Exposé Online banner

Wapassou — Messe en Ré Mineur
(Musea FGBG 4111.AR, 1976/1994, CD)

by Peter Thelen, 1994-10-01:

Messe en Ré Mineur Cover art

Wapassou was a unique classically influenced French band that existed from around 1971 through the mid-80s (their last release was in 1986). These three — their second, third and fourth albums respectively — represent what is generally accepted as the band's finest material. Their sound could be described as a gentle and perhaps understated symphonic rock, rich with color and cultural influences, elaborate and animated. The lineup consisted of Freddy Brua (bandleader and keyboards), Karin Nickerl (guitars), and Jacques Lichti (violin), plus guests on vocals. Fernand and Gisele Landmann (lights and sound, respectively) were also considered part of the lineup. No drums, no bass. This gave the band its unique character, which could in some terms be likened to Art Zoyd, but with a brighter and more colorful outlook, less angular and more flowing. Messe en Ré Mineur (Mass in D minor) is the most highly regarded of the three, containing one long forty-minute piece (for those who owned the LP version, the two sides have been properly joined) winding through many different themes and melodic developments, with ethereal vocals by Eurydice (no lyrics). It is at once delicate and stunning, a masterpiece of shimmering beauty.

With Salammbô, named for the heroine in the Flaubert novel, Wapassou move boldly forward based on the timeless theme of the stupidity of war. This one features an opening narration, galloping horses, some lyrics (in French) and vocals by Monique Fizelson. Musically, it's a step in a more assertive, less ethereal direction, and again consists essentially of one long suite in two parts, this time split at the sides (there was no fade-out / fade-in on the original LP ).

Ludwig, as might be expected, is the more overtly classically influenced of the three, and uses synthesizers to a greater degree than the previous two, as well as plenty of organs and keyboard bass, and vocals by Véronique Nickerl. Mostly consisting of one long piece "Un Roi pour Eternité" (now fused into one continuous 34 minute track), it also features a short cover of Wagner's "Lac de Starnberg," a shorter track, "L'Adieu du Roi," which features Marc Dolisi guesting on ARP synthesizer, and for good measure Musea has even included a bonus track, the six-minute "Hymne au Nouveau Romanticisme." Three great discs, all highly recommended, although folks addicted to the steady beat of rock drums might be advised to proceed with caution.


by Henry Schneider, 2016-04-04:

Originally recorded in July 1976 Messe en ré mineur is one of the best psychedelic / progressive releases of all time. This unsurpassed musical tour de force consists of one long song that constantly shifts and changes throughout its 40 minute life span. The music harkens back to the even more ancient music’s of Pink Floyd’s "Interstellar Overdrive" and Tangerine Dream’s cosmic freak-out "Ultima Thule." The interplay of Freddy Brua’s keyboards, Karin Nickerl’s guitar, Jacques Lichti’s violin, and Eurydice’s wordless chanting is exciting and innovative even by today’s standards. This reissue is a must for the adventurous music collector and listener alike. Musea faithfully reproduced the original album art on both the booklet and CD. Unfortunately, if you can’t read French you will be at a total loss regarding the liner notes and band history.


Filed under: Reissues , 1994 releases, 1976 releases

Related artist(s): Wapassou

More info

Latest news

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

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Last Turion - Circle Logic – There's mediocre neo-prog, and then there's albums like this, which almost make me want to cry. As usual, influences are acquired, but not absorbed, from Marillion, IQ, and post-Gabriel Genesis. The...  (1994) » Read more

Tod Dockstader / David Lee Myers - Bijou – Tod Dockstader is one of the grand old men of electro-acoustic music, and on Bijou he is teamed with David Lee Myers, who performs on “feedback machines.” From the cover to the booklet to...  (2006) » Read more

Fromage - Ondine – Cheese jokes aside, this band was active throughout the eighties, and released two regular albums. Their approach was symphonic, featuring guitar, bass, keys, drums and flute, and female vocals, and...  (1996) » Read more

Anthony Phillips - Private Parts and Pieces I & II – Released in 1978 and 1980 respectively (though recorded earlier), when acoustic music was anything but in vogue, the first two Private Parts & Pieces collections set the tone for much of...  (1997) » Read more

Philharmonie - Le Dernier Mot - The Last Word – Philharmonie has been around since the late 80s, this being the band’s fifth and sadly, final album. The booklet notes make no bones about it – this is the end; a conscious decision by the...  (2000) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues