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Album Review

Faust is a new composition on a movie 70 years older. This 72-minute cycle composed and recorded in 1994-1995 was devised as a soundtrack to the 1926 silent movie by F.W. Murnau. Art Zoyd performed this music live to accompany screenings of the movie on a few occasions, but it stands on its own very well. It follows the general esthetics the group developed throughout the 1970s and 1980s: rhythmical, processional music with simple repetitive melodies and dark atmospheres. But during the 1990s, the group turned more and more to synthesizers and samplers, leaving acoustic instruments behind. Therefore the music on Faust relies heavily on keyboards and samplers, along with acoustic and electronic percussion, and a pinch of cello. One finds in "Gates of Darkness I" all the basic elements that made Art Zoyd an icon of gloomy art rock. Most of the pieces relate to specific atmospheres, but their power of evocation is strong enough to compensate for the absence of the images. Guttural voices, harpsichord, orchestral cues, and lots of tympanies come together to create a very convincing horror movie soundtrack. On some superficial points, Faust is quite different from key albums such as Phase IV or Symphonie pour le Jour où Brûleront les Cités, but on a deeper compositional level (writing was split between founding members Gérard Hourbette and Thierry Zaboïtzeff) it can satisfy the fans and attract a few film buffs too. ~ François Couture, Rovi


Formed: 1969 in Valenciennes, France

Genre: Avant-Garde

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The French avant-prog unit (with no member actually named Art Zoyd) formed around the core of bassist Thierry Zaboitzeff, percussionist Jean-Pierre Soarez, and violin player Gerard Hourbette, with guitarist Rocco Fernandez, pianist Patricia Dallio, percussionist Daniel Denis (who later formed Univers Zero) and a changing lineup of half-a-dozen additional instrumentalists. The group's first album, Symphonie Pour le Jour Ou Bruleront les Cités, was self-released in 1976, followed by albums for Recommended...
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