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Zeuhl definition

Zeuhl is an adjective in Kobaïan, 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 (20/05/2016):
Raffaella (Raff)
Luca (octopus-4)
Ian (Nogbad_The_Bad)
Keishiro (DamoXt7942)
Ori (frippism)

Zeuhl Top Albums

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

4.32 | 761 ratings
4.27 | 538 ratings
4.25 | 402 ratings
4.28 | 172 ratings
4.19 | 423 ratings
4.19 | 279 ratings
4.16 | 302 ratings
4.24 | 147 ratings
4.48 | 52 ratings
Thibault, Laurent
4.13 | 335 ratings
4.10 | 380 ratings
4.18 | 112 ratings
Top, Jannick
4.05 | 361 ratings
4.14 | 99 ratings
Universal Totem Orchestra
4.31 | 41 ratings
Bondage Fruit
4.09 | 99 ratings
4.06 | 89 ratings
Eider Stellaire
4.08 | 74 ratings
Universal Totem Orchestra
4.10 | 64 ratings
4.20 | 38 ratings

Zeuhl overlooked and obscure gems albums new

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Runaway Totem
Thibault, Laurent

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Latest Zeuhl Music Reviews

 Black Equus by GA'AN album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.33 | 8 ratings

Black Equus
Ga'an Zeuhl

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 4.5 stars. GA'AN are a Zeuhl band based in Chicago and this is their second album released in 2011. We get female vocals with plenty of electric piano, bass and drums. There's lots of synths too and mellotron giving us some welcomed atmosphere.

"Arms They Speak" opens with that atmosphere and man this sounds good. Drums arrive after a minute along with some vocal melodies as it builds. Nice bass lines after 3 1/2 minutes and then it brightens after 4 minutes which is such a cool contrast to what has gone before. Great sound 6 minutes in with that mellotron. Oh my! A calm after 7 1/2 minutes with bass and atmosphere as vocal melodies and drums join in. So good! Powerful stuff 8 1/2 minutes in right to the end which is quite intense. "Servant Eye" has a powerful and dark sound to start and this continues until just before 2 minutes when it stops and the mellotron storms in as the drums pound. Nice! Keys eventually join in and check out the drumming after 4 minutes. Vocals follow as it settles back some.

"Call Of The Black Equus" is the almost 19 minute closer. A dark atmosphere envelopes the soundscape to start then sounds beat and spacey ones come and go before 2 minutes. The organ floats in around 4 1/2 minutes and you gotta like that Zeuhl rhythm before 7 minutes. Some in your face bass 9 minutes in as the drums pound and the vocals help out. These pulsating keys then join in and they are kicking ass right here. A calm arrives before 12 minutes but then it starts to build quickly. Great sound before 14 1/2 minutes as it changes with some killer bass lines, keys and drums. A calm with outbursts of vocals and keys before 16 minutes but then it kicks back in quickly.

I really thought about 5 stars but the vocals are keeping me from doing that. I like them but they could be better at times, still if your into Zeuhl you really need to hear this one.

 Quetzalcoatl by CORIMA album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.71 | 27 ratings

Corima Zeuhl

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars CORIMA are a Zeuhl band based out of Texas and they are greatly influenced by the Japanese style of Zeuhl as I thought of both RUINS and KOENJIHYAKKEI while playing this record. Even the cover art is in the Japanese style plus we get a couple of Americans playing on here who have Japanese last names. So the music is often frantic and played at a fast pace and we get both male and female vocals. Add violin and sax to the sound as well which adds a different flavour to the Zeuhl sound. To be honest I'm not into crazy, fast paced music and while KOENJIHYKKEI are a favourite of many on this site I just can't get into them or unfortunately this album by CORIMA, just my tastes of course.

This is a long one at just under 70 minutes and while the first eight songs and the final seven songs are both supposed to be long suites I find that neither of them come across as being suites as these short songs don't seem to flow or be connected to each other in my opinion. I love the title of the first song though "Corima Iss De Hundin!", that's just too funny. Vocals dominate this song and they are male and female reminding me of MAGMA. On "Gurdhait Nefertatt" we still get vocals but the violin comes in over top. It picks up speed before a minute and fast paced vocals follow. "Vhlakoshpetzz" is piano and drum led to start as the violin joins in. Again this is fast paced and frantic, and this continues on the next song "Sunna Domitiwhando".

