Tworząca w stylu zeuhl, francuska grupa Archaïa wydała tylko jeden album inspirowany twórczością Magmy, trzeba jednak przyznać, że daleki od ślepego naśladownictwa. Wszystko jest tu głęboko przesiąknięte oniryczną atmosferą, sprawiającą wrażenie archaicznego obrządku lub rytuału. Na pierwszy plan wysuwa się pulsujący bas, do tego dochodzi rozmyta i ostro brzmiąca gitara, przeszywający syntezator i oczywiście niesamowite wokale – raz jest to dziwny cienki baryton a innym razem nisko brzmiący ponury tenor. Muzyka ta to jedyny w swoim rodzaju rejs, dziwaczny, miejscami złowrogi, mocno przenikający do świadomości.
This eponymous album, recorded without the aid or backing of a record company, was french trio Archaia's sole recorded effort and is a lost psychedelic blast of the most freakish, misshapened sort that is as captivating as it is terrifying.
Formed in 1976 by Magma fanatics Pierrick Le Bras and Michel Munier, the band's goal was to play something approaching that group's music but via a different path: they aimed to use only percussions-no drums-and to make full use of guitar and keyboard. The foundation on most Archaia songs, then, became Munier's throbbing bass oscillations that take on a bit of a sinister weight that melds with Le Bras' guitar and third member Philippe Bersan's keyboards in eerie fashion.
The droning, medieval-like chants that occur throughout the songs could well be an extension toward transcendence, but in this context sound more like underground pagan rituals performed in the woods by mysterious robed individuals. If you were to come across such rituals, your eyes would likely be glued to the scene even if you wanted to run away screaming.
Archaia acts in much the same way, although it is not in any way evil, only darkly unknowable and lurking in the outer reaches of consciousness, in the part of your mind that invents twisted scenarios out of things as simple as sounds.
In its claustrophobic, insular, shadowy way, the album is hauntingly beautiful and totally unlike any other progressive psychedelia created ; in fact, its closest antecedents might be practitioners of ambient music who arose over the two decades subsequent to Archaia's release. The music is certainly atmospheric, nebulous and murky in a very tangible way. It feels heavy even without the aid of drums, and is less driving than it is amorphous and engulfing, absorbing every stray sound that comes near it, like a black hole.
By 1978, Archaia had added drummer Patrick Renard to their touring lineup creating a sound that was more driving-in fact, closer to straight progressive rock-while still remaining enigmatic, and that change is reflected in two of the three bonus tracks included on this spine-tingling Soleil Zeuhl reissue. (Stanton Swihart)
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