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ART ZOYD

RIO/Avant-Prog • France


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Art Zoyd biography
In 1968, French smalltown Maubeuge was giving birth to this fascinating avant-garde outfit that now boasts 13 albums, 17 videos, many soundtracks and music for shows, worldwide festival appearances plus numerous live and compilation disks. By the early 80's, ART ZOYD had already gone through over 30 musicians but the core always centered around composer and classically-trained violinist Gérard Hourbette and bassist Thierry Zaboitzeff. Constantly evolving over the years, their music is always highly adventurous, drawing on elements of the modern classics (Bartok, Stravinsky), the chamber rock of UNIVERS ZERO, a bit of jazz, a good dose of zeuhl and lately, a penchant for electronics. Despite their lack of a drummer, their material is intensely rhythmic and largely relies on strings, horns and piano. Considered more 'neo-classical chamber' than truly rock, their energy level has the intensity of bands such as MAGMA and 70's KING CRIMSON, with strong dynamics and atmospheric climaxes.

With each successive album, the rock aspect of their material slowly gave way to a blend of zeuhl and classical music, developing ever tenser and darker climates - surely not for the faint of heart. "Phase IV" (1982) is hailed as their all-time masterpiece and displays a remarkable "ear" for dense and dramatic textures. "Les espaces inquiets" (1983) is in the same vein but a bit more experimental, the music alternating between ominous, plodding parts with minimal instrumentation (usually a solo piano or organ) and faster, more frantic sections led by trumpet and strings. "Le mariage du ciel et de l'enfer" (1985) is perhaps the one that best displays the band's adventurous compositional sophistication while remaining reasonably digestible for new listeners. "Nosferatu" (1989) features nightmarish music that could wake the dead - albeit all too willing to oblige, no doubt. Finally, "Haxan" (1997) shows the band at their most 'electronic'. It features UNIVERS ZERO's drummer Daniel Denis who mostly plays around with sample triggers (sequencers). A good sampler for ART ZOYD neophytes is their 1987 album "Les espaces inquiets / Phase IV / Archives II", made up of 32 tracks covering the two cd's plus a few extras.

If you get off on UNIVERS ZERO, MAGMA or RIO in general, if you have a passion for the likes of Bartok, Stravinsky and Schoenberg, you definitely should check out the music of ART ZOYD : it is risky, unsafe, dark, stirring and immensely stimulating.

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Symphonie Pour Le Jour Ou Bruleront Les CitesSymphonie Pour Le Jour Ou Bruleront Les Cites
Sub Rosa 2012
Audio CD$11.96
$14.74 (used)
Musique Pour L'OdysseeMusique Pour L'Odyssee
Sub Rosa 2013
Audio CD$10.49
$10.48 (used)
NosferatuNosferatu
CD Baby 1993
Audio CD$19.71
$22.99 (used)
FaustFaust
CD Baby 1993
Audio CD$18.97
$101.24 (used)
Le Champs Des LarmesLe Champs Des Larmes
CD Baby 2006
Audio CD$17.25
$13.99 (used)
EyecatcherEyecatcher
CD Baby 2012
Audio CD$21.82
$207.14 (used)
Le Marriage Du Ciel Et De L'EnferLe Marriage Du Ciel Et De L'Enfer
Import
Atonal (Caroline) 2003
Audio CD$26.98 (used)
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1870 - Pogo y 4 Historias de Horror (New CD- Mexico) Art Zoyd Univers Zero Zappa USD $14.99 Buy It Now 16h 12m
ART ZOYD - GENERATION SANS FUTUR FRENCH RIO PROG LP COMA CRYONIC LABEL USD $40.00 Buy It Now 18h 43m
ART ZOYD Musique pour l'odyssee mini LP CD Bx set,Japan, rare,OOP, sealed USD $275.00 Buy It Now 20h 58m
UNIVERS ZERO Heatwave CD dark Belgian chamber prog Magma bartok present art zoyd USD $15.98 Buy It Now 1 day
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UNIVERS ZERO Live CD dark Belgian chamber prog Magma bartok present art zoyd NEW USD $15.98 Buy It Now 1 day
UNIVERS ZERO Rhythmix CD dark Belgian chamber prog Magma bartok present art zoyd USD $15.98 Buy It Now 1 day
Art Zoyd: Symphonie Pour Le Jour OÂ- BrÂ-leront... BRAND NEW SEALED Sub Rosa CD USD $14.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Musique Pour L'Odyssee - Art Zoyd (2013, CD New) USD $15.15 Buy It Now 2 days
Univers Zero: "Uzed" Promo Badge (japan mini-lp no cd art zoyd henry cow magma Q USD $9.00 Buy It Now 2 days
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Art Zoyd - Musique Pour L'Odyssee [CD New] USD $14.67 Buy It Now 2 days
ART ZOYD - MUSIQUE POUR L'ODYSSEE NEW CD USD $19.22 Buy It Now 2 days
ART ZOYD - France LP 1985 Generation Sans Futur univers zero USD $29.99 Buy It Now 3 days
ART ZOYD - France Orig. LP 1979 Atem RR Musique Pour L'Odyssee univers zero USD $33.99 Buy It Now 3 days
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ART ZOYD-BERLIN-JAPAN MINI LP CD F25 USD $24.50 Buy It Now 3 days
Art Zoyd:Les Espaces Promo Box[Japan mini-LP univers zero art bears henry cow Q USD $49.50 Buy It Now 4 days
ART ZOYD-LE MARIAGE DU CIEL ET DE L'ENFER-JAPAN MINI LP CD F25 USD $24.50 Buy It Now 4 days
ART ZOYD/GENERATION SANS FUTUR VG+TONEX/NM FRENCH LP USD $44.87 Buy It Now 4 days
Present:Concert Promo Poster 17"x23"(univers zero art zoyd cow henry bears art Q USD $40.50 Buy It Now 4 days
ART ZOYD-MUSIQUE POUR L'ODYSS-JAPAN MINI LP CD 0512 Gi50 USD $29.99 Buy It Now 5 days
Symphonie Pour Le Jour Ou Brvleront Les Citts - Art Zoyd (2012, Vinyl New) USD $20.13 Buy It Now 5 days
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ART ZOYD - SYMPHONIE POUR LE JOUR OU BRULERONT LES CITES NEW CD USD $19.22 Buy It Now 5 days
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Art Zoyd - Symphonie Pour Le Jour Ou Bruleront Les Cites - Mantra 065 2 CD USD $8.96 [0 bids]
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art zoyd Nosferatu USD $1.25 [0 bids]
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La STPO "Les Liquidateurs" (art zoyd magma volcano the bear henry cow) USD $1.48 [1 bids]
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1870 - Mitos de Una Resurreccion (New CD - Mexico) Art Zoyd Univers Zero Zappa USD $14.99 [0 bids]
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ART ZOYD-Symphonie / Musique Pour L'Odyssee / Generation Sans Futur / Archives 1 USD $37.99 [0 bids]
USD $49.99 Buy It Now
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ART ZOYD - SYMPHONIE POUR LE JOUR FRENCH PROG LP UNIVERS ZERO MAGMA ZEUHL USD $30.00 Buy It Now 7 days
ART ZOYD Symphonie pour le jour ou bruleront les cites LP ATEM Orig French Prog USD $29.90 Buy It Now 7 days
UNIVERS ZERO- Univers Zero +1 (shm-cd) (Art zoyd, Julverne, Arkham) USD $32.99 Buy It Now 7 days
Art Zoyd Keith Harring Cover Le mariage du ciel et de l'enfer AVANTGARDE LP USD $39.90 Buy It Now 7 days
Art Zoyd - Les Espaces Inquiets RARE DARK ELECTRONIC AVANT GARDE LP USD $39.90 Buy It Now 7 days
Art Zoyd-Phase IV-Recommended 14/15-ENGLAND LP ELECTRO-ACOUSTIC MUSIC MINT USD $39.90 Buy It Now 7 days
Art Zoyd -Musique Pour L'Odyssee RARE DARK ELECTRONIC AVANT GARDE LP USD $29.90 Buy It Now 7 days
Art Zoyd - Berlin RARE DARK ELECTRONIC AVANT GARDE LP USD $29.90 Buy It Now 7 days
Art Zoyd Ou Bruleront Les Cites AVANTGARDE LP USD $19.90 Buy It Now 7 days
ART ZOYD-MUSIQUE POUR L ODYSSEE-CD SUB ROSA NEW USD $13.99 Buy It Now 9 days
Art Zoyd vinyl LP Symphonie Pour Le Jour Ou Bruleront Le Cites Daniel Denis USD $23.62 [0 bids]
9 days
ART ZOYD Nosferatu CD Prog Univers Zero Henry Cow Murnau USD $11.82 Buy It Now 9 days
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Art Zoyd-Musique Pour L'odyssee Belgian prog Japanese CD Mini lp USD $32.99 Buy It Now 12 days
ART ZOYD Musique Pour L'Odyssee Daniel Denis Thierry Zaboitzeff SEALED LP USD $39.97 Buy It Now 12 days
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Univers zero- S/t +1 (SHM) (Mini Lp) (Arkham, Art Zoyd, Julverne, Von Zalma) USD $32.99 Buy It Now 13 days
Univers Zero- Uzed (SHM) (Mini lp) (Arkham, Art Zoyd, Julverne, Von Zamla) USD $32.99 Buy It Now 13 days
ART ZOYD "Phase IV" 2 LP, UK NM/VG+ Art Rock / Prog Rock USD $39.99 Buy It Now 13 days
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Berlin - Art Zoyd (2003, CD New) USD $23.23 Buy It Now 16 days
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Faust - Art Zoyd (2002, CD New) USD $23.92 Buy It Now 16 days
Art Zoyd-Phase IV-Recommended 14/15-ENGLAND 2LP AVANT PROG USD $29.99 Buy It Now 16 days
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ART ZOYD - LE MARIAGE DU CIEL ET DE L'ENFER LP USD $30.00 Buy It Now 19 days
ZNR TRAITE DE MECANIQUE PASCAL COMLADE ART ZOYD USD $49.99 Buy It Now 20 days
Art Zoyd - Symphonie Pour Le Jour Ou Brvleront Les Citts Vinyl Record LP USD $20.69 Buy It Now 20 days
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ART ZOYD - MUSIQUE POUR L ODYSSEE - SR364 USD $17.80 Buy It Now 23 days
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La Chute De La Maison Usher - Art Zoyd (2008, CD New) USD $19.40 Buy It Now 23 days
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Metropolis/Appars/Le Chat - 2 DISC SET - Art Zoyd (2003, CD New) USD $34.73 Buy It Now 24 days
Art Zoyd / Ceneration Sans Futur Vinyl LP Original French ATEM 7007 USD $24.99 Buy It Now 24 days
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ART ZOYD shows & tickets