Up next is "Wlakezz Fhunder" which opens with electric piano and drums as the violin joins in. It picks up quickly with multi-vocals. Not a fan at all. Female vocals to the fore around 2 minutes. "Krishkalidortz" is better as we get sax and drums to start with the violin over top. Male vocals and a deeper sounding soundscape follow and these soundscapes will be contrasted. "Divindondiwua" has relaxed piano melodies as the violin and vocals join in. Not a fan. "Khozmikh Kahiledrios" ends the first suite. It opens with this swinging sound as bass, drums and violin standout. Vocal melodies follow. A much better sound arrives before 1 1/2 minutes as we get some much needed upfront bass. Yeah we need more of that. Check out the fuzzed out keys(again thankyou) before 3 minutes. Vocals are the focus 5 1/2 minutes in and dissonant sax ends it. They hit on a few things in this song that I wish were prominent throughout.

"Zhuntra" has laid back electric piano to start as violin and bass join in. It turns lighter with intricate sounds including flute. Violin and drums lead before 3 minutes as it becomes intense. "Tezcatlipoca" is the longest song at over 17 minutes. It has a zeuhlish start with the focus on the male and female vocals. The tempo picks up with the vocals still being the focus, not a fan. I like the flute though. A change before 4 minutes as the vocals stop but the fast paced instrumental work continues. Guitar follows then these crazy vocal expressions arrive. Violin and flute lead around 7 minutes then distorted keys before 8 minutes as it calms down. Vocals are back at 10 1/2 minutes and I like the guitar before 16 minutes.

"Quetzalcoatl" starts the final suite and it hits the ground running with male and female vocals leading the way. "Kualtiliocayotl" is also dominated by vocals, drums and violin although sax arrives before 2 minutes. "Iknoakayotl" is uptempo with violin joining in before 1 1/2 minutes followed by vocals. I like the drumming before 3 minutes. "Necnomatlicayotl" is uptempo and all instrumental while "Teiknottalistli" is heavier but slower with piano before the vocals and violin join in. "Neltococayotl" sounds great early on with the bass and drums. It seems to speed up as it goes. "Teomatilistli" ends it with drums and piano leading in this uptempo closer. Vocals and violin join in as well.

Clearly I'm in the minority here with my rating and opinions as this album is rated very highly everywhere I looked. This just isn't the style of Zeuhl that I enjoy.

 Noa by NOA album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.87 | 9 ratings

Noa Zeuhl

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group RIO/Avant/Zeuhl & Neo Teams

4 stars Why could they keep such a high potential entirely in this album (or in a studio)? This eponymous album was released as only one creation by NOA, a short-lived Zeuhl combo in France, and this gem flooded with energetic vibes and tension always notifies me they should have stroke all of their motivation onto this obscurity or should have focused a session recording filled with their massive pleasure. The phenomena mentioned above can be heard in the last "La Mer" suite ... powerful saxophone battles, flexible wind- instrumental passages, and explosive exotic female voices ... all of them have been strictly harmonized and fantastically crystallized in spite of such a free-jazzy improvised session. This perfect sound combination drives the audience into an incredible comfort.

"L'Oiseau Fou", followed by "La Mer", is overflown with danceable tribal rhythms and surrealistic sensation. Mysteriously, even complicated melody lines through their innovative outrageous play can be absorbed into our brain like cool, smooth water stream. Splendid atmosphere is guaranteed for the audience. "Tape Tape" or "Pellerin", on the contrary, has no connection to delightful texture but weird quietness for unconscious depth psychology. Like a mind operation they would have done plenty of tonic works riding updraft. The first two short track full of improvisational bizarre are impressive too, as the curtain call in this album theater. Like the title itself, catastrophic stickiness hits us definitely. Wondering what is the basis of sound credibility for such a temporary project. They have created an excellent Zeuhlie shot no matter how obscure it is, let me say.

