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Zoviet France - Just An Illusion  CD (album) cover


Zoviet France


Progressive Electronic

4.81 | 2 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Presented in a spectacular wooden cigar box, 'Just An Illusion' is a box I would never dream of putting a cigar in. It's too precious to me. 'Just An Illusion' Is a conglomeration of 'Musique Concrete' and Ambient music. It's much softer but still as weird as any of Zoviet France's previous recordings.

Playful, Sprightly oriental strings and ethnic vocals appear on 'Lief Lulla' which sounds like it could originate anywhere from Helsinki to Vladivostok. Being heavily mixed through a delay filter makes this all the more difficult to comprehend.

The American spoken vocal 'But Is it all just an illusion' is almost the only vocal you'll hear on this entire album. It's also used in ''Nachtmaal' - a track that sounds like a scene from the David Lynch film 'Eraserhead' - where an unimaginably stretched out vocal pours over an outstretched drone.

Pottery clay work and wooden objects pitter patter as extremely unusual strings play in the track 'Wood Stock'. This is a hypnotic tune that segues into the even more dreamy 'Nature But Not', with it's odd twangy thrumming and quietly industrial pumps and squeaks.

The beautiful 'Ascend A Fall' follows with echoed chiming metal bars immersed in very pretty filtered vocals. Undoubtedly the best tune on the album, it spans over 7 minutes. Every second is bliss to my ears. It's so beautifully slow and unaware of time, where everything is stripped to an absolute minimum, as gorgeous horn like objects recite a tune while fluttering percussion occasionally passes by. Easily one of Zoviet France's most memorable tracks. Fans of Harold Budd and Eno will love this.

The more repetitive 'Caught in a Square' revolves and mutates around a single chord that sweeps and morphs in a dizzying manner from ear to ear. It lifts imperceptibility to an altogether higher plane of ghostliness as curious twangs, throbs and ululating male vocals are threshed through God knows what effect units. It leaves you with a completely alien sounding medley of circular devolving loops that deteriorate into a thing of beauty with 3 minutes to go during this 14 minute track. Clearly Zoviet France had no idea of pace or tune. Everything was allowed to develop at it's own unearthly pace. It all sounds so natural and beautiful. Where every chime and pulse is where it's meant to be.

Sounds from the Pittsburgh steelworks follow where looped metal and whines are delicately played in a very pretty track named 'Swelled Out Downward'. An industrial recording with a difference in that it's very clearly recorded and is easy on the ears.

Larger percussive loops which are deliberately out of synch bring forth a more doom laden atmosphere in 'Signing Papal Briefs'. Replete with haunting high pitched vocals. This is sure to give any listener shivers up the spine.

A murmuring throb is the best way to describe 'Is It?.' It's very David Lynch ' Twin Peaks' - style, where, sickening grumbles and backwards slabs of noise and vocals pulse. This ever threatening track continues for 5 minutes.

Plucked home-made strings and horns that defy description play around in 'Mute Moon'. This sounds as much 'Cherokee' Indian as it does 'Aborigine Australian'.

Two short bizarre tracks are tagged on at the end. Both are excellent, one is instrumental and the other is an ethnic sounding Red Indian chant where seriously damaged vocals are repeated with huge echo to fade.

This is just too good for 4 stars but I have to admit it barely scrapes 5. In my books I can't find a thing wrong with it other than the fact that others may find it overlong and repetitive - a bit like this review eh folks?.

Dobermensch | 5/5 |


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