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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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Buy ART ZOYD Music

Generation Sans FuturGeneration Sans Futur
Sub Rosa 2015
Audio CD$10.19
$11.65 (used)
Musique Pour L'OdysseeMusique Pour L'Odyssee
Sub Rosa 2013
Audio CD$11.45
$11.44 (used)
Symphonie Pour Le Jour Ou Bruleront Les CitesSymphonie Pour Le Jour Ou Bruleront Les Cites
Sub Rosa 2012
Audio CD$12.27
$12.26 (used)
Mantra 2003
Audio CD$37.13
$19.99 (used)
CD Baby 1993
Audio CD$20.87
$13.95 (used)
CD Baby 1993
Audio CD$20.87
$55.00 (used)
Marathonnerre IMarathonnerre I
Atonal 1993
Audio CD$65.47
$19.95 (used)
CD Baby 2012
Audio CD$30.18
$99.00 (used)
Le Champs Des LarmesLe Champs Des Larmes
CD Baby 2006
Audio CD$17.25
$50.00 (used)
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ART ZOYD discography

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

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

3.89 | 78 ratings
Symphonie Pour Le Jour Où Brûleront Les Cités
3.88 | 72 ratings
Musique Pour L'Odyssée
4.00 | 74 ratings
Génération Sans Futur
4.19 | 50 ratings
Symphonie Pour Le Jour Où Brûleront Les Cités
3.93 | 51 ratings
Phase IV
3.50 | 35 ratings
Les Espaces Inquiets
3.94 | 66 ratings
Le Mariage Du Ciel Et De L'Enfer
4.20 | 52 ratings
3.67 | 32 ratings
2.63 | 11 ratings
Art Zoyd / J.A. Deane / J. Greinke
4.17 | 21 ratings
Marathonnerre I
3.32 | 18 ratings
Marathonnerre II
3.93 | 23 ratings
4.56 | 51 ratings
3.44 | 18 ratings
4.02 | 25 ratings
3.75 | 8 ratings
Musiques Nouvelles Ensemble - Expériences De Vol # 1, 2, 3
4.00 | 7 ratings
Musiques Nouvelles Ensemble - Expériences De Vol # 4, 5, 6
3.00 | 18 ratings
Le Champ Des Larmes
3.13 | 12 ratings
La Chute De La Maison Usher
2.33 | 3 ratings
Pure Noise
4.75 | 7 ratings
3.00 | 3 ratings
Armageddon: Opérette Pour Robots
0.00 | 0 ratings
Chicos Del 21 - Expériences De Vol 9

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)

3.41 | 8 ratings
Les Espaces Inquiets / Phase IV / Archives II
3.41 | 8 ratings
Symphonie Pour Le Jour Où Brûleront Les Cités / Musique Pour L'Odyssée / Génération Sans Futur / Archives I
4.20 | 11 ratings
Marathonnerre I & II

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

2.31 | 7 ratings
Sangria / Something in love

ART ZOYD Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Marathonnerre I  by ART ZOYD album cover Studio Album, 1993
4.17 | 21 ratings

Marathonnerre I
Art Zoyd RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Lewian

5 stars Marathonnere I is in some ways a very typical 1990s Art Zoyd album. It has a strongly electronic flavour and is full of typical mysterious dark Art Zoyd melodies and rhythms. I know that many listeners prefer their earlier works with more orchestral and acoustic instruments to their later more electronic output, but I am quite fond of their more electronic offerings. I think that the electronic sounds are very tastefully created and combined, and they underline the outworldly extrahuman feeling of the band's music. Marathonnere I is an extract of music for a 12h performance; more of this is on Marathonnere II. What makes the first Marathonnere CD special is that it is more melodic and accessible than many other Art Zoyd's works (including Marathonnere II), at the same time still being unmistakenly Art Zoyd. Also there are a few songs with very straight rhythms; depending on what you like to do with your body, this could work quite well for dancing. "Firebirds" is a good example for a driving, energetic and vibrant rhythmical piece of which there are several here. Quite some warmth is injected into this album by extensive use of voice samples, which give some parts a very tribal feel, and in any way as a human one doesn't feel quite as alone on this than on some other albums from their output. In "Konzo Bele" they even manage to come up with a surprise 4 minutes of stunning beauty; something unheard of on other A.D. albums. This is probably not their most innovative release, but the leading one, at least for me personally, when it comes to putting its melodies and sounds in my head, which have the power to stay with me for long. It may also be a good first taster for people who don't know the band. Don't be fooled, this isn't straight and easy pop music by any means, it is inventive and mysterious, but still, it's also tasteful and good to listen to. If you don't know the band and you're open to electronic music, try this! (If you know the band, try it anyway.)
 Eyecatcher by ART ZOYD album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.75 | 7 ratings

Art Zoyd RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Lewian

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!

