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Art Zoyd Art Zoyd 3 [aka: Symphonie pour le jour où brûleront les Cités] album cover
3.89 | 114 ratings | 14 reviews | 27% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

- Symphonie pour le jour où brûleront les Cités :
1. Brigades spéciales (13:23)
2. Masques (8:56)
3. Simulacres (6:53)
- Deux images de la Cité imbécile :
4. Les fourmis (5:31)
5. Scènes de carnaval (8:50)

Total Time 43:33

Line-up / Musicians

- Thierry Zaboitzeff / vocals, bass, percussion
- Alain Eckert / guitar, percussion, vocals
- Jean-Pierre Soarez / trumpet, percussion
- Gérard Hourbette / viola, violin, flute

Releases information

Re-recorded in July 1980 (all-new, with different line-up) and released as "Symphonie pour le jour où brûleront les Cités" on Atem in 1981

Artwork: H2L Publicité Valenciennes

LP AZ Production Michel Besset ‎- 001 (1976, France)
LP Atem - ATEM 7010 (1981, France) with new cover art (see separate entry)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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Buy ART ZOYD Art Zoyd 3 [aka: Symphonie pour le jour où brûleront les Cités] Music

ART ZOYD Art Zoyd 3 [aka: Symphonie pour le jour où brûleront les Cités] ratings distribution

(114 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(27%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(47%)
Good, but non-essential (21%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

ART ZOYD Art Zoyd 3 [aka: Symphonie pour le jour où brûleront les Cités] reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by hdfisch
4 stars I've got to admit I just came recently into the fortunate situation to get this album of this great 70's avant-garde/RIO band. Actually it was the first time I listened to anything of them. But I listened already quite a lot of albums of ISILDURS BANE and I've got to say that these guys owe a lot to ART ZOYD. This kind of music might not be the easiest to fall in love to immediately, but honestly while I'm writing this article I'm listening to this album the very first time and I've got to say I like it.Especially the composition of the first track is just awesome. The second one "Masques" is somewhat more difficult to get used to. But still the way the how it's are being played it's nice to listen and enjoyable (and that reminds me so much to ISILDURS BANE) unlike as in many other records from this sub-genre. The Orchestration of all instruments is fitting perfectly together and actually I can't realise any disssonance, it just sounds great, dark in a way, dramatic and full of tension, sometimes reminding to soundtrack music for a thriller. In "Les Fourmis" some really strange vocals are being added up, sounds a bit like a cartoon, rather funny, then there are some spots of riffing taken from MIKE OLFIELD and others, rather chaotic this track, but great! In the last track chaos is going on with some really awful vocal noise accompanied by great (quite chaotic) orchestral instrumentation, rather ZAPPA-esk this thing! Just great!

I'd like to recommend this one to anyone interested in really innovative, but still enjoyable avant-garde music. Necessarily not only for die-hard fans of this sub-genre. Any open-minded prog-fan should check this one out!

Review by Sean Trane
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.

Review by el böthy
4 stars Art Zoyd´s first studio album is one of those "lost" gems that is too rare to attrack a wide (even in progressive rock) range of listeners but way too good to be left aside... well, isn´t that the case with most Avant Garde anyways?

An impressive first effort, one of those that make you wonder if the band will ever top themself, but apparently they did... and more than once. The music is very challeging, always interesting, incredibly complex and practically no rock can be found here, this is Avant Garde all the way thrue... If I had to let you know what this sounds like I would say that it´s like Stravinsky begun to write for little chamber groups, and yet this isn´t quite the case. As I said before, there is a notorious lack of rock here, emphasized by lack (again) of drums!!! That´s right people, this band has no drums... and yet the music has some of the most crazy rhythm´s you are likly to find... this guys truly are the bastards sons from Stravinsky!!! The violin/viola (for my delight there is more viola than violin) is spectacular, it´s, along with the bass, that powerful, fluent, expresive bass the spine of the music. The main instrument, or at least the one that makes most solos, is the trumpet, I told you this is not rock! The result, adding jazzy piano, some guitars, not very present though, some sax and crazy Magma like vocals, yet this ones aren´t in Kobaia (pitty) is mindblowing if you are ready for it... if not, your mind might actually blow up, so to be taken with caution!!! You have been warned! I can´t pick one song over the other, for they are all great, but I will say that some of the best moments in the album are the fast and furious viola passages from Brigades Spéciales, the groovy and crazy Simulacres´s rhythm section and the bass in Les Fourmis... but this would be an offense to the rest of the album.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars ART ZOYD are closely linked to UNIVERS ZERO, in fact Daniel Denis has played percussion on some of their recordings. It should be noted that ART ZOYD do not have a drummer, and when they do use percussion it is very sparingly. The music on this their debut I would describe as Chamber rock reminding me a lot of UNIVERS ZERO at times. This is often dark and intense but above all amazingly played.

