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ZEUHL

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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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 (1/3/2020):
Luca (octopus-4)
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

4.28 | 1094 ratings
MEKANÏK DESTRUKTÏW KOMMANDÖH
Magma
4.35 | 259 ratings
4 VISIONS
Eskaton
4.26 | 739 ratings
K.A (KÖHNTARKÖSZ ANTERIA)
Magma
4.23 | 546 ratings
ËMËHNTËHTT-RÉ
Magma
4.23 | 496 ratings
EROS
Dün
4.25 | 187 ratings
MATHEMATICAL MOTHER
Universal Totem Orchestra
4.15 | 524 ratings
KÖHNTARKÖSZ
Magma
4.17 | 362 ratings
CHRISTIAN VANDER: TRISTAN ET ISEULT [AKA: ẀURDAH ÏTAH] (OST)
Magma
4.19 | 228 ratings
WEIDORJE
Weidorje
4.12 | 468 ratings
1001° CENTIGRADES [AKA: 2]
Magma
4.30 | 89 ratings
MAIS ON NE PEUT PAS RÊVER TOUT LE TEMPS
Thibault, Laurent
4.08 | 408 ratings
FÉLICITÉ THÖSZ
Magma
4.13 | 155 ratings
THE MAGUS
Universal Totem Orchestra
4.31 | 63 ratings
BONDAGE FRUIT II
Bondage Fruit
4.03 | 517 ratings
MAGMA [AKA: KOBAÏA]
Magma
4.11 | 151 ratings
LES MORTS VONT VITE
Shub-Niggurath
4.13 | 120 ratings
RITUALE ALIENO
Universal Totem Orchestra
4.09 | 137 ratings
INFERNAL MACHINA
Top, Jannick
4.59 | 28 ratings
200 000
Zwoyld
4.17 | 73 ratings
BUDO
Vak

Zeuhl overlooked and obscure gems albums new


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

HUNDRED SIGHTS OF KOENJI
Koenji Hyakkei
NEFFESH MUSIC: GHILGOUL
Seffer, Yochk'o
C'ÉTAIENT DE TRÈS GRANDS VENTS
Shub-Niggurath
BONDAGE FRUIT I
Bondage Fruit

Latest Zeuhl Music Reviews


 To Love by VANDER, CHRISTIAN album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.50 | 13 ratings

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To Love
Christian Vander Zeuhl

Review by bartymj

3 stars A bit of a continuation of 'Offering', but here Vander is truly solo, bar Stella's vocal work on one track. Its simple and its elegant.

The long track 'Love Is' sees Vander playing a minimal modal piano and singing in a breathy and restrained falsetto with nods to Magma in the scatty gibberish vocals. Sands is a great short piano piece which breaks into the title track, with the two Vanders singing in English in a style that makes you think of something like the Phantom of the Opera. Must admit form here, things get a bit boring. Christian Vander singing in similar style, although aiming a bit more for Matt Monro, sings a couple of love songs over a solo piano. Both are pretty much the the same. XMC then introduces a few more instruments including drums, ripping off the pink panther theme tune with a bit of shrieking.

Recommend Love Is, and To Love, but the rest is a little forgettable.

 Eider Stellaire III by EIDER STELLAIRE album cover Studio Album, 1987
3.53 | 19 ratings

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Eider Stellaire III
Eider Stellaire Zeuhl

Review by bartymj

3 stars Adding a chap from Shub-Niggurath and a keyboardist from the short-lived Altais band meant Eider Stellaire returned almost to the standard that sees their debut album as one of my favourites listed in the Zeuhl genre.

Nihil is a longer track than that of the same name on their debut and makes the most of the new band members, sounding completely different to the original really. Its actually quite upbeat for a good five minutes until a familiar fuzzy bass kicks in and its a lot more recognisable as Zeuhl. Similar on the second track, upbeat for half until suddenly slowing down and becoming more eerie. The third track starts as a slightly more energetic effort than a lounge jazz track, making the most of the keys to sound like a horn fanfare in parts. It gets a lot more energetic as it goes on Not much to go on to call this one Zeuhl but its still likeable. Shame they ended their run after three albums really.