 Alternate Flash Heads by ONO, RYOKO album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.10 | 2 ratings

Alternate Flash Heads
Ryoko Ono Zeuhl

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group RIO/Avant/Zeuhl & Neo Teams

3 stars So sorry to hear you're pressed by hard saxophone business Ryoko. ;)

This bizarre album "Alternate Flash Heads" is filled with 99 short improvised sound shots created with saxophone plays by Ryoko in collaboration with a stormy drummer Talow. 99 tracks is the maximum for entry to one CD disc (but sadly less than AxCx's 5643 songs EP lol) and quite swift saxophone play by Ryoko is awesome indeed (and amazingly precisely harmonized with Talow's drumming woohoo) but, by the way, less violent than AxCx naturally (just kidding).

Anyway such a musical strategy like launching another musical atmosphere by every shuffle play upon this CD. In an album titled "No World Order" (1993) by Todd RUNDGREN the same method as above has been adopted over twenty years before. I've got surprised at such a novelty in musical digital world, and Ryoko's creation formed with 99 explosive tracks has reminded me of the amazement in those days, and notified me of another fresh impression for her creation.

Each of her terrific "saxplosion" can be called as a variation of symmetry (including a strange song title), and her "variations" should be basically different from other ones e.g. in the classic music scene. And her saxophone appearances in the whole album are pretty colourful ... in some tracks she snarls against the audience, in other she sounds a tad sensitive, and sometimes launches addictive tonic winks on a regular basis. To shuffle 99 tracks randomly is not bad really but at least for me listening to them just in order should be better.

Dunno if you know but this album sleeve might be drawn with homage to YES' "Time And A Word" released in Japan, that's another interest.

 Üdü Ẁüdü by MAGMA album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.74 | 328 ratings

Üdü Ẁüdü
Magma Zeuhl

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Welcome to a strange, grotesque, and musical alien world. It's a place where bouncing melodies, fat bass fuzz, and weird keyboard textures interplay to create songs that will make you smirk, tap your foot, and scratch your head all at once. Welcome to Üdü Ẁüdü.

This is my first Magma record; in fact, it's my first listen to the "zeuhl" genre here on Prog Archives, and it was an entertaining experience. Üdü Ẁüdü is weird while retaining melody, and moves at a fine pace through mostly upbeat songs that are packed with music and musical sounds. You'll boomerang from dancing rhythms to open-ended a breezy passages that feel improvised. The sound, instrumentation, and vibe fits right in with the '70's prog scene, though Magma's voice is literally a unique one, because all of the lyrics are nonsense words created by the band's founder. They're quirky, but they work, and really do make it feel like you're walking among aliens listening to their off- kilter pop music.

From a song writing perspective there's not much here to grab you, in part because of the overall feeling of mystery or ooky spooky vibes the band creates. This is accomplished by the instrumental work, which is great. There's moments of Zappa-like orchestration and flippancy, but for the most part this Magma album is all about keys, drums, and bass... bass especially, with a near-constant stream of off-kilter lines and experimentation to enjoy. For me, this album isn't about the songs, it's the effect. A lot sounds ad-libbed, giving Üdü Ẁüdü a jam session-like quality. The downside of this is that there isn't much variety, as the equal parts prog/jazz/funk/Tralfamadorian folk sort of blend together throughout the experience.

Creative and entertaining, Üdü Ẁüdü outdoes a handful of shortcomings to become a lot of fun. Recommended for those seeking a good dose of weirdness in their classic prog collection, especially bass lovers like me.

Songwriting: 2 - Instrumental Performances: 4 - Lyrics/Vocals: 3 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

 Merci by MAGMA album cover Studio Album, 1984
2.52 | 168 ratings

Magma Zeuhl

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

2 stars Wow! Is this MAGMA or Earth, Wind & Fire? Christian Vander, are you there somewhere?!! Did the Kobaians beam you all back up to your planet? Or did they implant those dreaded disco soul chips in you again. What can we think of the most hated album in the MAGMA discography. After the excellent run of originality and channeling of otherworldly forces that lasted from their debut in 1970 to "Üdü Wüdü' in 1976, it seems even advanced technology could not help the Kobaians hold back the backlash that dethroned progressive leaning music of the early 70s. While some bands like King Crimson were wise enough to call it a day before the great shift, others who stuck around found themselves watering down their output album by album, whittling away their loyal fan bases and becoming shallow caricatures of their innovative glory years.

