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Album Review

No group sounds quite like Art Zoyd. The blend of Spartan, gloomy chamber rock; dark ambient; and new simplicity the Belgian outfit achieved has never been copied. Their apparent coldness and elitism have attracted much criticism, but support from a devoted cult following pushed the group to continue their course. Sadly, in the 1990s the music became predictable, as the recipe ossified around the stable trio of Patricia Dallio, Gérard Hourbette, and Thierry Zaboïtzeff. Marathonnere I and its companion CD, Marathonnere II, are good examples from that era. Written for a 12-hour interdisciplinary performance by theater artist Serge Noyelle, the music portrays a group in full control of their art, each gesture being well calculated, and yet unable to surprise the listener or go beyond what is expected of them. That said, Marathonnerre I remains a good album that will please fans of '90s Art Zoyd. Most of the music on this first volume was written by Zaboïtzeff. It has a somewhat lighter feel than usual, as it opens a bit more to acoustic sonorities (even if they come out of a keyboard) and features a few exotic flavors. "Konzo Bélé" has a worldbeat-derived African mood that evokes Zaboïtzeff's later solo album India. The CD begins with "Complainte," a slow, mournful number that ranks among the group's best tracks from this period. The quiet percussion motif (played on cymbals or maybe metallic structures) will come back throughout the disc as a leitmotiv. Released in 1993 as a single CD, Marathonnere I was later repackaged with Marathonnere II as the two-CD set Marathonnerre I & II. ~ François Couture, Rovi


Formed: 1969 in Valenciennes, France

Genre: Rock

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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