 Altaïs by ALTAÏS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1986
3.27 | 16 ratings

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Altaïs
Altaïs Zeuhl

Review by bartymj

3 stars Another obscure one-off Zeuhl act available through the positive side of online streaming. Pretty dark and abstract but retaining the bass-heavy and slightly theme of a lot of 80s Zeuhl. The title track manages to be both groovy and spooky at the same time, mainly with the help of the growly gibberish vocals. I am a little put off by the more upbeat groove around about the 5 minute mark, where the more tuneful vocals seem to be saying something that sounds too much like "Bring Us Seven Sandwich". Its all I can hear now... Sounds less like that as it speeds up to the end of the track.

Track two, promenade, is a complex-timed piano and percussion piece, in a spacey jazz style, while Gravitation Zero is a couple of minutes of chamber choir chanting which fades to nothing.

Would have been interesting to see where they took their sound if they'd stuck around!

 III (aka Infect) by RUINS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1988
2.64 | 5 ratings

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III (aka Infect)
Ruins Zeuhl

Review by bartymj

2 stars Like the first two LPs, in some cases the early Ruins recordings get marked down for their pretty rough sound quality as when you're dealing in a chaotic wall of noise you at least want it be clear! This is an evolution though, and actually sounds a lot more like Zeuhl than anything previous, in particular the track Hallelujah which uses a contrast of lyricless vocal styles. Tracks like Grudge also seem to get the best out of the utter chaos of the previous two EPs. Plenty of absolute nonsense but on the whole there is a lot more structure, and some of the tracks would make it onto the Stonehenge album with a new bassist.
 Ruins II by RUINS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1987
3.36 | 5 ratings

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Ruins II
Ruins Zeuhl

Review by bartymj

2 stars Where their first EP was just a wall of distorted noise, the second (with a new bassist) has moments of structure. While they do often make chaos sound good, the primitive recording, sounding like its being recorded with the duo performing from inside a 30ft well with an 8 track machine on the ground outside. Not a fan of the raw vocals a lot of the time, sounding pretty hysterical in more short and frenetic tracks. Some glimpses of things to come though, and it does sound better when selected tracks are listened to via their remastered compilation released in 2001. Human Being and Essential Logic are the highlights I'd pick out.
 Offering Part I / Part II by OFFERING album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.84 | 28 ratings

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Offering Part I / Part II
Offering Zeuhl

Review by bartymj

3 stars Christian Vander's side project allowing him to properly explore his jazzy side - and doing it pretty well. Lots to like here but also plenty that's a bit of a swing and a miss for my tastes, and a found myself getting quite bored at times.

Part I - Opens like a dawning, all flutes and piano before Stella's vocals and a brass fanfare. The tuneful vocals eventually turn shrieky as the fanfare builds to a crescendo mid-track. It calms down and repeats the pattern once more. Pretty nice opener

Earth - A foreboding bassline kiks in straight away, something of an old Magma signature. Its a jazzy toetapper though, with male vocals once again descending into Zeuhl style shrieks. There's no change to the bass and drum rhythm throughout the 10 minutes so there's not a huge amount of variety

Joia - a very long track starting with scatting over a single piano chord which goes on for almost four minutes before a short passage in English. the chord changes slightly on occasion as a rhythm section builds slowly. It constantly gives the impression that it's building up to something, but it takes 9 minutes until a call and response section starts which dies away again almost immediately into a flute section. Pretty much in the same style with more frantic vocals until 13 minutes in when of all things a bongo solo briefly breaks it up. Long old track for not a lot of content again.

C'est pour nous - far more interesting, twinkly piano and Stella's vocals before a brass section that reminds me of Santana. Vocals duet on occasion

Love In the Darkness - Another long-ish track for not a lot of variety but I did like this one a fair bit. Its a calm start with electronic sounds followed by piano. The calm vocal style for some reason makes me think of Earth Wind and Fire

Tilim M'Dohm - bright and breezy scatty track. Very nice

Mazur-Kojawiak-Oberek, Solitude, Uguma Melimeh Gingeh - A collection of short piano pieces, a calm and choral track, and another very calm one has the album fizzling out a lot for me

 Merci by MAGMA album cover Studio Album, 1984
2.78 | 245 ratings

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Merci
Magma Zeuhl

Review by desistindo

5 stars People generally tend to like Magma, firts, for their darkness and complexity. But, we, Magma fanboys, tend to appreciate the transcendence (if I can call it) even in their popiest moments. I know its a contradiction. But they made it! A hipnotic and uplifiting album, that starts with a song called "Call from the Dark (Ooh Ooh Baby)" - so I dont have to say nothing more. Just listening the album with that perspective and you wont listen it as proghead, but as a person with the feeling of transcendence. Magma can let you fly above! So lets dance, ALSO, with Magma!

