Sunday, May 17, 2015

Eskaton - 1985 - Icare


01. Marcel
02. Autant le temps
03. Le gros délire
04. Le bruit
05. New-York
06. Le chant
07. Le cri
08. Icare
09. Unknown track 1
10. Unknown track 2
11. Unknown track 3
12. Unknown track 4
13. Unknown track 5

Andre Bernardi: Bass
Paule Klaynnaert: Vocals
Amara Tahir: Vocals
Gerard Konig: Drums
Gilles Rozenberg: Guitar,Keyboards
Marc Rozenberg: Vocals, Piano, Synth

This was also originally posted on mysteryposter in 2006, then re-posted 2009 (according to Wayback Machine). Eskaton, from the Paris area, were one of the best Zeuhl groups towards the end of the 70s. Their three main albums (from 1979, 1980, and 1983) were all reissued by Soleil Zeuhl in the past few years. This record was their last effort, and was never released. A few songs were included as bonus tracks on the reissues, but the whole thing has only been passed around as a bootleg. I have no idea where the original came from (before it got to Mystery Poster), or how it made its way onto the internet as 320k mp3s, but I am pleased to have it, and happy to pass it on again.

This is real-deal 80s prog. If you're a 70s proghead ideologically opposed to 80s prog, this may not be for you. If you're open to 80s sounds but not that into prog, you might still be into this. I personally love 80s prog. Although much of it can be pretty bad, there are tons of gems to be discovered. The good stuff usually shows a pop influence, giving up some of the more esoteric prog extravagances, highlighting some of the more melodic and groove-oriented features. The recordings often sound bizarre: 80s prog bands seemed to be really open to new synths and digital effects, but the way they used them sounds nothing like what you hear in new wave or disco music from the same time. This strangely affecting synthetic sound is definitely present on this recording, but is made weirder by the lo-fi transfer quality of this copy. Super fuzzy, always making me think of it as "VHS sound quality." The versions of these songs included with the reissues sound a lot clearer. I've also noticed that the versions on this copy are pitched up. The tracklisting is also a bit dicky, with the endings of two songs separated for no reason. I love the way this copy sounds, though.

The music is unorthodox prog with a pop tendency, without sounding commercial (at all). That is to say: mostly 4/4 rhythms, catchy hooks and nice riffs, but mixed with dissonant harmonies, strange chord voicings, spacey synth sounds, intricate fills, drones, strange lyrics. Synths, guitars, and dual female vocals are the prominent sounds. The lyrics are in French, and the mood varies from upbeat and joyous to hypnotic and brooding. Great album meriting deep listening.

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