups during the era). It's certainly much easier going than much Zeuhl or RIO too, so it may be a more accessible entry point to both of those styles than, say, the iconic albums by Magma or Henry Cow.
 Gurison by SETNA album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.18 | 40 ratings

Setna Zeuhl

Review by BrufordFreak

5 stars Imagine the most hypnotic Zeuhl grooves that Magma has ever given us, blend it with the accumulated best Canterbury instrumentation that any of Dave Stewart's bands ever gave us, arrange it all with the most positive, uplifting chord progressions and gorgeous male and female vocal melodies imaginable, then use the best technological advantages that 2013 gives us and you get a glimpse into what Setna's second album, Gurison, has to offer. It is beautiful, sublime, hypnotic, and so spiritually uplifting! Each of the five songs is sub-divided, but, in effect, the album has a straight-through flow not unlike many Magma albums. Every song and, in fact, each sub-song has idiosyncrasies worthy of high praise and long discussions (as well as repeated listens), but "Cycle II (c)," "Tryptique I (c)," "Tryptique II (a)," and "Tryptique III (b)" and "(c)" stand out particularly strong for me--should you want to listen to a few pieces in order to get a feel for the album, these might be just the ones cuz they display quite a broad spectrum of the sounds, feels and styles offered here. The "Gurison" suite feels separate, a bit more atmospheric, more displaying of rhythms and percussion, and, until the interesting Part "(c)," a slight step down from the previous two suites (four songs, eleven sub-songs). Still, this is one of the best releases I've heard from 2013, one of the best Zeuhl or Canterbury albums I've ever heard, and an album that will likely grow in my esteem as it occupies my turntable for the upcoming months.

5 Stars; an unquestioned masterpiece of progressive rock music.

 Pangaea Proxima by UNIT WAIL album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.00 | 7 ratings

Pangaea Proxima
Unit Wail Zeuhl

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars UNIT WAIL is the most recent project of guitarist Franck Fromy who was one of the founding members of the legendary SHUB NIGGURATH. He's borught on board four younger guys who i'm sure have all learned a great deal about music from this master of dark and intense music. This particular project is all instrumental but not too far off the path that SHUB NIGGURATH blazed through hell itself. We get twelve tracks over 45 minutes so it's easy to digest.

Up first is "Mesozoic Cities" where the first sounds we hear are of Franck's distorted guitar crying out as the rest of the band join in but the guitar stands out most. It picks up speed and I must say I like the drumming here as it seems sporadic. Keys replace the guitar before 2 minutes with background synths giving the song a different vibe although it's still dark. The guitar is back to end it. "Ombos" is haunting with some jarring sounds bringing UNIVERS ZERO to mind. The guitar comes in playing angular melodies over top of the darkness. Check out the drumming after 2 minutes after the guitar fades to the background. Sounds like electronics joining in as well.

"Telete" opens with drums and bass before we get some brief mellotron. I like this a lot. The mellotron is back and the bass and drums are so intricate here as the guitar is strummed. "Sargasso Sea" takes us back into the night then suddenly it all speeds up and the distorted guitar plays over top with mellotron waves in tow. great stuff ! It settles back again but the tempo will coninue to shift. Insane guitar late. "Outerspace" blows me away because the synths sound so much like PORCUPINE TREE. Who would have thought ? It opens with electronics and when it kicks in i'm thinking of the psychedelic period of PT. mainly because of the tone of the guitar. Man this is so good ! The drums are aggressive and the bass is digging very deep. My favourite tune right here, very impressive.

"Humanoid Fish From Encelade" is different with a multitude of sounds coming and going. Mellotron comes and goes. "Home Of Nowhere" is the darkest yet as we get this creepy and ominous soundscape then the mellotron joins in just to add to the fear they are creating. "Magnetostriction" is fairly uptempo and fuzzed out. Nice. "Holocene Extinction" opens like we are in a dream then it kicks in before a minute. Contrasts continue. "Shambhala" is the longest track at almost 5 1/2 minutes. Piano, bass, drums, guitar and mellotron before it all picks up. There's so many things I want to focus on here. A very interesting track to say the least. "Three Eyes" opens with ominous guitar sounds then the tempo picks up with some killer playing by all. It settles back as the contrasts continue. "Subdeath" like the previous tune features some dark sounding guitar expressions but with a marching styled beat like we're heading to the grave. Piano joins in as the guitar cries out. The spoken words before 3 minutes sound like the are from Death himself welcoming us to our final abode. It starts to get frantic or is that me. What a way to end the album !

Just a great start for this band and I must say that after hearing the followup "Retort" recently these guys are only getting better.

 mhnthtt-R by MAGMA album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.18 | 345 ratings

Magma Zeuhl

Review by Roundabot

5 stars First released on: riversofreverb.blogspot.dk

This was the first Magma album I ever listened to, and it was a magical experience to listen to something as unique and mystic as this. Christian Vander, the mastermind behind Magma, is in top form here, being responsible not only of the outstanding drumming, but also of composing this wonderful piece of music. All members of this Magma incarnation give their best in this album, bringing to the table the best of them to fulfill Vander's perfectionist vision. The result is one of the best albums of the past decade, at least in my book.