Its not necessary mention that the suite Otis is a masterpiece of vocal jazz and a superb homage to the great Otis Reding. If this album, as in the general rating its not a Prog essential album, please give it a chance as a great orquestral jazz album. Five stars. And I keep feeling inside me the bass compass tha starts Otis... bHUMMMM Otis!

 Chromophonie 1: Le Diable Angélique by SEFFER, YOCHK'O album cover Studio Album, 1982
2.70 | 5 ratings

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Chromophonie 1: Le Diable Angélique
Yochk'o Seffer Zeuhl

Review by OctopusFive

3 stars Yochko Seffer is a musician originating from Hungary. I don't have strong experience of Zeuhl listening so this album will be (along with Magma) a kind of maiden flight.

The angelic devil is confusing as for its inspiration, is it related to the origins of the composer as it is specified on some covers of the disc? It is a piece where confusion reigns and at the same time, there's durable but certain routing towards the end of the piece. After a short introduction with strings, we see this fast and oppressing piano. Towards the fifth minute, we sink even more in this madness with the appearance of the grating violin, harsh, sometimes bountiful. Then the saxophone makes its entry, in a calmer way, only the rhythm by piano remains worrying.

After that piece, we still have a dark reverie, calmer but the tone is still as oppressive, it is simply a superb piece of piano, I would like to make more nightmares like this one..

Bela bacsi emlekere is a fast and pleasant piece of about 3 minutes 30, the storm of the first 2 pieces seems to be over, and a little more joy comes out of this piece, but with a quite specific filter that makes the atmosphere heavier.

Griserie magyar carries well its name since it is melancholic, a net of a distressing piano with discordant notes passes, one cannot help thinking of one of the Caprices of Paganini so much the violin is in all its states.

Bunkos continues here in the melancholic register with a maudlin violin, everything accelerates and ends in apotheosis with some distorted piano notes. it is not my favorite though.

Mizwa closes the album with about 10 minutes of theme less interesting than the first track, it gets lost in all directions without having the same strength, the same "anguish capture" of the previous opuses. Only the finale seems to be really worth listening to.

So we have a quite homogeneous album, well in the vein of Zeuhl, although I am not an expert in the matter. This is my first album by Yochko Seffer, so I don't know the previous artistic works of the composer, but I can already say that I appreciate it a lot. I give a 3.5/5 to this album, I lack the hindsight to see the extent of the talent of the artist but the first try is rather successful.

 En Quete D'un Monde Meilleur by HONEYELK album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.58 | 18 ratings

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En Quete D'un Monde Meilleur
Honeyelk Zeuhl

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars FYI: THIS ALBUM IS THE RE-ISSUE OF STOYZ VI DOZEVELOY FROM 1979 ONLY WITH A DIFFERENT TITLE, DIFFERENT COVER ART AND BONUS TRACKS. THE TRACKS THEMSELVES ALSO WERE CHANGED FROM A FICTITIOUS HOMEMADE LANGUAGE TO FRENCH.

HONEYELK was one of the many zeuhl inspired bands from France following in the footsteps of Magma. The band formed in 1974 near the city of Toulon in the south of France and stuck around long enough to release its one and only album STOYZ VI DOZÉVÉLOY which i presume is a fictitious language also inspired by the Kobaian legends of Magma. Originally released with a limited pressing of only 1000 copies, the album has been one of those hot rarities in collector's circles however the album has been re-released on CD twice albeit with a completely different album title "En quête d'un Monde meilleur?" and album cover. Another factor that makes it completely confusing is that even though the content is exactly the same, the original LP featured two side long tracks whereas the reissues broke down the various suites into individual tracks with the track titles also ditching the zeuhlese and appearing in French.

