I confess I've only heard two records by them so far: the second album and the Nosferatu soundtrack. But I'm fairly confident that while they may or may not have anything that matches the best prog classics, what I have heard so far indicates they deserve a place up with the big boys of the genre.
I saw Nosferatu with their soundtrack years ago and I've always thought it was one of the best soundtracks I've ever heard. At first it sounds as if too odd for the film, but after a while it makes perfect sense. Really strange stuff.
It taken me maybe as long as 10 years to find get some more of their stuff, I had often heard they were difficult and wilfully obcsure, my searches for them in this forum have come up with mixed responses and some calling them dry (what does that mean?); but everything I've heard has been incredibly satisfying, not difficult at all; I think they have a riveting, brilliant distinct sound and I'm truly excited to get more. I'm not good at describing these things, but I love the deep dark hardness of some of their music. Even though they are not totally obscure I still feel like I'm unearthing something special which I think is more than good enough to have a growing reputation.
I saw that Amazon has a large amount of their albums on mp3, some cd copies are extremely expensive. Thierry Zaboitzeff's solo albums harder to find, but they might be worth it judging from the amazing live clips of him. Patricia Dallio's solo stuff is also said to be great.
I've read a lot of debate on the two versions of their first album, some think the first version is much better and some cant really tell the difference. Anyone got an opinion on this?
― Robert Adam Gilmour, Thursday, 1 August 2013 14:27 (six years ago) link
Aside from Art Zoyd, Univers Zero, Magma, Henry Cow and Art Bears, none of the other rock in opposition stuff has really caught me. Maybe I need to listen to more samples.
― Robert Adam Gilmour, Thursday, 1 August 2013 15:07 (six years ago) link
have you tried the newer stuff cutler's label has put out, like thinking plague?
― reggie (qualmsley), Thursday, 1 August 2013 16:51 (six years ago) link
Not yet, but I'm sure they are one of the hundreds of bands that have been on my shopping list for years.
― Robert Adam Gilmour, Thursday, 1 August 2013 18:11 (six years ago) link
Thierry Zaboitzeff has his own youtube channel but I cant find the videos I seen a while ago, some of it is really great.
His vocals are often like metal vocals, I think he's been singing like this since the 80s
― Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 2 August 2013 21:38 (six years ago) link
I've been meaning to buy more Art Zoyd soon and I was checking out where a lot of their cd bonus tracks come from and which mp3 albums they are on. I got their recent reissue of Musique Pour L'Odyssee and the bonus tracks were incredible but I found out the are on the Les Espaces Inquiets/ Phase IV mp3 album apart from a live version of "Manege" from their earlier albums which is great but I guess I could live without if the studio version is just as good.
The Symphonie Pour Le Jour Où Brûleront Les Cités mp3 album actually contains the second and third albums Musique Pour L'Odyssee and Generation Sans Futur plus bonus tracks!
So I guess these two mp3 albums are the compilations that came out in late 80s - early 90s. Seems like a bargain, I need to get a cheap ipod without internet and apps and all that shit.
― Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 9 October 2013 13:40 (six years ago) link
Aside from Art Zoyd, Univers Zero, Magma, Henry Cow and Art Bears, none of the other rock in opposition stuff has really caught me.
Try Present, which is one of the main guys from Univers Zero.Etron Fu Leloublan and Samla Mannas Manna are the other best bands from that particular sub-sub genre, but they have a very clanky, loose sound that puts some people off.
― Addison Doug (Matt #2), Wednesday, 9 October 2013 14:29 (six years ago) link
Yes, present sounds cool. I recently got more interested in lots of these bands from watching the Romantic Warriors II: About Rock In Opposition dvd, I talked about it a bit in them Prog listening club thread. After seeing the film I bought a Henry Cow box set.
― Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 9 October 2013 14:52 (six years ago) link
I don't know much about RIO aside from Univers Zero and Magma. I have one Present album which I HATE and Art Zoyd's Phase IV which I love (although it's hard to pin down!) Very skeletal sounding - sounds like they're playing instruments made out of bones or something. Complex like vertebrae and sparse like a skeleton bleached white over the course of a millennium by a sun in permanent near-eclipse. No drums at all, if I remember correctly, although string instruments are used as percussion throughout. I think dry is a good word for this album - little to no reverb aside from the room. It's all very high contrast and every instrument is very clear. I got both cds from Wayside which has okay prices overall but the Art Zoyds are unusually expensive (though very handsome.) I will buy more eventually, never heard the others so I guess I don't know how it stacks up.
The Present I have is super boring. It's impressive, I guess, intricate compositions and athletic endurance but very mechanical. The repetitions go on too long and for too little payoff. It's similar to Univers Zero (same drummer but he didn't compose this stuff) except maybe more rock and roll. It is however not as effective IMO, lacking the drama of UZ. It is a good value for the money though if you like their sound, I forget what it's called but it has their first two albums on one disc and a skull on the cover.
― liam fennell, Wednesday, 9 October 2013 15:42 (six years ago) link
Liam Fennell says "Very skeletal sounding - sounds like they're playing instruments made out of bones or something. Complex like vertebrae and sparse like a skeleton bleached white over the course of a millennium by a sun in permanent near-eclipse"
That's an interesting description! Some of those bonus tracks I mentioned had that quality and I was wondering how to even begin visualising the sound but the best I can think of is some sort of dark shapeshifting steel contorting man with lots of spidery limbs making music with his body in a strange crawling, spinning dance.
That Present 2 album comp is the one I'm interested in getting.
― Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 9 October 2013 16:20 (six years ago) link
Yeah, shapeshifting and contorting describes it well! And also maybe the word compact. It is one really long cd, not 2, my mistake. The Present is def a good value, I just could never get into it.