"Brigades Speciales" opens with theatrical male vocal melodies that remind me of Basquiz while the music sounds like MAGMA. Trumpet and deep bass follows. It settles down to an eerie calm as violins and horns play softly. It kicks back in after 3 minutes with trumpet blast and great band interplay. This contrast continues. It becomes quite powerful 7 minutes in and check out the bass a minute later ! Violin and another powerful soundscape arrives 9 1/2 minutes in that has to be heard to be believed. Intense ! Some yelling and chaos 12 1/2 minutes in. What an opener ! "Masques" opens with what sounds like congas. Violin comes in mournfully followed by dissonant horns then deep bass lines as violin returns. It gets very intense 5 minutes in. These guys are incredible ! Those Zeuhl-like vocals make an appearance before 7 minutes. Love the Jazz flavour 8 minutes in before the song kicks back into gear.

"Simulacres" opens with horns before it becomes heavy rather quickly. Deep bass as outbursts of sounds come and go. More great bass 4 minutes in before another outburst. The suspense starts to build until your on the edge of your seat 6 minutes in. Awesome ! "Les Fourmis" features lots of bass, horns and violin. Crazy vocals after 1 1/2 minutes in the Rio tradition. It gets kind of silly instrumentally 3 minutes in. Check out the guitar before 5 minutes ! Where did that come from ? "Scenes De Carnaval" opens with horn blast before violin arrives a minute in. A calm after 2 minutes but dissonant horns and vocals change that. More vocals after 4 1/2 minutes with a calm a minute later. The bass is tremendous throughout.It becomes eerie 5 minutes in until smooth sax arrives 7 1/2 minutes in. It ends with an instrumental and vocal outburst.

A must have for Rio and UNIVERS ZERO fans out there. These guys are as good as advertised, if not better.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Great surprise from a genre that still manages to catch me off guard every time I decide to give it another go. RIO Chamber music might not be the genre I like to listen to without a break every now and then but thanks to the great variety of styles and sounds incorporated in the term you know that you'll be taken for a ride no matter the band.

Unlike similar bands like Univers Zero I haven't had the opportunity to hear that many Art Zoyd albums due to the rare nature of their record availability. But after completely unexpectedly stumbling upon Symphonie Pour Le Jour Où Brûleront Les Cités I'm pretty certain that the album has peaked my interest enough for me to continue tracking down the rest of this band's discography. The debut album begins wild screams and shouts that took me completely by surprise the first time I heard them but this was clearly done to capture the listeners attention which the band clearly succeed in accomplishing. The majority of the material consists of pure Chamber Rock at its finest but there are quite a few technical Avant-Prog moments featured here as well. The best example of this sound can be heard on Simulacres which demostrates an interesting side of the band that, if explored to its full potential, might have taken this release from a strong 4-star release to an essential piece of the RIO/Avant-Prog genre.

Since this is my first Art Zoyd album it is difficult for me to say how it compares to the rest of the band's discography. The few sample tracks that I've heard from the later years sound a lot more electric which is definitely not the case with the debut album that only features acoustic instruments. The comparison to the early Univers Zero sound is almost unavoidable except that there is no bassoon and very little percussion heard through Symphonie Pour Le Jour Où Brûleront Les Cités.

It's important to mention that the music here isn't as dark as some of the other RIO Chamber music that I've heard on albums like Heresie, instead this can be described as Chamber music with an eclectic side to it. A must have for fans of the genre and an excellent addition to any prog rock music collection.

***** star songs: Simulacres (6:55)

**** star songs: Brigades Spéciales (13:21) Masques (8:59) Les Fourmis (5:34) Scènes De Carnaval (8:50)

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Just like partners in crime Univers Zero, Art Zoyd's debut is still very closely tied to the modern classical music of the beginning of the 20st century. With an ensemble consisting of mainly acoustic instruments, Art Zoyd present a consistent take on the harsh dissonance and rhythmical emphasis of early Stravinsky works.

The chamber rock of this Symphonie is less dark then UZ and at times it's even playful. Alain Eckert adds some sparse and wordless vocal eccentricities, or should I say roars, sighs and cries. He reminds me of Magma's Blasquiz. The bass guitar adds a rhythmical pulse that also reminds of Magma. No drums are present though. The pieces are excellently written and performed with brilliance, perfectly capturing the live energy during the sessions.

