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Zwoyld - 200 000 CD (album) cover

200 000

Zwoyld

 

Zeuhl

4.70 | 8 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
5 stars ZWOYLD is yet another strange zeuhl band that springs from France and contains all the usual Magma influences but branches out in many ways to include not only the expected jazz-rock side of things (however no brass on board) but also has a very spacey Rock In Opposition approach along with a healthy dose of avant-garde. The band was formed by Gilbert Brown who oversees the project but doesn't actually play any of the instruments. The actual band consists of five members who contribute the following instruments: drums, bass, guitar, mellotron, synthesizers, flute, sanza and jew's harp. As with much zeuhl this one is pretty much instrumental with the only vocals being delivered in chants which basically add another instrument without any linguistic connotations that i can understand anyways. The track titles seem to be in some invented language and the presentation brings to mind some ancient builder race of sort that visited and left the planet long ago.

The music clearly falls into the zeuhl camp with its pummeling hypnotic bass grooves and rhythmic developments but there is so much more going on here that separates the music from any Magma clone accusations for sure. Firstly there is a lot of attention paid to guitar here. There are not only rhythmic power chord sequences but lots of angular guitar riffs that bring an RIO / Avant Prog vibe to the forefront on many occasions. However it never really gets too weird. It flirts with the bizarre but always keeps the chunky bass lines accessible and the guitars even delve at times into funk territory. The tracks all have distinct personalities and the album flows very nicely with totally different arrangements taking place over the avant-prog meets zeuhl rhythms. There are also various world music influences such as Arabic, Indian and Klezmer.

Tracks like "Chaš" really branch out into strange territories as the composition is quite complex with structured time sig changes that take a rather catchy melody and adds all kinds of freaky progressive touches. The track has the unique quality of making me feel like a zeuhl rhythm has been accompanied by a 60s psychedelic rock type of band. It's the kind of stuff that i always thought SHOULD have happened in the 60s but never really did. This music somehow captures an "i wish that woulda happened" vibe for me. It really works well too. Nothing feels forced in the least bit and progressive touches such as bizarre time sig freak outs structured around the choppy zeuhl rhythms somehow just kind of flow without the slightest of spoiling features. While mostly energetic "Chaš" slows down half way through and creates a very psychedelic rock experience but picks up steam again. The album is mostly energetic but slow passages punctuate the frenetic energy as to create an always welcome diversity in mood.

This one is a welcome surprise. The music is as surreal as the album cover artwork but still entirely accessible upon first listen. In effect, the perfect balance between the known and unknown where alienation isn't even remotely possible but surprising combinations of sounds add a layer of excitement. What i'm finding is that the band really know how to capture that innovative zeitgeist of the early 70s yet not ripping any other artist off. Yes, the influences are tucked beneath the surface and all but is more than obfuscated by layers of creativity oozing out of every irregular jagged bass led sequence. Ever since Magma introduced the zeuhl style of music to the world decades ago, it has remained a viable sub genre that allows all types of complexities to be kept from going too far astray with the accessible rhythms at play. ZWOYLD continues with that tradition but manages to take the jazz- fusion and avant-prog levels a few notches higher with tons of psychedelic trippiness to put hardcore Grateful Dead fans into a coma! This is an instantly addictive album that has managed to blow me away! Great job, guys :)

siLLy puPPy | 5/5 |

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