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5 stars Although I've only known of Zanov for about three years, I was in complete shock to find Pierre Salkazanov (Zanov's real name) would release a new album, in 2014 no less, when about 32 years have passed since his last album, In Course of Time (which was apparently recorded in 1979 but not released until 1982, hence why the album sounded a bit behind the times for 1982 standards). He did attempt to record a followup to In Course of Time called Nous Reprenons Notre Avenir which apparently started in 1979 and ground to a halt in 1984 by which day job and family pretty much made him give up on recording (he wasn't some international sensation on the line of Jean Michel Jarre, if he was, it would be a completely different story).

So three decades later he dug up that old recording, remove the poetry (Nous Reprenons Notre Avenir was said to include poetry) and do some finishing touches on an Arturia Origin. So that means you get to hear the Arturia with his old VCS-3, ARP 2600, RMI Harmonic Synthesizer, and Korg PS-3300. Sadly he no longer owns those vintage synths, and since the Arturia Origin includes features from classic analog synths, it's little wonder that was his synth of choice in 2014 (he owns the synth version, as there's also a standalone module version of it). Let's say that Zanov has released yet another winner! It sounds like a natural followup to In Course of Time, a lot of it will remind you of that album, with a bit of Moebius thrown in. More of that same great spacy futuristic electronic music you come to enjoy from his three albums from 1976 to 1982! It's really difficult to pick out highlights, this is electronic music at its finest. I'm only hoping that with his return more people will discover the music of Zanov. One only hopes his back catalog receives reissues. Zanov is one of the few artists that it really doesn't matter where you start, you can easily start with this one as you would any of his other releases. They're all that great, and some of the finest obscure electronic music I've ever heard!

Report this review (#1286582)
Posted Wednesday, October 1, 2014 | Review Permalink
3 stars Of course this is BIG news, of course we need to support the unknown or underrated great artists and of course things look different when you pay for them.

I was one of those thrilled by the news of this ZANOV's (a.k.a Pierre Zalkazanov), 2014 release. As soon as possible I downloaded it and waited in expectation some free time to get into it. A fourth album in 30 +- years how nice.

So I found the time and this is my report. As marvelous as listening to vintage synths could turn out to be, songwriting as always comes first. Sadly this perfect balance does not happen that frequently in this "Virtual Reality" project. Somehow it is ok to use these retro-sounds but not that much to use the models of music they have generated in such a long span in time. I mean his 3 first albums were released in between 1976-1983, and a lot of things have happened since then, electronic-music wise of course.

As much as I would have liked this album to be a 5 star masterpiece and rating it in accordance, it has in its songwriting some unoriginal moments that simply make me lose thread of the real unique proposals he has held through his short but efficient discography. To cut it short, it is not flawless and more than once less than original. Obviously the highlights are an intense thrill to testify, but the downfalls are not that much fun.

I of course will keep it, being somehow of a "Zanov cult follower", but in an objective and no obligations to no one mode, this is good but not essential, in a general prog-electronic universe.

***3.5 "I bet he can do better", PA stars.

Report this review (#1287117)
Posted Friday, October 3, 2014 | Review Permalink
2 stars I am investigating different subgenres among newly released albums and the electronic genre is very new to me. Zanov is an electronic artist whose real name is Pierre Zalkazanov, so Zanov is a cool short form of his name. He is actually not a new artist. I guess people who like this subgenre know the name for sure. He videlicit made three prog albums in the seventies and eighties: "Green day"(76), "Moebius:256301"(77) and "In course of time"(83) which all have got good ratings here. I guess this year's "Virtual Future" is just as good as them. Thirtyone years after the third one came this one which cover is very futuristic. Just like Hibernal's record about Replacements we see a head of a human robot on Zanov's record. I admit it is aestethic and the zanov sign too.

The music is totally electronic and zanov himself plays all instruments which are different forms of synthesizers. I prefer this before some form of psychadelic music because this contains definitely melodies and interesting themes to notice. But the majority of the songs are more like atmospheric structures anyway. The record is well produced and it sounds good, even if I have very hard to apreciate it. It's not my world of music unfortunately. Some pieces here are preferable such as "The final cut"(6/10) and "Very far"(6/10) but the rest, how well composed they apparently are, don't appeal to me. Neither bad nor good according to my opinion. I feel though that folks who enjoy the futuristic electronics from the seventies should like this too. My average rating ends att 2.5 stars which I have to round off down to two stars.

Report this review (#1299236)
Posted Saturday, November 1, 2014 | Review Permalink
3 stars Old Zanov climbs up a set of ladders, with creaking arthritic bones, rummages around his attic - finds his trusty analogue keyboards, gives them a good dusting down and decides to recreate the sounds of his long lost 3 recordings.

This is a commendable follow-up to 82's 'In Course of Time' It's been a whopping 32 years since his last release, so who would know what to expect? Pleasingly it's a pretty good effort. I'm a real sucker for the 'Berlin School' recordings, therefore I guessed I was on to a winner before I even heard it.

'Virtual Future' is entirely electronic and vocal free. It displays a very retro 1975 feel, similar to 'Klaus Schulze'. It's all quite dream-like and 'cosmic' - as they liked to call it in the 70's. Released in 2014 you'd expect a crystal clear sound with plenty of depth. I can happily report that this is the case.

Zanov's never been the most gifted of composers (He's no virtuoso like Jean Michel Jarre with his 20 octopus-like fingers), He does however, make the most of his abilities.

The tunes aren't groundbreaking or startlingly original, but do succeed on a number of levels. For example - there's plenty of space between tracks which accentuate clarity. His vision is clear too, where he has a finished article in mind. There's no deviation from that path and he refuses to add sounds that would be considered contemporary with the year 2014. This leaves us with a colourful and at times mesmerizing album.

This is a recording that fans of 'Free System Project', 'Redshift', 'Michael Garrison' and 'Bernd Kistenmacher' will admire.

It's good stuff and a welcome return from the man who vanished in a puff of smoke in 1983.

Report this review (#1459060)
Posted Thursday, September 3, 2015 | Review Permalink
3 stars This sounds really oldschool.

I've never heard of Zanov before, but I'm checking out the progressive/electronic genre more and more, these days.

Zanov uses analog synths, and the result is electronic space music, in the spirit of Tangerine Dream, Jean Michel Jarre, Eloy Fritsch, Eddie Jobson, etc. I don't know if people in 2016 are interested in this kind of music, made with these particular instruments. I can totally understand that people would consider it to sound dated or cheesy.

For me it works. I don't really care if a synthesizer-album is made in 1970, 1980 or 2014, as long as it sounds good, it's a nice addition to my collection. Maybe the album lacks rhythm; there are hardly drums. But the atmosphere is okay, but that's hardly a surprise, once you notice wich instruments are used. You really can't go wrong with VSC3 and ARP etc.

Not an outstanding and groundbreaking album, but good enough to keep me satisfied. The overall tone is relaxing and dreamy. I'd like to hear more from this artist.

Report this review (#1591215)
Posted Monday, July 25, 2016 | Review Permalink

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