Art Zoyd
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Musique Pour L'Odyssee, 6/10
Generations Sans Futur, 7/10
Symphonie Pour Le Jour Ou Bruleront Les Cites, 7/10
Phase IV, 7/10
Les Espaces Inquietes, 6/10
Le Marriage Du Ciel Ed Te L'Enfer, 6/10
Berlin, 6/10
Nosferatu, 6.5/10
Marathonerre , 6/10
Ubique , 5/10
Metropolis , 7/10 (comp)

(Clicka qua per la versione Italiana)

Formed in France around composer Gerard Hourbette, the Art Zoyd chamber ensemble, which debuted with the single Sangria, adopted an instrumental format that could include oboe, clarinet, tenor sax, soprano sax, trumpet, violin, viola, cello, double bass and percussion.

Symphonie Pour Le Jour Ou Bruleront Les Cites (1976, re-recorded in 1980 - Belle Antique, 2008), containing the pretentious three-movement symphony of the title, was an attempt to transfer the primitivism of Stravinsky. Brigades Speciales (the first movement of the symphony), with Patricia Dallio's keyboards and Jean-Pierre Soarez's trumpet in clear evidence, is the tour de force and the apocalyptic manifesto of the work . Masques and Simulacres are the other two movements. The disc also includes Deux Images de la Cite Imbecile: Les Fourmis and Scenes de Carnaval.

Musique Pour L'Odyssee (Cryonic, 1979 - Belle Antique, 2008) above all betrayed the influences of Magma, but filtered through a more classical sensibility. Pieces like Bruit Silence Bruit Repos still constituted a huge step forward for progressive rock, both for the complexity of the orchestration and for the rhythmic mix. The most prominent members were Gerard Hourbette and Thierry Zaboitzeff.

Art Zoyd then moved towards a lush symphonism with Generations Sans Futur (1980 - Belle Antique, 2008), whose long, austere, expressionist La Ville blends solfège, minimalism and free jazz, among echoes of the "Sacre Du Printemps" and Zappa's fanfares, of Webern's serialism and Schonberg's "Verklarte Nacht", of Nyman's chamber music, of folk dances and Henry Cow's jazz-rock.

The pinnacle of this electro-classical impressionism is in the double Phase IV (1982 - Belle Antique, 2008), where minimal rhythms, violent dissonances and refined orchestration require a more transcendental listening. The most ambitious compositions are Zaboitzeff's Etat D'Urgence (14:38) and Hourbette's La Nuit (13:01).

Their slow, stately chord progressions, their neurotic horn fanfares and their winks at the avant-garde had continued the revolutionary agenda of Canterbury progressive rock.

Starting from Les Espaces Inquietes (1984) their sound moved towards lounge electronics and gothic atmospheres, first visionary in Le Marriage Du Ciel Ed Te L'Enfer >, soundtrack of a ballet, and then religious in Berlin (1987), with a Catholic mass and the Epithalame dance, reaching a technological pinnacle of sorts with Nosferatu b>.

Andre` Mergenthaler, who had played the cello and saxophone, will devote himself to a gothic and medieval variant of symphonic electronics with the austere Musik Fur Einen Engel (Etoile Rouge), composed between 1986 and 1993.

The remaining trio, namely Hourbette, Dallio and Zaboitzeff, released the two volumes of Marathonerre (Atonal) in 1993, part of the soundtrack to a twelve-hour multimedia event.

Haxan (Atonal, 1997) is a film soundtrack.

After a hiatus of four years, Ubique (Inpossible, 2001) announces a new version of Art Zoyd (Gerard Hourbette, Patricia Dallio, Daniel Denis, Mireille Bauer, Emma Stephenson-Poli), one that is orphan of Zaboitzeff and that avails itsel of 13 guitarists, six bassists, six saxophonists, four trumpetists, three trombones, one tuba, etc. The symphonic poem, theoretically inspired by a Philip Dick tale, comprises a continuation of Glissements Progressifs du Plasir (whose first part appeared on Haxan) and Metempsycose. Both mix pompous orchestral passages and a mathematical structure, thereby yielding a hybrid of Franz Zappa without the sense of humour (Activites Prederivees) and Messiaen without the spiritual depth (Compartiment 14/128, Apparitioin De L'Eglise Eternelle, Portuaire, L'Adoration des Mages, Septima du Centaure, La Tentation de Saint-Antoine).

The double CD Metropolis (In-Possible, 2002) includes music for the Fritz Lang film (108 minutes), the ballet music Le Chat de Schroedinger (24 minutes), composed by Patricia Dallio, Gerard Hourbette and Kasper Toeplitz, and the the piece for electronics and chamber ensemble Appars (18 minutes), composed by Kasper Toeplitz.
Metropolis is a suite in 33 movements that leverages Art Zoyd's formidable sense of tragedy. The first movement, a polyrhythmic orgy that mutates into big-band swing, and the third movement, a percussive cacophony scarred by ominous horns, set the pace for the descent into hell, which proceeds via the massive, tragic drones of the fifth movement. The piece is permeated with contrasting feelings of triumph and desolation, as best expressed by the somber fanfare over syncopated patterns of the sixth movement. A slowly morphing chaos of sounds in the 12th movement evokes a sense of death and darkness, which, after briefly toying with life in the fractured jazz piano motif of the 15th movement, returns powerfully to crown the emotional zenith of the suite with the eerie choir of the dead of the 17th movement (La Mort), the dance of the machines drenched in symphonic overtones of the 19th movement and the tribal "triumph of death" of the 22nd movement. The 23rd movement opens with an impressionistic rendition of a starry night. A distant drone approaches and slowly mutates into a mournful horn fanfare over a percussive bacchanal. The 31st movement soars with a frantic, devilish batucada (Maria) an idea that repeats itself till the end. Despite the cinematic constraints, the suite overflows with terrible, visceral emotions. Its only drawback is that it does not present a cohesive, focused vision of those emotions.
Which is precisely what Le Chat de Schroedinger tries to achieve. Percussions are even more relevant here: most of the action is in the rhythms and in the timbres. Melody is virtually inexistent. A notable exception occurs five minutes into the piece, when the quantum chaos of the beginning dissipates and the keyboards intone an hymn-like melody worthy of medieval liturgy.

In december 2004, Art Zoyd performed "Armageddon", "operette pour robots, musiciens et video".

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