Exposé Online banner

Arachnoïd — Arachnoïd
(Musea FGBG 4126.AR, 1978/1996, CD)

by Mike McLatchey, 2017-02-16:

Arachnoïd Cover art

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 flutetheir 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 Angenamely 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.

Filed under: Reissues , Issue 10 , 1996 releases, 1978 releases

Related artist(s): Arachnoïd

More info

Latest news

2019-06-05
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

2019-04-24
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

2019-04-10
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

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Richard Barbieri - Stranger Inside – Richard Barbieri’s second solo album is an altogether different beast than 2006’s insightful textural melee Things Buried. Again pairing with veteran band mate from Japan (the band) Steve...  (2009) » Read more

Jon Hassell & Bluescreen - Dressing for Pleasure – At least ten years before music journalists coined the term "world music," Jon Hassell was developing his fourth world music concepts. Most prog fans are familiar with Jon Hassell from his...  (1994) » Read more

Klaus Schulze - Revisited Records Reissues, Part 1 – Revisited Records continues its reissue of the Klaus Schulze back catalog with another 12 CDs. I haven’t quite figured out their rationale, but they are releasing 12 a year covering the...  (2008) » Read more

Atman Featuring Anna Nacher - Tradition – No newcomers to Exposé, this exotic Polish ensemble check in with another release. Atman’s sound is tough to pigeonhole, their forte being a bent for creating ambient drones and spacey...  (2001) » Read more

Keller & Schönwälder - The Reason Why... Part Two – I already thought that The Reason Why from Keller & Schönwälder’s 3-CD box set was excellent. But then I kept reading reviews of people who had attended the show, claiming that, as...  (2001) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues