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Art Zoyd - Häxan CD (album) cover

HÄXAN

Art Zoyd

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

4.42 | 81 ratings

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LearsFool
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Of all the albums by actual RIO alumni, this might be not just one of the best, but the very best. Called upon by the arts council of Copenhagen to provide a new soundtrack to the crazed, silent era Danish art house classic "Haxan: Witchcraft Through The Ages", Northern France's greatest band, Art Zoyd, pulled out all the stops, and topped all their previous records, already an excellent discography. Now, you see, the original orchestral score used at the film's premiere, one loved by director Christensen, was never recorded. It was all preexisting pieces put together in an apparently smashing way, but no one bothered to remember which pieces they were. Over the years, various other soundtracks were used, and so, named arts capital of Europe 1996, Copenhagen decided to go for a whole new one only tangentially connected to orchestral music. And did they ever pick a spectacular band to pull it off. Zoyd's dour, strange, varied, and often drum driven style is perfect for the film, and Zoyd pulled it off. The meat of the OST is Hourbette's "Glissements Progressifs du Plaisir", a half hour long stream of interconnected themes, and it stands as the best track. Odd, chilling voices and erratic trumpets sound. Strange electronics make themselves known. And Denis and Hourbette's percussion on most of this? It's beyond perfect, and certainly required a massive amount of skill and stamina to pull off. This is some of the best percussion work ever. Zaboitzeff wrote the remaining pieces, themselves transcendent. "Nuits" shows off a number of styles and directions for the band, and the series of three title tracks are a phenomenal group of bleak sounds. By "Marche", we have a grim march perfect for end credits. The band did the whole of playing and vocalising on this record excellently, especially, again, the percussion. This works excellently on its own, but also is a phenomenal soundtrack, fitting the film wonderfully. This is Zoyd, RIO, chamber prog, and avant prog all at some of their very best. Anyone with any inkling of trying out avant prog, and maybe even drum fanatics also, should listen to this masterpiece. Every listen is mindblowing.
LearsFool | 5/5 |

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