One of the first things anyone coming to HONEYELK for the first time will immediately notice is that these guys didn't sound very much like Magma or any other zeuhl band for that matter. Sure those choppy bass grooves appear but HONEYELK was more of a jazz-fusion band with avant-prog outbursts from time to time. The zeuhl aspects only appear intermittently especially in the chorus sections. The vocals when they do appear courtesy of the the Blanc brothers sound more like Premiata Forneria Marconi than Christian Zander. The rich brass section courtesy of Pierre Yves Maury who plays clarinet and tenor sax offers a heavy emphasis on jazz motifs whereas the collection of keyboards guarantees more of a symphonic prog connection.

Really it's bassist / guitarist Gérard Blanc who keeps the zeuhl connection alive as the musical procession drifts in and out of zeuhl territory. This is a bizarre album in how it meanders all over the place really and the unfocused nature of it is surely the reason the album hasn't gotten more love over the ensuing decades since it has become better known after being saved from the obscurity bins. The band was a quintet with guitars, keys, bass, drums, clarinet and sax but three extra musicians appear on this release including a violinist. Given only two vocalists, HONEYELK wasn't as operatic with no traces of stentorian choirs and instead offered a series of harmonic contrapuntal motifs. The music is difficult to follow and upon a single listen may leave you disappointed. In many ways the music itself reminds me of some of Canterbury Scene jazz-rock bands in terms of meandering compositions although the idiosyncratic sounds of Canterbury bands are absent.

Given that this was a one and done project which was fairly common with hardcore progressive acts putting their entire career of ideas into a single package due to the collapse of newer prog bands finding a foothold in the market, STOYZ VI DOZÉVÉLOY showcases a wide variety of interesting musical ideas that if released earlier in the decade surely would have been teased out over a multi-album run but personally i find these complex labyrinthine albums fascinating in scope. Musically speaking this one is a tough nut to crack but ultimately a rewarding one as it invites new listening sessions to explore the dreamy otherworldly terrain that is punctuated by moments of familiarity that reference not only zeuhl but various strains of jazz-fusion, psychedelic space rock and even eclectic English prog bands like Van der Graaf Generator without sounding like any of them.

One of the differences between the original STOYZ VI DOZÉVÉLOY and its later rendition as EN QUETE D'UN MONDE MEILLEUR is that the latter featured several bonus tracks. The original album featured two long tracks that only added up 26 minutes but the reissue added another 15 minutes of live and studio tracks. All i can say is that HONEYELK's sole album is very weird and for me that's a good thing. It delivers something totally unexpected in a genre known for its consistency at least in terms of the basics. Intricately composed and decorated with all kinds of bizarre musical explorations, i really ended up liking this one even though i, as many, found this one a bit alienating upon first exposure. Sure the vocals could be better but in a way they fit in to the alternate musical universe presented here.

 Stoyz Vi Dozévéloy by HONEYELK album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.23 | 21 ratings

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Stoyz Vi Dozévéloy
Honeyelk Zeuhl

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars HONEYELK was one of the many zeuhl inspired bands from France following in the footsteps of Magma. The band formed in 1974 near the city of Toulon in the south of France and stuck around long enough to release its one and only album STOYZ VI DOZÉVÉLOY which i presume is a fictitious language also inspired by the Kobaian legends of Magma. Originally released with a limited pressing of only 1000 copies, the album has been one of those hot rarities in collector's circles however the album has been re-released on CD twice albeit with a completely different album title "En quête d'un Monde meilleur?" and album cover. Another factor that makes it completely confusing is that even though the content is exactly the same, the original LP featured two side long tracks whereas the reissues broke down the various suites into individual tracks with the track titles also ditching the zeuhlese and appearing in French.

One of the first things anyone coming to HONEYELK for the first time will immediately notice is that these guys didn't sound very much like Magma or any other zeuhl band for that matter. Sure those choppy bass grooves appear but HONEYELK was more of a jazz-fusion band with avant-prog outbursts from time to time. The zeuhl aspects only appear intermittently especially in the chorus sections. The vocals when they do appear courtesy of the the Blanc brothers sound more like Premiata Forneria Marconi than Christian Zander. The rich brass section courtesy of Pierre Yves Maury who plays clarinet and tenor sax offers a heavy emphasis on jazz motifs whereas the collection of keyboards guarantees more of a symphonic prog connection.