Even the Kobains succumbed to these pressures as heard on the watered down "Attahk" in 1978, add to that the financial pressures of operating such a huge number of musicians on board with an ever chaining cast of members and it's really not hard to imagine the temptation to dummy down the innovations and go for the gold in the highly profitable pop music world of the 80s. Perhaps a good idea at the time but considering this is a whole different band of musicians on board (at least 25!), Vander could have had the decency to at least release this under a different moniker that wouldn't tarnish the image of one of the 70s' most unique forces in the prog world. After six years of inactivity the album was a hodgepodge of tracks recorded throughout the early 80s and at this point Vander was bored with the whole MAGMA thing anyway and after the release of MERCI would suspend activities with the band and focus on his jazz-fusion oriented Offering albums.

"Call From The Dark" begins the album and after a few tinkles of some strings and immediately begins what sounds like something you would hear on a disco soul album around 1979 leaving a first time listener accustomed to all the zeuhlisciousness of previous MAGMA offerings totally bewildered and just a few notes away from pumping out "Boogie Wonderland." While the music itself is perfectly decent for that type of sound, complete with beautiful vocals, a horn section to die for and a nice booty shakin' rhythmic section, it's like whoa!!! Is this MAGMA? WTF?

The second track "Otis" is less danceable and at least has a faint trace of the vocal trade offs of Vander and female vocalists from the past, but this song is particularly weak although perhaps acceptable for aging Kobaians in nursing homes or doctor's offices. Vander's screams in the middle sound like a mating cat and totally out of step with this mellow repetitive soul music. "Do The Music" is a rather strange little track as it sounds like zeuhl is battling it out with disco leaving the listener with no clear winner but admittedly a unique experiment that does make me think of going to the disco on Kobaia! I mean, they need to get a little light now and again too! "Otis (ending)" is a gospel sounding organ track with Vander screeching. Hmmm. No comment.

The one long track on here "Eliphas Levi" is the anomaly. It actually feels more like the zeuhl music we were expecting albeit more serene, pacified and stripped down in both instrumentation and feel. It does however have those ratcheting vocal deliveries that build in repetition accompanied by piano and percussion. This one is actually pretty enjoyable although very much on simmer as opposed to the full intense pyroclastic flow MAGMA usually delivers as the track drags on for over eleven minutes and feels like it never gets up to expected speed. The vocals are quite pleasant though and this is probably the best track on board and has a pleasant complex interchange at the end.

The album ends with the appropriately titled "The Night We Died" suggesting a now neutered MAGMA calling it a day and throwing in the towel. This is basically a sombre piano ballad with the Kobain females singing in unison. Overall i end with the same impression as i began. WTF? This would be perfectly good music for the most part for a Motown act trying to revive their career although a little unfocused but this MAGMA! Those who are held to a higher standard of complexity and innovative incremental progression as well as a higher energy level. This album is too mellow for its own good with the most energetic track sounding like a Michael Jackson B-side with Earth, Wind & Fire backing it up. Nothing on here is bad per se but for a band that carved its own niche in music and continued to ratchet it up album by album, this is surely a let down. After hearing this, it's very hard to believe they would come back stronger than ever 20 years down the road. 2.5 rounded down

 Neffesh Music: Délire by SEFFER, YOCHK'O album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.14 | 5 ratings

Neffesh Music: Délire
Yochk'o Seffer Zeuhl

Review by pedestrian

4 stars It is a minor tragedy (which could be easily rectified) that Yochk'o Seffer's Neffesh-Music albums from the late 70s have not been re-released in a coherent form. Unless you're ready to spend huge amounts of time and money tracking down and buying the now rare LP releases, it's really only the third album "Ghilgoul" that's available. On CD, the tracks "Heart", "Jonetsu for Judith" and "Delire" are found on the Musea compilation "My Old Roots", and "Orkana" is on the compilation "Noce Chimique" as well as the release called only "Neffesh Music" from Moshé-Naim. As far as I've been able to ascertain, the tracks "Streledzia" and "Ima (1ere partie)" have not been released on CD, although the latter appears to be the introduction to the 20-minute piece "Ima" which covered the whole A-side of the next album, "Ima".

