In the House of Mirrors : Remember Hector Zazou (1948-2008)

On September 8th, it has been one year that Hector Zazou (b. 1948) died in Paris. Zazou, a.k.a. Pierre Job, was a French composer, musician and producer kown for his pionneer interest in extra-european music and eclectic approach of composition, in between dark Ambient music and Afro Rock, Contemporary and World Music. He started as an iconoclast member of the French underground Post Psychedelic and Free Rock scene (he has been involved in the Barricade collective in Marseilles in 1969, and then in 1979, "La Perversita's record has been designed by Bazooka/Kiki Picasso). Then, he freely evoluated inside various contexts as Afro Pop ("Noir et Blanc", 1983), World Music (the famous "Les Nouvelles Polyphonies Corses", 1991) and Pop Music with collaborations with people like John Cale, Siouxsie, Jane Birkin, Björk or Brian Eno.

"If music cannot change the world, what use does it have?" This is the question raised by Hector Zazou, one of the most innovative and unpredictable French composers, as the versatility of his career demonstrates: rock music (the band Barricades), French impressionist music (the duet ZNR) or traditional African music (three albums with Bony Bikaye)... Hector Zazou has a surprise waiting with each new composition. Whether it be for string quartet, wind instruments, classical voices or synthesizers, all illustrate his passion for the most unexpected inventions. The album "Les Nouvelles Polyphonies Corses" (1991- is yet another successful experiment blending century-old a-cappella songs with shades of contemporary music performed by Zazou and occasional collaborators such as Jon Hassell, Manu Di Bango, Richard Horowitz, Ryuichi Sakamoto and John Cale. The following year Hector's "Sahara Blue" was released: the album, based on the work of the French poet Arthur Rimbaud and performed by the Sahara Blue Orchestra stars David Sylvian, Bill Laswell, Khaled, Dead Can Dance, Gérard Depardieu among other guests. Inspired by the musical folk traditions of the Northern Hemisphere, Hector's next adventure was "Songs From The Cold Seas" (1995), a literal journey through Siberian Shamanism, Scandinavian folk songs, Japanese ballads and Greenland mythology featuring an impressive cast of musicians including Värttina, Tokiko Kako, Suzanne Vega, Björk, Siouxsie and Jane Siberry. Released in 1998, "Lights In The Dark" – an exploration of ancient sacred Celtic music from the XIIth century featured some of the most beautiful Irish voices (Katie Mc Mahon, Breda Mayock and Lasairfhiona Ni Chonaola), a gospel choir and guest appearances by Mark Isham, Carlos Nuñez, Caroline Lavelle or Peter Gabriel. A successful tour followed in France (Printemps de Bourges), Italy and Switzerland (Montreux Jazz Festival). Recorded with American singer Sandy Dillon, "Las Vegas Is Cursed" (2001) saw the return of Hector Zazou to electricity and experimentation (A flabbergasting baroque opera, a series of intriguing sonic scenes mixing electronic rock and altered chamber music (Keyboards Magazine). This amazingly rich and eclectic career brings to light the pioneering aspect of Zazou's unique approach and confirms his position in the foreground of the world music scene. In 2003 Hector Zazou composed an original soundtrack for Carl-Théodor Dreyer’s “la Passion de Jeanne d’Arc” while his new album “Strong Currents” was released, a collection of acoustic songs that was the fruit of several years of work (with Jane Birkin, Lisa Germano, Laurie Anderson…). Spring 2004 saw the release of “L’Absence”; an electronic twin of “Strong Currents”. He was then commissionned (by ciné-mix and Le Forum Des images in Paris)to compose another original soundtrack, this time for Robert Flaherty documentary “Nanouk Of The North”. Hector Zazou has proven himself as a creative force behind several unsual projects, as a unique musical arranger and producer called upon for his constant capacity of innovétion. He has been commissionned to write pieces for strings ensembles (By the Balanescu Quartet), contemporary dance performances or for the opening night festivities of the 1998 football world cup. Hector Zazou’s inventiveness as a producer has lead him to work with numerous artists among them Tibetan singer Yungchen Lhamo (Real World Records), Galician bagpipes player Carlos Nuñez,, Uzbek singer Sevara Nazarkhan (Yol Bolsin, Real World Records) , Italian band PGR (“Per Grazia Ricevuta”, released by Universal, was hailed as a masterpiece by the Italian press) and among others. His most recent project, a CD/DVD titled Quadri [+] Chromies, result of a two years collaboration with French digital painter Bernard Caillaud has been released in 2006. Followed in early 2008 by "Corps Electriques". His new album "In The House Of Mirrors", recorded in India, will be released by Crammed in September 2008. “In England they have Peter Gabriel, in America they have David Byrne, in France we have Hector Zazou” (Jean-françois Bizot)

(From Tacktic Music)

Here is a track from "In the House of Mirrors", his latest record on Crammed, recorded in India and mixed in Paris with Toir Kuziyev (tambur, oud et saz), Milind Raikar (violin), Ronu Majumdar (flute) et Manish Pingle (Indian slide guitar).

Get "Wanna Mako" here