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

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more

2020-01-10
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Djam Karet - Collaborator – Finally, the wait is over. Three years after the awe-inspiring double release of Burning the Hard City and Suspension & Displacement, America's premier progressive ensemble have returned, but...  (1994) » Read more

Barbez - Insignificance – I don’t know if it’s a trend or not, but I’m all for it. Barbez is an American independent band taking its inspiration from traditional music all around the world (special focus on Russia and...  (2006) » Read more

Iona - Journey into the Morn – Released quietly at the end of last year, this seems to be the album that will earn Iona the recognition and following they have long deserved. This is clearly their strongest effort yet, touching all...  (1996) » Read more

Guru Guru - Live – Guru Guru was one of the pioneering German psych rock groups, but by 1977 they had mellowed out with age leaving behind the Neumeier / Trepte / Genrich line up that procured classics such as Kan Guru...  (1996) » Read more

Remotion - Between Fiction and Reality – Remotion is musician Richard Stuij assisted by engineer Arjan Steenbergen. Like contemporary Ron Boots, Stuij is profoundly influenced by Berlin school electronic music in addition to the more...  (2001) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues