RIO/Avant-Prog • France

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ZNR biography
ZNR was a Avant-Prog French duo that consisted of composer Hector Zazou and Joseph Racaille both on keys, vocals and on some guitars, reeds and violins by special guest musicians. The band played short, odd songs with bizarre titles similar to that of their main inspiration, Erik Satie. Their main style was that of a chamber rock band with quirky flourishes spread throughout their music. The duo released two albums, one in 1976 titled Barricade 3 and one in 1980 called Traite De Mecanique Populaire, before disbanding. Their first album was dominated by synth with their second was nearly entirely acoustic. They are highly recommended to fans of Samla Mammas Manna and the more unusual side of Chamber Rock.

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Barricade 3Barricade 3
Superior Viaduct 2015
$35.49 (used)
Traite De Mecanique PopulaireTraite De Mecanique Populaire
Buda France 2009
Audio CD$52.99 (used)
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ZNR discography

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ZNR top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.14 | 9 ratings
Barricade 3
3.80 | 6 ratings
Traité de mécanique populaire

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ZNR Reviews

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 Barricade 3 by ZNR album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.14 | 9 ratings

Barricade 3
ZNR RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars ZNR was just the name of the French duo Hector Zazou/Joseph Racaille, both great keyboard players and composers.The project evolved after the demise of the Avant-Rock band Barricade, for which Zazou (then named Roquet Belles Oreilles) played bass and Racaille participated on the piano lines.The collaboration between the two musicians begun in 1975 and a year later ''Barricade 3'' (the album title refers to the two projects Barricade split into after disbanding with ZNR being the third one in line) sees the light, recorded at the Studio of Gilly Bell in Ventarben in January and released on Isadora Records.

The album shows the desire of the two musicians to produce some dreamy, deep and highly intellectual musicianship, influenced by the fundamentals of Chamber and Electronic Music as well as Jazz, for which they were helped by several musicians on violin, clavinet and sax parts with just a lone guitar/rhythm section appearance.The original release was split into two pieces, ''Face Rat'' (side A) and ''Face serpent'' (side B), offering some very esoteric minimalistic atmosphere, always driven by the Zazou/Racaille duo and their performances on pianos and analog synths like the VCS3 and the ARP 2600, under a very Chamber/Electronic mood.Most of the short pieces included in the album features an occasional appearance of either violins, clavinets or saxes, making the sound very close to the RIO movement of the time.Some of them even contain vocals (sung either by Zazou or Ricaille) in a tremendous poetic and very French way.Just a few of them sound rather dull, as if coming out of an 80's computer game, due to the monotonic beats and the sometimes surrealistic sound of synths.

The description of the album might suggest a very abstract and free-approached release, but the truth is ZNR's ''Bariccade 3'' is a rather tight and flat album with no particular mood changes and the minimalistic approach of Zazou and Racaille has often plenty to offer, if you are into this stuff.Overall recommended.


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 Traité de mécanique populaire by ZNR album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.80 | 6 ratings

Traité de mécanique populaire
ZNR RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Tsevir Leirbag

4 stars Very few people know about this band whose music is a blend of classical, chamber music with jazz and (sometimes) rock

ZNR was founded in the mid seventies by Hector Zazou, who was soon rejoined by Joseph Racaille. They could be qualified as the core of the band, as they played the most important role in the compositional process of ZNR's albums, even if they were helped by André Jaume on saxophones, David Rueff on violin and Patrick Portella on clarinets. Louize Alcazar, herself, took care of all the arrangements. ZNR's music, often wrongly labelled as avant-garde even if it should appeal to admirers of the genre, is one of the most accessible band defined as such. Traité de mécanique populaire was released in 1980 on Scopa Invisible label. Pretty much in the same vein as its predecessor, but lead more by classical instruments played by Hector Zazou and Joseph Racaille, this album consists of a collection of short pieces, all of which are directly related to each other.

Zazou and Racaille were both clearly influenced by modern composers, notably Ravel, Debussy and Satie. The impressive compositional level of ZNR's music, often based on counterpoints, polyphony, modality and dissonance contributed to make it as renowned to the lovers of chamber rock as it is. ZNR always achieves to rouse the listener with the touching melancholy of its music. Traité de mécanique populaire is recommended to anyone who likes progressive music with a classical sensibility and a tad bit of jazz thrown in it.


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