Anyway, the first of the Neffesh albums is a little different from the two next ones, in that it features no bass guitar and also very little drums (only "Heart" and "Orkana" feature drumming by Zao bandmate Truong). For this reason there is much less of the jazz fusion feel which is so prominent at times on "Ghilgoul", and the Univers Zero-style chamber rock is a closer reference. It is arguably the least Zeuhl-like of the three for this reason.

Opener "Heart" is a stand-out track. It sets out boldly with a staccato figure performed by drums, strings and piano. Much precipitous string work follows before an almost anthem-like melody sets in with piano and tenor sax in unison, later also overdubbed with Seffer's otherworldly falsetto singing. This bit reminds me strongly of VdGG's "Killer", but it doesn't last. Instead the music suddenly sets off in a different tempo, and a solo duel occurs between Seffer on tenor sax and Seffer on mini-moog, accompanied by drums and...yup Seffer on piano. All of a sudden Stravinsky is nowhere in sight, and we're in free jazz land.

"Jonetsu for Judith" opens with jazz chords and tenor sax, and if it weren't for the mini-moog bass you'd be forgiven for thinking we're in more standard modern jazz for a little while. Seffer really gets to show his absolutely improbable technical ability on the saxophone here, a true son of Coltrane in style and texture. The string quartet is reduced to playing chords here. The result is a kind of eerie and somewhat unsettling landscape which is such a trademark of Seffer's more recent work (not least the "String Orchestra" album), and it really works well here because it's only the single track. In the last minute of the track, the music suddenly builds over a pretty groovy cello and mini-moog bass figure with some cymbals, and I'm thinking "wow, this is getting cool", but then the song is suddenly over just when things were really picking up. Pity.

"Orkana" is another highlight, featuring prominent mini-moog contrasting the rigid and claustrophobic piano chords. After several radical tempo changes the piece ends with an out-of-control mini-moog solo over frenetic drumming, presumably illustrating the song's title.

The short track "Streledzia" -- named after the bird of paradise flower -- I really enjoy. It's a light and beautiful piece led by a soaring melody on sopranino sax with string section and what sounds like bass sax beneath (which is funny, since only "tenor sax", of which there is no sign, is stated on the LP cover). "Bird of paradise" (without the flower) might have been a better title, because I can very much imagine the bird's dance to this music. The piece is interesting because it's structure is sort of inverted: it starts with strings and two saxes, and then the instruments fall off one by one, leaving the sopranino pretty much alone for the last minute. Normally you'd build it up, rather than take apart, but Seffer's not one to care for conventions.

The title track "Deliré" presumably tries to communicate a sense of delirium, and does so effectively. This piece is pretty inaccessible and very, very dense, with very close string quartet chords set against Seffer alternating between tenor sax and piano, occasionally overdubbed with his distinctive high-pitched vocals doubling the melodic themes. If you're a fan of Shostakovitch and free jazz you will enjoy "Deliré", although in honesty this track could be too much even for many hardy listeners. To be honest, I personally enjoy this track the least. Might be something for the most ardent RIO fans out there, and it's certainly unique.

Only a little bit of "Ima" is included here, as a taster for the upcoming album by that title (the LP cover states as much). It is a unique piece and very ethereal, notable for introducing (for the first time?) Seffer's self-made "sonic sculptures", twisted and wierd looking pipeworks with a saxophone mouthpiece attached (I think) which make very odd sounds indeed. No less than 4 bass clarinette tracks have been added as well, and Seffer's vocals multitracked into a ghostly choir. "Eerie" doesn't begin to do this justice. On top of all this runs a loooong tenor sax solo. Absolutely amazing, or possibly absolutely unlistenable, you decide.

In all a superb album, although not quite reaching the soaring heights of "Ghilgoul" or side B of "Ima" quite as consistently.

 Archaïa by ARCHAIA album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.20 | 38 ratings

Archaia Zeuhl

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

5 stars ARCHAIA were a three piece band out of France who were influenced by MAGMA yet sound nothing like them. Yes there is a resemblance with the vocals(at times) but these guys put a unique spin on Zeuhl if that's what you want to call this. Two of the guys play synths which is what makes this different. We get spacey synths, almost theremin-like synths but also growly ones too. The guitar is often distorted or high pitched but again different and there are no drums but there is percussion. The bass is excellent too by the way. The music is dark and adventerous, it's what I would call innovative.

