Author Topic: A long, long voyage...  (Read 3030 times)


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A long, long voyage...
« on: September 18, 2008, 06:46:48 AM »

A sad new that affects me deeply.
The talented french composer Hector Zazou passed away on Monday the 8th of september, at the age of 60.

Zazou was awarded for "Les Nouvelles Polyphonies Corse" and leave us a testimony of a seminal works, printed by his special & recognizable touch, his so deep sensitivity and undeniable sense of sensuality that sublime his compositions.

Among these pearls, I would mention "Music from the cold seas", "Sahara Blue", "Lights in the dark", "Quadri+Chromies", "Strong currents" and "Glyph".

I had the opportunity to see Mr Z two times.

First, in a concert in 2007 at Radio France, GRM Room (Paris), for the "Presences electroniques" Festival ouverture.
He performed with Katie Jane Garside (aaaaaah such sensual voice and presence), Bill Rieflin, Lone Kent and Nils Peter Moelvaer.

I was completely transported and attracted by this sensual, even sexual, ocean of sounds & voices, sometimes minimal, often melodic, through lively and explosive orchestrations and parenthesis of absolute beauty.

Then, I met him two weeks after during the Quartz Award ceremony (awards dedicated to indie electronic music) in Paris.
I talked to him a few minutes, especially about the previous performance.

The man wasn't as convinced as I was by the performance and even doubted this deserved to be released.
6 months after, the CD was released. Mean that an angel or people of good advises changed his mind and showed him this is worth to be listened to.

I will miss this humble man, full of quality, genious and sensitivy, open on the world, the human being and the arts.

I wish him a nice, nice voyage.

darren bergstein

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Re: A long, long voyage...
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2008, 12:24:36 PM »
This is sad news indeed. Zazou remains a criminally underrecognized figure in electronica circles, despite the high profile of a release such as 1992's Sahara Blue, which featured a veritable all-star cast of collaborators (Bill Laswell, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Anneli Drucker, Keith LeBlanc, Lightwave, Steve Shehan, David Sylvian, etc.). His collab w/Harold Budd, Glyph, was also a superb meeting of divergent sensibilities whose very success lies in the seemingly incongruous merging of each musician's approach to minimalism and distinctive sound design.

For me, however, Zazou's best work remains his two early recordings, Geologies, and Geographies (both on Crammed's sublabel Made to Measure), both of which extended Jon Hassell's fourth-world topographies well into fifth-world environs and beyond. In fact, Zazou's polyglot amalgams in many ways carved out a true 'world music' that was leagues ahead of whatever indigenous artists were being appropriated by corporate labels of the time obsessed with finding whatever trip-hop/'world music' combinations they could co-opt. Zazou ingeniously married acoustic and electronic instrumentation in manners that made his multi-kulti fusions work effectively; it all sounded at once 'pure' yet futuristic, truly ground-breaking stuff. Oh, and his collaborative albums with Zairean singer Bikaye also yielded African/rhythmic/Hassell-esque hybrids that remain ever-fascinating, and never equalled, to this day. These 'genres' Hassell and Zazou forged seem dismissed, maligned, or outright forgotten, something which I've never understood—their music was hardly 'fad-dish', certainly less so than, again, much of the mid-90s 'trip-hop' that now sounds hopelessly dated, and far less inspired.

Regardless, Zazou will be missed.