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Art Zoyd - Art Zoyd 3 [Aka: Symphonie Pour Le Jour O¨ Brűleront Les CitÚs] CD (album) cover


Art Zoyd



3.89 | 92 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars Little did Art Zoyd know that one day this album would become prophetic thirty years later. Hailing from, a small industrial (mining and steel) city in Northern France a stone's throw from Belgium (Maubeuge is where one of my great-grandfather was born), no doubt these guys lived in those suburbs that they predicted one day from a revolt would burn. One of the most intriguing things is how these future musicians got into such an awesome and experimental avant-garde group as Art Zoyd. Apart from the fact that a lot of Northern France's industrial cities were voting communist, one of the few positive things that communism ever brought was to make higher culture accessible to everyone including the poor (ESPECIALLY the poor), and this IMHO, might just be their (AZ) case. As was the case for Area, Henry Cow and other ultra avant-garde, Art Zoyd was resolutely left wing, much like all of the RIO-chart signatory groups (of which AZ were not original members but part of the second wave) and have a close link to Belgium's Univers Zero, their career throughout.

I am writing the preface of this review under a hypothetical probability strictly knowing what the album has to offer in terms of story through the titles of their works (no lyrics since the music is totally instrumental except for wordless vocals), but there seems to be a solid thread or story, even pressing me to declare this album conceptual. The music, clearly inspired from Bartok, Stravinsky, and Henry Cow or Zappa's "serious music" is screaming, yelling, howling its madness of the riots between Special Brigades and the activists wearing Masks into Masquerade (Simulacre is a sham or an pretentious enactment). This first side is simply stunning and the violence and tension ever present even if there is absolutely no rock element in their music (bar a short passage in Fourmis), but it fits their theme immaculately well.

The second side is an auto-criticism of those suburbs not yet in revolt: two tracks (the third one, Simulacre, still belonging to the first-side theme) depicting the never-ending suffering with an elusive hope of a brighter future (the revolt coming once this hope disappears). Fourmis (ants) is self-explanatory of their plight (with a passage compared to Canada Brass' Flight Of The Bumblebee), while Carnival (a very important theme even in atheist circles) is one of those breaks were they are allowed to vent off their frustrations by deriding the ones dominating them. As you might expect, the music loses some of its solemnity in this last track to adopt a (relatively) more festive tone.

Clearly the works of violinist Gerard Hourbette, greatly helped by Zabotzieff (of Polish descent like many miners fleeing Poland's misery in the late XIXth century) on bass and cello, the music is an impressive modern XXth classic, where my buddy JP Soarez soars on the woodwinds.

Dense, impenetrable or not easily accessible, this album (as most of AZ's works) does not surrender easily to one's taste buds. As a matter of fact, this sometimes obtuse (because of its difficult nature) is not easily recommendable unless you are a confirmed fan of this RIO-Zeuhl music current. Hence the four star rating.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |


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