  • Rock in Opposition 2015 on 18 Sep 2015

ART ZOYD discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

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

3.87 | 71 ratings
Symphonie Pour Le Jour Où Brûleront Les Cités
1976
3.86 | 63 ratings
Musique Pour L'Odyssée
1979
4.07 | 66 ratings
Génération Sans Futur
1980
4.25 | 37 ratings
Symphonie Pour Le Jour Où Brûleront Les Cités
1980
3.90 | 44 ratings
Phase IV
1982
3.45 | 29 ratings
Les Espaces Inquiets
1983
3.95 | 59 ratings
Le Mariage Du Ciel Et De L'Enfer
1985
4.20 | 48 ratings
Berlin
1987
3.63 | 28 ratings
Nosferatu
1989
2.50 | 9 ratings
Art Zoyd / J.A. Deane / J. Greinke
1990
3.59 | 17 ratings
Marathonnerre I
1993
3.21 | 15 ratings
Marathonnerre II
1993
3.91 | 18 ratings
Faust
1995
4.61 | 33 ratings
Häxan
1997
3.29 | 14 ratings
u.B.I.Q.U.e
2001
3.95 | 23 ratings
Metropolis
2002
3.50 | 6 ratings
Musiques Nouvelles Ensemble - Expériences De Vol # 1, 2, 3
2002
3.80 | 5 ratings
Musiques Nouvelles Ensemble - Expériences De Vol # 4, 5, 6
2005
3.00 | 13 ratings
Le Champ Des Larmes
2006
2.41 | 8 ratings
La Chute De La Maison Usher
2008
4.00 | 1 ratings
Eyecatcher
2011

ART ZOYD Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

ART ZOYD Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

ART ZOYD Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.25 | 5 ratings
Les Espaces Inquiets / Phase IV / Archives II
1987
3.25 | 5 ratings
Symphonie Pour Le Jour Où Brûleront Les Cités / Musique Pour L'Odyssée / Génération Sans Futur / Archives I
1987
3.59 | 13 ratings
Marathonnerre I & II
1998

ART ZOYD Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.14 | 5 ratings
Sangria / Something in love
1971

ART ZOYD Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Génération Sans Futur by ART ZOYD album cover Studio Album, 1980
4.07 | 66 ratings

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Génération Sans Futur
Art Zoyd RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The third album from the band that does chamber music mixed with jazz and progressive rock elements is more of a return to their first album. Overall it has a more tense atmosphere to it which tends to make the tracks drag a lot less. The album is all instrumental except for the strange vocal noises that come along from time to time and there is not much percussion at all in the album. This is still the era of Art Zoyd before the move to more focus on electronic music and soundtracks. It sounds a lot more dynamic as a result of using traditional classical, jazz and rock instruments. It is a very organic sounding album because of the use of mostly non-electronic instruments. And, it is also very much Rock in Opposition, so expect a lot of dissonance and non-traditional song structure.

The huge 16 minute opus that opens the album is quite a colorful array of sounds and moods, again utilizing a more brisk and tense sound. The track moves through several movements by changing rhythm, structure, mood and melodies. It is a long piece, but it moves along at a good clip. But after that, the 2nd track (which seems to be overlooked a lot because it is so short at around 2 and a half minutes) is one of the most up-beat classically inspired songs by the band. Throughout the piece there is always one instruments playing at a crazy speed of either 8th or 16th notes and if you listen closely, you'll hear how almost every instrument gets a turn at the fast passages.

Next, the very tense and frantic title track continues the pace set by the first track, but with a much better sense of direction. Where the first long track was almost soundtrack-ish sounding, this one is more of it's own beast. The atmosphere changes through the piece, but it tends to remain tense throughout. During the 2nd half of the piece, you actually get treated to a section that actually has drums and percussion, though not in any typical sense. It works well to continue to build the tension and it is used a lot like the rest of the instruments, not so much to establish a beat, but to further the overall feeling of the track. The 4th track is "Divertissement" which is very much like a neo-classical song that focuses on the string section, so it has that string quartet feeling. It is more of a relaxed feel at first, but they rhythm picks up later making it fit in with the rest of the album. "Trois Miniatures" is three miniature pieces put together and leans more towards the jazz side of the band utilizing jazz elements.

Normally, this would be the end of the original album, but there is an edition with 4 bonus tracks. These tracks start off with the song "Sangria" which was the bands attempt at a psychedelic single that was released before the first album was released. It sounds very out of place here because of the more traditional rock sound of 60s psychedelic music. Though it is interesting to hear their take on traditional rock, it is really nothing special and it is very short. Next is a 12 minute piece called "Manege" which is a very fun piece and worth the search for the bonus track edition. Throughout this piece, we go from the expected neo-classical sound to a brassy section that sounds almost like a mariachi style and even ending with a hoedown Art Zoyd style. This one is less dark especially in the 2nd half than the style of most of the original album, but it still fits well on the album. "Ba Benzele" starts out as a spooky sounding song using tribal instruments and then out of nowhere, you get traditional sounding percussion beating out a tribal rhythm (!) and the other instruments play a more traditional sounding instrumental rock song which is a huge surprise. This sounds like nothing that Art Zoyd has done before and with the string section, it sounds more like a cross between the Love Unlimited Orchestra and Art of Noise, which, by the way, is not a terrible thing, it just sounds like a completely different band. The vocals are quite funny especially when the yodeling starts. Totally unexpected! But at 8 minutes, it does get stale before it ends. The bonus tracks end with "Golf Drouot" which should not have appeared on any album, it should have remained a lost track....let's leave it at that.

Though two of the four bonus tracks are somewhat interesting with "Manege" the only one worth being reclaimed from lost track status, the bonus tracks distract from the rest of the album. The tenseness is a welcome change from the more dreary sounds of the 2nd album, and that overall sound stays interesting throughout the album. As far as RIO, this is definitely and excellent addition to your collection and lovers of the genre should listen to this. It is excellent neo-classical music at it's best and the best part is that, as far as the original album is concerned, it stays focused and moves ahead at a quick pace. 4 stars.

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 Faust  by ART ZOYD album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.91 | 18 ratings

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Faust
Art Zoyd RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Back in 1926, a famous director, F. W. Murnau, made a German film called "Faust". This was a silent movie and obviously had no soundtrack. After viewing the film, Art Zoyd decided to make a soundtrack full of electronic music to correspond with the film. These are the tracks from that soundtrack. After the completion of the soundtrack, the film was shown a few times to the public with this music playing. I haven't seen the original or the one with the soundtrack, but if you have listened to this album and wondered how this music came to be, now you know. I have read the plot line for the movie and it seems to be quite a complicated plot for a silent movie, but apparently, it is a highly rated movie. Basically, it deals with a demon making a bet with an angel that he can influence a just man to be evil. The just man is Faust. This is a rather dark movie and I don't want to give away the ending, but even when all seems lost, good eventually triumphs even over death.

The music here is quite dark and full of mostly sinister sounds and moods. The music is all electronic except for the addition of cello and some vocals, most of which have been electronically manipulated. There is a lot of percussive sounds also mostly created by keyboards. The music is interesting enough and very engaging when listened to through headphones in a dark room. The pieces are mostly short except for three of them, the finale being over 11 minutes in length. But the tracks pretty much run into each other and can almost be taken as one continuous suite. The music is also completely avant garde music almost that can flow from ambient to noisy in a moments notice. There are a few places where there is a standard rhythm, and overall, the music is not inaccessible, but it is still far from any popular sounding music either. There is no real formulaic pattern to the music either. Yet it remains a very interesting listen and seldom gets boring.

This is highly recommended to anyone interested in film music, avant-prog or Rock in Opposition music or even electronic music. It is similar to Univers Zero and even some of Ulver's more eclectic music. The only thing that bothers me is that I enjoyed Art Zoyd's natural music in their earlier albums more, but this is still well done. I think the music loses something when it's not seen with the movie that inspired it and I wouldn't mind hearing it in context with the movie. Anyway, as an album standing on it's own, I can still consider it a 4 star recording, but you do have to be in the right mood for it. But when you are, it is an excellent example of avant-prog.

