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Eider Stellaire


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Eider Stellaire Eider Stellaire I album cover
3.99 | 112 ratings | 16 reviews | 31% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1981

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Onde (8:35)
2. Arctis 6.ème Éphéméride (7:04)
3. Légende (5:37)
4. Tétra (6:32)
5. Nihil (7:26)

Total Time 35:14

Bonus track on 2011 CD reissue:
6. Nihil (long alternate version) (10:54)

Line-up / Musicians

- Véronique Perrault / vocals
- Jean-Claude Delachat / guitar
- Pierre Gerard-Hirne / pianos, organ
- Marie-Anne Boda / flute, vocals
- Patrick Singery / bass
- Michel Le Bars / drums

- Michel Moindron / tenor saxophone (4)

Releases information

LP Self-released - K001 (1981, France)

CD Soleil Zeuhl - 30 (2011, France) With a bonus track

Thanks to avestin for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy EIDER STELLAIRE Eider Stellaire I Music

EIDER STELLAIRE Eider Stellaire I ratings distribution

(112 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(31%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(47%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (1%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

EIDER STELLAIRE Eider Stellaire I reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by FruMp
5 stars A real hidden gem of Zeuhl music.

Eider Stellaire's deubt album is a great instrumental Zeuhl album and as the name might suggest is quite celestial. As with most Zeuhl the main driving force is the bass which carries the signature Zeuhl tone but it's the keys here that are more prominent than a lot of Zeuhl, they are more of a syncopative force while the drums sit back and generally keep a steady beat - not the best Zeuhl drumming but adequate none the less. I really like the guitar on this album too, it's the main melodic component and wails fervently and provides many interesting moments.

Standout songs for me would have to be the dreamy Legende and the groovy jam based Tetra.

Highly recommended for any fans of Zeuhl, a rare undiscovered gem worth acknowledgment.

Review by Sean Trane
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.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Eider Stellaire I" was my first non-Magma Zeuhl experience, taking place in 1989 at around 5u30 in the morning at a student's party, at a moment where the DJ thought the "Tetra" and "Nihil" tracks from this album would be an effective way to get everybody leaving the party. Well it didn't work for yours truly, that's exactly when I got to dance and there's no stopping me once I get started.

At first I thought this music was Magma, something from an album of the "Udu Wudu"/"Attahk" period. Of course I was slightly drunk at the time so I didn't notice the instrumentation has more prominent guitars and much less vocals then anything from Magma. Having delved a bit further into Zeuhl, the closes comparison would be Eskatron's debut, but with classic electric Rhodes piano instead or Eskatron's keyboards.

In agreement with previous reviews I can confirm that there's not much new about this album compared to previous Zeuhl offerings. So you get prominent drum rhythms, sometimes heavily marching, sometimes slightly funky; they blend in perfectly with the persistently drilling fretless bass guitar loops. Jazzy keyboards and melodic touches from the guitars and wordless vocals complete the sound. The vocals consist of two harmonic female voices only, and similarly to Eskatron, they are much scarcer and less intrusive then Magma.

Despite a lack in innovation I can't ignore the quality that reaches my Zeuhl-sensitive ears in each of the 5 tracks, and while not as defining as "MDK" or "Köhntarkösz", I'd still place this one right next to Eskatron's and Weidorje's brilliant debuts. 4.5 stars

Review by Tapfret
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Magmapomorphicism

Sub-genre: Zeuhl (A prog dictionary picture)
For Fans of: Magma
Vocal Style: Female harmonies, operatic overtones.
Guitar Style: Varyingly distorted "single coil microphone" tones. (thank you for the clarification JC)
Keyboard Style: Rhodes, Clean Rhodes, overdriven Rhodes? more Rhodes. Some piano.
Percussion Style: Rock/jazz kit played in classic Zeuhl style.
Bass Style: Slightly overdriven picked electric.
Other Instruments: Sax, flute
You are not likely to enjoy this album if: you find Magma to be brooding, droning and unvaried.

Summary: The whole of the Zeuhl sub-genre is frequently targeted as stagnant. But fans of Zeuhl can point to some very unique manifestations of the movement. The Japanese interpretation of Zeuhl (Koenjihyakkei, Bondage Fruit, Happy Family) as well European Zeuhl like Eskaton and Universal Totem Orchestra are able to fit the Zeuhl parameters while maintaining their individuality. Eider Stellaire I sadly misses the mark. They are firmly entrenched in Magma-esque derivation.

The Rhodes keyboard and overdriven bass sounds are oppressively delivered. There are times where the guitar work, something not as synonymous with Magma, hints at a shift in direction; just not far enough to remind you that you are not listening to Magma. For the most part the arrangements are delivered with proficiency. These are certainly well-trained quality musicians. From the standpoint of recording quality, the mix comes across fairly well balanced. There are times that the vocals sound scratchy. Not likely due to the vocalists, but more likely somebody dropped the microphone in a barrel of Chenin Blanc.

Final Score: Repeated listens found nothing to really hook me. It is certainly a proficient clone, but a clone nonetheless. The musicianship is good, but not Magma level. I am sure that many diehard fans of the sub-genre would find Eider Stellaire I absolutely essential. Then again, I consider myself to be a pretty hardcore Zeuhl fan and I will not likely listen to it often. Good but not essential. 3 stars.

Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars EIDER STELLAIRE are a band i've heard about for years but had really resigned myself to the fact I would probably never get to hear their debut because the band owns the rights to their music and have stated numerous times it will not be re-issued.Then one day while on Youtube I somehow (by accident) found several of the tracks from the debut and was promptly blown away by what I was hearing.In fact the first song I listened to "Onde" sounded just like ONE SHOT when the guitar and electric piano kicked in. Now I really needed to find a cdr of this some how and some way. Enter Bonnek (again) to the rescue and I have been listening to this on and off ever since.Then this week we got the shocking news that Soleil Zeuhl is re-issuing this monster. It was actually leaked as the formal announcement is to come September 8th according to Alain the man behind Soleil Zeuhl. Maybe then we'll get the details as to how this came about and why the band changed their minds. Regardless this is huge news. I honestly feel that this is best Zeuhl album I have ever heard.The drummer Michel LeBards used to play drums with OFFERING while Vander sang but he eventually decided he wanted to form his own band to do his own take on Zeuhl. And while some have said there is nothing new here compared to past Zeuhl albums I have to disagree. First of all to be Zeuhl it has to have some of the same characteristics like that driving rhythm along with electric piano and chanting (usually). What makes this different is how aggressive the guitar is. Sure MAGMA has and does use guitar but not nearly as in your face as what we get here.We also get some sax and flute. I have to say that the drumming, bass, guitar and electric piano are all so amazingly well done.These are hired guns man and they don't fool around.

"Onde" opens with drums and bass before the electric piano and guitar kick in and i'm drooling at this point.The sound gets fuller quickly and the guitar is lighting it up.There's an incredible moment 2 minutes in as the song seems to restart.The bass and drums are relentless. Nasty bass after 3 1/2 minutes and check out the drumming ! The keyboards kick in and the guitar becomes abrasive after 5 minutes. Piano only late then the guitar joins in to end it. Not worthy !

"Arctis 6eme Ephemeride" opens with the bass,drums and piano standing out.The tempo picks up after a minute then we get female vocal melodies that will come and go.They're a really nice touch actually.The guitar turns aggressive here and later before 4 1/2 minutes. Big finish.

"Legende" has guitar before a minute and he's letting it rip before 1 1/2 minutes and a minute after that. Piano leads before 3 1/2 minutes then it settles with female vocal melodies before picking up and turning nasty.

"Tetra" is my favourite along with the first tune. Keyboards to open then it kicks in with some power. Love the drumming.The guitar starts to solo over the bass and drums. Hell yeah it does ! It settles back then kicks back in.This is so freaking good. Sax after 4 1/2 minutes.The guitar is back late to end it.

"Nihil" has these female vocal melodies and electric piano that come and go early on. It then kicks in around a minute. It settles back then kicks back in before 4 minutes. A relentless attack after 5 minutes then it settles back with female vocal melodies and drums to end it.

I will defintely be picking up the re-issue when it comes out. I understand there will be a bonus track from the same period. Masterpiece !

Review by Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Eider Stellaire I' - Eider Stellaire (8/10)

Eider Stellaire were a virtually unknown act back in their day, and for all intents and purposes, they still are. However obscure they may be to virtually anyone outside of the avant-garde and Zeuhl music circles that the band's brooding jazz fusion would largely cater to, Eider Stellaire's debut album is considered a classic of prog music. Influenced by the jazzier explorations of Zeuhl deities Magma, this instrumental fusion act makes an interesting blend of the familiar and strange with this album. It is an apocalyptic gem of cosmic jamming.