This album contains chamber rock that is dazzling, melodious and very spontaneous. I'd recommend it very much as a first exploration in the RIO field. For people familiar with this album I can very much recommend the debut of the current Belgian band Aranis. 4.5 stars

Review by Warthur
2 stars Take the chamber rock and apocalyptic tone of early Univers Zero, run it through the laundry to wash the goth out of it, and sprinkle it with some Mothers of Invention whimsy and you might get a close approximation to the Art Zoyd sound as expressed on this album. Whilst I fully concede that it's an extremely original piece of work and doubtless a major influence on the chamber rock genre, at the same time I just can't get into it - to my ears, it sounds like there's a bit too much weirdness and inaccessibility for the sake of it to my tastes. If you took out the hootings and the dissonance, you wouldn't have very much left, and the hootings and dissonance do nothing for me. Approach with caution: you may find, like me, that after repeated careful listenings the album just fails to connect with you.
Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic
4 stars ART who? ART ZOYD! Nope, not a dude but a band from Valencienne, France. To be more accurate on this debut album SYMPHONIE POUR LE JOUR OÙ BRÛLERONT LES CITÉS (the day the cities burned) they were going by the name of ART ZOYD 3.

This band had the honor of being chosen as one of the newest members of the Rock In Oppisition movement after the initial six (Henry Cow, Stormy Six, Samla Mammas Manna, Univers Zero, Etron Fou Leloublan) for their "musical excellence" which allowed them into this strange and esoteric club whose only mission was to make the strangest and most twisted music that could still technically fit into the rock genre.

Indeed these sonicscapes are excellent, original, bizarre and just plain twisted. In fact you can hear how this album influenced Mr Bungle's craziness especially on the "Deux Images de la Cité Imbecile" side.

The music on this debut is predominantly chamber rock for the most part excercising daunting and haunting classical music (Stravinsky, Wagner, Berlioz) passages that together with Univers Zero's "Heresie" qualifies as true dreadful horror music that solicits doom and gloom like any good downer type of music should.

There is a free jazz feel to much of it with outbursts of Zappa and rock energy incorporating sparsely utilized percussion. This music is avant-garde even by RIO standards but i find it exhilarating and unique even amongst the AZ's own future albums.

Perhaps too weird for some but only approaching where i really want to go. A nice soundtrack for an insane asylum with some circus antics thrown in the mix for variety's sake. A slice of RIO heaven.

Review by ALotOfBottle
4 stars The turn of the seventies witnessed formation of countless bands in Europe. It was time to part ways with worn-out hippie psychedelic and blues rock clichés - the legacy of the sixties' pop music revolution. One of such bands was Art Zoyd, formed in 1968 around Valenciennes, Nord-Pas-de-Calais - a French industrial city located just near the Belgian border. In 1971, the group released a single Sangria/Something In Love, rather conventional, presenting a heavy psych rock style with light jazz touches, stylistically very much in between early Colosseum and Spooky Tooth. The same year, the classically-trained cellist and bassist, Thierry Zaboitzeff joined. Zaboitzeff and the violinist Gérard Hourbette reformed Art Zoyd in 1975 together with Jean-Pierre Soarez and Alain Eckert. One year later, the band released their first LP Symphonie pour le Jour où Brûleront les Cités (translating into "Symphony for the Day When the Cities Burned"), recorded just in nine days.

"Brigades Spéciales", the opening movement of the Symphonie pour le Jour où Brûleront les Cités suite, accents its disturbing, aggressive, theatrical nature since the very first notes. Opening with a rapid viola/cello interplay, it is quickly joined by Zaboitzeff's mad screaming, recalling some moments of Magma's music. Although the rhythm becomes rather firm, the dark, ominous atmosphere remains unchanged. The music bafflingly goes from delicate Largo tempos to loud, punchy Allegro in no time, being heavy without any use of drums or percussion whatsoever. The instrumental arrangements for a thumpy bass, bright, jangly guitar, jazzy trumpet, viola and violin are very sophisticated and intricate. The style is closely related to the works of neo-classical composers such as Bartok and Stravinsky, fusing uneven time signatures and unconventional harmonic solutions with somewhat of an Easter European folk tone. At one point, the whole spectacle is ripped by a very quickly-strummed, high-pitched note on guitar, setting a very odd rhythm, which cannot stay for long, being quickly ruined by a contrasted segment with a sickening violin pattern, similar to that on Rimsky-Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumblebee." Towards the end, the opening motif returns with psychic screaming from Thierry Zaboitzeff. "Masques" starts in an unsafe manner with the viola on the lead, accompanied just by gentle rattle touches. The trumpet and bass guitar delicately start creeping in. A marching rhythm suddenly enters the equation, however not for long, with the movement returning to where it started - silent and scary, yet very unobtrusive. The Miles Davis-like trumpet playing style put in a rural folk scenery results in a surprisingly smooth, natural, and, most importantly, original atmosphere. The addition of wordless vocals makes it even eerier. The rapid, broken Magma-like theme comes in, building up the tension resolved on a quieter part.