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 Symphonie Pour Le Jour Où Brûleront Les Cités by ART ZOYD album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.87 | 71 ratings

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Symphonie Pour Le Jour Où Brûleront Les Cités
Art Zoyd RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

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 genere. 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 exhilerating 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.

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 Häxan  by ART ZOYD album cover Studio Album, 1997
4.61 | 33 ratings

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Häxan
Art Zoyd RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Lear'sFool

5 stars Of all the albums by actual RIO alumni, this might be not just one of the best, but the very best. Called upon by the arts council of Copenhagen to provide a new soundtrack to the crazed, silent era Danish art house classic "Haxan: Witchcraft Through The Ages", Northern France's greatest band, Art Zoyd, pulled out all the stops, and topped all their previous records, already an excellent discography. Now, you see, the original orchestral score used at the film's premiere, one loved by director Christensen, was never recorded. It was all preexisting pieces put together in an apparently smashing way, but no one bothered to remember which pieces they were. Over the years, various other soundtracks were used, and so, named arts capital of Europe 1996, Copenhagen decided to go for a whole new one only tangentially connected to orchestral music. And did they ever pick a spectacular band to pull it off. Zoyd's dour, strange, varied, and often drum driven style is perfect for the film, and Zoyd pulled it off. The meat of the OST is Hourbette's "Glissements Progressifs du Plaisir", a half hour long stream of interconnected themes, and it stands as the best track. Odd, chilling voices and erratic trumpets sound. Strange electronics make themselves known. And Denis and Hourbette's percussion on most of this? It's beyond perfect, and certainly required a massive amount of skill and stamina to pull off. This is some of the best percussion work ever. Zaboitzeff wrote the remaining pieces, themselves transcendent. "Nuits" shows off a number of styles and directions for the band, and the series of three title tracks are a phenomenal group of bleak sounds. By "Marche", we have a grim march perfect for end credits. The band did the whole of playing and vocalising on this record excellently, especially, again, the percussion. This works excellently on its own, but also is a phenomenal soundtrack, fitting the film wonderfully. This is Zoyd, RIO, chamber prog, and avant prog all at some of their very best. Anyone with any inkling of trying out avant prog, and maybe even drum fanatics also, should listen to this masterpiece. Every listen is mindblowing.

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 Häxan  by ART ZOYD album cover Studio Album, 1997
4.61 | 33 ratings

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Häxan
Art Zoyd RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Considering this is my tenth ART ZOYD album I never dreamed it would turn out to be my favourite. It was the reviews from Guldbamsen and Logan that moved me to go to great lengths in order to make sure I owned this and was it ever worth the effort. Released in 1997 it is one of many film soundtracks the band has created over the years. "Haxan" or "The Witch" is a film from1921. Listening to this you will have no doubt this is ART ZOYD but there are some things about this soundtrack that are different, which I will get to in my description of this record. Daniel Denis is back playing percussion, keyboards and samples like he did on their 1995 album called "Faust". The UNIVERS ZERO drummer is no stranger to this band having played on a couple of their early albums back in 1979 and 1980. UNIVERS ZERO was on hiatus for most of the nineties.

"Glissements Progressifs Du Plaisir(Extraits)" is the 30 minute plus opener that is a ride all on it's own. Deep pulsating sounds echo out of the darkness. Cymbals and percussion-like sounds join in. A fearful atmosphere sweeps through again and again. A change 4 1/2 minutes in as spoken words, organ and a beat take over. Pulsating sounds and sparse keys follow as it builds. Suspense is the word here. Spoken words return 8 minutes in then the tension builds even more before 10 minutes but then quickly we get a dark calm as themes are repeated. Strings, horns and more arrive around 12 1/2 minutes then we hear birds chirping a minute later. What?! After 15 minutes it turns scary then loud chaotic sounds take over before another eerie calm arrives. Fear falls upon the soundscape at 19 minutes. Electronics, piano and drums before 23 minutes along with a deep atmosphere. Vocals join in as the tension builds. Just run! Finally the tension breaks 28 minutes in as horns and pulsating sounds continue.

"Nuits" opens with church bells as outbursts of drums and what sounds like mellotron choirs(probably real choirs) as deep voices and horns come and go. So cool. The tempo picks up 2 minutes in then back to the deep voices and horns. It sounds like something is lit on fire then more intricate sounds as a beat follows. Themes are repeated. Great track. "Haxan Phi" has this creepy atmosphere with sparse piano and distant female operatic vocals, strings too. It kicks into a full sound then laughter can be heard. It settles back as we get a good rhythm with female operatic vocals coming and going. More laughter and eerie sounds then a calm after 4 minutes then it builds as laughter and female vocals come and go.

