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Art Zoyd - Le Champ Des Larmes CD (album) cover


Art Zoyd



3.05 | 26 ratings

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Man With Hat
3 stars Music for nightmares.

Generally, I don't find music that is typically described as "dark", "frightening", etc to be particularly unnerving. For example, Univers Zero Heresie...sure its nothing even close to cheery, but it doesn't make me feel uneasy. It doesn't have that tension and suspense to really transmit fear across the airwaves. I can say the same thing about Shub Niggurath's Les Morts Von Vite, or any of the usual answers to the question "What is the darkest/scariest/uneasy/etc music you know?". I can't explain why really, that's just how it is. However, finally, after years of trying, I have found music that can get a knot of unease in my stomach. Which makes Le Champ Des Larmes all the better.

First off, it must be said. This isn't rock in any sense. This is modern electronic avant-garde music. All sorts of electronic buzzes, beeps, and drones saturate this disc. Even the percussion doesn't sound completely acoustic (although it may have been run through pedals and devices augmenting the sound). I suppose you could always question the rock credentials of Art Zoyd, but most of their albums I heard had enough to be considered rock, even if it was just on the fringe of the genre. Here, all that is gone and just sound remains. Thus, it should go without saying that this isn't easy listening music. Even fans of Art Zoyd may not like this album, but I personally think it is excellent.

The music for this disc was created to play with "5 video sources", assumedly as a soundtrack to whatever was playing. While it would be cool to see the video accompaniment, I think Le Champ Des Larmes stands fine on its own. The base for this music is generally some sort of electronic drone, either low or high, either full or sparse. Over this, sound gets layered. Percussive thomps, more electronic drones, various sounds in general (which sometime sound like they were processed through various effects)...really any sort of electronic monstrosity that these four musicians can coax out of their equipment. Sometimes there is alot happening in a fervor, other times there isn't (and occasionally it is just the electronic drone base). And that is where one of this album's strengths lies. The so called tension and release. There are many parts that "build" (even if it doesn't go anywhere in particular). Eerie sounds that just float on by creating that atmosphere of unease. Perhaps akin to wandering dark corridors inside a building. That nervousness of being unable to see more than 5 feet in front of you. The chance that at any moment something may jump out and strangle you. The dread of not knowing what's coming, but the foresight to know that its likely to be malevolent. That's the kind of music that is presented here. It's about atmosphere. It's about tension. It's about sound, more than anything. Unfortunately there are some pitfalls here. Generally the times where it's just the electronic drone base without anything happening above it. Occasionally it works (such as in the opening song) while other times it overstays it's welcome (such as in Styx _ le Fleuve Noir and especially Le chant de la Méduse). These moments do drag the disc down slightly, but mostly for ruining the atmosphere created by the better moments (as opposed to being unpleasant in general). But there is plenty to sink your teeth into here, even if it doesn't climax all too often.

All in all, this is an excellent disc. The atmosphere here is honestly unmatched in any other music I've heard (especially if it's a dark/dreary/etc type of atmosphere). Listening to Le Champ Des Larmes really does make me feel like I'm driving down a foggy abandoned highway at two in the morning, and all the little nuances and wonders that go along with such an event. However, this is by no means rock, and really doesn't have a place on this site. On my personal scale, this is an easy four stars. For PA, this is probably two stars. So I will make an unfortunate compromise and give this a three star rating. If you need a strong melodic backbone, driving rhythms, and a generally busy backing this isn't for you. If you generally dislike music that could generally be described as noise, or dips into the noise pool on a (semi-)often basis, stay away from this one. But, if you are a fan of modern electronic avant-garde music you really should give this a listen. Even though I may not listen to this every day (or month for that matter), when I do it surely is a delight. Recommended.

Man With Hat | 3/5 |


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