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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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Musique Pour L'odyssee by Art Zoyd (2013-01-28)Musique Pour L'odyssee by Art Zoyd (2013-01-28)
Sub Rosa
Audio CD$78.71
Musique Pour L'OdysseeMusique Pour L'Odyssee
Sub Rosa 2013
Audio CD$11.91
$47.00 (used)
Symphonie Pour Le Jour Ou Bruleront Les CitesSymphonie Pour Le Jour Ou Bruleront Les Cites
Sub Rosa 2012
Audio CD$12.64
$12.49 (used)
Atonal 2003
Audio CD$31.99 (used)
Generation Sans FuturGeneration Sans Futur
Sub Rosa 2015
Audio CD$9.84
$11.92 (used)
CD Baby 1993
Audio CD$20.79
$13.95 (used)
CD Baby 1993
Audio CD$20.83
$55.00 (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 | 79 ratings
Art Zoyd 3 [Aka: 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
3.79 | 36 ratings
Les Espaces Inquiets
3.94 | 66 ratings
Le Mariage Du Ciel Et De L'Enfer
4.22 | 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
4.49 | 52 ratings
3.44 | 18 ratings
4.02 | 25 ratings
3.75 | 8 ratings
Art Zoyd & Musiques Nouvelles: Expériences De Vol
4.00 | 7 ratings
Art Zoyd & Musiques Nouvelles: 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
Expériences De Vol - 7 [Aka: Pure Noise]
4.75 | 7 ratings
3.00 | 3 ratings
Armageddon - Opérette Pour Robots

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
 Les Espaces Inquiets by ART ZOYD album cover Studio Album, 1983
3.79 | 36 ratings

Les Espaces Inquiets
Art Zoyd RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

5 stars ART ZOYD's fifth album is in my opinion one of their best. I'd rate it in my top five with "Haxan", "Generation Sans Futur", "Le Mariage Du Et De L'Enfer" and "Musique Pour L'Odyssee". This one clicked with me right away as the dynamic duo of Hourbette and Zaboitzeff have once again created an album that takes me to dark places which are full of adventure. Apart from the usual instruments we get cello, viola, violin, tapes, trumpet, flugelhorn, sax and vibes. This was recorded in Switzerland at Sunrise Studios back in August of 1983 and it clocks in at under 43 minutes.

"La Foret Qui Avance" is a top three and I love that they opened with such an experimental track. Check out the intro with that distortion and experimental sounds. It's eerie as strings start to come and go slicing away. Whispered voices also come and go in this creepy and scary section. In fact hair-raising might be the right description. "Ceremonie" is another top three for me. This has three main sections over it's over 9 minute length. I was actually reminded of ELP to start with the sound of that organ as it's quite powerful. You can hear the horns join in as there's lots of depth to the sound here as the rhythm almost pulses. It does settle back before 2 minutes and there's so many intricate sounds here and still plenty of depth. The piano joins in followed by strings. So much going on. Love the huge bass sounds from Zaboitzeff and also the guitar as he has it crying out 4 1/2 minutes in. So good! A change after 5 minutes as it brightens yet it's still dark and melancholic. Love this! Another change before 7 minutes as horns blast and deranged vocals speak and yell in this more stripped down section. A brilliant piece of music. "Errance" opens with laid back piano as a horn joins in crying out of the darkness over and over. It calms down even more before 3 1/2 minutes with sparse piano and horns until we get more life before 4 minutes as sounds come and go to the end.

"Cortege Des Officiels" features more of that powerful organ again bringing ELP to mind. The song feels like it's starting to take off with piano outfront but then it settles back with more organ and deep sounds. A frenzy after 3 minutes as we get an uptempo piano led melody but then it settles back again. "Au Dela Des Vallees" starts with piano as strings then horns join in. This is really good. It's building after 2 1/2 minutes as we get lots of suspense here. "Migration" is my final top three. Strings to open as piano helps out then the horns arrive droning away. There's more depth after 2 1/2 minutes as we get a piano led outburst that will come and go. There's a steady and determined sound around 4 minutes in then this cool little melody arrives that's repeated. That piano led outburst is back after 6 minutes then we get a change after 7 minutes as the organ returns with this almost buzzing soundscape. Percussion follows as the piano and more join in. Check out the blasting horns before 9 minutes. Some creepy electronics 10 1/2 minutes in as the horns continue to blast with percussion and more. An amazing track. "Le Bruit Du Fer" starts with percussion, bells and more. Horns and strings will also join in this short 3 minute closer.

I can't get enough of this stuff, they are such an adventerous band always brimming with ideas.

 Art Zoyd 3 [Aka: Symphonie Pour Le Jour Où Brûleront Les Cités] by ART ZOYD album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.89 | 79 ratings

Art Zoyd 3 [Aka: Symphonie Pour Le Jour Où Brûleront Les Cités]
Art Zoyd RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by ALotOfBottle
Prog Reviewer

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!

 Häxan by ART ZOYD album cover Studio Album, 1997
4.49 | 52 ratings

Art Zoyd RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Häxan for the most part constitutes Art Zoyd's soundtrack for the classic silent movie of the same name. However, this seems to not be the only source on the group's mind; take the electronic-inclined half-hour opener, "Glissements progressifs du plaisir", which shares a title with an obscure French movie, and whose constituent parts allude to Ubik, one of the most important novels by Philip K. Dick and a subject that Art Zoyd would expand on in previous releases).

Overall, the album is a mixed bag of influences, ranging from Art Zoydified electronic music to more conventional film soundtrack stuff with some Zoydian spookiness here and there to more typical Art Zoyd RIO outbursts. The transitions from style to style, however, are handled with such craft that you won't realise they've happened until you find yourself in the midst of a new sonic landscape.

Unfortunately, due to the disparity in running time between the CD and the movie (which is longer than a single CD would be able to encompass), you can't simply put this album on and sync it up to the film, but in being forced to select extracts and assemble something which stands as a decent listening experience in its own right independently of the source material, Art Zoyd have produced something pretty compelling here.

 Marathonnerre I by ART ZOYD album cover Studio Album, 1992
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.

 Expériences De Vol - 7  [Aka: Pure Noise] by ART ZOYD album cover Studio Album, 2009
2.33 | 3 ratings

Expériences De Vol - 7 [Aka: 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
4.49 | 52 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.

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

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