Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Weidorje is a juggernaut of a band, driven along by Bernard Paganotti's aggressive fuzz bass-playing but possessing a collective spirit that is clear from listening to their music. They were an offshot group of the infamous Magma, a band that to be honest isn't really my taste, judging from the few things that I've heard. But I sure dig this record a lot.

This is a powerful sounding group. The personnel is: Bernard Paganotti (bass and vocals), Patrick Gauthier (keyboards), Michel Ettori (guitar), Kirt Rust (drums), Alain Guillard (saxophone), Yvon Guillard (trumpet and vocals), and Jean-Philippe Goude (keyboards). Compositions are by Paganotti, Gauthier, Goude, and Ettori and the interesting thing is that, in keeping with what I said about the "collective spirit" here, there is a real similarity in the writing...these guys were smart composers and clearly all knew how to write for this group. If I didn't know otherwise, I might have guessed that the tunes were all written by one member, or a combination of all the members together.

"Elohims Voyage" begins omniously, dark and sinister in tone, with a simple opening theme that is eventually augmented by wordless vocals. The tune builds and re-builds over the course of its 16 minutes, developing into a heavy groove generated by the rhythm section, with the brass, keyboards, and guitar helping to launch the attack. The initial theme is expanded and new ideas develop in reaction to it. "Vilna" involves a similar exploration of themes, a deconstruction and reconstruction that is exciting to listen to. All while Paganotti and Rust are hammering away underneath. The beginning of "Booldemug" is exciting, with its happy keyboard intro that leads into another killer bassline from Paganotti and then more swirling melodies from the horns. This is the most upbeat tune on the album, and it's a brilliant closer.

The CD on Musea adds two live bonus tracks which give a sense of how strong this group was in concert: "Rondeau" and "Kolinda." The latter track brings up another interesting point I have always wondered about with this record. Paganotti delivers a magnificent bass solo, but there are parts of it that almost sound verbatim like bits of Chris Squire's solo on the live version of "Ritual" from the Yes album Yesshows. Even the bass sound is almost identical. Is it possible that Paganotti was a Squire fan? We may never know.

I've been the proud owner of this CD for many years now, and it's a recording that I come back to over and over again and it never disappoints. Though it was the only release from this band, according to the liner notes there are appearances by the group here and there on some of the members' solo releases. I'll have to start digging for some of those.

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