Riah Sahiltaahk (CD-EP)

SKU: JV570045
Label:
Jazz Village
Category:
Zeuhl
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The original version of Rïah Sahïltaahk that was recorded in 1971 is featured on the album 1001° Centigrade (vol. 2). But at the time, its composer, Christian Vander, was unhappy with the arrangement written by the group. This radically new version, adapted to suit the group’s current line-up, is more faithful to the spirit of Magma’s music and its uniquely weird and wonderful prog-rock style."

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Full of drama, avant-garde vaudevillian oddness and a compelling crescendo, it impressed me and forced me to listen to the remainder of the album more than perhaps I might otherwise have done.It is arguable that in the intervening years, Arcturus have never managed to hit the heights of ‘La Masquerade Infernale’. Neither 2002’s ‘The Sham Mirrors’ nor ‘Sideshow Symphonies’ spoke to me in the same way and despite containing some outstanding moments, I came away both times with feelings of slight disappointment. And that, as they say was that. In terms of original studio albums, nothing has been released since; indeed after the release of ‘Shipwrecked in Oslo’ in 2006, the band called it quits with the individual members going on to do different things. And so it has remained until now.Rumours were rife from around 2011 when various members made comments that alluded to a resurrection of the band and later that year the rumours were confirmed. However, for one reason or another it has taken until 2015 for a new original recording to see the light of day, a development that has been greeted with great euphoria amongst the loyal Arcturus following.Arcturus version 2015 is comprised of Steinar Sverd Johnsen (keys), Hellhammer (drums), Knut Magne Valle (guitar), Hugh ‘Skoll’ Mingay (bass) and ICS Vortex (vocals). Together, they have created an album very much worthy of their lofty status and one that I would argue just about manages to match the quality of ‘La Masquerade Infernale’. The only reason I hedge my bets and say ‘just about’ is because I’ve only had about three days with ‘Arcturian’ as opposed to the 18 years I’ve had to enjoy ‘La Masquerade Infernale’. That said, I’ve listened to ‘Arcturian’ more times than I care to mention in recent days and it gives me chills on each and every listen. It is complex, quirky, brilliantly composed and professionally executed. 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He complements the music beautifully, managing sound both majestic but also a little unstable, as if he could spiral out of control at any moment. I mean, at times, he sounds like he’s yodelling for heaven’s sake; it’s superb.Onto the compositions themselves, they are all dense, multi-layered affairs that contain an abundance of richness. There are no songs that tend to extend over six minute mark and yet, such is the ambition of Arcturus that it feels like a million different ideas are injected into each composition, testing the listener and toying with them at every turn. I strongly suspect that this has been done with a certain playful, yet mischievous intent. Those strong Vaudervillian overtones of the band’s past make a welcome return, as do a number of various influences that pull Arcturus away from being simply discarded as a black metal band. 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The sweeping synths are immediately reminiscent of the ‘La Masquerade Infernale’ era, as they are during my personal standout track, ‘Game Over’ with its addictive melodies and the way it builds and morphs so elegantly from one guise to another almost imperceptibly, ending in a crescendo of sorts that elicits another ‘ooh’ from my lips.‘Angst’ is a powerful and more extreme slab of metal, dominated by a blistering tempo, tortured screams atop another strong synth melody and the threat of a descent into chaos on more than one occasion. ‘Warp’ on the other hand introduces more electronic influences but has such an imposing and catchy melody that it’s impossible to ignore. ‘Demon’ has demonstrable Gothic synth pop overtones whereas ‘Pale’ delights with a marvellous driving central riff, a great chorus of sorts and some of the most varied and brilliant vocals on the entire record. The album ends with ‘Bane’, a track that further backs up the gorgeous ‘The Journey’ by providing amongst other things, some truly beautiful and subtle acoustic guitar playing which is a real joy.For all that, I have to say that ‘Arcturian’ is an album that’s best enjoyed in its entirety rather than picking and choosing individual songs. The album has a distinct flow and overall feel that helps to make it as special as it is, something that could be lost if listened to in a piecemeal manner.For the sake of balance, my only small gripe relates to the production which I think is a little on the weak side and robs some of the aforementioned richness from the music. Occasionally, the layers of music come together is a slightly messy muddle of impenetrable white noise which is a bit disappointing. But then again, there’s a certain ‘old-school’ charm to the mix too, reminding me of their heyday more than once. Maybe therefore, the production is entirely deliberate, those naughty scamps.It’s almost impossible sum up ‘Arcturian’ in a concise manner and do it the justice it deserves, except to say that if you’re a fan of Arcturus at their most original, challenging, audacious and quirky, prepare to take ‘Arcturian’ straight to your heart." - Man Of Much Metal
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  • Third album from this excellent Norwegian band.  Arabs In Aspic is yet another prog band influenced by the sounds of the 70s.  Lots of similarities to Black Bonzo.  Vintage keyboard sounds and nice heavy-ish guitar leads.  Vocalist Rune Sundby of the 70s Norwegian band Ruphus guests.  That band would be a pretty good comparison but you can definitely hear undercurrents of Uriah Heep and Deep Purple but there is more going on here. On the longer, jammier tracks the music takes on the psychedelic feel of Echoes period Pink Floyd.  Beautifully done.  Highly recommended.
