Igor Wakhevitch – Donc… (6-CD Box)

Super-scarce box set released by Fractal Records (France) in 1998.

“The music of French composer Igor Wakhevitch is as difficult to summarize as any modern classical or avant-garde performer you care to name. He never stayed put in one particular idiom or another for long, exhibiting as much affinity for psychedelic rock as he did for opera, modern dance, and minimalist synthesizer pieces. Given his apprenticeship under Terry Riley, and having studied with Olivier Messiaen and Pierre Schaeffer, Wakhevitch’s eclectic mix of styles and timbres isn’t surprising. What is surprising is that his work remained obscure for so long. Donc… is a box set containing all six studio albums he made during the 1970s, omitting only his music for Salvador Dali’s 1974 opera, Etre Dieu. His music certainly wasn’t “accessible” in popular music terms, but should be immediately striking for people interested in avant-garde composition and various strains of experimental rock and electronic music. Wakhevitch’s first two albums were Logos from 1970 and Docteur Faust, released the following year. Both are strange brews of massed choral clamor, beaming analog synthesizer tampering, and some heavily psychedelic production. The former album sticks closer to a classical blueprint, using timpanis, strings, and female sopranos as raw materials with which Wakhevitch orchestrates what sounds like the end of the world. In fact, his production work is quite advanced for the era, but is also at least as dated. Docteur Faust features more of a rock feel (doubtlessly influenced by Wakhevitch’s love of Soft Machine), but otherwise is similar to the previous album in terms of its bizarre synthesis of psychedelia and modern classical music. Hathor (1973) replaced most of the symphonic bombast for a teaming of radically mutated synthesizer programming and ominous spoken word declarations. Here, industrial atmospheres and doom-filled electronic textures lend Wakhevitch’s minimalist etudes a nightmarish quality that must have been his own personal soundtrack for tripping. The overall effect is stunning, even as Wakhevitch’s near total lack of subtlety will be too much for many listeners. Contrast this with 1975’s Les Fous d’Or, which seems a much more ambient work, similar to concurrent efforts by Tangerine Dream and Wakhevitch’s former teacher, Riley. Rather than scare his audience to death, Wakhevitch opts for calmer electronic soundscapes, interspersed with often nonsensical improvised vocal outbursts. Released in 1977, Nagual takes the textures of Les Fous d’Or but distorts and elongates them in a manner typical for someone enamored of hallucinogenic drugs. However, in the middle of the record, Wakhevitch changes modes into a relatively restrained piano and keyboard-based programmatic piece, with titles referencing both Peter and the Wolf and Cinderella. His final album, Let’s Start from 1979, features both his most refined synthesizer work and strange use of the human voice. The lengthy title piece ends with a group of reverberated voices stating “Let’s start” over and over, eventually morphing into a larger group chanting “Let’s get high” and then back to “I say let’s start.” It’s not exactly the most profound sentiment ever expressed by a composer, but along with the rest of Wakhevitch’s work, it’s far from the least interesting.” – Dominique Leone (AllMusic.com)

Igor Wakhevitch
Fractal Records, 1998
MegaUpload DL Link

01. Ergon
02. Mineral – Vegetal – Animal
03. Homo Sapiens
04. Initiation (1Ere Partie)
05. Initiation (2Ere Partie)
06. Delirium
07. Danse Sacrale
08. Point Omega (Mort Ou Resurrection)

Docteur Faust
01. Aimantation
02. Materia Prima
03. Eau Ardente
04. Tenebres (Walpurgis)
05. Matines
06. Licornes
07. Sang Pourpre

01. Hymne A Sathanael (Aimantation Des Forces)
02. Grand Sabbat Luciferien (Regime Des Arches)
03. Rituel De Guerre Des Esprits De La Terre
04. Cris Pour Les Sabbats Infernaux Et Invocation Des Daimons
05. Office De La Levee Du Corps (De Profundis)
06. Amenthi (Attente De La Seconde Mort)
07. Aurore

Les Fous d’Or
01. Cornerstone – Twilight And Call Of The Ascending Spirit
02. Arrival Of The Magic Doll
03. Rites Of The Doll
04. LES Fous D’or – Henry The Fool Of The Doll
05. Eve Speaks
06. Ritual Of The Master Of The Doll

01. Nagual (Les Ailes De La Perception)
02. In The Nagual’s Time (Flash I)
03. Spenta Aramati (Ritual Of The Zelator)
04. Hunahpuguch
05. Beginning of Peter’s Journey
06. Sets (Transition)
07. The Smile Of Wolf On The Bench (For Jorma)
08. Never Poem For The Other
09. In The Nagual’s Time (Flash II)
10. Stop The World (Ritual Of Si-Wang-Mou)
11. Cinderalla
12. Chirakan-Ixmucane

Let’s Start
01. Let’s Start
02. Taddy’s Fruit Garden
03. Eriador
04. Monks In The Snow
05. Taddy’s Dream: Ramallah’s Road


  1. Holly

    Well, hey now – that’s an especially ‘scummy’ post right there!
    Thank you for sharing.

    • |

      The scum’s on you, Holly!

      Wait…that doesn’t sound right…

  2. |

    This *is* an extra-ordinary set of recordings, Evan!
    Thanks a lot.

    Greetings from decaying Paris ;-)

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