Although considered to be part of the Zeuhl scene in progressive rock, Eider Stellaire's musical foundation is in jazz fusion. This band has as much in common with 70's era Miles Davis as they do with anything Christian Vander has touched. Call it what you want, Eider Stellaire focuses their debut into a swirling mass of loose explorations, apocalyptic jazz freakouts, and sci-fi flavoured themes. Although this nearly verges on what I might label as 'jam' music, Eider Stellaire's style is hard to pin a description on. They are a dynamic jazz group that emits an unsettling atmosphere similar to the feeling that Robert Fripp's (of King Crimson) guitar work creates; free to doodle around, yet bound by a sense of foreboding and apocalypse. Taking the cosmic vibe of the album into account, it's like 'Eider Stellaire I' is a soundtrack to a ghost lost in space, floating in orbit around the wreckage of a lifeless space station.

Percussionist Michel LeBards captures my interest the most here, forging the backbone of the band's performance with unrelenting jazz fills and constantly evolving rhythms. There are vocals here, but they can still count as being part of the instrumental body due to the fact that they are not forming lyrics, but instead simply there as sound to back up the rest of it. A solid trademark of this band's work is the heavy bass presence, which often takes lead of the band when the electric guitar isn't buzzing strong. Eider Stellaire are a very capable group of musicians, and the music they make reflects this in the sense that it is constantly changing. Despite being a jam album, there is a creative chemistry in the music that fuels these compositions. Zeuhl and progressive fusion are not my thing usually, but I am glad I have found this obscure classic.

Review by Warthur
4 stars A unique Zeuhl album which combines classic jazz chops, a fine command of Zeuhlish rhythms and compositional abilities on a par with the likes of their main inspiration Magma, but also a hefty chamber rock influence by way of Univers Zero, the guitar soloing of Jean Clude Delachat in particular reminding me of elements of Univers Zero's first three albums. It's a tricky one to review, particularly since there aren't many fusion-RIO-zeuhl mashup groups out there, though on balance I think the Magma influence shines through most clearly. In this, they compare favourably to peers such as Eskaton, and if anything bring a bit of originality to the table whilst still accomplishing their main mission of paying tribute to the masters of Kobaia.
Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Rich fusion escape

You don't have to know much about the Zeuhl scene or even appreciate its better known acts to enjoy the debut of this little-known French band. Far from the oppressive forced marches of Magma what we have here is essentially a talented fusion band. Eider Stellaire formed around 1980 and released three albums in that decade, although the latter two are not nearly as acclaimed as this debut. What makes this album somewhat special, beyond the monster chops, is that it is richer than some of the dryer jazz-fusion work. This album adds some decorative sound elements to its core of solid instrumental rock.

The players are absolutely adventurous and solid, laying down jams with superb bass and drums, lead guitar, Rhodes piano, and saxophone. Relentless and driving are words to describe the ever building jams. Contrasting moments of sound make it even better. The piano solo at the end of "Onde" close down the ferocious jam that preceded it, gives it mood and mystery. A bit of flute now and again is rather unexpected here. "Arctis" and "Legende" up the ante with wordless female vocals doubling lead guitar lines. "Nihil" features the oppressive Zeuhl sound coming from a steamroller bass and repetitive guitar leads tempered only by the occasional female vocals which are somewhat softer. Talk about a maniacal conclusion to the album, simply nuts! Pretty much essential for fans of sassy fusion. Not my favorite genre but I enjoyed myself nonetheless. 7/10.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars Similarily to the Magma debut, this Eider Stallaire contains a lot of jazz and fusion elements which make it more approachable. Of course as almost all the Zeuhl it's not an easy listening thing.

The first impact is given by bass and drums, few seconds and we are already very close to Magma, at least to the debut. The electric piano offers the jazz parts while the guitar is more rock-oriented. What in Magma is the brass section, is here represented just by the sax helped by the guitar on medium pitches. "Onde" (Wave) has the only defect of being not conformant with the track's title. Specially in the most chaotic part. I mean that in this jazzy excited track ther's nothing that can make us think of waves of any kind. There's a remarkable guitar riff over compulsive bass and drums. It's the peak of the excited part, then they slow down and leave room to the piano. The track is closed by few guitar notes in a quite sudden end.

The second track, "Arctis 6eme éphéméride" (Arctic 6th Ephemeris) is closer to Magma but even of this track the guitar makes the difference as it sounds very rock. If you like being dragged out by repetitive compulsive rhythms this is your pot. Sometimes it gets more quiet, but even then, the bass is still percussive and obsessive. The main theme is based on four notes only sung by the two vocalists. The track seems to be built around these notes. It's so good that when it ends after 7 minutes I'm unhappy as it could have been extended for more time.

