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Rhùn – Ïh

January 1, 2013

Wow! Rhùn from France – a band which in the year 40 (!) after Magma’s Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh pleases us with one of the finest Zeuhl-related releases ever since. It seems to be quite a trend for young bands in France these days to hark back to glorious 70’s Zeuhl – e.g. there are One Shot or Neom who bring in several distinguished flavours, Jannick Topp reappeared with a new album lately etc. Alongside them and tough unnoticed this fresh septet released a first demo “tape” in 2009 and three years later the follow-up recording is “in stores” – ahh…rather “on the net” since they are still waiting for a label to sign them.

The pseudonyms of the participants – “Captain Flapattak” on drums or “Brunöh” on bassoon to name only a few – promise none they could not keep. Beginning in the middle of everything, Toz immediately breaks one of Zeuhl’s typical directives. In an instant one is caught in a furious mix of typical Zeuhl elements, jazzy Canterbury tunes and raw Sax-escapades, which again and again break into the scene. Repetitive choirs, mostly headed by male vocals which at times melt into female chorals, and multitudinous playful wind instruments, earthy drums and squawking guitars determine the scenery. A clichéd Zeuhl riff, directly imported from forefather Orff or his descendants Magma but which though comes fresh-faced, is given free rein: choirs and flourish wind instruments escalate to a noisy, frantic thrill culminating in a – calm saxophone excursion which fluently passes into the solemn second track. Reasonably entitled Interlude, it reminds in places of Stravinsky and represents an oasis of calm in between the franticness of the other two pieces.  The third and final title on this EP, Dunb, comes up with pretty much the same means as Toz. Breaking without warning into the privacy of Interlude with “Kobaïen” choirs, a grumbling bass, distorted guitars and head banger riffs varied with quiet, solely acoustic chamber prog passages with flute soli and all that.

Well, actually the author of these lines is not that much of a Zeuhl expert, but approaches these tunes more from the other end you could approach this record from: the Jazz-influenced Rock In Opposition side! This may be a reason not to take the above seriously or even disqualify it’s content. But beware! Whatever conclusions you may draw – this band is highly talented as is obvious from these tracks! You get a complex conglomerate of original Magma-like Zeuhl, a noisy version of Canterbury-Jazz à la Henry Cow perfectly unified with chamber prog RIO as was pioneered by Univers Zero and others. The highlights of these far-too-short twenty minutes set in, whenever choral passages dump into atonal RIO noise – but also the more quiet parts just fit in perfectly and should by no means be disregarded. And the so far nearly Zeuhl-ignorant scribbler has to admit, that after seeing a stunning Magma concert earlier this year and after listening to this EP I start liking Zeuhl – at least in the informal way it is presented here. The disharmonies needed to attract are there, the Jazz influence, the noise – all in all a superb calling card bristling with talent – can someone please sign them IMMEDIATELY?

Download the EP on Bandcamp or check the band’s myspace page.

Eduard Tetzlaff

From → Rhùn - Ïh

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