― liam fennell, Wednesday, 9 October 2013 16:23 (six years ago) link
I'm wondering what the band sounds like without Zaboitzeff after he left in the late 90s, because he does a lot of my favourite things in the band.
― Robert Adam Gilmour, Thursday, 10 October 2013 00:48 (six years ago) link
Finished listening to the recent reissue of their debut Symphonie Pour Le Jour Ou Bruleront Les Cites. Got no idea if it's the second recording of it, the credits don't clearly state that.
Hugely deserving of the classic status, it does seem to be their most acclaimed album. It has a lot of that old European nihilism/decadent feeling. I think the titles translate into being about burned down ruined cities and descent into idiocy. Vocals used sparingly, lots of violin and trumpet; there is a bit that reminds me a lot of Can's Tago Mago when Damo sounds like he is going nuts with a cement drill. It's has so many great moments and although it does break up into five tracks, it does feel like the one piece.
Some really lovely bonus tracks from their 80s theatre soundtracks.
― Robert Adam Gilmour, Monday, 28 April 2014 22:58 (six years ago) link
Cant tell if these are slightly different versions of the Nosferatu soundtrack. Amazing stuff whatever the case.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-256kNll_9o
― Robert Adam Gilmour, Sunday, 22 June 2014 15:49 (five years ago) link
Most of Thierry Zaboitzeff and Patricia Dallio's solo albums are on mp3 now.
― Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 1 April 2015 12:27 (five years ago) link
Generation Sans Futur came out on CD & LP some time last year.
― Robert Adam Gilmour, Sunday, 13 March 2016 17:41 (four years ago) link
The crowds of secretive whispering at the start of Generation Sans Futur is such a brilliant touch.
― Robert Adam Gilmour, Thursday, 4 August 2016 22:17 (three years ago) link
they're just saying "rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb".
― a confederacy of lampreys (rushomancy), Thursday, 4 August 2016 22:27 (three years ago) link
Really? It doesn't sound like that.
― Robert Adam Gilmour, Thursday, 4 August 2016 23:24 (three years ago) link
no, i was making a joke.
― a confederacy of lampreys (rushomancy), Friday, 5 August 2016 00:29 (three years ago) link
cuneiform wants to put out a huge box set of live and unreleased material, but they need pre-orders! this looks like it would be awesome.
― increasingly bonkers (rushomancy), Saturday, 4 February 2017 01:54 (three years ago) link
This sounds really great but I'm sorry I can't pay that amount. Thanks for bringing it up though.
Would really appreciate CD reissues of some of their 80s albums.
― Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 4 February 2017 02:37 (three years ago) link
I feel bad because I'm always wishing they were as popular as Yes and King Crimson but I can't spend that much.
― Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 4 February 2017 02:42 (three years ago) link
Cuneiform just announced they met their presales goal so the box set is definitely coming out. Which is nice.
― Ned Raggett, Friday, 24 February 2017 19:09 (three years ago) link
― Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 24 February 2017 21:03 (three years ago) link
Generation Sans Futur is a lot less accessible than the previous two albums, a lot more erratic. So many great ideas in there but somehow most of the tracks are just not clicking for me yet. Gonna have to pick it up again another year.
But I love the long opening track, it's genius. The evocation of secrecy, madness and despair is fantastic. Wish I knew my instruments so I could describe one of the best parts.
― Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 21 June 2017 22:12 (two years ago) link
There's a bonus track live version of one of their earlier pieces which is more blazing than the original.
― Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 21 June 2017 22:13 (two years ago) link
Quick note that the big box set is going on Bandcamp:
And if you just want the music, it's $80 cheaper.
― Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 31 October 2017 22:04 (two years ago) link
(Should add, that includes the music from the DVDs.)
― Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 31 October 2017 22:05 (two years ago) link
― Robert Adam Gilmour, Tuesday, 31 October 2017 22:26 (two years ago) link
"musique pour l'odysée" slays
― reggie (qualmsley), Friday, 23 February 2018 21:22 (two years ago) link
Yes, I remember enjoying the bonus tracks as much as the album.
― Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 23 February 2018 21:28 (two years ago) link
RIP Gérard Hourbette, age 64. No English-language obits as yet I don't think.
― Does anybody remember laughter? *audience screams* (Matt #2), Monday, 7 May 2018 08:57 (two years ago) link
That's a shame. I guess that means the band is finished now?
― Robert Adam Gilmour, Monday, 7 May 2018 09:18 (two years ago) link
From their Wikipedia page: "The band has announced Monique Hourbette-Vialadieu will replace him as artistic director of the studios." So maybe there'll still be a live version accompanying films, dance performances etc? Guess the music's all there and it's not like it requires especially distinctive playing styles.
― Does anybody remember Rock In Opposition? *audience screams* (Matt #2), Monday, 7 May 2018 09:41 (two years ago) link
Been wanting to hear Les Espaces Inquiets for years because I heard an amazing clip from "ceremonie" and it is an incredible track, easily the highlight of the album and I'd be surprised if they had many that are much better than this. The rest is good but I don't have much to say about it.
― Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 1 February 2019 18:04 (one year ago) link
Zaboitzeff solo stuffhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHbDjt-o8ss
I haven't listened to enough of the band to know which parts are coming from who but I often suspect Zaboitzeff is responsible for a lot of my favorite parts.
― Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 22 June 2019 18:38 (eleven months ago) link
― Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 14 September 2019 20:36 (eight months ago) link
― Robert Adam Gilmour, Tuesday, 31 March 2020 16:38 (two months ago) link
I know, another video, but it's greathttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnVK0ZlVgDA
― Robert Adam Gilmour, Thursday, 21 May 2020 18:53 (one week ago) link