"Legende" is the easiest track. If it wasn't for the typically Zeuhl vocalists it could be considered "fusion". Also in this track there's more jazz and rock than in a standard Magma track. The excellent jazz piano solo is the remarkable thing of this track. The two vocalists are more "soul" and less "operistic" and the guitar is unusually distorted for Zeuhl. However in this track there's room for every instrument. The bass, too, has its moment while the drummer "pumps" throughout the whole track.

"Tetra" is the darkest track, instead, maybe because is based on minor chords. Also in this track there's a lot of rock, specially when the guitar leads. This is a track that can attract fans of other subgenres like Eclectic, Canterbury and JR/F. It features also a very interesting sax solo.

The bonus track "Nihil" is slightly different from the others. I don't know if it comes from a different period or not, but even if it's very good it is more "magmatic" than the rest. The few vocals are more operatic, the track structure and the chords are very jazzy. A very welcomed bonus.

Together with Eskaton, even if not as light as Eskaton, this album helps in defining the Zeuhl as a true genre and not just as a Vander's invention. I don't see it as a masterpiece, but it's an excellent album and fully deserves the four stars rating.

Review by Guldbamsen
4 stars Zeuhl returns to its humble beginnings

(Thank you so much for this John!)

Eider Stellaire's first release has become somewhat of a cult classic, and deservedly so. The mix of jazz rock and that special unique shading that I'd like to call the teutonic touch, is here leaning heavily on the jazz side of things - making it an easy approachable album, and one that should appeal to a lot of different music listeners who like their fusion with a sprinkling of the serene and feminine.

That last part of the equation is all down to the two female vocalists of Eider Stellaire. Lingering and floating over the hard hitting jazz rock, you find an ethereal scat singing relying totally on wordless whispers and melodic effervescent emanations.

Now, personally I've always thought of Zeuhl as being the natural heir-taker of the European jazz culture that flourished after WW2. Heaps of Black jazz musicians now called France, Sweden, Denmark or even Germany their new home. Over here, they were synonymous with the American heroes that helped us trample Hitler's new world order, - AND they could play their ass off to boot - in a new and exciting way that soon took hold over our own musicians. All this may have started out as bebop, but like everything else, waves start as ripples, and these musicians were indeed the start of a wonderful sonic adventure about to unfold. France was no stranger to jazz, but this new wave of musicians still made serious ripples - soon inspiring the nation's youth to do their own thing with this newly found expression. By the end of the sixties the jazz world was again reinvented by artists like Miles and the whole notion of infusing rock within the classic mould, and sure enough, you were pretty soon spotting French artists mixing it up much like their contemporaries.

What sets this particular brand of jazz rock aside, is what Magma then proceeded to do with the genre, but I happen to think it happened even earlier than that. Zeuhl is not necessarily made up of a pseudo universe with its own strange lingo. Sure that's what it has become and known for, but when you start looking around at other artists from around the same time, you'll find a lot of the same essentials roaming freely: like the teutonic trade, the almost ritualistic rhythms, the apocalyptic menacing drive - all of this is also very present in a man like Igor Wakhevitch's music, - and well he got it from Luc Ferrari, a now famous composer that has influenced many an experimental musician - and he then got a thing or two from Edgard Varèse and so on... Again, we've said this thing over and over again: nothing exists in a vacuum. Not prog rock nor Zeuhl for that matter.

All of this ranting surely has a point, you must be saying to yourself by now, - and it does! I promise. This album was released at the beginning of the 80s, where music that put back the experimental quotient in the spotlight was a rare commodity outside of the RIO inspired groups that literally were in bloom. Eider Stellaire's debut is a throwback to the early fusion sage-rated days of Zeuhl. Reminding this listener of Magma's 1001 Centigrades that also wielded an uncanny jazz rock attitude, this album manages to put its own spin on something that by 81 was old and tried, yet somehow it comes off sounding as fresh as ever. The reason behind, according to my own uneducated guess, is the way it was captured on tape. Sounding like a regular live feast gone metaphysical right there and then at the recording session, it luckily avoids all of the androgynous studio tinkering that was going on at the time, where drums weren't aloud to sound like drums, synths should sound like plastic velcro and well just the whole notion of recording music separately and metronomic. All of that was frowned upon - or maybe the lack of money simply made the decision beforehand, - either way, the album is free of those 'dated' and lacklustre trades of the time - sounding meaty, vivacious and monumentally fresh - still after some 30 years!