"Haxan XI" has this dark atmosphere with pinging sounds as strings join in as it gets fuller. Dogs can be heard barking and it sounds like a fire crackling. Heart beat-like pulsating sounds then more strings. "Haxan Psi" has a laid back piano melody, strings and eerie electronics. Horns too in this slower paced piece. Male vocals 2 1/2 minutes in. "Epreuves D'acier" features some interesting sounds with deep male vocal expressions that come and go. Horns after a minute. A calm after 2 minutes with bells and outbursts of male vocals. It sounds like someone taking pictures over and over as creepy strings join in. It sounds like we're being taken somewhere by a rail car then we get water sounds and a haunting atmosphere. Sirens too and outbursts of strange sounds. I do not want to be here. Vibes and male vocals come in then the sounds of pictures being taken again and uptempo drumming. So much going on here. Intense is the word. It ends with the sound of rushing water. Am I dead?

"Marche" ends this over 72 minute record. Percussion-like sounds as horns join in. Breathing sounds follow and whoever this is it sounds like they are about to be killed and they fear for their life. He stops breathing before 2 minutes as this emotional atmosphere arrives that moves me deeply(gulp). Piano joins in then it turns fearful to end it.

Sorry for the long review but man this is why I love ART ZOYD. The masters of creating soundscapes for the mind and they usually take me to a place I would never physically want to be. For that I bow to their talent. Masterpeice!

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 Berlin by ART ZOYD album cover Studio Album, 1987
4.20 | 48 ratings

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Berlin
Art Zoyd RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by ole-the-first

5 stars Dark, beautiful and stunning. That's all I can say about this LP by the French avant-prog band Art Zoyd.

This album consists of two great epic tracks (both are really epic) and a bunch of shorter things. The highlights here are 'A Drum, A Drum', one of those long epics, and 'Baboon's Blood', a shorter track. 'A Drum, A Drum' is an everchanging, very theatric and extraordinary odd piece of art. Some flavor of Ancient Greek comedy comes in here, ain't it? 'Baboon's Blood' is an eerie goth-like song with ominous beat and even creepier vocals.

In general, atmosphere here is perfectly gloomy and sometimes plainly grim. 'Berlin' is one of those rare albums that would leave you totally astonished and begging for more. Unfortunately, Art Zoyd remains a very less-known band, but if some day you'll have a chance to listen to this masterwork, don't skip it!

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 Häxan  by ART ZOYD album cover Studio Album, 1997
4.61 | 33 ratings

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Häxan
Art Zoyd RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Guldbamsen
Forum & Site Admin Group Site and Forum Admin

5 stars Looking down the anthill

This is the soundtrack for the Danish/Swedish art movie Häxan(The Witch) from 1921. Director Benjamin Christensen created an ironic piece of cinema based on his own interpretations of the infamous Malleus Maleficarum (Hammer of the Witches) that all through the middle ages was used as irrefutable proof of the inner witch in women who were unwanted, strange, self-thinking or dangerous - often sentencing them to an early death at the end of a rope (The huge bonfires with burning women is a misconception that still prevails though, but in reality it was very few unfortunate souls that ended up as fiery embers on the stake). Christensen's point was however, that most of the women rendered as witches actually suffered from mental illness. Misconception and superstition leading to fear and pushing society to deal with the stuff we are afraid to face.

So how on earth did Art Zoyd end up making music for an art movie made some 50 years earlier? It was actually commissioned by the city of Copenhagen, back when they were awarded with the honour of being the cultural capital of Europe 1996. This then came out the year after.

I purposely choose to offer up this information at the start of this review, because I feel it has everything to do with the actual music. For my tastes, Art Zoyd have here created an unparalleled piece of music that compliments the sombre and dark universe of Häxan uncannily well. There is a sense of the melodramatic in this album that takes on new meaning. A bitter-sweet touch of sadness that rivals an abandoned dog's yearning cries.

Firstly, Art Zoyd seem to have gone back in time for their inspiration for this work. The cold metronomic electronics mirror the ones they did for their two 1980s releases Berlin and Le Marriage du Ciel et de L'Enfer. Myriads of emerging beats swarming around - creating a startling effect much like looking down into a metallic anthill. The opening beast of a track that lasts 30 minutes should illustrate this chilling and seductive effect. The genius part of the equation though, is the manner in which all these drumming metronomic beats start interweaving with each other: the background suddenly appears in small shimmers of sound, and you get soothing breaths of string instruments passing by you like a swift encounter with a delirious and beautiful death.

Secondly, the inexplicable tension that this group somehow is able to wield is downright spooky. What I mean by tension is the way these musical surfaces stretch out for long periods of time before changing pitch or path. Just like the aforementioned electronic albums from the 80s, there's a similar usage of tension on here - an awaiting future release. The way these pieces build up is perhaps the direct opposite of how most post-rock bands work, yet they still wield that same sense of feeding off the cataclysmic turnovers within the music. With Art Zoyd it just feels like a rubber-band being stretched to the end of infinity and beyond, and then, only then the great big man with the scissors cuts through the umbilical chord - and the sounds evolve, change, transform like a musical version of bloom.

Binding everything together you get angular orchestrated reed sections, cartoonish madman runnings, odd fat man vocalisations, industrial blacksmith hammerings - keeping the beat - like a startled guillotine, and then enveloping all of this a certain stealth vibe about the whole thing - feeling like the music only resides in shadow, creeping up on you like a fragmented whisper.

This is what Art Zoyd is all about. A subtle understated- yet brutal force of music that literally sweeps over you like unexpected gusts of wind. Melodies are second-hand, and at times they just feel like debris or leftovers from the deep entrancing atmospheres - taking you by the hand with the frostbitten force of a small iceberg. That opening cut for example has next to nothing resembling 'melodies' - yet somehow the running time of half an hour feels like a flash. You get lured into black holes, dark brooding forests - an abyss of sound that surely speaks about the fearful images of Benjamin Christensen's cinematic tale of woe. Imagining the middle ages with all that entails - emphasising the overtly superstitious, - the menacing and unfriendly surface of this album suddenly starts making sense. Turn up the volume, turn off the light and let your mind drown out everything but the small ant army of beats and dramatic sways of string accompaniment. A world of images emerges. An inner movie appearing like flickering lights in snow, and then, hopefully, these once senseless and inhuman wrongdoings may finally incinerate before your eyes in a cathartic swoop of sound.

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 Metropolis by ART ZOYD album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.95 | 23 ratings

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Metropolis
Art Zoyd RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars One of the most satisfying things that happens to me in relation to music is when the light goes on as it were with an album that at first I didn't even like. This usually happens when i'm listening to Rio / Avant styled music that just comes off as too difficult or out there initially but then after many listens it clicks with me and I wonder why I didn't get it earlier. This has happened to me a lot with ART ZOYD's records including this one. Especially this one. I find that ART ZOYD makes music that I never really understand fully but I do appreciate it. While most albums reveal their hidden secrets after 10 listens or so I don't think ART ZOYD's music ever does give up these secrets completely even after 50 listens.

This was an album that doesn't really sound like any ART ZOYD album i've listened to before. It is a soundtrack for the movie Metropolis which was re-made in 2002. The original movie came out in 1927 and was a Science Fiction film. This soundtrack is minimalistic and dark. It really gets my imagination going. A lot of themes or sounds seem to be reprised. This isn't the Classical sound of early ART ZOYD but it does have more in common with their electronic styled recordings. There's lots of percussion and electronics along with samples, keyboards and sax. It's often dense and dark as we go from scene to scene usually uninterupted. There are 33 tracks to this soundtrack which amounts to about 108 minutes of music. There are also two extra tracks not related to the soundtrack worth about 42 minutes in total. These two tracks fit in well with what has gone on before in this 2 disc affair. The first of these two extra songs was written for a ballet. All I can say is that it must be for a ballet from hell.

I was going to go track to track like usual but 33 tracks with me saying a lot of the same things is just too much. It was interesting listening to this one mechanical sounding rhythm that was reprised several times. It sounds like a train heading down into the bowels of hell. Very dark and creepy. I like how Man With Hat (Phil) described this to me : "It would definitely be fitting to play in a hellish labyrinth of corridors leading to pure doom." Perfect. "There is a track on UNIVERS ZERO's "Implosion" that this reminded me of but note that "Implosion" came out a couple of years after this.

This is a recording that has really excited me for some reason and I look forward to spending more time with it. Love the cover art as well as we see a sea of these creatures looking very angry.

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 Phase IV by ART ZOYD album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.90 | 44 ratings

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Phase IV
Art Zoyd RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

4 stars Many years ago I was used, as soon as I bought a new album, to copy it to a tape so to have the possibility to enjoy it in my car, even with albums like this that aren't surely the best fit for a travel by car. I didn't write anything but the album's title on the tape so I've always been convinced that the disc 1 was the disc 2 and vice versa. This can happen. How many people has the same issue with albums released by the Transatlantic label, for example?

So now it's quite strange for me starting this review from my "disc 2".

"Etat D'Urgence" (State of Urgency) is a very dark long track. I think the album's cover reflects well the feelings. However just in the middle of the track it becomes more rhythmic, quite Zeuhl, with brasses in evidence and the darkness replaced by a sense of urgency like the track's title suggests. At this point we can hear a number of possible influences, but the fusion of classic and jazz suggests me the word "Zeuhl". We lack only a soprano, but the speeches cried starting from minute 10 restore the RIO/Avant mood respect to a possible Magma influence. Surely this is one of the best Zaboitzeff's compositions, full of different moments, never boring neither easy. The coda slows down to a sudden end.