 La Chute De La Maison Usher by ART ZOYD album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.13 | 12 ratings

La Chute De La Maison Usher
Art Zoyd RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Lewian

4 stars Maison Usher is a cross between the coldness and remoteness of Champ des Larmes and earlier Art Zoyd music for dark films and stories such as Nosferatu, Häxan etc. As such, it is a bit more accessible than Champ des Larmes (let alone Pure Noise), but still has an impersonal, immaterial, even unwelcoming feel to it. There are familiar elements such as deep church clocks, dramatic electronic textures, slow machine-like rhythms, atonal sequences, dark sound effects. Compared to Champ des Larmes the atmosphere is more dark cellar, ghosts and secrets than ice mountains. Some parts are quite minimalist, but there are also a few in which quite a lot is going on. Once more, there are no conventional song structures or melodies, but some clearer structures and contrasts, more rhythm than on Champ des Larmes, and even some piano. Champ des Larmes is more unique and innovative, but the little bit more connection with "music as we know it" here gives the listener a better chance of getting something out of it.

Art Zoyd were always very special, but they continue to develop even more into their own planet, distant and hard to connect to from anywhere wordly. Their music evokes ghosts and echoes from lost stories of the past, little to really get hold of or stand on. Whenever I listen to this I have difficulties to get into it at first, but I then realise that there is much to discover. If you can bear it, it's a rewarding experience.

3 1/2 stars.

 Pure Noise by ART ZOYD album cover Studio Album, 2009
2.33 | 3 ratings

Pure Noise
Art Zoyd RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Lewian

2 stars You may not believe it but this is what it says on the tin: pure noise! Granted, there is some variation in the noise from time to time, and the three tracks are somewhat different from each other, but still, expect pure noise, nothing else. Art Zoyd, I think, has evolved into some kind of ever-changing cloud of musicians and discogs lists this as "Various Artists", which is kind of true. The three tracks are played by rather different subgroups with existing but little intersection, but Art Zoyd's website sells it so they don't deny that it's somehow theirs. Also, despite the changing-subgroups-and-composers-thing, there is a consistent concept here, which is (did I mention this already?) pure noise. This will be one star for the vast majority of you but I give it 2 because it is, in its own way, very unique, and it certainly doesn't pretend that it is something else than what it is. I actually bought it because it was quite cheap and I was curious, and given that it was cheap and it is special, I don't regret it. You can certainly use it if you want to show off what weird musical taste you have or clear your place of people if you're having a party and want to go to bed. Still, despite me being used to quite extreme experimental music, i can't give it an artistic appreciation that would earn it more than 2 stars. (I don't rule out that somebody else could.)
 Le Champ Des Larmes by ART ZOYD album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.00 | 18 ratings

Le Champ Des Larmes
Art Zoyd RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Lewian

3 stars The Champ des Larmes is very cold. That's my impression. It's, in a certain sense, the most extreme record that I have. Many older Art Zoyd records create a pretty straightforward emotional response in me, usually, as one could expect, of a rather dark nature, but Champ des Larmes is like ice mountains in the distance. (Ok, I admit, that's some kind of emotional response, too.) Certainly this has to do with the fact that this is really, really experimental and sound-oriented and there are hardly any conventional song elements in it. Even anything that could be described as rhythm (and be it noise rhythm) is very rare, let alone identifiable notes or even harmonics. As opposed to other Art Zoyd works, Champ des Larmes is smooth in the sense that there are no sharp contrasts and development is slow. There is variety in sounds and some may be perceived as somewhat noisy, but still even these are somewhat muted. Nothing is harsh, neither is anything friendly or warm. I generally like field recordings, sound experiments etc., so I can find much that is fascinating on this album, but still, it's difficult to get into and I always fall back to this impression of coldness and distance. Which itself is fascinating in that the impression that the album creates is really unique. I couldn't connect to it in the beginning and was initially rather disappointed with it (I like most of Art Zoyd quite a lot and I don't usually need time to get into their mood) so was expecting a similar response here but instead - ice mountains in the distance. I've come back to this album more often than I initially believed, though, and learned to appreciate it in its uniqueness.

