Corima is a Zeuhl quintet from California that released their first album in 2007, followed by the acclaimed Quetzalcoatl, in 2012, and now 天照 (Amaterasu), which came out on November second, 2016. It features two compositions spanning fifty minutes and split into nine tracks. It was released on the label Soleil Zeuhl and is also available to buy on bandcamp.
I never was attracted to Zeuhl, at first. I tried to get into the progenitors of the genre, French band Magma, but was very underwhelmed and disappointed overall. However, as fellow writer Ignacio put it, it would be like listening to Black Sabbath to get into metal. The contemporary scene has evolved a long way from its garden of Eden. Corima are more influenced by the Japanese wing of Zeuhl than the French one, making it more energetic, demented, schizophrenic, and just thrashing you in its incomprehensible maw. Yes, that’s the one that I like.
天照 is split into two songs. First, ‘月読’ (Tsukoyomi), represents the Moon God in Japanese mythology. I believe there’s a slight typo on bandcamp, as it’s written ‘Tsukotomi’, but that word doesn’t lead to any convincing search result. The song is spread in three movements, adding up to almost twenty minutes in total. The second one is eponymous to the album title, and represents the Sun Goddess. This one consists of six parts, and makes up the bulk of the album, at twenty-nine minutes long. The former is an instrumental meltdown with its fast-paced odd-time signatures (and frequent rhythmic modulations), key changes, and intricate melodic and harmonic framework, and the latter adds an extra layer by including more vocals from violinist Andrea Calderón, keyboard player Paco Casanova, and guitarist and saxophonist Patrick Shiroishi.
Since no lyrics are available on line (and my physical copies are in the mailing æther), it’s hard for me to write on them at length. However, based on the more easily-discernible vocals on Quetzalcoatl, I would bet that they are in Kobaïan, a constructed language by Magma’s drummer, heavily influenced by German and French languages. However, there’s also a chance that the lyrics are, in fact, in Japanese. I’ll write a small update here once I receive the physical package, assuming that it contains the lyrics.
So, what should you expect, diving into 天照? Let’s have a look at the instruments on display: violins, keyboards, organ, saxophone, guitar, glockenspiel, bass, drums, and vocals. That’s quite a lot, but there can only be five or six of them at once, since the team consists of five persons. What’s interesting is that the violin and the saxophone are almost always present, and compliment each other wonderfully well. For an example of that, listen to ‘Amaterasu V’, where Andrea’s voice and violin, and Patrick’s saxophone interact to produce a truly outstanding motif, and serve as the leading role of the track.
In conclusion, Corima‘s third full-length, 天照, delivers an untamed flow of energetic, Japanese-influenced Zeuhl. The album is enjoyable to the core and will please anyone seeking a new musical challenge. Personally, I’m overjoyed to have stumbled upon it and to finally be able to make a connection with the promising world of Zeuhl music. I would recommend 天照 to any progressive music lover.
月読 – 19:48
1. 月読 I – 6:45
2. 月読 II – 10:36
3. 月読 III – 2:32
天照 – 29:01
4. 天照 I – 3:46
5. 天照 II – 3:31
6. 天照 III – 4:54
7. 天照 IV – 2:35
8. 天照 V – 6:13
9. 天照 VI – 8:03
Total running time: 48:49
Filetype listened to: MP3
Bitrate: 128 kbit/s CBR
Sampling frequency: 44,100 Hz, combined stereo