"Simulancres", the last movement of the suite continued on side two, opens with a loud trumpet theme, which is quickly joined by all the other instruments, becoming very heavy and aggressive, yet very educated and calculated. The cascading instrumental layers play a prominent role in forging a distinctive sonic landscape. Although the dynamic parts of "Simulancres" are very contrasted, the movement's unique integrity remains unchanged throughout, with an "unholy" Eastern European dance rhythm as basis. The rest of the disc is occupied by a no-less fascinating politically-charged mini-epic "Deux Images de la Cité Imbécile." Opening with a fast, chaotic motif, its first movement, "Les Fourmis" takes no time to warm-up. The variation on the theme is really elaborate, putting it into different musical contexts. At one point, double choir (one voice being incredibly squeaky, the other very deep) kick in, reorganizing the sequences and showcasing the harmonic ambiguity of the opening motif - going from light and charming to sinister and oppressive. "Scenes de Carnaval's" tone thoroughly reflects the title - bringing a bustling carnival square on a busy day to mind, with its diverse, dynamic ambience. Likely more than any time before, Art Zoyd's sound is very varied. Zaboitzeff's throbbing bass is quite similar to that of Jannick Top from Magma. From the middle of the movement, the track suddenly loses its power, becoming slightly sleepy, easier to follow until the album is closed with a short, loud vocal sound.

Although quite a few comparisons to other artists have been made in this review, the sound of Art Zoyd's debut album remains unrepeated and incredibly original. Similarly to their English Rock In Opposition brothers, Henry Cow, Art Zoyd took their time before recording their debut, observing the constantly-changing music industry in constant search for the "lost chord." The judgment comes down to the listener, however, I believe this to be one of the treasures of progressive music with its classically-informed, atmospheric soundscapes owing as much to composers such as Schoenberg, Bartok, and Stravinsky, as the creative minds of Thierry Zaboitzeff and Co.

A few years later, Art Zoyd re-recorded Symphonie pour le Jour où Brûleront les Cités in a different, broader line-up, offering tastier instrumentation as well as superior recording quality. However, the quality of the music remains equally magnificent, not influencing my regard of the album anyhow. Essential listening to anybody exploring Rock In Opposition!

Latest members reviews

4 stars Along with Present and Univers Zero, Art Zoyd shows an acoustic RIO made of horror. The basic instrumentation is made of violins, cellos and metals but in the best moments we found an electric bass building some rock themes! Lots of breaks are found: melodies come in, melodies come out, mosty ... (read more)

Report this review (#267094) | Posted by Thiago Hallak | Friday, February 19, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is excellent, (literally) stunning music - sheer passion and conviction meeting compositional and ensemble virtuosity in head on collision. The music of 'Art Zoyd' is similar to that of contemporaries 'Univers Zero' and 'The Present' in that one could consider it contemporary art music wh ... (read more)

Report this review (#173632) | Posted by Neil C | Wednesday, June 11, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I wonder how many people here have actually heard the first Art Zoyd LP? The line-up listed above is for the third LP -- the re-recorded version from July 1980. The original Lp was recorded in 1976 and released in such small quantities that it went out of print very quickly. The first LP is ... (read more)

Report this review (#120697) | Posted by numediaman | Thursday, May 3, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The french band's record is a fantastic achievement. This french band plays classic and jazzy RIO music. There are artistic voices, but there is no singing. The instruments are very interesting as you can see above. Moreover, Art Zoyd is very different than the RIO bands of the late 70s and th ... (read more)

Report this review (#43546) | Posted by Dan Yaron | Saturday, August 20, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars One of their best in my opinion. The album is soaked with chaos from beginning to end - Thierry Zeboitzeff's vocals are magnificent - so honest, so well performed. The arrangements are also very clever, especially the violin/viola/trumpet. Lots of motives are semingly simple but are very compl ... (read more)

Report this review (#27809) | Posted by | Friday, December 10, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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