As this is a quite extreme experience, the center 3 stars rating seems quite strange, but the thing is, it has to be at least 3 for the uniqueness and fascination but cannot be more because still there is this feeling that I cannot quite connect with it and in any case my recommendation can only be: try out at your own risk.

 Häxan  by ART ZOYD album cover Studio Album, 1997
4.56 | 51 ratings

Art Zoyd RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Once again, Art Zoyd undertakes creating a soundtrack for a silent film. This time the film is about witchcraft and the way those that were suspected of being witch were tortured. The film itself is highly regarded, and Art Zoyd was commissioned to do the music this time instead of doing it on their own. So, in most cases, soundtracks don't stand alone very well. But, as we have seen before, Art Zoyd can make a soundtrack that easily stands on it's own. Does it happen this time? Absolutely.

This album stands as one of the best avant-prog albums out there. The music is absolutely amazing, dramatic, dynamic and deserves to be called modern classical music. This is some of the best music in this genre. Even though AZ was performing mostly electronic and keyboard generated music at this time, (except for some cello, percussion and some strange vocals from time to time) the music is so well orchestrated and produced, that it sounds far from being manufactured, or at least you forget the fact that it is electronic.

This album is simply amazing. The music can be challenging, but the music demands to be listened to. Yes you can use it for background music, but you will miss how amazing it is if you do that. And there is way too much going on in the music that if you put it on as background music, you will find yourself constantly being distracted by it's complexity and it's amazingness.

The album starts out with a 35 minute track, which is actually a 7 movement composition. This one is closer to actual orchestration as far as the feeling of the piece. It consists of a lot of tension building movements that really see no release, just a lot of building of tension with a variety of devices. The pay off comes in the last 8 minutes of the piece in a tension breaker that will leave you speechless if you are really listening. Yes it is demanding, but there are plenty of smaller pay offs throughout the rest of the piece. It sounds more like a traditional orchestra for the most part, or at least more adapted to that format then the rest of the album. But that last 8 minutes is just astounding.

After this, the music has more of a modern sound, but it still incorporates classical technique and ideals. You will hear an obvious difference in "Nuits" as more modern techniques are used with strange sounds and etc., but there is still plenty of exciting and interesting melodies throughout the music, and it never gets boring if you are paying attention. A lot of things will fly right past you if you aren't listening. There are even a few passages where the music suddenly slips into a modern beat with a bass line and all, and you think, where in the world did that come from. It is not out of place by any means, it all fits together. The next 3 tracks are different parts of "Haxan" named after greek symbols or letters. "Haxan Phi" is very exciting, dramatic and excellent, "Haxan Xi" is shorter and more subdued, and "Haxan Psi" is a more quiet and flowing without a lot of change. It can tend to take you away into a meditative state.

Suddenly, the 17 minute track "Epreuves d'Acier" kicks in and acts like one of those things that composers used to put into their music to startle listeners back into a wakeful state. Careful here, because you will be startled because your volume has been creeping up and if you are not ready for it, you will be taken by surprise. This is another very dynamic and fluctuating piece with plenty of moods and wonderful passages that will intrigue you. The last piece is short and called "Marche". It is a quiet yet dark piece that ends the album.

It is very hard to describe just how great this music is. You really have to experience it to grasp how awesome it is. There are always changing moods, dynamics and structures. There are plenty of surprises. Anyone who loves their music challenging and intelligent needs to hear this and pay full attention to it. It is a masterpiece of the highest order and actually earns 6 stars in my own rating system and there are not many albums that earn that extra star. It is reserved for the best of the best. That is what this album is. But I can only give it 5 stars here, so there you go. Amazing music that needs to be listened to.

 Génération Sans Futur by ART ZOYD album cover Studio Album, 1980
4.00 | 74 ratings

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.

 Faust  by ART ZOYD album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.93 | 23 ratings

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.

 Symphonie Pour Le Jour Où Brûleront Les Cités by ART ZOYD album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.89 | 78 ratings

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.

 Häxan  by ART ZOYD album cover Studio Album, 1997
4.56 | 51 ratings

Art Zoyd RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by LearsFool
Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

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.
Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to easy livin for the last updates

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