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Art Zoyd


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5 stars After almost 40 years Art Zoyd are still going very strong. Eyecatcher is their most varied and rich offering for quite some time (if not of all times), and not only is it packed with ideas, it's also a very opulent double-CD. Once more it's music for a 1920s silent film, the Russian "The Man with a Movie Camera". It's atmospheric as ever but also this time they pulled out all the stops of their creativity, combining their usual dark textures and machine (and sometimes string) rhythms with trips to atonal contemporary music, recordings of orchestra music (serious and not so serious), voices, field recordings, sharp electronic noises, some of their own digital sound creations and a variety of conventional instruments. The overall theme this times seems to be funfair, with all its colourful and lively stalls and people. Apparently there is a dark basement below the funfair though, so there is still space for dark and mysterious atmospheres, and at times even for some meditative electronic elements. The track listing splits this up into about 50 pieces, so that there is good guideline for the listener but it's hell if your digital system doesn't recognize the track titles and you have to type them all in, as happened to me. Actually, the film music is presented in the order part II/part I/part III (because part II is so long that it needs a whole CD) with three "small pieces" not belonging to the film in the middle of CD 2.

All this may make you wonder whether this works well as a "music only" experience listened to from beginning to end; whether the film could be necessary to give this some consistency and structure. But actually I'm very fine with it. It's true that there isn't an overarching structure that makes everything fit into some kind of logic or system, but still the different parts fade into each other in a quite organic way and the contrasts and changes are strong enough to mnake it exciting but not so strong that any consistency would be lost.

Art Zoyd's inventiveness and creativity is second to none and here they are at the peak of their powers. This is truly unique and special. I should add a health warning, though. This is not rock but somewhere between electronic music, avantgarde and contemporary classical music, and it will be a tough challenge to some prog listeners in its boldness, not concerned about any ease of listening. Due to the width of sounds, it's more accessible than some of their recent work, though. I will give this 5 stars because it's just so good, although "prog rock collectors", be warned!

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Posted Monday, October 5, 2015 | Review Permalink

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