Really it's bassist / guitarist Gérard Blanc who keeps the zeuhl connection alive as the musical procession drifts in and out of zeuhl territory. This is a bizarre album in how it meanders all over the place really and the unfocused nature of it is surely the reason the album hasn't gotten more love over the ensuing decades since it has become better known after being saved from the obscurity bins. The band was a quintet with guitars, keys, bass, drums, clarinet and sax but three extra musicians appear on this release including a violinist. Given only two vocalists, HONEYELK wasn't as operatic with no traces of stentorian choirs and instead offered a series of harmonic contrapuntal motifs. The music is difficult to follow and upon a single listen may leave you disappointed. In many ways the music itself reminds me of some of Canterbury Scene jazz-rock bands in terms of meandering compositions although the idiosyncratic sounds of Canterbury bands are absent.

Given that this was a one and done project which was fairly common with hardcore progressive acts putting their entire career of ideas into a single package due to the collapse of newer prog bands finding a foothold in the market, STOYZ VI DOZÉVÉLOY showcases a wide variety of interesting musical ideas that if released earlier in the decade surely would have been teased out over a multi-album run but personally i find these complex labyrinthine albums fascinating in scope. Musically speaking this one is a tough nut to crack but ultimately a rewarding one as it invites new listening sessions to explore the dreamy otherworldly terrain that is punctuated by moments of familiarity that reference not only zeuhl but various strains of jazz-fusion, psychedelic space rock and even eclectic English prog bands like Van der Graaf Generator without sounding like any of them.

One of the differences between the original STOYZ VI DOZÉVÉLOY and its later rendition as EN QUETE D'UN MONDE MEILLEUR is that the latter featured several bonus tracks. The original album featured two long tracks that only added up 26 minutes but the reissue added another 15 minutes of live and studio tracks. All i can say is that HONEYELK's sole album is very weird and for me that's a good thing. It delivers something totally unexpected in a genre known for its consistency at least in terms of the basics. Intricately composed and decorated with all kinds of bizarre musical explorations, i really ended up liking this one even though i, as many, found this one a bit alienating upon first exposure. Sure the vocals could be better but in a way they fit in to the alternate musical universe presented here.

Data cached

Zeuhl bands/artists list

Bands/Artists Country
ALTAÏS France
AMYGDALA Japan
ANAID France
ARCHAIA France
ARKHAM Belgium
BONDAGE FRUIT Japan
SERGE BRINGOLF France
CAILLOU France
CORIMA United States
DAI KAHT Finland
DAIMONJI Japan
DÜN France
EIDER STELLAIRE France
ELEPHANT TOK France
ESKATON France
ÉVOHÉ France
FOEHN France
FRACTALE France
GA'AN United States
HAPPY FAMILY Japan
HIATUS France
HONEYELK France
IKARUS Switzerland
KAKUSENJO NO ONGAKU (BASE OF FICTION) Japan
KOENJI HYAKKEI Japan
LAGGER BLUES MACHINE Belgium
LAKTATING YAK United States
JAMES MAC GAW France
MAGISTER DIXIT France
MAGMA France
MUSIQUE NOISE France
NEOM France
NEW PLEASURE Canada
NOA France
OFFERING France
RYOKO ONO Japan
ORVALIANS France
PAGANOTTI/PAGA GROUP France
PERCEPTION France
POTEMKINE France
PSEU France
RHÙN France
RIALZU France
RUINS Japan
RUNAWAY TOTEM Italy
RYORCHESTRA Japan
SC'ÖÖF Switzerland
SCHERZOO France
YOCHK'O SEFFER France
SEKKUTSU JEAN Japan
SETNA France
KENTA SHIMAKAWA United States
SHUB-NIGGURATH France
STALINGRAD 119 France
SUPER FREEGO France
SYNCOPATED SILENCE Russia
LAURENT THIBAULT France
FRANÇOIS THOLLOT France
JANNICK TOP France
UNIT WAIL France
UNIVERIA ZEKT France
UNIVERSAL TOTEM ORCHESTRA Italy
UPPSALA France
UTOPIC SPORADIC ORCHESTRA France
VAK France
CHRISTIAN VANDER France
VAULTS OF ZIN United States
VAZYTOUILLE France
WEIDORJE France
XALPH France
XING SA France
ZAO France
ZIG ZAG France
ZOIKHEM France
ZWOYLD France

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