Beautiful towering drum patterns - sounding like cataclysmic events happening all over each other - backed up by the deepest sweatiest bass you'll ever come across. Electric piano tip toeing its way into your heart with a small melody on its lips, often holding hands with a marvellous sounding organ that benefits the music by breathing air into the midst of things. This is surely fusion that reaches for the skies like huge buildings and skyscrapers rising up on the horizon.

I recommend anyone with a penchant for fusion to look into this record. It's an easy approachable bugger that'll charm its way down your trouser, like a lovesick ferret on the prowl. This could very well be your first time together with a Zeuhl album, and what a way to pop your cherry! 4.5 stars

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Founded by OFFERING drummer Michel Le Bars (what a distinction and honor it must be to be drumming for drummer extraordinaire Christian Vander!).

1. "Onde" (8:35) solid Zeuhl fare with differing keyboard sounds but still using chunky bass and drums to propel the music ever onward. Very nice guitar work from Jean-Claude Delachat. Well performed overall but lacking a little of the "raptured soul" of Vander's stuff. (18/20)

2. "Arctis 6.ème Éphéméride" (7:04) chunky fretless bass á la JACO PASTORIUS, the song has a very nice progression with imperceptibly smooth transitions. Though I'm not a fan of the fuzzed up Mahavishnu John McLaughlin sound employed by Delachat, I laud the work--his play with the bass player and off of the female choir. I also enjoy the subtle presence of the flute. (13.5/15)

3. "Légende" (5:37) more JACO bass, bouncy Fender Rhodes, quieter drums, to support the lead guitarist's work--and it is extraordinary, I must say. I'd say this one is less Zeuhlish, more jazz fusion. But it's really good! (9.5/10)

4. "Tétra" (6:32) slow, then fast, based in Latin rhythms, then Mahavishnu-like driving speed with Jean-Claude again the feature instrumentalist (which is not really in the true spirit of Zeuhl), this song shows good musicianship and emotional CORRADO RUSTICI-like guitar skills and stylings, but the funky bass, and tempo shifts don't always work. Sax in the latter half is a welcome addition. (8.5/10)

5. "Nihil" (7:26) opening like a Vander composition, letting whole band and voices slow-build into the main body of the song, it's good, it follows the Magma forms and examples, but, in the end, it's not quite Magma. It's the bass and singular female voice that detract. And though the drums start out very strong, they don't remain one of the driving forces of the song as Christian does--it's the simple bass and key chords that do a better job of that. Something about the way the drums are mixed into the soundscape weaken them, I think. (12/15)

Four stars; a wonderful contribution to the Zeuhl jazz fusion world--here fusing the MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA sound and style with Le Bars' MAGMA training.

Review by siLLy puPPy
3 stars It seems that most if not all bands that fall into the world of zeuhl have some connection direct or otherwise to Magma's Christian Vander and his pioneering band of the entire sub-genre of progressive jazzy rock. The French band EIDER STELLAIRE is no exception to this rule. The band was founded in 1980 by Michel Le Bars in Albion-sur-Seine near Paris after having started out under the moniker Astarte. The band released three albums in the 80s beginning with this 1981 debut that was completely eponymously titled upon its first pressing but has been given the title I ( one) since the remastered 2011 version came out. This is so that it fits in with the following albums II ( two ) and III ( three ). Makes sense to me!

This is one of those albums that has been virtually impossible to find for many years after its inception since it was issued originally in 1981 as a small private micro-pressing of only 300 vinyl LPs. That is the version with the blue cover and stellar backdrop. A second self-released small pressing took place in 1986 which sported a white backdrop on the cover with a castle in the lower right corner. It also had a sticker slapped on it that shouted '1st Album!' Despite two releases, it was still super rare and remained one of the most sought after obscurities in the prog universe. While it has been available to hear once the internet has been in existence, finally in 2011 the holy chapel in the form of the record label Soleil Zeuhl remastered the album and re-released it on CD with the original album cover but if you want any of the vinyl editions, expect to shell out some serious dough.

