Sunday, May 17, 2009

Shub Niggurath - Introduction

Its been a while... Just back from the post office to receive copies of one of the most interesting and emotional projects I have had the chance to take part in -The restoration and re issue of Shub Niggurath's debut release. Shub Nigguarth was a french group active in the early 80's till the 90's (no doubt the worst time to play anything even remotely relating to Progressive music).Their album Les Mort Vont Vite captured and fascinated me for years This album has gathered much praise and rightfully considered a classic by critics and fans of the "outer zone" of the progressive music scene.
As the name
Shub Niggurath taken from H.P. Lovecraft's mythology suggests their sound evokes foreboding and sinister atmosphere. So aptly put by Wayside Music "music that reaches to the inner core of the evil void." heh heh Combining complex compositions intricate arrangements and passionate playing.the result is a fine balance of dark sometimes suffocating violent brutal massive passages with beautiful chilling melodies The line up consisted of drums, keyboards(mostly organ harmonium and piano), eerie classical inspired female vocals, and the 3 elements that made them sound so unique : Trombone the special ingredient that at times could add a lyrical voice to the melodies and on other parts sound abrasive dissonant and powerful. Add to that maybe the most brutal sounding distorted bass ever recorded ,and the burning,scorching unique sounding guitar tones produced by master of sonority and timbre Frank Fromy.
Fromy left sometime after this album due to musical differences and went on to record his only solo album the haunting eerie
Quatre Axes Mutants .The group went on to record several other albums none even came close
Years later I discovered that the line up that recorded the classic
Les Mort Vont Vite had previously also recorded a cassette only release simply named Shub Niggurath After some serious searching I did find this tape (courtesy of my Friend Leor Hardy) and realized this album had all those special ingredients that made Les Mort Vont Vite such a great album a bit less polished a tad more brutal and raw. For my own pleasure I transferred the tape and mastered it (some tonal balancing some cleaning up and voila !). Through the following years I tried to raise some int rest with some of the labels that I knew sent them a few copies and tried to find why this gem never got a proper re issue and the end conclusion was put well by Brandon Wu who wrote a nice review in Ground & Sky on this after I have sent him a copy :"And so the two towering achievements by an unforgettable band are inextricably linked; it's just too bad that one of them is almost impossible to find. My guess is that it must be the mental-health lobby that's been keeping this amazing, demented album out of print." Ah well...
Then last year Les Mort Vont Vite was re-printed and this lit the spark again and this time I guess I was more determined ....
What more natural was to Ask Zeuhl specialist Alain Lebon head of Soleil Zeuhl a french label that focuses on releasing archive releases of this type of music. if there was one person that might know I thought it had to be Alain .But to my sup rise he was not aware of this album but once he heard it he was determined to put it out and give it the proper well cared release it so deserves.Finding the members of the group did need some investigations but finally Alain was able to trace Frank Fromy and Jean Luc Herve and to their delight and surprise tell them this work has not been forgotten (Fromy told us he has not listened to this piece of music for over then 25 years yet he remembered every note every nuance and small detail).
Later when work started on the restoration and mastering of this album I had the chance to get to know Fromy and find out that besides being a unique and gifted guitarist and musician he turned his passion for sound design and experimenting, and started his own company
FWF Systèmes that designs and builds specialist microphones for a variety of applications such as musical instrument amplifications and other unique applications (such as micing up the noisy cockpit of race cars on the famous Grand Prix) working with many known internationally famed musicians and big clients like Euro Disney InaGrm etc. Its worth to mention Fromy's only musical project in the new melenium called 000 - Crypto Sensus an album featuring his blistering guitar work with electronic artist Vincent Sicot-Vantalon and superb drumming by former Shub member Edward Perraud resulting with a massive overwhelming thunderous sound.

There are plans for a further future release of some archive material by Shub Niggurath and Fromy's previous band - hey maybe even a re issue of his only solo album Quatre Axes Mutants... But the best news is that Frank has plans to go back to being musically active and form a new group.
Here are a few samples from the album

Barback 1
Yog Sothoth

In Memoriam

Barback 2

Many thanks to Alain
Lebon ,Eric Lumbleau,Leor Hardy,Phil Kime