XING SA — Création de l'Univers (review)

XING SA — Création de l'Univers album cover Album · 2010 · Jazz Related Rock Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Sean Trane
This is a spin-off from one of the best Zeuhl band to come out for years (if not decades? time will tell) Setna which is a sextet. However this side-project features half that band: bassist Blondel, drummer Candé and keyboardist Goulay, but also receives some help from saxman Wolff and some vocals/chants from Duchene. Recorded under much the same manner as Setna's Cycle 1 album and mastered by the always excellent Udi Koomran, it must be noted that the group did take the trouble or time to encode the different pieces so that you can read on your disc-player display the title track. Something rather basic that hardly anyone does. As the title might hint you, we're dealing with a concept of the origins of our world, and it is divided in five elements, each divided into two or three sections, but it is not the usually- cited four elements, since air gives way to metal and wood. One might expect the Fire (Feu) movement to be incendiary, but it is rather tamed and subdued, even a tad ambient and cosmic. The following movement Terre is quite a bit more dense, compact and down-to- earth, featuring more electric piano and some typically Zeuhl-ish male vocals. The Metal- Water movements are definitely more energetic and feature a great tense crescendo with a mellotron (most likely a sampled synth) that is slightly reminiscent of Morte Macabre's sole album and some more shamanic chants. A tad later, we get some synth evoking a melancholic Vemod-ian cello, before slowly erupting red-hot lava, spewing from your speakers right into your living room (not advised to listen to this elsewhere, beit car or public transport) and flowing right into your brains. The closing Wood movement finally features the long-awaited-for woodwind instrument sax in a lengthy wild solo, increasing again the intensity of the album. Indeed, a definitively slow-starter, Création De L'Univers gradually increase the tension and the energy level, to come to a wild brooding climax and suddenly come to rest with itself at the very end.

While Creation is one of my top 10 releases of 2010, Xing sa doesn't nearly float my boat as the mothership Setna, because the musical possibilities are more restricted given the instruments used. I'm not exactly sure why the sole composer of both Setna and Xing Sa, Nicolas Goulay chose to record this at three, instead of using more colours and making another Setna album, because this musical concept might have magnified. But don't let this remark scare you away from a real excellent album that one of the most-striking Zeuhl release from the very early 10's, probably dethroned by the up-coming Cycles 2 release later this year (11). This could've been Setna's second oeuvre, but it ends up being their 1.5 releases, which is still much worth the investigation and investment.

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