Monday, April 13, 2015

Yochk'o Seffer - 1978 - Neffesh Music: Ghilgoul

Yochk'o Seffer 
Neffesh Music: Ghilgoul

01. Dag (6:32)
02. Sifra (13:17)
03. Dailn (2:51)
04. Larma (2:53)
05. Ghilgoul (16:54)

CD bonuses:

06. Bülent
07. Schebira
08. Sifra II

Yochk'o Seffer / saxophones, piano
Dominique Bertrand / bass
François Laizeau / drums (tracks 1-5)
Margand String Quartet

Michael Nick / violin (tracks 6-8)
Bülent / drums (tracks 6-8)
Laurent Cokelaere / electric bass (tracks 6-8)
Philippe Gisselmann / soprano saxophone (tracks 6-8)

Yochk'o Seffer is a Hungarian born musician who is among the finest winds player (mainly alto saxophone) in the history of progressive music. After spending much of the 1960s in Paris playing with a host of jazz musicians in a variety of clubs, he was recruited by Christian Vander in the early days of Magma and can be found on the album "1001 Degres Centigrade", as well as the two Univeria Zekt recordings. He soon left that band and with ex-Magma keyboardist Francois Cahen founded the band Zao, with whom he appeared on most of the band's recordings. During this time he also had stints with a improvisational jazz group named Perception and a jazz-rock group named Speed Limit. After recording Zao's fourth album, Seffer departed the band to embark on a number of solo efforts, but always associated with a group name. His first and perhaps most important such endeavour was Neffesh Music, which saw the recording of three LPs in the late 1970s - "Delire", "Ima", and "Ghilgoul". Their style is distinctly zeuhl but reflects Seffer's vision of his musical roots and the musicianship is nothing less than first rate. In the early 1980s Seffer embarked on another trio of albums with the title "Chromophonie", and his latest effort "YOG" commenced in 1996 with the release of the album "Pitchipoy". Yochk'o Seffer has collaborated with a panoply of wonderful musicians over his decades-long musical career and produced some of the finest zeuhl and jazz oriented music one will find on this site.

Anyone who's into Zeuhl needs to get their hands on this album. Most feel that this is Seffer's best solo album. After he left ZAO he hooked up with future ZAO bassist Dominique Bertrand who he would play with on ZAO's last studio album in 1994. Also drummer Francois Laizeau would jump on board. He played with MAGMA, OFFERING and Bernard Paganotti's "Paga" album. The guy can flat out drum. In fact this album is worth getting for the rhythm section alone. Interesting that Seffer also brought the all-female string quartet for this recording.They played with Seffer on ZAO's "Osiris" album and he was obviously impressed with them. Seffer plays sax of course but also piano, and man he caught my attention with his keyboard work on this record.

"Dag" opens with sax and piano as drums and bass join in, then here we go before 1 1/2 minutes. Check out the drum work ! The soundscape after 2 minutes is incredible. The bass, drums and piano are intense while the sax plays over top. What a display ! After 4 minutes all I can say is "I'm not worthy". The violins come in slicing away as this Zeulish rhythm continues. "Sifra" opens with piano as violins join in before a minute. This continues until we get a complete change 5 minutes in as the sax and drums take over. Killer sound after 6 minutes as the bass and drums lay the groundwork and piano plays over top. Violins come back in ripping it up. "Dailn" is the only track not composed by Seffer as Dominque Bertrand did this one. It kicks into a rhythm quickly as bass and drums rumble with sax and piano playing over top. Violins then join in. Huge bass lines in this one. "Larme" features piano and those Zeuhlish vocal melodies we all know and love (Seffer sings them as he did on ZAO's second album). Sax joins in then drums. Violins come in later.

"Ghilgoul" is the almost 17 minute title track. What a way to end this album. This is very different from the rest as we get these multi vocal melodies that are quite haunting with sax. The vocals stop before 4 1/2 minutes as piano and sax take over. The vocals are back before 6 1/2 minutes but even more eerie this time. The violins come in around 7 1/2 minutes as the vocals stop again.They're back before 11 minutes with sax as the strings stop. Violins are back after 13 minutes as vocals and sax stop. The piano returns. I should mention that there's 4 bonus tracks here with a different lineup. 3 tracks from 1980 and one from 1985. Over 30 minutes of great music. These extra songs are so impressive.

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