The good news: Wapassou’s legendary self-titled debut is finally given its much-deserved reissue. Renowned for their experimental attitude, these Frenchmen were pivotal in the continental European prog-rock scene. When you hear this, it’s easy to understand why. The raging organs and guitar solos are practically a visual trip. The bad news: there’s only 500 copies of this beauty to go around!
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- Wapassou by Wapassou
7/10 Robin Staff review, 17 November 2015
Originally released back in the pre-me year of 1972, art-rockers Wapassou were taking up a space in the avant-pop world (which may be an invention of my own mind) where song structure accidentally gave way to mumbling improv, and vice versa. Their self-titled record is as stately as it is homebrewed, with sketches for violin and piano often sounding like they’ve been recorded in someone’s living room before expanding into ominous, less cosy tangents. This is one for Velvet Underground fans as well as people who can imagine a beatless version of Broadcast or a more classically inclined Spires That In The Sunset Rise -- it also might appeal to fans of A Silver Mt Zion, finding the same melodies as that band but under a far chiller, less climactic guise. To cut it all short: do you like experimental music? I feel you might like this.
Wapassou meandered, but incidentally, no one meandered like they did -- they could curl their way around a combinative jam of classical arrangements and choral vocals, before suddenly reverting to a proper song in the same breath. Nothing feels contradictory about this record -- each weird choice just feels like one elongated fuck you to narrative composition: occasionally a song can slither along on the back on a couple of simple melodies, like “Chatiment”, which whines with strings while tracking a couple of other instrumental pathways, eventually giving way to the early psychedelic drone-gone-free jazz of “Trip”. Gotta do it. Gotta do all the things.
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