Geographies was one of Hector Zazou's first ventures into an odd genre he would linger in for much of the next two decades: the soundtrack for an imaginary film. Mixing in influences from all across the stylistic spectrum, Zazou leavens the ingredients with an overriding sense of calm and even languor, his moody scores possessing a warm, humid quality. The pieces here are performed by what is essentially a chamber orchestra augmented by singers. Listeners familiar with his forays into Afro-funk (for example, Noir et Blanc with the Zairean singer Bony Bikaye) may be somewhat befuddled at the classical restraint shown here.
"A study in sentimental strata… eleven fragments of a Lovers' Discourse…" H. Zazou's 3rd chamber music album for the MTM Series features electronically-reprocessed acoustic instruments, such as trumpet, sax, clarinet, and string quartet. Geologies is an unusual Hector Zazou album in that it is strings focused, albeit electronic music somewhat short of Zazou's usual quirks from his later period. You should bear in mind that it is an earlier album and as such shows Zazou still perfecting his ultimate and unique style with sounds and electronics. Following on from Noir et Blanc, this album is entirely different in tone, many longer notes, intertwining strings melodies and occasional use of some unusual harmonies.
…This is a performance that holds your attention from first note to last–a rare feat in this work. (Munch's later Deutsche Grammophon effort pales by comparison, both sonically and interpretively.) If you want this Berlioz Requiem (and you do), SACD is the way to hear it.
The nine-time Juno-winning Canadian James Ehnes is centre stage in a new recording of orchestral works by Berlioz, with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Andrew Davis. This recording was made following an extraordinary concert in November 2014 with the same forces, in which James Ehnes played two instruments made by Stradivarius, respectively a viola in the solo part of Harold en Italie – ‘symphony with a principal viola part’, in Berlioz’s words – and a violin in the solo of Rêverie et Caprice, both of which works feature here.
…His overwhelming natural affinity for French music made Charles Munch an ideal conductor for Berlioz’s swirling tour de force Symphonie Fantastique. Perfectly capturing the drama, romance & philosophical angst in which this masterpiece is marinated, Munch takes the Boston Symphony Orchestra on an epic journey of proportions only possible in the human heart & mind. A classic, reborn in vivid Living Stereo.
"Noir Et Blanc" is a groundbreaking album described by the UK & US press as "Fela Kuti-meets-Kraftwerk -on-the-dancefloor" and "in the same class as Byrne and Eno's BUSH OF GHOSTS". Resulting from a torrid encounter between Zairean singer Bony Bikaye, Algerian-born French composer Hector Zazou and mad scientists CY1, it also features wild guitars by Fred Frith and by Kinono No1 producer Vincent Kenis, who also mixed the album alongside Gilles Martin and Crammed founder Marc Hollander.