"Soleil Noir" opens with the sound of children along with strange sounds that slowly pulse and hover before this train-like rhythm arrives replacing both. Spacey synths join in and then vocals that remind me of AQUASERGE. Some raw guitar replaces the vocals but the vocals are back as they trade off. It ends like they began. "L'arche Des Mutations" reminds me of HARMONIA with those higher pitched sounds as the bass pulses. Vocal melodies before 1 1/2 minutes then these high pitched crazy synths take over along with lower ones that hum. The vocal melodies are back then spoken words before it kicks into gear with distorted guitar, vocals and synths. A calm then the guitar lights it up after 3 1/2 minutes as the bass pulses. Vocals are back as themes are repeated. It's really spacey before 5 minutes with synths then whispered words around 6 1/2 minutes. I like the guitar 8 minutes in as it starts to build, vocal melodies too. Spoken words turn to yelling. Intense.

"Sur Les Trances Du Vieux Roy" has these synths that hum as vocal melodies join in along with sounds that pulse and echo. Percussion joins in. It settles back. This is so cool. "La Roue" has deep bass sounds, percussion and growly synths. Laughter comes and goes in this very unique sounding piece. "Le Festin Du Lion Vert" is an uptempo track with both vocal melodies and vocals as sounds beat and pulse. A calm before 2 minutes with vocal melodies reminding me of MAGMA. There's a Navajo vibe that comes in as we get chanting and percussion to the end.

"Massa Confusa" has a haunting intro with intricate sounds and water splashing. Some spoken words here as well before we hear a scream 2 minutes in as the soundscape turns eerie. The water sounds are back. "Le Grand Secret" has spacey synths, bass, percussion, vocal sounds and guitar expressions. The spoken vocals before 1 1/2 minutes are brief as vocal melodies take over with bass, synths and percussion. Some brief spoken words are back at 2 1/2 minutes then the vocal melodies are back late. "Vol Du Phenix" features percussion, bass and high pitched guitar to start. This is almost catchy. It changes before 2 minutes as spacey synths and picked guitar take over. It sounds like cars driving by to end it.

I don't usually comment on bonus tracks but these three are from 1978 and were recorded live in Paris and they are fantastic. We do get actual drums on the final two tracks plus keys too. "Armaggedon" is very zeuhlish with the chanting and bass as it builds. It changes big time before 2 1/2 minutes with these haunting voices overwelming the previous soundscape until all you hear is the voices. So cool. "Robots Dans Le Formol" has a killer rhythm to it with vocal expressions and spoken words. It's intense a minute in with those powerful synths replacing the vocals. Keys join the rhythm 1 1/2 minutes in. The synths stop as the vocals return. Themes are repeated. "Chthonos" has a catchy beat of drums and bass with guitar expressions and synths.

This was an absolute pleasure and without question one of my favourites from 1977.

 Archaïa by ARCHAIA album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.20 | 38 ratings

Archaia Zeuhl

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

5 stars ARCHAIA was one of those bands that emerged from the lysergic ethers of the tripped out mid-70s, released one album and then returned to the other dimension from whence they came. The band was from Paris, France and the members were self-proclaimed fans of Magma and wanted to create a totally new style of zeuhl and on their one and only eponymous release, they managed to do just that. This is one of those very, very, very weird albums that is so tripped out that it even appears on the Nurse With Would list. Weird it is and that's why i love it soooooo much!

While categorized officially as zeuhl, this is no Magma clone in any way. This is a bizarre hybrid of psychedelic symphonic rock, progressive electronic and of course the Kobaian rhythmic charm that allows it to be catalogued in the zeuhl family. One of the strangest aspects of ARCHAIA is that there are no traditional rock drums involved at all however there is percussion in the form of chimes, bells, other metal things and tribal sounding drums used sparingly throughout the 38:44 long freakfest.