Like all zeuhl projects, EIDER STELLAIRE are highly influenced by 70s Magma with the same exact mix of 20th century classical (Bartok, Orff, Stravinsky) and rock fortified jazz-fusion with strong bass driven rhythms and angelic female vocals. The band Astarte started out with Michel Le Bars (drums), Patrick Singery (bass) and Jean-Claude Delachat (guitar) who all played together for three years before disbanding and beginning the EIDER STELLAIRE project in 1980. During the Astarte years, the band would open up for Magma when much of the material for this debut album was written so on top of being influenced by Vander's pride and joy, they would become immersed in the music as well which becomes more obvious when listening to this debut release. After reforming under the different band name the additional members of Pierre Gerard-Hirne (piano, organ), V'ronique Perrault (vocals), Marie- Anne Boda (vocals, flute) und Michel Moindre (tenor sax) would join in and the EIDER STELLAIRE party began.

ALBUM NO. 1 originally hosted five tracks and the re-release added an alternative version of 'Nihil' which was longer and quite different as a bonus track. EIDER STELLAIRE not surprisingly sound a lot like Magma. In the similarities department we have the same incessant rhythmic bass workouts that form the backbone of the musical drive but with the same nerdy precision of Jannick Top and the host of other bassists who have tackled this demanding sub-genre. The alienating effects of the music are nearly identical as EIDER STELLAIRE easily whisks you away from 'normal' Earthly bound music. Another distinct feature that is clearly from the Magma playbook are the ethereal female vocals that offer the same sort of human touch that was so prevalent on not only Magma albums but Canterbury greats such as Hatfield & The North. The bass driven grooves are also augmented by organs and keyboard runs as counterpoints. That's where the similarities end.

The differences are numerous. EIDER STELLAIRE blend in a lot more jazz-fusion than the Magma albums after the first two did but even so it's not like the first two Magma albums which were extremely experimental. This is completely zeuhl oriented with jazz- fusion touches more like the band Zao only a tad demanding and a lot more energetic. What really drives EIDER STELLAIRE over the top is the inclusion of heavy guitar riffing and soloing which is something not common in the zeuhl microverse. For the most part this music is completely vocal free save the examples strewn about where the girls chant wordless utterances. Despite falling into what some would call clone country, EIDER STELLAIRE do find their own voice in the zeuhl wilderness although admittedly with a rhythmic drive and bass bombast so similar to their influences, it's hard to remember that small detail.

Though the band sounds most similar to Magma when the girls are hitting the high notes, there are times of pure magic such as on "Arctis 6.'me 'ph'm'ride' where the instrumental interplay is absolutely divine and if one pays attention to the details of the bass lines in mix with the frenetic percussion, it is apparent that EIDER STELLAIRE implement a far more jazzy approach than Magma with their Teutonic marches onto the battlefield. This music has a lighter and airier feel as if Weather Report was joining in for a few sessions but then got carried away. While many deem this as a masterpiece and cornerstone of the sub-genre i'm not quite as keen on it. It's certainly a stellar example of zeuhl taken on its own terms but in the end this debut album sounds like a perpetual jam of sorts with no real resolution for the compositions, something Magma never lacked. It simply doesn't register as highly as Magma's never-ending supply of top notch albums. EIDER STELLAIRE would only release three albums and ultimately Michel would later join Christian Vander's post-Magma band Offering which i would imagine was a dream come true.

3.5 rounded down

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4 stars BASS! Lots of it! I had to dig deep into youtube to get to this album and I'm so glad I did. Opening track Onde hits you like a sledgehammer with frenetic and powerful drum, bass, piano, guitar. I don't really know how best to describe it. Just have a listen. Arctis 6eme Ephemeride starts ... (read more)

Report this review (#2635185) | Posted by bartymj | Friday, November 19, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I HAVE FINALLY FOUND A COPY!!! CHECK AMAZON, UK! I had been checking Amazon and a few other sites for a copy of this since I heard the recordings on PA a few years ago. I found that it was very good album and although I actually haven't heard it all the way through uninterrupted, from how I h ... (read more)

Report this review (#899984) | Posted by HarmonyDissonan | Saturday, January 26, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Zeuhl is often perceived as a genre closely aligned with rock in opposition, and the avant-garde scene in general. True enough, a hefty portion of Magma's catalog is very inaccessible and bizarre, and most Japanese zeuhl groups are noisy and outwardly flamboyant. However, there were a number of b ... (read more)

Report this review (#163183) | Posted by Shakespeare | Tuesday, March 4, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars It's a shame this zeuhl gem has not received a proper CD reissue, but that doesn't mean the much contained in it is not worthwhile. All of the musicians on this album show incredible talent. The basis of the album lies upon the frantic bass work and driving keyboard passages, all accented by soa ... (read more)

Report this review (#125527) | Posted by Arsillus | Tuesday, June 12, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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