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  • Squonk Opera are an amazing art rock/performance art ensemble based out of Pittsburgh.  The bankd is led by Jackie Dempsey and Steve O'Hearn.  The ensemble has had world wide acclaim over the years and even had major label releases on EMI/Angel.  Hell - Squonk Opera even performed on Broadway in NYC for two months!  You might have even caught them auditioning on America's Got Talent.  The band's music has much in common with progressive rock, a genre the band has been a bit reluctant to associate themselves with since their beginnings.  The band did perform at one of the early ProgDay events and if I recall correctly spent a good part of the weekend disavowing any knowledge of prog.  Well I guess the time has come and Squonk Opera has decided to go with the flow and finally embrace their inner prog.  Pneumatica is their first instrumental album.  I'm sure if they read this they will cringe when I compare some of their music to Lamb-period Genesis.  Obviously there is a visual component missing - a very important component at that.  This tends to give the music a cinematic/soundtrack feel.  Keyboards tend to be used in a textural sense with most of the leads coming on guitar, flute...and bagpipes.  The only complaint is that the album length is very much on the short side and we've priced it accordingly.Sorry Squonk Opera - you made an excellent prog rock album.  Now you have to own the badge.  Highly recommended.
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  • New neo-prog side project from Collage/Satellite drummer Wojtek Szadkowski. The music has a modern sheen with plenty of stunt guitar work from Radek Chwieralski. To these ears the band doesn't sound at all like either Collage or Satellite (which makes sense I suppose - otherwise what would be the point). Some nice wiggly keyboard solos but this is mostly about the guitar.
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  • Limited edition double LP set recorded at the 2013 edition of the Roadburn Festival in Netherlands.  Five long extended jams that will take you to the outermost regions of the solar system (maybe beyond!).  The improvised session revolves around twin guitars, bass and drums with occasional keyboard (Mellotron!).  The set comes with a bonus CD of the recording so even if you are analogue challenged you have a chance to hear this lethal set.  
    $34.00
  • "2012 Blu-Ray live release. The Tea Party is a Canadian rock band with blues, progressive rock, Indian and Middle Eastern influences, dubbed "Moroccan roll" by the media. Active throughout the 1990s up until 2005 when the band broke up, The Tea Party released eight albums on EMI Music Canada, selling 2 million records worldwide, and achieving a #1 Canadian single "Heaven Coming Down" in 1999. The Tea Party toured Canada on twenty-one occasions and Australia on twelve. In November 2002, The Tea Party toured Canada with symphony orchestras reinterpreting a decade's worth of shared songwriting. The band broke up in 2005 due to creative differences, but re-united in 2011 to play several Canadian tour dates during the summer. During the tour it was decided to continue and the band has now reformed. Live From Australia: The Reformation Tour was recorded in 2012 during The Tea Party's Australian tour and showcases the band bursting with renewed energy."
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  • Phase - Midnight Madness is the third release in our limited edition Modulus series.  Pressed in an edition of 500 copies, it comes housed in a old school style tip-on mini-LP jacket.  A 12 page booklet features detailed liner notes from the members of the band.Phase was a New Jersey based quartet formed in 1978.  It featured Regan Ryzuk (piano, Moog, Celeste), Dave Anderson (electric and Anscor stereo guitar), Carl Scariati (Carl Thompson electric bass), and John Hvasta (drums/tympanis).  All members were young but highly accomplished musicians with a serious interest in jazz, classical composition, and progressive rock.  Their high energy instrumental music clearly demonstrated these influences.  The music of Phase can easily be classified as fusion but there are strong undercurrents of progressive rock that weaves its way through the album - not just in terms of the instrumentation or playing, but the compositions as well.The band signed a deal with QCA/Red Mark Records in Cincinnati.  The band left New Jersey and heading out to Ohio to record Midnight Madness.  The album was recorded and mixed very quickly.  It saw a release in 1979 and unfortunately sank without much of a trace.  Keyboardist Regan Ryzuk reissued the album two years label, rebranding and repackaging the release under the Fusion Quarter moniker.Hearing this music for the first time was quite a revelation.  I was blown away to say the least.  When I'm asked to describe the music I typically reply "Return To Forever meets Emerson Lake & Palmer".  Not only did this quartet have chops from hell but the compositions were challenging as well.  If you are a fan of RTF, Mahavishnu Orchestra or the prog giants ELP, Yes, Zappa, and PFM you will find much to enjoy here.Please keep in mind that when this edition sells out it will be gone forever.  
    $27.00