Arachnoïd — Arachnoïd
(Musea FGBG 4126.AR, 1978/1996, CD)
by Mike McLatchey, 2017-02-16:
In 1979, progressive rock was all but dead in many countries, whether the support had gone or the big bands had become subsumed by arena rock. But there was really a lot going on in France in the late 70s and early 80s, where artists effortlessly switched away from the major labels to a wide variety of independent and private releases. There was a certain subsection of these bands working from the mid-70s period King Crimson model with perhaps a dash of Mahavishnu Orchestra, mostly focused on the way the guitar was being played with a concentration on dissonant and modal scales rather than the major / minor / romantic / symphonic style that would make a huge comeback in the country by the time the 90s rolled around. Arachnoïd was based around a lot of these guitar patterns and it gave them a much darker and edgier sound. Backed up by spitfire drumming, the weird string synth sounds (usually Crumar or if lucky an ARP Solina) that showed up on a lot of releases from the era, as well as some of the cheaper monophonic synths of the day (oh and some mellotron too), Arachnoïd managed to create a classic debut that far surpassed its limitations. Also, like a lot of bands in the late 70s, Ange was a dominant influence particularly on the vocals, and here they are delivered with great intensity and passion and like Ange occasionally did, some spoken words and embellishments as well. Like all the good progressives, Arachnoïd created a balance of dynamics where they could bring the sound down to a quiet and build it up to a rage and then change key or tempo on a dime. What was really amazing is that with such a lo-fi, often tinny sounding production, they could often make you forget about it just by the sheer breadth and complexity of their compositions. I remember this one hitting me after several listens with force one night and it has remained a favorite ever since.
by Peter Thelen, 1996-08-01:From the annals of French obscurity, Arachnoïd was a six-piece that recorded only this one album in the late 70s, and then disbanded a few months after its release. Using guitars, bass, drums, acoustic and electric pianos, Farfisa organ, Mellotron, synthesizers, and a dedicated lead vocalist — with most players doubling on vocals, as well as guest saxes and flute — their music was a somewhat dark and mysterious instrumentally oriented progressive rock, with a variety of not-so-obvious influences, most of which are well absorbed. Their compositions and overall style were very original, perhaps a slight nod to King Crimson in some of the instrumental sections, and Genesis in others, but overall their sound is at least as unique as most of the better French symphonic bands of the same period not operating in the shadow of Ange — namely Shylock and Pulsar. One might hear conceptual similarities with the band Halloween, who of course didn't arrive on the scene for another seven years, but are probably far better known among prog fans. This is a very welcome reissue, and one this writer has been patiently waiting for since Musea teased us with a vinyl reissue in the late 80s. For the CD reissue, four bonus tracks have been added, including three live tunes recorded at least a year before the album, and while the sound quality on these tends to be a bit shabby, they give a good insight to the nature of the band in a live setting. Add this to your list of things to get.
Related artist(s): Arachnoïd
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more
Various Artists - Higher and Higher: A Tribute to the Moody Blues – Given their influence on the genre, the Moody Blues are a great subject for progressive bands to cover and I’m surprised something like this hasn’t already been tried. But leave it to... (2007) » Read more