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**300 copies** Assault and Mirage is an entirely instru(mental) and excellent Zoviet France recording from their year of glory in obscurity and a decent place for beginners who are unfamiliar with this collection of oddballs. It kicks off with 'Seige' -a tune which will remind you of that bit in the film "Close Encounters" where multitudes of far east people chant the famous five alien notes - only here it's done through what sounds like three foot wide pipes played by the God Zeus, with unearthly rumbles and strange indecipherable radio transmissions in the background.
'Frost Smoke' continues in the same vein, only this time it's much more doom laden and drone-like , similar to the sound you'd expect to hear during the aftermath of the first day on the Somme - where smoke and the smell of cordite circle fly ridden bodies in no-mans land. The addition of sombre peeling bells do nothing to lighten the atmosphere whatsoever, leaving you imagining you're hearing the death throes of humanity amongst a sea of carnage.
'Mosland' is just like being thrust down the time tunnel of Tom Baker's Dr Who TV intro with odd echoing scraping noises banging from ear to ear as you bash your face off the walls.
'Shimmer and Shiel' utilises huge delay with reverse tracking as whining winds whip and lash around your ears leaving you wondering what the hell the original sources are. The more 'Assault and Mirage' progresses the more you think you're listening to an alternative soundtrack to 'Eraserhead'.
'Mana' continues this form with a spine tinglingly slowed down struck metal bell with floating strummed strings of some sort or other. 'Tocasenh' is similar to the previous track only this time played forward and at the correct speed, where you can hear each chime and blowy horn in much more focus. The oriental strings of 'Beat Up Cut Branches' make a marked departure from what has gone before. Layers of discordant reverbed metallic percussion are laid down on top of twanged instruments creating a more classic Zoviet France sound that will fully materialise in 1990's masterpiece 'Just an Illusion'.
'Scree Shift' has that 'squeezing everything through in reverse' thing going on, where again it's like being stuck in a worm-hole in Andromeda as you spin around being unable to make head nor tail of anything. 'Assault and Mirage' is a kaleidoscopic nightmare and is the second of four super full length albums they will release in '87.
'Fountains Fell' parades hammered metallic sheets of metal and chopped up girders which are softened through studio tweakery so much that it almost sounds fluffy in nature . It's so laden with echo and reverb that you'll want to spit your teeth out. There's even a bit of good old fashioned flanger in there which keeps me more than happy.
'Siege Retreat' finishes where we began with a sharp outro involving the opening horns but played with the 'tone' volume at 100.