The first three minutes work as an introduction, first with spoken words and then some classic Magma chanting surrounded by a very dense atmosphere created by the drums, the bass and the piano. Following this we have Stella Vander's beautiful vocals in the forefront accompanied by the piano and the choir sporadically singing with her. This section attracted my attention from the start; it is gorgeous what all this voices do together and the chemistry that the piano, drums and vocals achieve. Christian Vander is, as always, masterful in playing minimalist drum passages in this section. They are a great companion to the sheer beauty that we are witnessing.

As the first section of 'm'hnt'htt-R' ends, the Stella gives the main vocal duties to Christian. This transition always puts a joyful smile on my face; it is so amazing how naturally the composition flows from a more contemplative mood to this almost celebratory section. Section II of 'm'hnt'htt-R' has many moods, as it is more than 20 minutes long, but this first part is a favorite of mine. The bass is the star here flowing very nicely and playing the melody the vocals sing. All the elements the musicians display such passion and talent in section II, they all play as tightly as they can showcasing some of the most amazing musicianship I've had listened to in the process.

As said before, this first part of section II has a celebratory sound, which is mostly displayed by the beautiful and complex vocals, but also by the playful bass and guitar playing and the constant piano line which surprisingly is what gives rhythm to the song even more than the relentless almost schizophrenic drums. It ends in a blast of musical genius when the piano gets loose and shifts from playing the main repetitive melody it had been playing and plays a very beautiful melody to finish the first fourteen minutes of section II.

The last eight minutes are more somber and take the jazz elements from the first half to a more aggressive and urgent place. The darker tone is accomplished by the outstanding bass and the male vocals, which keep the listener on edge by building a tension that seems to be endless. The guitar and the drums create a delightful sense of madness and paranoia that is palpable throughout this whole section. It feels like a trip into the mind of a very insane person, and it is a real treat to listen.

As section II unravels, the choir introduces the third section with one of its most outstanding performances, a blast of vocal genius that leads to a very quiet and minimalist section with the drums, bass and piano displaying their talent for minimalism. The vocals then re-enter, with Stella in the forefront again, accompanied by the jazzy drums that displays its talents on minimalism and avant-garde in this part of section III. The song starts taking shape as the bass starts playing a repetitive riff that gives pace to the song. There is a ritualistic feel throughout section III that is reminiscent to section I but with the jazzy and relentless complexity of the ending part of section II.

By the middle of this section we have been witness to some of the most virtuosic display of avant-garde, not just by the usual incredible drums, but also by the bass when it gets loose from its main riff to give a master class on bass playing. The rhythm section is in top form throughout the thirteen minutes that compose this track, but this is not the only treat we get on it. The mysterious piano playing and the almost menacing vocals are of the highest quality and the guitar in the final part of the section also contributes to the overall feeling of apprehension this section portrays. In the end the chants come back as the song becomes faster and playful again as section III comes to a magnificent conclusion.

Section IV opens with the beautiful vocals of Stella Vander preparing us for what promises to be a gorgeous conclusion. The chants that follow are evocative of the ritualistic celebratory moments we have heard throughout the album. The piano is the main attraction here, with beautiful melodies that carry the section along with Stella's vocals. The section surprisingly also has its dark and its jazzy moments, but the general feel is calmed and melodic instead of the dissonance from before. The song ends in an enigmatic tone that leaves the listener baffled to what he has just listened to. In me, it created a need to go back to listen to this composition again and again until I could grasp all of its complexity and beauty.

'm'hnt'htt-R' is not the only composition we have here, even though it is the most important one. Fun'hrar'um Kanht works as a sort of funerary march with its dark and depressive tone. The vocals here are almost like Gregorian chants, and have a mournful feel. There is a very hard hitting piano accompanying the chants that make the feeling of dread the song has even more despairing. Finally S'h' is a short piece of spoken word that is surrounded by an obscure atmosphere that makes it very cryptic, leaving the listener puzzled by what it means.

As this was my first experience with Magma, which is one of my favorite bands, this record is very dear to me. This is a band that begs to be listened and acknowledged as the musical geniuses they are. This album is one more addition to the series of masterpieces of Magma's outstanding catalogue, and shows this incarnation at its best. This legendary ensemble has achieved here a level of maturity that establishes its status as one of the best in musical history, and confirms once again that Christian Vander is one of the most talented and creative composers of all time.

 Fanfare du Chaos by RHN album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.07 | 42 ratings

Fanfare du Chaos
Rhn Zeuhl

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars "Playful" isn't a word which is often applied to zeuhl - though away from their more serious epics Magma did have their moments - but on Fanfare du Chaos Rhn make a bid to change that. Here and there I catch mild influences from the Canterbury scene (not quite the unexpected mix you may think, since both the Canterbury sound and zeuhl are essentially both strange mutations of jazz-rock), and zeuhl purists may be shocked to hear vocals in English which can actually be understood by normal human beings, but if you want a spacier take on the Magma sound which retains a key awareness of the jazz roots of zeuhl, Rhn deliver.
Data cached

Zeuhl bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
ALTAS France
ANAID France
ARKHAM Belgium
CORIMA United States
DN France
GA'AN United States
MAGMA France
NEOM France
NOA France
PSEU France
RHN France
SETNA France
XING SA France
ZAO France

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | GeoIP Services by MaxMind | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — the ultimate jazz music virtual community | MetalMusicArchives.com — the ultimate metal music virtual community

Server processing time: 0.05 seconds