2003 release featuring 13 tracks with appearances from Ryuichi Sakamoto, Laurie Anderson, Melanie Gabriel (daughter of Peter), Jane Birkin, Lisa Germano, & Sarah Jane Morris. Here is the roadmap to a floral and completely sensual landscape. Music that envelopes you like a fragrance and takes you to someplace more infinite and expansive. Beautiful…haunting…the vocals are like velvet and hard to resist. Enjoy.
A smorgasbord album, the cast list includes Bjork, Siouxsie Sioux, Brendan Perry, and long-term sidekick Barbera Googan. As expected, the mood is cold, often somber in tone. Only on "The Long Voyage," a springy ditty fronted by Suzanne Vega and John Cale, does the album ascend from the depths. Some of the gloom works, like in "Havet Stomar," a brilliant slow burner with B.J. Cole's pedal steel guitar and ECM artist Lene Willemark's chilling howls. "Annukka Suaren Neito" presents what must be the closest to an Eskimo rap you can get. Mark Isham provides freestyle trumpet that almost sounds like seagulls swooping the skies. The Jane Siberry-fronted "She Is Like the Swallow" is a beauty, as soft as it is light. Hector Zazou's electronics are in fine check too. The canvas expands to new textures, such as metallic percussion in "Adventures in the Scandinavian Skin Trade".
Here's the idea, Hector said. He had the Disco Inferno CD in his hand, the one we had all danced to at New Year's Eve, reliving the 70's. ''With percussion, oud and bouzouki we'll play disco as if it were world music''. So we went down to the studio and arranged I Feel Love by Donna Summer, just like that, as if we had never listened to anything else. This was Hector's genius, his method, his study of sound, which began with some small detail, from the rustle of a leaf, from a drum tapped on its edge instead of the skin. Then he left us alone to finish the project. And dance to disco.
Like drum 'n' bass, ambient is a genre which relies on making a little go a very long way; the resultant glut of weedy minimalist pastiches barely bears a cursory listen for the most part, but this collaboration between Harold Budd and Hector Zazou demonstrates better than any recent offering how the spaces between the sounds can be made pregnant with possibility. On "Pandas in Tandem", the ghost of Erik Satie treads lightly over a shuffle breakbeat; the result is fragile and crystalline, as tentatively pristine as snowflakes. Elsewhere, heavy rhythmic breathing carries "Around the Corner from Everywhere"; slivers of what sounds like hammered dulcimer undulate through "Johnny Cake", and clarinets collude conspiratorially on "As Fast as I Could Look Away She was Still There".
There's an old saying that one is only as good as the people with whom one collaborates. Judging by the list of musical contributors to Hector Zazou's Sahara Blue, Zazou is quite good indeed. Among many others, those adding their own touch to Zazou's album include Bill Laswell, Dead Can Dance, John Cale, David Sylvian, Ryuichi Sakamoto, and Tim Simenon. Zazou devised the album as a mix of musical styles set to lyrics/vocals taken from the pen of Arthur Rimbaud. While it might appear like a pretentious undertaking on paper, the album is a cohesive slice of eclectic music-making. Jazzy spoken word songs such as "Ophelie" intermingle with throbbing dance-oriented numbers like "I'll Strangle You" and quiet, peaceful piano-based meditations such as "Harar et les Gallas." Dead Can Dance duo Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard work their particular magic on "Youth," exchanging vocals, and on "Black Stream," where Perry's dark, somber synth weeps around Gerrard's stunning vocals and yang chin. Zazou himself mostly stays in the background, providing production and electronic sounds, allowing the players to showcase their abilities.
Iconoclastic Belgian composer Hector Zazou is renowned for his collaboration with an eclectic variety of artists. And each and every one of his albums is a sort of voyage and adventure. On L’absence, his latest offering to date, Zazou set himself an existentialist challenge, trying to record an album where he was "there without being there." "I wanted to make an album that was smooth and enjoyable to listen to, something you could put on as background accompaniment while eating a meal." Bon appétit!
Hector Zazou invites four outstanding instrumentalists from India and Uzbekistan to step into a virtual hall of mirrors, in which sound is reflected from one note to another: an aural equivalent of a famous scene in Orson Welles' The Lady From Shanghai.
Twenty-five years after laying the foundations for Afro-electronic fusion (with Congolese singer Bony Bikaye on the “Noir & Blanc” LP), and after many other groundbreaking albums, the ever-innovative Hector Zazou offers a fresh take on classical Asian music, in which the musicians' inspired performances are enhanced by his subtle reprocessing of the original sonic elements (no supplementary electronic sounds having been used)…
With Lights in the Dark, Hector Zazou set out to create accessible versions of the ominous, sacred music of Ireland. Utilizing a talented cast of vocalists, Breda Mayock, Katie McMahon, and Lasairfhiona Ni Chonaola, Zazou keeps the music relatively quiet. Shimmering bells, plaintive flutes, and Mark Isham's mournful trumpet serve mostly as background noises to the passionate, female vocals. There are moments of great power, such as "Song of the Passion" and "In the Name of the Father May We Gain Victory," and other songs where there's just a few too many hallelujahs for most modern listeners. The title of the album is telling.
Freezone 1: The Phenomenology Of Ambient (1994). The debut in the Freezone series looks at the world of mostly beatless ambient, courtesy of tracks by Porcupine Tree, Pete Namlook's Air, David Byrne, Deep Space Network, Moby, Deep Forest, Young American Primitive and Terre Thaemlitz…