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Eider Stellaire - Eider Stellaire I CD (album) cover

EIDER STELLAIRE I

Eider Stellaire

 

Zeuhl

4.01 | 100 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars This album is, along with Eskaton's 4-Vision, the most eagerly sought-after Zeuhl disc around the planet beit Kobaia or Earth. However contrarily to Eskaton, Eider Stellaire has no wish to reissue their three albums, so most likely unless there are bootleggers around, ES will remain out of most proghead's ears for quite a while. I must edit this review, because both Eskaton and Eider Stellaire's respective debut album have received a legit Soleil Zeuhl label recent reissue in the CD Format. So I set out on a hunt and finally caught a vinyl of this first album, issued in 81 on a private label and see what the fuss was all about, as I had for 4-Vision. Maybe I'll pierce a bit the speculation bubble around this, but what you get is nothing extraordinary: just good Zeuhl music with an extra little edge to give it something a tad different, but then again isn't this just about the same as all Zeuhl groups? Take Magma's music as a base or blueprint and work your own version. But in the end, it still sounds like typical Zeuhl, which there is nothing wrong in the first place. Just so you know, the first album had the cosmic artwork for most of its copies, but some were originally put on the market with the artwork of the second album for logistic reasons (shortage), so if you find another artwork than the one here, it's still correct..

ES is a sextet fronted by two women on vocals, one also playing the odd flute, but for the rest, it's the standard prog quartet with a guest blowing some sax in one tune. On the opening side, the 8-mins+ Onde is a terrific mainly instrumental showcase for everyone, but especially for Delachat's searing guitar. After a piano solo for intro, Arctis is certainly THE typical Zeuhl track of the album with Singery's throbbing bass as the main feature, although there is an out-of-place (or ill-advised) flute intervention, but aside that flaw, the track is outstanding and manages to hold your breath, sustain the suspense, holding the high tension until the final bass throb explosion.

The flipside opens on the aerial Légende where Delachat's saturated guitar is again holding the forefront, but Hirne's keyboards are holding the 100 MPH cruise-speed alive. Tetra is slightly slower track taking a funkier twist, but it slows down to allow the sax's quiet solo to happen. The final Nihil track is probably the hardest and trashiest track of them all, showing a nihilistic attitude, despite having some very delicate moments, most notably on the chant-like choirs. The CD reissue features a bonus track, which is an alternate (and extended) take of the closing Nihil track, but even wilder in nature.

Well, just like for Eskaton's debut album, you might be tempted to pay fortunes for the vinyls and in both case, I can't really tell you that it would be worth it. I had borrowed both of them from a friend and while I wish I had both wax slices, I was just not prepared to dish out big amounts, even for above average Zeuhl albums. Because after all it does remain Zeuhl and sonically it brings almost nothing new to the Kobaian debate. Fortunately thanks to the excellent Alain from the no-less excellent Soleil Zeuhl label, you won't have to fork out big bucks to get a hold of these albums, since they now exist on the Cd format, but don't wait too long, because these are limited reissues, and no doubt that the will be on day out-of-print! Run for the Cd reissue.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |

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