"Naufrage"(Shipwrecking) is started by a piano solo later followed by cello and I think contrabass played with the bow. When th ebow stops there a short moment f peace suddenly interrupted by piano again. Piano is the only instrument able to drive this track. even when it just plays repetitive notes. The track progresses with the strings overtaking the role of leading instruments in a crescendo of intensity to slow down in the finale for a conclusive fadeout.

Piano again, immediately followed by the other instruments. It's "Dernier Danse"(Last Dance) There's a hint of a melody immediately overwhelmed by the orchestra. After 2 minutes the obsessive sax alto transforms this into a very eclectic track. It's incredible how a 4 minutes song, a length good for the radios, can contain so many things. The last minute with the obsessive rhythm provided by the strings is fantastic. Bumblebees flying...

"Deux Preludes" is a short one based on piano. It shows a contemporary classic influence contaminated by rock chords.

"La Musique D'Erich Faes" is 14 seconds of cello which introduces "Et Avec Votre Esprit" (.and with your spirit). I don't know what's the relationship between this sentence, part of the catholic liturgy, and this very dark and intense orchestral music. Suitable as comment to a horror movie, after two minutes features a sort of church choir in the background which is one of the darkest things of the album. It's so grotesque that makes me think to HP Lovecraft. Grotesque like the Arzachel's "Azatoth" but very much darker.

"Ballade" is opened by harmonics and piano on major chords, like a children's lullaby. This is very unusual for Art Zoyd, a short excursion out of the usual darkness, a pause in the sunshine with a Canterbury or even a YES flavor that the brasses move to the Zeuhl area in the second part of the track. The bass line is remarkable.

Ok, too much fun. The relaxation time is finished, let's get back to hell. "Chemins De Lumiere"(Paths of light) is dark as usual but the rhythm is initially slow. Even though there's nothing electronic, the first minutes of this long track have a singular connection with the early Tangerine Dream, probably because this track seems to be a patchwork of several 4 minutes tracks. The second of them is very low volume and dreamy...even if more than a dream it looks more like a nightmare. The transitions consist in one second of silence, but the recurring themes give unity to what only apparently is discontinuous. It's only at minute 11 that the usual obsessive atmosphere is restored by piano and brasses, but the tempo remains slow and this puts the listener in a hypnagogic situation.

"Du Sang Sur La Neige" (Of blood on the Snow) is as repetitive as an Edgar Froese's track. The variations are progressive (in the sense of progressively appearing) like in a wicked bolero. The saxes and the cello create a wall of chaos on four repetitive piano high pitched notes. The chaotic moments of Vangelis' Heaven and Hell come to my mind even thoug from a musical point of view there are absolutely no relations between Art Zoyd and the Greek maestro.

"Vue D'un Maneige"(View from a Maneige) is based on a rhythmic sequence of a single note. It looks like a 7/4 but I'm not sure. A good hypnotic track.

The second long track of this double album is "La Nuit"(The Night). Effectively the first minute gives a sense of nightly restleness, with the alto sax playing like flies and mosquitos in a warm night. This is not a summer night, it seems to be in a damn swamp, specially when the chaos comes. The flies are very big, now. The chaos comes and goes, and sometimes the brass accents produce major chords. It's like somebody sleeing in an alternance of exited nightmares and relaxed REM phases. It's a great track. Near to the end the flies and the mosquitos are back. The sleep is finished and you can wake up and be conscious of them.

The album is closed by "Les Larmes De Christina"(Cristina's tears). I don't know who is Christina, but also this track is very dark, based on a lazy rhythm provided by a piano chord. Does it transmit sadness or are they tears of pain? I think the first. The soul's pain is sometimes worse than the physical. There's a sense of resignation in this short closer.

Not an easy album, but in general RIO/Avant things are usually uneasy. If you have the patience of put yourself into this dark world for about two hours this can be a 4 stars experience.

..and do not listen to it while driving....

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 Phase IV by ART ZOYD album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.90 | 44 ratings

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Phase IV
Art Zoyd RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Although Univers Zero's Daniel Denis doesn't guest this time, Art Zoyd's Phase IV continues the cross-fertilisation of the ideas between the two bands. The result is an album which continues their chamber rock experiments and yet, to my ears at least, is perhaps the most diverse of their early releases. The composition Ballade, in particular, contains some rather beautiful sections which suggest that despite their thorny, spooky, avant-garde reputation the Zoyd by this point were not afraid of incorporating some more accessible elements into their music if they would fit aesthetically. No longer seeming quite as avant for avant's sake as their previous albums, Phase IV represents an extremely mature artistic statement on the part of the band.

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