What we get here is Michel Munier's convincing Jannick Top inspired bass line that gives the album a rhythmic zeuhl skeletal form and sprinkled around these beefy rhythms are Heldon inspired spastic keyboard runs and electronic freak outs of Philippe Bersan who also delivers some seriously haunted vocals. Even though the lyrics are in French this actually sounds way more alien than Magma's fictitious language. While the symphonic keyboards, zeuhl bass and electronic trippiness are the major players in this wild world we are also treated to occasional psychedelic guitar runs that would feel right at home on any Steve Hillage recording only in addition to the echoey notes reverberating into multi-dimensional forms, there are healthy doses of bizarre glissando guitar slides as well as stringed freak outs as well.

While the rhythms march on, guitars and keyboards creep in and out of the picture and slowly build up higher intensity while strange angelic Tarzan type calls bellow from the brume of the misty mound of sonic pile ups. This is really an odyssey through odd world. As the album progresses from beginning to end we are treated to fluttering electronica, Arachnoid inspired spookiness, hypnotic musical motifs and off-kilter zeuhl rhythms that pulsate like squids in the turbulent seas while bursts of vocalizations surround the wake and guitar riffs zigzag about.

I would classify this much more as psychedelic space rock or more appropriately space zeuhl that takes the listener on a wild crazy ride through a private musical universe that remains a mere blip in the musical world of 1977. While the album has has the feel of a religious cult's prayer service complete with a chanted type of vocal style, fuzzed out freakiness, dark and chilling atmospheres and a feel of a bizarre world where even the Residents would feel at home, ARCHAIA managed to boil down a lot of ingredients into a cauldron of creative amalgamation which successfully creates the freakiest fusionfest i've ever heard. This is indeed the promised soundtrack for lysergic ghosts haunting alien soundscapes. One of my favorite albums actually. Recommended. 4.5 rounded UP!

 Sons - Document 1973 - Le Manor by VANDER, CHRISTIAN album cover Studio Album, 1993
3.00 | 1 ratings

Sons - Document 1973 - Le Manor
Christian Vander Zeuhl

Review by CrimsonComus

— First review of this album —
3 stars Improvisation, percussion, all covered by a Magma-esque feel. It is not essential. But I wouldn't deem it for collectors only, since it is something so different and outstanding in its own sense. I'll proceed to make my argument. Also, first review for me here. I've been a constant visitor of Progarchives for the past 7 years or so. But never found something where I considered my first review to be of importance. Hence this rare album being the subject of it.

This extended improvisation is something that not everyone is going to appreciate. It's is Magma's most raw and violent display of expression, with no clear line defined musically, neither melodically nor rhythmically. But I find it interesting and appealing, if you are particularly fond of improvisational jazz. Especially one where screams, B horror movies' howling and lots of percussive jamming are most prominent; then you'll really like this. It is a very experimental piece. The bass clarinet, which I thought was a sax at first, also contributes towards the cacophonous and quasi atonally dissonant atmosphere that this 70 minute percussive madness has to offer. Towards the last half hour, the organ starts to play a larger role in the background thread of music, that helps keep together the concatenation of drums and percussion, along with the howls, hollers and bellows that appear every now and then. The ending section is an interesting (or curious) repetitive, mantra-like sounds and rhythms that ends on a rhythmic drummed crescendo that fades out really quickly.

It is a wonderful piece, in its crazy improvisational anything-goes sense. It is different and daring. A challenge to listen to, and not one that may give out its rewards the moment you finish it. it is quite a journey, and I like imagining Christian Vader and Co. as they were performing the jam. How fun it must have been to do this kind of thing, and have people listen to you.

In conclusion, this is definitely not the place to start listening to Magma or any of the artists related to this. It is something different. And should be listened as that. Good, but non-essential seems appropriate, since it is a unique piece of musical history, but it isn't "prog" in the idealized sense that this site promotes. As with anything though, musical taste and open mindedness will determine everything. Enjoy the ride. I know I did.

Se recomienda escucharlo mientras se toma mate. (Drinking a good mate while listening to it, helps).

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Zeuhl bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
ANAID France
ARKHAM Belgium
CORIMA United States
DÜN France
GA'AN United States
MAGMA France
NEOM France
NOA France
PSEU France
RHÙN France
SETNA France
VAK France
VAULTS OF ZIN United States
XING SA France
ZAO France

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