Exposé Online banner

Vak — Budo
(Soleil Zeuhl 55, 2018, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2019-05-10

Budo Cover art

With a lean basic instrumental lineup of drums, bass and keys, fronted by female vocals, Budo is Vak’s second full length CD release – the first CD Aedividea from 2015 was actually a compilation of two earlier EPs from 2011 and 2014, and had I known about them back in the day I would have been singing their praises as well, but in fact I just learned about the band with this release. We are definitely folowing the path explored and refined by Magma and its many offshoots, in fact the label Soleil Zeuhl is completely dedicated to unearthing and promoting this kind of music, both new releases by current bands, which is exactly what we have here, as well as finding forgotten (by some) jazz-rock and zeuhl relics from the past that haven’t made their way to reissue. The band features singer Aurélie Saintecroix right up front, her voice an integral part of the band’s sound, mostly wordless. Drummer Vladimir Mejstelman and bassist Joël Crouzet are the keepers of the the growling and incendiary bottom end, the current that drives this music, and their ability to bring things up to a restless boil at will, and take it down to a smooth simmer when needed is the fuel that keeps it all going. Crouzet also plays guitars on the first two tracks as well (there are only three, guest guitarist Hyder Aga plays guitar on the closer, “Au Fond des Creuses”). Alexandre Michaan is the band’s keyboardist, an everpresent guidepost within their sound, mostly in the form of electric piano, supporting all the melodic structures therewithin. At almost 28 minutes, the opening title track is an aggressive and hard driving tour-de-force made even more powerful by the guest saxes (alto and sopranino) of Michaël Havard, presented seamlessly in three long sections, composed by Mejstelman and the band. Second up is “Hquark” in four sections, written by Michaan and the band, for all its 23 minutes it seems to take a slightly different twist compositionally with a more complex and restless experimental approach, and a more prominent role for Saintecroix. The aforementioned closer, by Mejstelman, brings the sound back to the more direct and aggressive approach of the opener, though shifting around a bit more, adding flute from guest player Nora Froger. All said, this is truly a ride through zeuhl heaven. Credit must be given to Michaan and Udi Koomran for for the mixing and mastering that make this complex and dense music sound so good.


Filed under: New releases, 2018 releases

Related artist(s): Vak

More info
http://vak-prog.bandcamp.com/album/budo

Latest news

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

2020-09-05
Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the age of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Dungen - Skit i Alt – Dungen is a four-piece band of guitar, bass and drums together with composer Gustav Ejstes, a keyboard player who also plays flute and guitar. He sings in a nice nasal tenor style much like Porcupine...  (2011) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues