Thierry Zaboitzeff 50 ans de musique (s)

50 ans de musique (s)

3 CD Retrospective box set
Artist : Thierry Zaboitzeff
Label : Monstre Sonore
Digital release date : 23/09/2022
Physical release date: 23/09/2022
Digital distribution : BELIEVE on all streaming and download platforms.
Physical distribution : PIAS
Genre: symphonic electro rock - ambient - contemporary classical - alternative - post rock - music for image.
Number of tracks : 43 | Duration : 218'
Musicians : Thierry Zaboitzeff (interpretation - recording - mixing - electric bass - electric cello - voice - keyboards - guitar - programming of percussions and other virtual acoustic instruments)
Composition : Thierry Zaboitzeff
Artwork : Thierry Moreau
Liner notes : Denis Desassis

La Voix du Nord (F)


For Zaboitzeff, 50 years of music,
and a whole life after Art Zoyd

In 2017, the cymbal struck. The New York Times had ranked "44 and a half", by northern band Art Zoyd, among the box sets of the century, between Bowie and Zappa.
century between Bowie and Zappa. Six years later, Sambrian Thierry Zaboitzeff, Art Zoyd's other composer along with Gérard
Hourbette, has released his own boxed set, covering half a century of creative work. We're waiting for the New York review.



Thierry Zaboitzeff is taking a breather. 70 years old, no tour planned, a blank page in his studio. What a sound it would make, if on his double bass
the bow slips on a wet cloth? He now lives in Salzburg, Austria. The city of Mozart. Not the slightest hint of rivalry with the divine Amadeus. But the certainty that he was right to hold on to his guitar. As a rare privilege, at the end of 2022 Zaboitzeff released a fine three-disc box set of his 50 years of music (see below).
against). A collector's item. The oldest track dates back to prehistoric times: 1971. Sangria is, as its name
Sangria is, as its name suggests, a crazy rock romp. It's also the first spark of the Art Zoyd rocket, a northern band that never made it into the Top 50 but around which chapels of fans are burning candles all the way to Tokyo's musicology faculty.

Mythical: the group, founded by Rocco Fernandez from Valenciennes (in 1969, an exotic year), really took off in Maubeuge. Thierry Zaboitzeff was born in
Sous-le-Bois, the working-class heart of the Sambre, where factory yards occupied the entire valley in the 1950s. He remembers: "When I was a kid, everyone around me had someone who worked in the factory".
Not him, who strums his guitar and listens to pop rock. But he's already feeling the pinch. He has his eye on Franck Zappa, the alchemist guitarist, and Magma, the French pioneers of progressive rock.
pioneers of progressive rock. What followed was reminiscent of the meeting of Lennon and Mac Cartney on the Liverpool docks. At the turn of the 1970s, the director of the
of the Sangha hostel for young workers put "Zab" in touch with another kid: Gérard Hourbette. Thierry was self-taught, while Gérard had attended the Conservatoire and preferred the violin.

Thierry Zaboïtzeff has a philosophy: invent, never get bored, never look back. But that hasn't stopped him from offering his fans this boxed set of some fifty pieces, white pebbles amassed over the course of a career. The oldest dates back to 1971, when progressive rock was just taking off.

Who lit the fuse? Both, sir. They have the same appetite for new sounds. First they decide what they don't want at any price. Basically, showbiz.
showbiz: "We were proud and unconscious". They joined Art Zoyd and embarked on the first part of Magma's tour.

The rest was the same: inventing, never falling straight into a duly labelled record shop bin. Unclassifiable, they were quite successful at it.

In the 1980s, Art Zoyd appeared on Drucker's TV show on a Sunday, with Roland Petit's corps de ballet. Filled the Barcelona stadium for the 1992 Olympics
with the Groupe F fireworks team. Touring as far afield as Australia, taking in London's Royal Albert Hall with its cinematic concerts dedicated to silent films,
including Murnau's famous Nosferatu.

Gérard Hourbette died in 2018. At the end of 2017, a New York Times Christmas supplement ranked Art Zoyd's anthology 44 and a half as one of the box sets of the century, between Bowie, Zappa (remember that) and Thelonious Monk.
Hourbette and Zaboitzeff parted company at the turn of the century: they no longer shared the same musical vision.
Hourbette kept the house, and the studios linked to it, in Valenciennes. "Zab went his own way. Of the 50 or so pieces in his
his box set, only seven are stamped Art Zoyd. "I've never looked back. 

Is this music experimental? That would be to imprison it. Many of the pieces in the box set, arranged randomly, are classically written, or even have the lightness of jazz, like Avishaï Cohen, the Israeli double bassist.
Avishaï Cohen, the Israeli double bassist. Domagali, for example, was written in 2017 as the soundtrack to a Belgian documentary about Toubous women in the desert.
Was Zaboitzeff more melodically inclined than Hourbette? "Above all, we complemented each other perfectly. In invention too, the desire to change style and instrumentation.
and instrumentation. Electric cello, keyboards, tenor sax, voice, including his own, which he has found in the ultra-low register. "I'm trying out new climates.
I don't like to be bored. Épreuves d'acier, written in the 1990s, certainly tends towards industrial rock.
photo exhibition on a forge in Lorraine. But in his box set, Zaboitzeff has also slipped in several pieces written
for choreographer Edita Braun, which have the fluidity befitting ballet. A fruitful collaboration: the Austrian became the musician's wife two years ago.

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Thierry Zaboïtzeff - 50 years of music(s)
Tags: electro, jazz, Rock in Opposition, progressive roc

Released on: 23/09/2022
Review by Jean-Philippe Haas
Label: WTPL Music

No less than three CDs filled to the brim were needed to get an idea of the work accomplished by Thierry Zaboïtzeff in half a century of musical adventures; first with Art Zoyd (of which he was co-director with Gérard Hourbette, who died in 2018) then in other formations, and above all solo, mixing multiple genres such as progressive rock, jazz, RIO, electronic and repetitive music, in fields as varied as theatre, dance, film-concert... to name but a few of the many facets of this multi-instrumentalist composer. to name but a few of the many facets of this multi-instrumentalist composer.

50 ans de musique(s) is not a simple compilation: many tracks have been dusted off and re-recorded (like these recent versions of "Konzobélé" and "Mariée à la nuit", originally featured on Art Zoyd's diptych Marathonnerre), while others come from live performances (for example "Unsex Me Here" or "Baboon's Blood", also originally on Art Zoyd's Berlin). Largely instrumental, Zaboïtzeff's music, apart from strings (bass, guitar, cello) and piano, includes a whole range of electronic gear (sampler, synthesiser, drum machine). But it does not neglect the contribution of the voice: tortured vocals on this extract from The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, vocalisations on "Dr Zab am Wolfgang See" from Sixteenth, magma-esque invented language on "Deil zom an de lay" or "Sangria" (the latter in tribute to Art Zoyd founder Rocco Fernandez), lyrical vocals ("Requiem", "Libera me")...

This willingness to think outside the box, without losing the listener in the process, results in an art form that is often demanding but accessible, barbed without being abstruse, where sonic landscapes with changing climates (such as the recent 'Pagan Dances' or the impressive 'Aria Primitiva', taken from the album of the same name) sit alongside shorter pieces created around simple melodic elements ('Domagali', 'Planet LUVOS act 8', 'Derevo', 'Phantasiespiel'...). The atmospheres induced are often strange, even dark (particularly on compositions from the Art Zoyd period), with electronics and loops lending hypnotic properties ("Confusion", "Luvos vol.2 Epilogue", "Die Maschine"), sometimes bordering on techno ("Introitus").

Although some of them were developed in a multimedia context (in particular to accompany Editta Braun's dance performances), the compositions selected here stand on their own, with no need to know the ins and outs of the work for which they are intended. They easily capture the curiosity of an open mind and fascinate with the moods they create.

Those who have been following Thierry Zaboïzeff for a long time will perhaps not be the first to benefit from this retrospective. On the other hand, those who gave up a little too soon, fans of music that moves off the beaten track or simply curious music lovers will find plenty to satisfy their unconventional appetites, and at the same time be able to add a name to their list of must-see artists. 

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Highlands Magazine (F)

(Monstre sonore 3 CD, 2022)

Review by Didier Gonzalez - May 2023

ART ZOYD was formed in 1969 by guitarist Rocco FERNANDEZ. Following the defection of its founder, the group was joined in 1971 by Thierry ZABOITZEFF, who went on to form ART ZOYD with Gérard HOURBETTE in 1975. Numerous tours around the world followed, with ambitious musical and stage projects. Guitarist Rocco FERNANDEZ was replaced by Alain ECKERT on the first album SYMPHONIE POUR LE JOUR OU BRULERONT LES CITES in 1976. A three-part fresco inspired by the environment of the time.
In 1980, the album GENERATION SANS FUTUR featured the same themes with the same musicians.
The same year saw the release of a new version of Symphonie Pour Le Jour Où Brûleront Les Cités, followed by the double album PHASE IV in 1982 and LES ESPACES INQUIETS in 1983.
1985 saw the release of LE MARIAGE DU CIEL ET DE L'ENFER, music for the ballet by Roland Petit, followed in 1987 by the album BERLIN.

In 1997, Thierry ZABOITZEFF left ART ZOYD and set up his own studio. From then on, he worked on a wide range of projects under his own name or in association with stage directors and choreographers. Between 2006 and 2022, he created a large number of original studio and live scores in fields as diverse as theatre (Die Orestie, Prometheus), dance (Coppercity, Paradies and many others for Editta Braun Company), film (Wind Of Sand, Women Of Rock by Nathalie Borgers), solo concerts (Cross The Bridge) and film concerts (Le Cabinet du Dr. Caligari at the International Caligari Festival in Berlin). Event shows, Feuerwelt eine Sciencefiction Linzer Klangwolke e, 2011, the formation of a new group in 2017 ARIA PRIMITIVA.

Thierry ZABOITZEFF's retrospective celebrating 50 years of music is in no chronological order, mixing formations and eras. The
Thierry ZABOITZEFF's dissonant music grabs us by the scruff of the neck, drawing us in - willingly or unwillingly - to another universe where musical ambition and high standards coexist. Thierry ZABOITZEFF finds his references in new music, contemporary music and zeulh, and occasionally plunges back into the stellar world of Ceremonies Part I-II-III taken from Les Espaces Inquiets, the 1982 ART ZOYD album that remains dazzlingly modern 40 years after its creation. The flamboyant, Emersonian organ at the opening capsizes, joined by dissonant, creaking, menacing brass. The electro-acoustic guitars create dazzling accompaniment sequences, joined by the buzzing brass. The rhythm section provides an improbable odd rhythm, putting us right at the heart of the musical adventure. An ember-sounding, dissonant guitar solo comes in, before the organ returns, accompanied by piano arpeggios. The deep bass carries us away, combined with the trumpet's fatalistic, grating accents. There's a crazy intensity to this music. The track Pagan Dances (14'49) recorded in 2021, available in digital format separately, is a great solo adventure in contemporary music, on which Thierry ZABOITZEFF plays all the instruments, bass, electric cello, keyboards, samplers and programming. Thierry ZABOITZEFF's work is always highly demanding in terms of creativity, innovation and perfect execution.
The blend of instruments and their mix is perfectly arranged, and for a quarter of an hour we're caught up in it, carried away through space.

Promethean Waves (6'35) takes us back in time to 1984, with Thierry ZABOITZEFF playing cello, bass, percussion and keyboards. The music, always striking, never slackens in its creativity, taking off in improbable directions and featuring discreet backing vocals that give it undeniable depth.

Epreuves d'Acier - Fragments d'Une Forge (9'36), a 1995 recording featuring Thierry ZABOITZEFF, Gérard HOURBETTE, Patricia DALLIO with the participation of Daniel DENIS, percussion. The musical adventure begins with the striking introduction, marked by special rhythmic effects, percussive piano and strident brass. Weak, meditative, spatial moments alternate with dazzling bursts of energy. Nothing is predictable. We move from cinematic to musique concrète, until the concrete image of the forge appears before our eyes.

Confusion (4'44) is a gushing, swirling piece with an unpredictable electronic rhythm, where the keyboards plunge into an icy space. No melody really, just moods, atmospheres and rhythm. Somewhere between RIO and contemporary, the album gets better with each listen. Crash (Live Version) 2'56, with its bouncing rhythm, syncopated cello and lyricism. We're swept away, as if in a labyrinth, in sinuous, whirring tones, sometimes grating in Thierry ZABOITZEFF's cello. A stunning live performance, but too short.

Cd2 includes Mariée à la Nuit, composed in 1984 and adapted for ART ZOYD in 1990, before being re-orchestrated for electric guitars and bass for the never-released Overdrive project. A previously unreleased piece of great quality and depth, with all the dramatic grandeur of this music.

Rage And Domination, recorded and remastered in 1998, presents a jerky, epileptic rhythmic aspect to the music of Thierry ZABOITZEFF, who plays cello and guitar and handles samplers and programmed rhythms with dexterity.

Unsex Me Here, taken from ART ZOYD's 1987 album BERLIN, is presented in a live version, where the jerky cello blends with the sinuous, fascinating-sounding keyboards.

On Cd3, on the track Aria Primitiva (13'48), mystery hovers over Cecile THEVENOT's keyboards and samplers, Thierry ZABOITZEFF's electric bass and cello, and Nadia RATSIMANDRESY's ondes Martenot. The percussive aspect of the piano is particularly striking. An eerie piece.

Children's Corner (5'23) is a superb piece, led by a percussive keyboard and haloed by André MERGENTHALER's labyrinthine saxophone part. Taken from the 1995 CD DR ZAB AND HIS ROBOTIC STRINGS ORCHESTRA.

Don't hesitate to make the trip, especially as you'll find the triple Cd for €33 including postage on the artist's website.



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Koid9 (F)

2023 N° 122
Thierry Zaboitzeff
50 years of music (s)
(Monstre Sonore - WTPL Music / dist. PIAS)

by Renaud Oualid

Composer and multi-instrumentalist, one of the heads of the group Art Zoyd from 1971 to 1997, Thierry Zaboitzeff writes today for dance, theatre, multimedia events, film as well as for his own projects and performances. Last year, Thierry celebrated, here and elsewhere, on social networks, his fifty years of music... Photos, videos, texts, anecdotes, history... A retrospective album logically entitled 50 years of music(s) and retracing the best moments of his career was released last September; this does not mean that he intends to stop there, but half a century is something to celebrate, isn't it?

Beautifully presented in an 8-panel fold-out digipack (with artwork by Thierry Moreau), with a booklet presenting each track (sleeve notes by Denis Desassis), the 3 CDs of this retrospective (which refuses the chronological tracklisting for reasons of fluidity) are quite simply indispensable to anyone interested in the rich career of this fabulous musician (nearly 70 years old), whom we have spoken to you about on several occasions.

With 43 titles (some tracks have been remastered, others have been modified and re-recorded), for a total duration of 218 mn (that is to say nearly 3h30), the genres embraced by this eclectic artist are numerous, let's mention for the record symphonic electro-rock, ambient, contemporary classical, alternative, liturgical chant, post rock or even film/theatre/ballet music, new music, obviously rock in opposition... and even progressive! (a non-exhaustive list as the musician has diversified his music).

The three discs (full as an egg, more than 70mn each) are made of tracks from his long career, most of them coming from the almost twenty albums he released after 1997, with also live versions that are not available anywhere else, but also tracks from his two solo albums released while he was still a member of Art Zoyd, several classic Art Zoyd tracks, a handful of Zaboitzeff & Crew tracks, some great Aria Primitiva tracks (which I've already told you about in these pages), and even the artist's own version of Art Zoyd's first single from 1971 "Sangria", a tribute to the group's founder, Rocco Fernandez.

A fabulous journey that you won't regret taking with the artist and the many different musicians he has collaborated with over the past 50 years! Happy birthday TZ!

Renaud Oualid

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Revue & Corrigée (F)

2023 N° 135

By Pierre Durr - March 2023

Composer, cellist (he uses in particular a model that is insensitive to the vagaries of the weather, the customised Yamaha Silent Cello, fitted with effects pedals), bassist, vocalist, keyboardist... For more than 50 years, Thierry Zaboitzeff, born in Maubeuge but living for more than 20 years in Austria, in the Land of Salzburg, has been working on a particular sound aesthetic, identifiable though of diverse inspirations.
The three-CD box set, 50 Years of Music(s), released at the end of last year, is a way for Thierry Zaboitzeff to look back on his career. Without trying to be chronological, the three CDs alternate extracts from his activities with Art Zoyd, from those he made under his own name or more recently with Aria Primitiva, and he has not hesitated to include alternative versions, some rarer recordings, even unpublished ones.

His career began in a group called Rêve1 (already with Gérard Hourbette), which practised
This group practised "music that was almost totally improvised, chaotic to the point of being planar, in the footsteps of Amon Düül or the early Gongs" (1.). In 1971 he joined Art Zoyd 3, then Rocco Fernandez's group. A recording made at Golf Drouot bears witness to this period, which Zaboitzeff includes in his itinerary by offering his cover of Rocco Fernandez's first single, Sangria (3), released in 1971, a cover recorded in 2022. This was followed by 25 years, until 1997, during which he was one of the two main composers, with Gérard Hourbette, of the group that became Art Zoyd. A slice of life documented in the present boxed set by excerpts from the albums Les Espaces inquiets, Phase IV, Berlin, Marathonnerre remastered, or even re-recorded ("Baboon's Blood"). Although included in a production under his own name (Sixteenth), we can add 'Married to the Night', previously proposed by Art Zoyd for a collective album, with J.A. Deane and J. Greinke.

From 1997 onwards, he devoted himself more to his own productions, although he had already released recordings under his own name as early as 1984 (Prometheus) and 1992 (Dr Zab & His Robotic Strings Orchestra).
"I made the decision to leave Art Zoyd because we had done three film-concert projects since 1989 (Nosferatu, Faust, Häxan), and I wanted to give up this way of producing our music. Gérard wanted to continue, and also to get involved in a certain kind of contemporary music, which did not fit in with my sensitivity and artistic intentions at the time. (1)

On his post-Art Zoyd recordings, he often plays all the instruments alone, with the exception of Miniaturen (Zoydian Suite in 5 Movements) in 2000, recorded with a crew consisting of a clarinet player, a drummer and a female singer, Dr Zab. Vol. 2 - The Fantômatick Band (an orchestra of about twenty musicians), and Voyage au centre de la Terre with female singers. But in general, he was content with guest appearances on one or other track: André Mergenthaler on saxophone on 'Childrens Corner' (Dr Zab H His Robotic Strings Orchestra, 1992), or bassists Erik Baron and Alain Guyon and five guitarists on 'Mariée à la Nuit' (Sixteenth, 2013). In September 2015, he nevertheless participated in the 44 /z years Art Zoyd anniversary concert, given as part of the Rock in Opposition festival in Carmaux (4.).

The boxed set 50 Years of Music(s) includes of course many excerpts of his personal creations (a good fifteen), without forgetting the short period of Aria Primitiva that we will discuss. The icing on the cake is a few previously unreleased tracks, or tracks published confidentially, such as "Epreuves d'acier - fragments d'une forge" (produced with the Art Zoyd line-up at the time, in 1995), and "LoSt". This last title is in a way emblematic, since it was produced for the company of the choreographer Editta Braun, and is the basis for a large part of Thierry Zaboitzeff's recordings (Heartbeat {Concerto For Dance dr Music Op.1), India, Miniaturen (Zoydian Suite in 3 Movements), Nebensonnen (Works for pianos, strings and soft electro- nics), Planet LUVOS, Professional étranger). Not forgetting the creations that have not been recorded: among others, Eurydike, composed in 2004 for the Junge Philharmonie Salzburg, Oxalis from 2005, or Schluss mit Kunst from 2011.

"I have been working with Editta Braun since 1997. We started a joint live project, Heartbeat, which was brought to the theatre, in which dance and music were fused. Since then we have worked together continuously and finally got married in 2020, which shows how deep our artistic and human relationship is. For each project of her dance company, Editta asks me to work on a different sound and conceptual material, something I like to do and experiment with. For example, for her India project, I worked on the sounds and atmospheres she brought back from her trip to India, after the first work sessions in situ. She had given me some elements of dramatic composition, so I incorporated a nostalgic, techno feel as the scenes unfolded. The same goes for the Nebensonnen project: everything had to be written around the piano. For Miniaturen, the music was to be played live with an Art Zoyd-esque band: Zaboitzeff & Crew. For the Luvos project, the music was to be mainly electronic. And so on..." (5.)

"Other works are based on theatre, such as Prométhée, Alice, or Frôler les pylônes:
A creation at the TNS in Strasbourg for a show staged at the Comédie de Caen, CDN de Normandie directed at the time by Eric Lacascade, who invited me to participate musically and live in this crazy creation, which was repeated at the CDN in Caen and then in other cities in France." (1.)

Cinema can also be a support. Sequences, the music for a documentary film directed by Nathalie Borgers, dedicated to the women of the Saharan tribe Toubou, Winds of Sand, Women of Rock or The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, continuing in a certain way the work carried out within Art Zoyd with Nosferatu, Faust, Häxan on the silent films of the 1920's. (6.)
There was also Zirkus Meer in 2000, a score for Beda Percht's circus show at the Donau Festival in Sankt Pölten, Austria.

More curiously, there is an interest in religiously inspired music, which is reflected in both Missa Furiosa and Le Livre vermeil, a free electronic adaptation of the songs and dances of pilgrims who went to the monastery of Montserat, near Barcelona, in the late Middle Ages to venerate a black virgin (a project which, however, does not appear on the compilation).
"It's a project from 2004 that was put together too quickly, it was only performed once. I have a lot of regrets about Le Livre vermeil, which is why I want to make an album of it, based on the arrangements I made at the time (a sort of medieval-electro-mix), but not only that: for this recording, I will re-invite the singer Sandrine Rohrmoser, who was an accomplice of this 2004 concert." (1.)

As for the Missa Furiosa (the boxed set includes two excerpts), it owes its origin in part to the fascination that the church organ exerted on Zaboitzeff in his youth, a feeling rekindled by the propensity of the Art Zoyd group to use powerful and solemn instrumentations based on organ chords.
"The idea came to me to do trial and error with fragments of Latin texts from Catholic liturgical rituals, without worrying too much about their deeper meaning, or the representation it might have. I tried different vocal styles and the most interesting was lyrical singing, which was to become one of the bases of the project. " (1.)

Inspiration can sometimes come from other sources. For example, Thierry Zaboitzeff & Crew's performance in Paris in December 2005 was based on Jules Verne and his Journey to the Centre of the Earth. And Dr. Zab's second installment, The Fantômatick Bands, includes four Beatles songs that were part of a show, McCartney's Letter.

"Originally, it was an outdoor multimedia show for a 1998 presentation of the new VW Beetle, which is called "Beetle" in German-speaking countries. It was a commission to write original music and sound atmospheres framed by a few Beatles songs that I took up in my own way for a show including dance, projection and pyrotechnics." (1.)

In 2017 the trio Aria Primitiva was formed, bringing together pianist Cécile Thévenot and wave player Nadia Ratsimandresy alongside Thierry Zaboitzeff. He met Nadia during his participation in the Carmaux concert, and during the repeat of the same concert in Valenciennes, when he met Cécile, who was replacing Yukari Bertocchi-Hamada.
The band recorded a three-track EP, Work in Progress, and toured France, Belgium and Austria before releasing a CD, Sleep no More, in 2019. This band was however short-lived and was put on the back burner in 2019, the pandemic not helping its return. In those years, Zaboitzeff contributed one track, "Rhizome", to Palo Alto's album about Gilles Deleuze, Diference and Repetition.
"Not being at all familiar with Deleuze's universe, what interested me was only the group's proposal of an improvisation framed by their sound universe"(1.)

During the period of confinement, he re-recorded Nebensonnen {remake), where he plays all the instruments alone, whereas the initial version of 2000 included, in one track, some of his former Art Zoyd partners (Alain Eckert, Patricia Dallio, Jean-Pierre Soarez, Gilles Renard). Finally, he is working on his last two proposals, Professional Stranger and Pagan Dances.

"In 2022, I have decided to take a break and focus on my musical catalogue, past, present and future. This is a huge task, and as a result the stage has become less important to me. In the near future, there will be the recording of The Vermeil Book, so. And I've started writing a piece for six cellos, percussion and electronics. I'll have to devote my heart and soul to it for a long time. (1.)

1. The passages in italics are taken from an interview conducted at the end of January 2023.
2. Golf Drauot 72, Archives l Mantra 065, 1992.
3. Art Zoyd 3, Sangria/Something in Love, Opaline/Le Chant du Monde 45-1105, 1971.
4. DVD 1 of the Art Zoyd 44 U : Live + Unreleased Works box set (Cuneiform Records, Rune 450-463, 2017); an excerpt also appears on Symphony(s) for the Day the Cities Burn (In-possible Records AZS2022, 2022).
5. From an interview conducted by Rodrigo Oyarce for the Spanish online media ProgJazz, Lo Mejor de la Vanguardia Musical, December 2022:
6. Thierry Zaboïtzeff has composed music for other documentaries on Africa by Harald Friedl (Austrian filmmaker, writer and musician): see the CD Ranch (Extraplatte, 2008).
7. See TTC 127 and 130.
8. 8. Remastering of most of his recordings and making them available digitally, together with a large number of previously unreleased pieces such as reminiscences, online at the beginning of February:

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Babyblaue Seiten (D)

Thierry Zaboitzeff - 50 ans de musique (s)

General information
Year of release: 2022
Features/Style: Electronic music; Modern electronica; Modern classical music; RIO / Avant; Worldmusic / Ethno; Zeuhl; other
Label: Monstre Sonore WTPL-Music
Average rating: 12/15 (1 review)

By Siggy Zielinsky 05/03/2023

In September 2022, multi-instrumentalist Thierry Zaboitzeff (solo, Zaboitzeff & Crew, Aria Primitiva, Art Zoyd, Univers Zero, d-zAkord Erik Baron) has released a 3CD/download compilation that offers an overview of the musician's 50-year oeuvre.

It features 43 compositions, or over 3.5 hours of music spanning five decades. Some of the tracks have been remastered, some altered and re-recorded. Zaboitzeff's music is known to be the first address for friends of Avant-Prog, Rock in Opposition, Dark Avant-Ambient, KammerProg, Modern Classical, Zeuhl and similar styles.

Beginning with Art Zoyd and other projects to commissioned works for dance theatre and film, Zaboitzeff presents soundscapes between chamber and electronic that alternately convey a remarkable intensity, or a mysterious gloominess, and sometimes seem like eerie rituals. Some of the more relaxed and romantic pieces might also be related to the demands that come with commissioned work.

The musician often works alone, sometimes in small ensembles, and yet he manages to conjure up imposing orchestral arrangements when needed, with bass, cello, programmed rhythms, the voice, samples and keyboard instruments playing the crucial roles.

Among the exceptions in this respect are the pieces recorded with Art Zoyd, which usually means full chamber music ensemble instrumentation.

Zaboitzeff always succeeds in creating surprising sound combinations. In "Dr Zab am Wolfgang See", for example, beatboxing, an opera singer, electronic keyboards, bass guitar, programmed rhythms and harp sounds form an unusual overall picture. "Sangria" sounds like an oriental-inspired avant-electronic chamber music number. In some pieces, the composer uses pronounced rhythms. In "Introitus" there is even a fusion of technoid rhythms with chamber music and operatic (or even Zeuhl-like?) chants. In a similar vein is "Touch", where very powerful electronic rhythms coexist with operatic female vocals. "Requiem" and "Libera Me" (both from the album "Missa Furiosa" by Zaboitzeff & Crew) seem like a bombastic Zeuhl opera to me. An impressive conclusion to a highly interesting compilation.

Collectors and true fans can also discover little-known pieces on the 3 CDs, including live recordings, singles, or newly edited, or remixed new versions.

With "50 ans de musique (s)", very valuable audio material is available, which, due to the enormous variety, hardly lets boredom arise and represents a fascinating musical journey. Especially if you are into Zaboitzeff-Prog, which, roughly described, mostly means a stubborn fusion of the stylistic elements of electronics, modern classical music and avant-prog. Occasionally, world music, opera, jazz, progressive symphony and folk are added. 

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Prog Résiste (B)

Interview Contact - Thierry Zaboitzeff (solo, ex-Art Zoyd)
Interview with : Thierry Zaboitzeff
Interview by : Tom Charlier

January-February 2023

On an introspective night streaked with uncertainty(s), we made our way to the cabinet of curiosities of Doctor Thierry Zaboitzeff, a more than patented expert in heady potions and other strange transmutatory emanations, who has been weaving for more than half a century, meticulously and with all the support of the accumulated electronic eclecticism of nearly two hundred years of steam punk dystopias, the material of the beautiful bad dreams of a semi-dozen crushed and decompressed alternative futures. We dared to ask this confidential arch-magus for a few indications on his recipe, which will remain secret unless we untie his initiatory words well.

Prog-Résiste: On September 22nd, you have just released a retrospective box set on your 50 Years of Music(s), for which you have not adopted a chronological view, which is, let's admit it, exotic and creative in its very conception. What were the founding principles behind this selection and reunion? Note that for the sake of internal consistency, we will adopt this same atemporal view for our interview.

Thierry Zaboitzeff: From the moment I decided to tackle this anthology, I could never have imagined the difficulty of giving it a breath of fresh air, a boost. I didn't deny myself anything and the first choice was to work on my playlist chronologically, which turned out to be a total fiasco, by which I mean that it seemed heavy, redundant, unlistenable and would only be of interest to fans of dated archives... I certainly didn't want to offer this kind of reading of my music... I had to go forward and then backward and then forward to finally, in the first instance, throw everything in the bin before starting again...
Unconsciously, I wanted to propose a journey to the heart of my sounds, my imaginary orchestras, my virtual spaces or not. I could only be the one to decide on this and to implement it. I put everything back together, then made a new selection of pieces as varied as possible within my catalogue, with this sound material, I will propose a journey out of time, out of my time, by letting my compositions go according to my mood and crossroads that I often take when I compose something new.
This is the secret of this retrospective box set. I have, for the sake of sound coherence, remixed or idealized some compositions or in some cases, replayed and re-recorded them. (see the booklet...)

PR: If my chronology is correct, Prometheus and Dr. Zab & his Robotic Strings Orchestra remain the only solo albums you've made while still fully gravitating to Art Zoyd. What made you decide to release these albums under your own name?
TZ : In the years 82-83-84..., in parallel to Art Zoyd, I had the opportunity to work for a theatre company (Collectif Théâtral du Hainaut) for which I composed stage music for many years... This experience totally invested and enriched me. The music of the album "Prométhée" comes from this context. For the very first time, I found myself in the situation of writing, playing and recording music without having to imagine it for a group or instrumental ensemble in particular, and in this context, I was going to let myself go, bringing together all sorts of objects and instruments that were happily diverted from their usual use, for example, my cello was used to make wind by rubbing the strings with sponges while using successive echoes.
My first goal was to create sound settings that I didn't imagine would be played by a group at that time... This was an intimate approach that I wanted to pursue as a solo artist as long as this language was different from that of Art Zoyd.

Concerning "Dr. Zab & his Robotic Strings Orcherstra" it was the same, all these musics came from productions for the theatre and in the fever of these years, I hastened to publish a continuation which would be attractive on CD, which was the case, I believe! Then I got caught up in the game, I invented a character for myself, "Dr. Zab", and one thing leading to another, in parallel with my Art-Zoydian activities, I found myself on stage as a sort of "MC", as we used to say at the time, for a show between instrumental, electro-acoustic grandiloquence and very clipped sequences, often mocked because I didn't take myself seriously. The concert was introduced by a Luis Mariano song that screamed from my ghetto blaster used for my entrance on stage and ended with an encore played on an automatic toy violin that I always had trouble putting into action for the needs of the situation. You will have understood, far from the seriously bombastic music I was playing for and with the Art Zoyd of the time...

PR: Speaking of the use of the voice as an instrument in its own right, what are the influences of different types of traditional vocal music on your compositions? Are Sardinian and Balkan polyphonies and Mongolian throat singing among them?

TZ : Yes, these are chants and techniques that have interested me a lot, not to reproduce them strictly but to introduce them in different ways in my compositions, especially throat singing which I have mixed a lot with my bass and cello sounds to produce such particular timbres or sometimes unidentifiable masses.
But I must also say that I really liked some of Tom Waits' singing.
I've always loved the use of voice, rarely in a song format, more as an additional palette in my sound colours...

PR: Almost simultaneously with Häxan, you explored theatrical chamber music and futurism with Heartbeat. Do you have any stylistic similarities with Dagmar Krause's RIO and specifically the Henry Cow/Slapp Happy album Desperate Straights?

TZ: No, Henry Cow is a band I particularly listened to and liked on the albums "Unrest" and "In Praise of Learning". These productions are as much a part of my musical culture as many others. I always avoided as much as I could to resemble such or such current or tendency, that sometimes served me badly in relation to the networks but I draw a full satisfaction from it today. Of course, I can say that every sound and music we enjoy throughout our lives leaves an indelible mark on us.

PR: As with Magma's founding trilogies, there is a strong SF influence in your music, particularly in the way you depict dystopian sonic environments with delightfully uneven emotional reliefs. What was the initial impulse that led to this, and why has it remained so? In other words, what do you think makes it last?

TZ : For my part, in my music, I make no reference to literary or filmic SF.
Even if I sometimes set up dystopian settings, it's only to leave them a few minutes later. What I find absolutely unique and very exciting in the creation of sound and only music, is that in the absence of words, of images, we can shiver at the simple reception of a sound or a group of sounds and I like to create striking contrasts in this particular universe of mine. Sometimes at the beginning of a composition, on a simple sound of voice, I imagine a legend or the beginning of a legend which does not exist then the arrangement of the sounds of the rhythms make the remainder... The Voyage... The Magic... The Dream...

PR: You joined Art Zoyd in 1971. How did you experience and influence the passing of the torch between the psychedelic fragrances of the band led by Rocco Fernandez and the band's first albums at the end of the Seventies?

TZ: Gerard Hourbette and I joined Art Zoyd together in 1971 at the invitation of Rocco Fernandez. I must say that we were kids at that time and lacked maturity but it didn't take us long to find our place in the band, to accept and understand its codes and then to develop and transcend them together until our 1976 cult album "Symphonie pour le jour où brûleront les cités".
I tell this story in the form of episodes on my site at the following address
you will find many tasty details that it would take too long to develop here.

PR: Was it the love of Zeuhl music and the RIO that led you to contemporary 20th century music or the other way round? What were your first musical discoveries in both fields (rock and avant-garde), and is there any artist(s) that could be considered as a bridge between the two? In other words, how did you go from Neil Young to Magma and Varèse?

TZ : As a teenager and passionate about Rock music and without any particular musical culture, and without imagining for a moment that I would be a musician and composer one day, I listened to a lot of things, the inevitable Beatles, Stones, Kinks... Then Hendrix, the first Pink Floyd... The shock occurred when I discovered Frank Zappa and the Mothers on a TV channel, and it was the same when Magma's first double album was released. All this abundance of musical inventions sharpened my curiosity and very quickly, I started looking for the origins of these musics which had created in me an irresistible desire to become a musician and I went back to Edgar Varèse, Igor Stravinsky, Bela Bartok, Serge Prokofiev, Ancient Music, Jazz with Miles Davis and John Coltrane, Berio, ligeti... I thus offered myself a new musical culture arousing a lot of other envy.

PR: Art Zoyd is well known for his multimedia associations and his musical accompaniments of silent films from the 1910s and 1920s (Häxan, Nosferatu, Faust and your soundtrack for The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari to name but a few). Do you have any other projects planned in this vein? What has been your greatest challenge in this respect?

TZ: I don't have any other project of this kind at the moment, I think I've already experienced so much in this field that it doesn't seem to me to be a "must", a priority anymore.
I think I've already experienced so much in this field that it no longer seems a "must", a priority. In retrospect, the high point seems to be Murnau's Nosferatu, which we undertook with a certain innocence and inexperience but with a lot of audacity, which contributed to the worldwide success of this project supported by this imagery around the vampire.
I would put aside the excellent Faust projects, then Häxan which will put an end to my career with Art Zoyd, I didn't want to operate samplers and loops at the foot of a screen anymore, we had already said everything while Gérard Hourbette wished to pursue this approach and direct it towards a more arid musical language far from my artistic desires.

Fifteen years later, I received an invitation from the Berlin festival "Somnambule ERSTES INTERNATIONALES CALIGARI" to create a new live sound environment on Robert Wiene's The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, almost on the same location as the film. I hesitated for a moment because I was afraid of falling back into certain ways, but after a few conclusive tests, I found the exciting paths of a new creation and I can say that this is my best film-concert project because it seems to me that I have achieved a musical balance between traditional instrumental and electro-acoustic music, which is just right and well mastered. This is only my opinion of course!
I invite you to consult this page for more information.

PR: Do you see anything Oulipian [in relation to Oulipo, the literature laboratory?
I don't think I have anything to do with this literary movement, except that I often try to break my habits through certain constraints, especially when I commission music, for which I sometimes impose myself to use only one type of instrument, either acoustic or electronic or both.

PR: I personally enjoyed the cinematic lyricism, imaginary folklore, evocative ambient power and soundscapes of Professional Stranger. The album has some unexpected nods and influences, including covers of Depeche Mode, Bananarama and - but maybe I'm just making it up - the innocent folk lightness of a Lars Hollmer. Can you tell us a bit about the process of creating this album?

TZ : The music for Professionnal Stranger is partly composed for a choreographic and theatrical project " Long Life " " editta braun dance company " We needed some rock references and after some research I remembered Venus (Shocking Blue) which I loved when I was a teenager, I decided to do a cover version of it and I had a lot of fun with it, especially as the general sound colour of the show revolved around the accordion that I used on the whole soundtrack of the show and it was the same for "Enjoy The Silence" (Martin Gore - Depeche Mode - Violator album), a song that I completely appropriated and adapted for a scene talking about age, the passing of time and the fact that it doesn't go back. Even though the themes of the piece are serious, I intentionally treated my compositions and soundscores to exude lightness and carefreeness over a cinematic rhythm as you so aptly put it and also by introducing Eastern European folk colours.

PR: What are your immediate plans? Is a sequel to the Pagan Dances EP being considered or is it planned as a stand-alone work?

TZ: At this moment I would say that I am in research, purely in composition, there are projects waiting for me to free up some time, such as recording an electronic and free adaptation of the songs and dances of pilgrims who went to the monastery of Montserrat near Barcelona at the end of the Middle Ages to venerate a black virgin. These songs composed by anonymous people were collected and noted down by the monks in a book with a red velvet cover, which bears the title: "Llibre Vermell de Montserrat", the most famous collection of songs of this period. I had set up this project with a chatterbox (Sandrine Rohrmoser) for a few concerts in 2004, then I had to move on... I'll get back to it soon.

PR: Just out of curiosity, what is your favourite Art Zoyd piece and personal composition today, and why would you recommend them? If this last part of the answer is self-evident, there is no need to say it! Thank you very much for this enlightening long-distance interview.
TZ : I wouldn't talk about pieces but rather about albums which are "Phase IV / The Marriage of Heaven and Hell / The Worried Spaces and Berlin". These four albums are for me important and pivotal stages in my musical career with Art Zoyd. We have invested a lot of time and energy, both humanly and musically, to put together these projects and the tours linked to this period.

Thanks to you and to Progrésiste.
Thierry Zaboitzeff

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Exposé (USA)

Reviews | Thierry Zaboitzeff - 50 Ans de Musique
Thierry Zaboitzeff — 50 Ans de Musique (Woof Music WPTL, 2022, 3CD)
by Peter Thelen (12/12/2022)

For over 50 years, Thierry Zaboitzeff (TZ from here forward) has been a working musician in France, and more recently in other countries (Switzerland, Austria, etc.), honing his craft, first as a guitarist, then bassist, cellist, and full-on composer and multi-instrumentalist, such that he has produced enough recorded material to release this three-disc career-spanning retrospective set, 50 Ans de Musique. TZ and his good friend the late Gerard Hourbette began playing together as teenagers in the north of France, TZ on twelve-string guitar and Hourbette on violin and percussion, eventually joined by a bassist, the trio taking the band name Rêve 1.

They eventually met up with guitarist Rocco Fernandez, who had his own band, Art Zoyd, that had just recorded and released their first single, “Sangria.” TZ and Hourbette joined Art Zoyd in ‘71, making the band a quintet, but with musicians leaving and joining the band with regularity, the day came when the band’s bassist left, and as a result TZ was switched to playing bass. The next few years were not easy — the band was playing live a lot, all over France in fact, but barely surviving, living in camps and tents between gigs, but all the while further developing their own style of experimental rock music. In ‘75, with no further releases up to that point, Fernandez — who up to that point had been the band’s sole composer — retired from the band and left its direction up to TZ and Hourbette. Later the band’s drummer left, and they decided to go forward without drums, later releasing their first longplayer Symphonie pour le jour où brûleront les cités, released in 1976. By this time Art Zoyd was becoming better known, playing festivals, touring with Magma, and developing a following. From the late 70s until 1997 when they parted ways, TZ recorded another dozen albums with Art Zoyd, eventually striking out on his own to record soundtracks, commisioned pieces pieces for modern dance, and much more, as well as forming the bands Zaboitzeff & Crew and Aria Primitiva.

The three discs herein are packed to the limit of the medium with tracks from throughout his long career, most taken from the 18 or so releases post-1997, including some live versions that are available nowhere else, but also including tracks from his two solo albums he released while he was still a member of Art Zoyd, several classic Art Zoyd pieces, a handful or so by Zaboitzeff and Crew, a couple splendid examples of Aria Primitiva, even TZ’s own version of Art Zoyd’s first single from 1971, as a tribute to the band’s founder Rocco Fernandez. Throughout one will hear a variety of styles from neoclassical to soundtracks to avant-garde pieces to some wild encounters with electronics, from all over the musical map. The first disc contains the entire fifteen minute “Pagan Dances” from 2021, the standout “Epreuves d’acier – Fragments d’une Forge,” recorded with members of Art Zoyd in 1995, and “Mein Augenstern” from the re-recorded version of Nebensonnen, among many other surprises. On the second disc one will find an except to TZ’s soundtrack to the classic silent film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, the spacy and hypnotic “Mariée à la nuit” recorded with Erik Baron / d-zAkord featuring six electric guitars and three basses, from his album Sixteenth (2012), and the groove-electronic standout “Die Maschine” from his Multiple Distortions CD. Disc three kicks off with the adventurous “Sleep No More” from the debut album by his trio Aria Primitiva, a song that has its origins back on the Art Zoyd album Nosferatu; a few tracks later we have the full fourteen minute “Aria Primitiva” from the same album. “Children’s Corner” is a beautiful melodic piece that dates from his early 90s solo album Dr. Zab and his Robotic Strings Orchestra. While much of the music presented here is instrumental, TZ does have some amazing vocal pieces included, one of which is “Introitus” from the 2004 Zaboitzeff & Crew album Missa Furiosa, a bit reminiscent of early Magma, but with a more electronic bent. Even if a listener knows little or nothing of TZ’s work, or even only his earliest works with Art Zoyd, the 43 tracks of 50 Ans de Musique provide an outstanding introduction to his long and varied career, and one that I can strongly recommend.

Filed under: Archives, 2022 releases
Related artist(s): Thierry Zaboitzeff, Art Zoyd, Aria Primitiva
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Progjazz (CL)

Thierry Zaboitzeff 50 years of music(s)
ProgJazz dresses up: Interview with Thierry Zaboitzeff

Rodrigo Oyarce6 December 2022

Thierry Zaboitzeff is one of those artists who knows no boundaries. With more than 20 albums in his prolific solo career, his catalogue is a true journey from the most classical "progressive" to the most avant-garde modern-electronic.

This native of northern France, born on 27 July 1953, was predestined to be an incredible musician. Proof of this is the group to which he belonged, Art Zoyd, an infallible name at the top of the RIO (Rock in Opposition), and the avant garde branches of what we know vulgarly as "progressive"; and as co-founder, Thierry was a fundamental piece with his bass, his cello, his voice and his compositional talent together with Gérard Hourbette.

Today Zaboitzeff is celebrating his 50-year career with a compilation boxset (where there is no lack of gems from the 80's and 90's, such as "Heartbeat"), and that is why Thierry has kindly agreed to talk to us in this interview below.

The interview with Thierry Zaboitzeff

0.Hello Mr. Zaboitzeff, first of all, thank you for taking the time to have this conversation with

Before answering your questions, I would like to address all the readers of Progjazz and the Spanish-speaking public who have been following me for so many years to let you know that I am very touched and moved by your attention to my music. Thank you all!

No, on the contrary, thank you very much to you. What can you tell us about "50 ans de Musique ( s ) and how was the whole process of compiling the enormous artistic legacy you have made during all these years?

I will soon be 70 years old... On this occasion, I think that every human being, instinctively and honestly, turns to himself and makes a kind of review of his life, of his work. This is what I simply wanted to do by celebrating these 50 years of musical activity, with the publication of this anthology. I worked on it for more than a year, selecting, listening, remastering, remixing and re-recording some pieces, then erasing and starting again, until I found an ideal itinerary (of travel) in my musical paths, according to my opinion and that of some people close to me. In this work, I wanted to avoid any chronological order, which gives a lighter feeling when entering (to the music), without noticing the different periods of my career. By mixing all the periods, you can travel between my solo projects, some of my creations with Art Zoyd, Zaboitzett & Crew, Aria Primitiva...

2. What is the creative process like when you start with an artwork or project? What kind of conceptual or subconscious places do you visit to bring your art to life? Or is it something more tangible?

In my opinion, there are different ways to start a composition or a project. In general I have tried not to have rules. But I have realised just by going back over my past, that I finally had some tricks to force myself to be different in every composition, so as not to fall into routine

a) When I compose for myself, I allow myself absolutely everything, like telling myself a story or a pseudo-legend to create an atmosphere, and I quickly forget those stories when the decorations are ready. The rest is just sounds, rhythmic arrangements, development, denouement, fantasy, freedom...

b) A composition can be born from a simple sequence of bass, piano or cello chords or from a sound I have in my head but which doesn't seem to exist outside, while I dig, sculpt, study, go back, sculpt again, all in the studio with samplers and sound editors, and this often becomes very physical, even if the piece of music seems to be more cerebral. In all cases, I look for a non-verbal emotion.

c) Anyway, I'm self-taught, I'm never ashamed to take advice in this respect.

d) In my opinion, music and sounds have the advantage of proposing totally open spaces, unlike words, concrete images, and everyone is free to let themselves go, including me.

3. You have collaborated with the choreographer Editta Braun, with the directors Stéphane Vérité and Beda Percht. What can you tell us about the projects you had with them and if the creative process was different from your personal musical projects?

I have been working with Editta Braun since 1997. We started a common live project, "Heartbeat", which was taken to the theatre, in which dance and music were closely merged. Here is the link for more details 

Since then we have collaborated with each other endlessly and ended up getting married in 2020, so our artistic and human relationship is deep.

In each project for her dance company, Editta usually asks me to work on different sound and conceptual material, something I love to do and experiment with. For example, with her INDIA project, I worked on sounds and atmospheres that she brought back from her trip to India, after the first working sessions in situ. Since she had given me some elements of dramatic composition, I incorporated a nostalgic and techno feel as the scenes unfolded.

The same for the "Nebenesonnen" project. Everything had to be written around the piano. For Miniaturen, the music had to be performed live with an Art Zoyd style band: Zaboitzeff & Crew. For the Luvos project, the music had to be mainly electronic, and so on and so forth...

I met Stéphane Vérité (director) when I was still at Art Zoyd. Through him, we were commissioned to do a soundtrack for an event: the opening of Europe's biggest venue, the "Globe Arena" in Stockholm. The public could see the light show and projections on the balloon-shaped arena from all parts of the city and could listen to the sound through the car radio.

Later I collaborated with Stéphane on the theatre project called "Alice", in which I was present live on stage, and then I had other very important events.

With Beda Percht, the collaboration was also around theatre and events, among these the most important dates back to 2011 for a unique pyrotechnic show in front of 100,000 spectators in Linz (Germany), on the banks of the Danube, with the company "Pirovision".

In general, all these projects happen in relation to requests, be it from Editta, Stéphane or Beda, as we all have a great esteem for each other, trust and mutual respect, which contributes to good collaborations.

4. How did the development of your first solo album, "Prométhée", take place in 1984? What can you tell us about your evolution as an artist and not only as a musician with Art Zoyd?

At that time in 1984 with Art Zoyd, we were about to record the album "Les Espaces Inquiets", and at the same time I was contacted by a very young theatre company from the city of Valenciennes (France), where I was living at that time. The director Philippe Asselin and the administrator Thierry Dupont proposed me to compose and record the soundtrack of one of their first creations "Prométhée enchainé" (Prometheus in chains), an adaptation of Eschyle.

In relation to the task at hand, basically alone, far from Art Zoyd, I started to gather everything that could produce an unusual sound on my favourite instruments (cello, bass, a bit of guitar...) and set up a makeshift studio in the small house I had with my wife at the time.

For that project, I had decided to completely forget the way I was composing for and with Art Zoyd. I experimented a lot with magnetic tapes and concrete sounds, which I then played backwards and saturated, and I also used re-recording extensively, sometimes to double instruments or to mess up and degrade the sound over and over again, in order to achieve that amalgamation I had in mind. I really enjoyed spreading out, stretching out, taking my time... That moment of questioning was very important for the future of my work, including the rest of my years with Art Zoyd. It was not an end, but a stage, a very fine, particular and unique moment in my whole career. Some months later I took the decision to make an album concentrating all those sounds in two sides of 19 minutes or so. Limitations of vinyl.

5. What are your memories and the vision you imprinted on projects such as "Missa Furiosa", "Dr.Zab", "Llibre Vermell" or "Aria Primitiva"? 

Once upon a time, when I was at Art Zoyd, I used to make fun of the fact that we usually composed very powerful and solemn things based on organ chords, which in the long run reminded me of overtures or strong tempi for religious services. Also, when I was a child, I used to accompany my maternal grandfather who played the organ, he would take me with him to masses. I was fascinated and captivated by the powerful sonorities of those organ pipes supporting the Catholic ritual that is the mass. Those childhood images and sounds remain imprinted on me today.

Much later, around 2001-2002, I was in search of something different on a "Techno" basis, old-fashioned Art Zoyd, with vocals, omnipresent, powerful singing. At that time I found in my recent archives some tracks that I was going to develop in that direction. I think the first attempt, not knowing that I would end up writing a mass, was Agnus Dei. There I found all the keys to a project that would be called Missa Furiosa. At first I improvised some grooves, I put sounds together, I gave them drama, I added organ tracks, all very fast, I improvised voices, but I wasn't satisfied, as I always used my pseudo "Zaboitzeffian-Zoydano" language, until at one point I decided to try a random text, and by default, I had the idea of doing trial and error with fragments of Latin texts from Catholic liturgical ritual, without worrying about the deep meaning, or the representation it could have. I tried different voice styles and the most interesting one was lyrical singing, which would become one of the bases of the project. I formed a core group "Zaboitzeff & Crew" for the instrumental part, as well as inviting some classical singers to participate in this Missa Furiosa.

With this Mass, I didn't suddenly convert to Christianity; what interested me was the ritual, the pomp, in a way, the manipulation of minds in these lavish, grandiloquent rituals.

In any case, I took the necessary precautions not to appear blasphemous or overly critical. It was not my intention (even if...). After the musical presentation, in the audience, there was a monk who I think bought the CD, and that got to me and made me question myself.

Several years later (in the 90s), I spent a lot of time in the studio (Art Zoyd), experimenting with everything that could be done with samplers and sequencers of the time.

Looking at myself at the time, I see myself as a mad genius manipulating all sorts of electronic elements... I called myself Dr. Zab, in a mocking way. It was a bit of an empty period in Art Zoyd's career, and being proud of all my solo experiences, I decided to produce a solo album "Dr. Zab & His Robotic Strings Orcherstra" and then a solo show (spectacle solo), in which I was on stage as a manipulator of sounds, of real or virtual instruments, as if I was a puppet artist. The stage was my caricature laboratory, and I jumped shamelessly from one instrument to another, from one style to another. It gave me great joy...

Llibre Vermell (2004)
For decades I had been dreaming of making an electronic and free adaptation of songs and dances of pilgrims who came to the monastery of Monserrat, near Barcelona at the end of the Middle Ages, to venerate a black virgin. These chants composed by anonymous people were compiled and written by monks in a book with a red velvet cover under the title "Llibre Vermell de Monserrat", the most famous compilation of chants of that time.
I found these chants magnificent, moving, direct, and in a month I was able to reconstitute each piece, orchestrating them in a very personal way, in order to perform them live as a duo. I invited the singer Sandrine Rohrmoses to create this duo with me, which she did brilliantly in less than a week. Unfortunately, for various reasons, we played very little of this repertoire, which could be described as "under construction". A long time has passed, but this project is still in the bottom of our hearts and we have in mind to rework, improve and finally record it (2023?).

Aria Primitiva
Again in a band, I had the feeling of rebuilding and reliving in a slightly different way.
The "Art Zoyd" concept of the 80s and 90s: a group with an originality, a strong, unique personality. Whenever I worked with other musicians, I always looked for that. This was certainly the case. Aria Primitiva gave me a new impulse in that direction. I invite you to read again about how the group was formed.

 With three musicians, we were a commanding command of the technology with great instrumental mastery. I was the only composer, but we had already seen and arranged good improvisation parts. I had high hopes for this formation, but given the management difficulties and the loss of commitment of my colleagues to this project, I decided to disband the group for a while; since Covid arrived and it was impossible for me to relaunch Aria Primitiva in good conditions, I finally decided to move on to something else. I am very proud of this project and once again I sincerely thank all the people who helped me to realise it (Nadia Ratsimandresy, Cécile Thévenot, Editta Braun, Iva Lirma, Xavier Collin and Monstre Sonore).

6. About the live musical adaptation of "Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari", how was your experience in recreating with your composing skills the gloomy atmosphere of such a masterpiece of German Expressionism?
Let us add, in relation to the above, and considering the cinematic personality of your style, which film would you like to "accompany" live sonically in the future?

When I left Art Zoyd in 1997, after 3 film-concert projects in about a decade, I said to myself: "No more film-concerts!!!!" I had suffered in the latter part of this stage from always being confined to the foot of a screen passing tapes and playing over the film and gradually (the experience) was becoming a space reserved for a certain seated elite, in this case "German Expressionism". I have the impression that in some places where we are invited to create, some organisers don't have any consideration for what we can develop...
I wanted to get out of this cultural routine soon and start other projects besides these cinema-concerts; but unfortunately it was not possible at that time in the context of Art Zoyd. You know what happened afterwards and its consequences...
13 years later, Claus Löser who co-directed The First International Caligari Festival in Berlin, invited me to compose, in secret, an original music and accompany live The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari for the opening of the festival. I was quite reluctant, but it all came together to have a great event: the kindness of the organizers of Brotfabrik - Berlin - Weissensee - Caligari Platz - Delphi, in the same places where these films were made in the Berlin of the 1920s. Now I had to achieve this challenge in a few months... I saw the film many times before I really understood what was going on, what were the lines of force, the character of the characters and above all the role I could play on the musical stage in the midst of all this quasi-psychiatric entanglement. From the beginning I prevented myself from any exaggeration, in order to achieve the most radically dark and sombre composition, when I felt it was necessary. From my point of view, I felt like a sound actor out of the film, sometimes directing the action, sometimes reacting to the action. That was an amazing experience more on stage alone, solo. I had decided that the meticulously written and live music had to have a life of its own, its own paths, but that with the film it would provoke other interpretations, other emotions, without leaving out the humour. Today in 2022 I no longer intend to work on another film-concert project, but rather to create real images, as in this example.

7. In your vision, how do you see the present of music in terms of avant-garde, experimentation, innovation and how it will affect the future?

I'm not a theoretician, I rarely premeditate my intentions in depth and as a self-taught musician and composer, I enjoy being in a state of total freedom at that moment. I'm hardly concerned with the avant-garde; I live experimentation on a daily basis and I don't claim to be an innovator; I feel a bit on the fringes of all that and I'm embarrassed to answer this question. I think that the currents are going to find themselves further and further away from those old ideas of rivalry between old and new, between classic and contemporary. For quite some time now, jazz, rock, electronic music have revolutionised the musical space and the number of happy hybrids that have emerged seems to me to bode well. In this era of modernity, I have a certain mistrust of all these invasive technologies which in my opinion have become very fashionable and which sometimes damage or destroy any artistic proposal. I remain open-minded and move on.

8. We can't stop asking you about Art Zoyd, it was 26 years in this sound ensemble, a journey that started with "Symphonie Pour Le Jour Où Brûleront Les Cités" What unique moments of artistic creation did you have over the years with the collective?

The unique moments were our first album "Symphonie pour le jour où brûleront les cités" (Symphony for the day the cities burned), composed, prepared, rehearsed, rehearsed, experienced collectively, with instruments in hand under difficult living conditions for those novice but passionate musicians that we were. This moment of a strange intensity was followed by a tour of France first with Magma and then a week at the Théâtre de la Renaissance in Paris (1976) - the making of the album Phase IV; a key moment in the artistic career of the group Art Zoyd, which would be filmed for television by Daniel Poteau. Then came numerous tours in Europe and Eastern Europe (1982)- The creation of the "Mariage du ciel et de l'enfer" (Marriage of Heaven and Hell) by Roland Petit, followed by a tour with the National Ballet of Marseille Roland Petit, Milan Theatre, Theatre des Champs Elysées, Opera de Marseille and Bordeaux (1984-1985)- The album Berlin, then the tours all over Europe with this repertoire (1986-87)- The creation of the Nosferatu concert film (1988-89)- The meeting with the Austrian dance company "Vorgänge Bewegungs Theater" Decisive meeting (1986)- Marathonnerre. That totally crazy theatre-performance project imagined by the French director Serge Noyelle, with his company and Art Zoyd live on stage for 12 hours, from noon to midnight, with a fiendish and incessant rhythm, crowned by a 25-minute standing ovation... Beautiful memory!

9. And lastly, the final question we ask all our interviewees: Any albums you would like to recommend that you have listened to recently?

Due to my latest and multiple activities, I lack the time to really listen to something new, in depth, so I wouldn't want to give you bad recommendations... But I could gladly mention an artist far away from my work in general, who I have been listening to and admiring for 40 years without ever getting bored: Jon Hassel who has left us today. In particular two albums "Fourth World Vol. 1" and "Flash of the Spirit". 

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Prog Censor (B)

Thierry Zaboitzeff 50 years of rock in opposition - 3:37:59 - France '22

by Tibère 04/12/2022

As you can read in the interview Thierry Zaboitzeff gave us, he has been practising his art for 50 years, both solo and with Art Zoyd, Aria Primitiva or Thierry Zaboitzeff & Crew. And the least we can say is that for a self-taught man, he's done very well. To be honest, I didn't know much about his work because, as a young man, I had very little pocket money and I reserved it for the acquisition of progressive music of course, but less avant-garde. I only became acquainted with his universe when he came to present his project Aria Primitiva at the Cultural Centre of Soignies, in 2018, on the occasion of the festival Les Intemporelles. I was immediately captivated and won over, prompting me to follow his career a little more closely. The release of this compilation, which skilfully mixes the eras, is therefore an exceptional opportunity to discover this great artist with an equally enthusiastic kindness. That's why I invite you to rush to this release.


Taking advantage of the release of the triple CD "50 years of music(s)",
Thierry Zaboitzeff agreed to answer a few questions we had about his career.

(Interview conducted by Tibère.)

Prog censor - How do you feel after 50 years of creating innovative music?
Thierry Zaboitzeff - Not bad, thanks! Sometimes a little out of sorts, in doubt, but there's always that little something that gets me going again, a chord, an improbable idea, a sound, the sound, a simple vision that slides over others and leads me into the magical mazes of composition, but I'm like the little thumb, I sow things to find my way back...
In fact I feel very happy to have been able to carry out this retrospective project.

Pc - Can you come back for us on the beginnings of the story. It wasn't easy. We can see it by browsing your site ( where you relate episode after episode (there are currently eight), 50 years of musical love (and hardship).

TZ - Yes, I advise you to read them, just to get a good idea of what it meant to be a musician and independent composer in those days. The beginning of this whole story is the meeting with Gérard Hourbette and then Rocco Fernandez who invited us in his group Art Zoyd. Rocco left us in 1975 and gave us the keys of the house and, from then on, we experimented with different Art Zoyd formations with a lot of musicians who came, went and came back... All these meetings and experiences led to important moments: in 1976, our first album and then a tour in France as the first part of Magma; we were also with them at the Théâtre de la Renaissance (Paris) for ten days. Then, to mention only the most important moments, we will do a European tour in 1984 followed by the creation with Roland Petit's ballets of "Le Mariage du Ciel et de l'Enfer" (Milan Palais des sports / Paris-Théâtre des Champs Elysées / Marseille-Opéra / Bordeaux-Opéra); to make a long story short, there will also be the film-concerts "Nosferatu - Faust and Häxan"... This brings us to 1997, the year in which I left Art Zoyd (deep divergences on new orientations, weariness...).
But I would like to make it clear that this box set is only dedicated to a few episodes of Art Zoyd and that I absolutely want to defend and put forward what I produced in the 25 years following my departure from AZ. 

Pc - What order did you choose to present us your whole career?
TZ - The order was a big headache. I never managed to put together a chronological playlist that made sense, or if I did sometimes, it never did over time. So I decided to sit down on the chronology and I went rather on the idea of travelling in my music, with my music; this idea is much more interesting because it allows more space, more finesse, more poetry... Moreover, I like to play on contrasts, I was going to enjoy myself...

Pc - Did you remix some tracks ?
TZ - I remixed two tracks out of the 43 proposed: "Unsex Me Here", originally on the album "Art Zoyd-Berlin", but which I cover and remix in solo and live in 2009. Then "Konzobélé" from the album "Marathonnerre". For other pieces, I have re-mastered in order to unify as much as possible the colour of these compositions, which are sometimes very distant in time. I also re-recorded "Baboon's blood" (from the AZ-Berlin album) by inviting Daniel Denis (Univers Zero) to play the percussions, which makes the piece more lively and wilder, then as a tribute to Rocco Fernandez, the founder of Art Zoyd, I took back in a very personal version the title "Sangria" that the group had recorded on a 45 rpm on Opaline Records-Chants Du Monde in 1971.

Pc - How were most of the compositions made, whether it was with Art Zoyd or the other musical emanations that you met?
TZ - Vast subject! It all depends on the times... Self-taught for a long time, I don't write music (on paper), I use home-made audio or MIDI recordings because I play several instruments and, with time, I also became a manipulator of electronics (sequencers, samplers, effects, computers...) to communicate what I wish, in a relatively precise way, when I intervene with other musicians and when I don't call upon them, I compose and record directly in my studio... But the starting point of my compositions is rarely very sophisticated, I use a single instrument (guitar or keyboard or bass) on which I build a few snippets of what will become a song, even singing, and I let myself go completely to the fantasy that I then reframe and orchestrate in the studio.
The process is a bit different when I work on commissions because, in this case, many parameters interfere, such as the duration, the particular demands of a stage manager or director, the type of instrumentation desired...

Pc - Art Zoyd had opportunities to play (and share musicians) with bands like Magma or Univers Zero. Do you have any outstanding memories to share from this period?
TZ - With Magma, who we thought very highly of, apart from playing on the same bill, we didn't share anything. Shortly after these tours, I met Daniel Denis and then Univers zero and we even mixed our two groups in a sort of apocalyptic bigband, during reunion concerts. I remember the one at "Nancy Jazz Pulsations", it was hot! There were the pros and cons who were very vocal... We only did a few concerts in this economically unviable formation at that time and then also each group had more personal desires for the future.

Pc - Do you have some particular memories and anecdotes to share?

TZ - There are many and I can't take all the space here with that. I will rather talk about the most important facts.
In June 1984, at the invitation of the choreographer Roland Petit : the premiere of "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell" with the Milan Scala Ballet and our group Art Zoyd at the Milan Sports Palace for a week. This was a great event that took us out of our daily life as a band playing in clubs and other alternative venues for a while. Big audiences were offered to us with the technical means to match. A great team of technicians and musicians.

For the history and the anecdotes, I invite you to consult this link:

Pc - Can you tell us about the years that followed Art Zoyd, especially the Aria Primitiva period?
TZ - As soon as I left AZ, I started a lot of projects: contemporary dance, theatre... Always as a composer of course and from time to time live, in solo or in group: Zaboitzeff & Crew on the Miniaturen projects with Edita Braun Company, then Missa Furiosa created during the Bruckner Festival Linz in 2002.

My encounter with the Austrian choreographer Editta Braun will be the highlight of these last 25 years; I have been collaborating musically since 1997 on all the company's projects. It has been a very strong experience emotionally, very enriching, and it has allowed me to open my art to other horizons, freeing me from the obligatory paths of contemporary music and from the alternative musical circuits, which are sometimes a little sclerotic and closed. 

Aria Primitiva was born rather late, in 2017, following the anniversary concerts "Art Zoyd - 44 ½". On that occasion, I had met Nadia Ratsimandresy and Cécile Thévenot who were also part of that anniversary band. I missed the group experience and Nadia and Cécile came to me to propose to work together; I hesitated for a moment and then decided to do it! The main problem between us was the distance between us: Nadia in Paris, Cécile in Strasbourg and me in Austria in Salzburg... We could hardly find dates to get together as no concert was planned. As far as composition was concerned, I was making great strides and, within a few months, a basic repertoire was ready and, on the strength of this, I started to look for dates. Four concerts were planned and financially secured. We were ready to take the plunge and start rehearsing. This is how Aria Primitiva was born and lived, because after an album ("Sleep No More") and a few concerts, Nadia went back to her activities with Art Zoyd, of which she was still a member, and a distance was established for a long time, then Cécile dreamed of more improvisations, which was not the main focus of Aria Primitiva, which had finally become my baby. I had, I have a lot of respect for these musicians but a future seemed impossible, I decided to finish with this group and then the covid crisis hit us... I moved on.

I must add that, as long as this ensemble existed, I loved the process of working and the prospect of a new live band, a bit in the direction of Art Zoyd from the years 86-87 that I would have unconsciously liked to resurrect... There was so much to do and so many other musicians to invite.

Pc - Are there any concerts planned to celebrate the 50 years of career?
TZ - At this time, no concerts are planned and I'm close to 70. I no longer see music in terms of bus tours, packing up gear at three in the morning. The opportunities for all kinds of excesses and always taking responsibility for other musicians who only move because you ask them to move... Admittedly, I'm a little bitter on this subject after having lived through some unpleasant situations.

Let's just say that I'm no longer interested in this way of living music... I have other projects around my sounds and maybe you'll give me the opportunity to tell you about them later.

Pc - Thank you Thierry for this interview. A last word to encourage our readers to (re)discover your universe?

TZ - Thank you! But for this last question I'll quote Denis Desassis who I invited to preface this boxed set and he will speak to you about this anthology better than anyone, and certainly better than me! And thanks again to him for his words.

"Here are 50 years of music(s) illuminated by the abundance of an anthology which arouses admiration, so much the coherence of the whole, from the first hours of Art Zoyd to the last pagan choreographies, is here obvious. Music, cinema, dance, theatre are assembled in a great whole freed from time and stylistic barriers to abandon themselves to an imaginary world full of torments and hopes, those of a journey towards the great mystery. Thierry Zaboitzeff's work is adorned with the dark colours of an epic of initiation revealing enigmatic and sometimes desolate landscapes, the contemplation of which will arouse a curiosity mixed with fascination."

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Citizen Jazz (F)

Thierry Zaboitzeff
50 ans de musique(s)
Thierry Zaboitzeff (cello, elb, voc, kb, samp, prog) + musiciens ayant accompagné son parcours depuis 50 ans

(avec Art Zoyd, Aria Primitiva…).
by Denis Desassis 24/11/2022 

Jazz, not jazz, is that really the question? Listening to these 3 hours and 40 minutes of music meticulously organized in a three-CD box set, one thinks that the essential is elsewhere. There, in this rather indefinable space mixing multiple influences (rock, classical music, minimalist or electronic), where a musician has expressed himself for half a century. A long time ago but still very present, when Thierry Zaboitzeff was one of the mainstays of the Art Zoyd adventure with his partner Gérard Hourbette. A long road of more than 25 years followed by another experience still in progress (which we had already mentioned a few years ago on the occasion of the release of the disc Aria Primitiva), often more solitary but always haunted by the same pulsation coming from the depths (of the heart, of the soul, of the mystery of nature and of humans). To put it in a few words that could describe this musician unlike any other, one could evoke "a self-taught, multi-instrumentalist, an explorer as well as an inventor, that of an idiom of the crossing of "worried spaces" where, from the depths, a voice singing in a forgotten language can emerge at any moment, the natural child of his creative path. One could also speak of a contemporary electro-acoustic chamber music, of a technoid rock where bass, cello, keyboards, percussion, samples and other synthetic strings flourish" [1]. It should also be remembered that Thierry Zaboitzeff has put his art at the service of music, of course, but also of theatre and dance (let's remember the Marriage of Heaven and Hell by Roland Petit in 1985, or the setting to music of old films: Faust, Nosferatu, Hâxan). So it's been half a century since the story began. It was time to tell it, without any nostalgia but with the concern to shed light on its progress.

This has been done with 50 years of music(s), a real sum, a long thought-out whole whose coherence over the years attests to the creativity of a man who has never given up. Totally involved in what is very much like an anthology, Thierry Zaboitzeff did not hesitate, when he deemed it necessary, to re-record certain compositions, to review the mixing and mastering of some others. A good idea, moreover: he has not fallen into the trap of a chronological selection, which could have had the disadvantage of pointing too explicitly to an evolution over the decades. Here, the coherence is in the arrangement of a long scenario animating colours and timbres, varying rhythms and atmospheres, in the construction of a landscape between shadow and light. But with an unfailing passion for "cerebral music, no doubt, but powerfully carnal".

You may hear, throughout 50 years of music, the more or less distant echoes of Bartók, Stravinsky, Ligeti, or even Bach, as well as the more electric influences of a few bands hastily lumped into the progressive rock category. But in reality, you will dive, in total immersion, into the singular world of Thierry Zaboitzeff. Look hard enough, there are no others like his. It is a real adventure, a human as well as a musical fresco.
Denis Desassis.

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Thierry Zaboitzeff's 50 years of music
by Jean Christophe Alluin 21/11/2022 

With such a panorama, one might have feared a rather backward-looking box set with a lot of archives, with a period sound that is necessarily analogue and period. But here we are not on this retrospective register but, rather, on that of an updated and fully current visiting card, including on the sound level, with a visual work by Thierry Moreau perfectly in phase with this asserted electric modernity.

Thierry Zaboitzeff's past in Art Zoyd is obviously well known, and some beautiful traces of it appear here, sometimes in an updated form, including the magnificent Aria Primitiva, whose destiny has unfortunately been cut short. A wink to Rocco Fernandez, founder of AZ, some cleverly chosen extracts that the afficionados will recognize and some rather hair-raising "covers"...

The man left this matrix in 1997 and this is where this box set should open doors for many. Freeing himself from any chronological logic, Thierry Zaboitzeff has built here an audacious labyrinth where the listener is carried away to multiple lands. From the seminal Prométhée, released in 1984 and whose LP was well used by yours truly at the time, to the recent Pagan Dances (digital only), more than 20 records produced under his name have followed one another, unfortunately without much echo here, due to lack of distribution and promotion.

This box set will allow many of you to discover a personal universe, protean while being extremely coherent. So it doesn't matter how you categorise it: new music, progressive, post rock, contemporary music, rock in opposition, liturgical singing... Thierry Zaboitzeff is everywhere and, above all, elsewhere, as a free and liberated musician, as a singular composer with a plural universe. It is urgent to (re)discover him.
(Label : Monstre Sonore/ WPTL)
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Hémisphère Son (F)

The tears of Prometheus Thierry Zaboitzeff
Co-founder of the Art Zoyd collective, Thierry Zaboitzeff comes back today, in 3 CDs, on 50 years of music(s). The occasion to rediscover one of the most singular and transgenre adventures of the French musical landscape.

by Franck Marguin 15/11/2022

In 1984, the musician Thierry Zaboitzeff publishes, on the Cryonic label, a first solo album called Prométhée. The cover of the disc, a painting signed Raymond Majchrzak, shows two visibly worried doctors at the bedside of a dying man, who probably doesn't have much longer. The strangeness of the relationship between this image and the name of Prometheus has haunted me ever since I discovered this record, a few years after its release. The deconstruction of the myth to anchor it in a daily life as banal as sordid lets imagine a music drawing its roots in the same dichotomy, linking the sacred to the grey of the daily life.

When this first solo opus, Prométhée, was released, Thierry Zaboitzeff, a native of Maubeuge, already had a long career behind him, within the Art Zoyd collective, active since 1968. Collective more than group, because about thirty musicians came to play there over time, even if the hard core was composed of Zaboitzeff, Patricia Dallio and Gérard Hourbette, whose death in 2018 marked the end of the activities after 50 years of good and loyal services. Initially formed for stage music, theater, dance, Art Zoyd released his first record in 1976, the already very successful Symphonie Pour Le Jour Où Brûleront Les Cités, and the fifteen years that followed saw masterpieces flourish: Music for the Odyssey (1979), Generation Without a Future (1980), Phase IV (1982), The Unquiet Spaces (1983), The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1985), as well as, our two favorites, Berlin (1987) and Nosferatu (1990).

When the group started, it was without equivalent; this music had never been heard before, nor would it be copied afterwards. Nevertheless, Art Zoyd's influence will be determining on all the adventurous music of the end of the XXth century. Influential, but inimitable. From the very beginning, the strong characteristics of the Art Zoyd sound are affirmed. It is a liturgical music, which does not fear to use symbols, and which mixes influences as diverse as progressive rock, free jazz, neo-classical, contemporary music and, distant cousin, experimental music. The works are often instrumental, and when the voice is heard, it is guttural, seems to come out of the darkness, chanting more than singing.

Accustomed to composing for the stage, Art Zoyd became passionate about another discipline, that of composing for the cinema. But their specificity will be to compose music for films from the golden age of the silent era. Pioneers in the genre, they created gigantic and impressive cine-concerts, an exercise to which many musicians nowadays are accustomed but which, at the time, was a real event. They opened the series with Murnau's Nosferatu, followed by Faust by the same filmmaker, and then introduced the public to Benjamin Christensen's wonderful Häxan, at a time when the film was invisible. This was followed by soundtracks for Fritz Lang's Metropolis, Jean Epstein's The Fall of the House of Usher, and Dziga Vertov's The Man with the Camera. These film-concerts are real scenic experiences. Art Zoyd is not content to play the music of a film by hiding behind or next to the screen, but puts himself on stage in a spectacular, sometimes grandiloquent way, creating a living spectacle where image and sound communicate permanently. The films are thus taken out of their programmed museification to find a saving contemporary resonance.

The disc which makes us speak about Thierry Zaboitzeff here has the merit to be named one can more simply: 50 years of music (s). Besides the number 50 which is impressive (who can indeed boast to have composed during 50 years and to continue to do it with the same ease?), it is the " s " between brackets which holds the attention. A true jack-of-all-trades, multi-instrumentalist (even if the bass has always been his favorite instrument), Zaboitzeff has multiplied styles, desires, and projects, which means that, 50 years later, his music is necessarily plural. This copious box of 3 CDs filled to overflowing, presents nearly 4 hours of music spread over 43 tracks. The intelligence of the tracklist is not to organize the pieces in chronological order, nor by formation, to better reorganize the whole in the most harmonious way possible, creating a new work, gigantic, protean, seeming in perpetual mutation, offering us the possibility of devouring again this incandescent and forever regenerated liver.

So we hear some Art Zoyd, excerpts from Les Espaces Inquiets, Phase IV, a remix of Marathonnerre I, and reinterpretations of two of his best songs: Unsex Me Here and Baboon's Blood, the original versions of which were on the Berlin CD release. Zaboitzeff composed a lot for Art Zoyd, he and Hourbette being the two masterminds of the project, but he has voluntarily chosen to under-represent this prolific part of his career, privileging the recordings that are probably less known by the public. The box set also offers us two excellent tracks of Aria Primitiva, a trio formed with Cécile Thévenot and Nadia Ratsimandresy and offering syncopated electronic atmospheres, or ambient, of any beauty; as well as six tracks of the Zaboitzeff & Crew project, the crew in question being composed of Gerda Rippel and Sandrine Rohrmoser. The main part is logically dedicated to his solo works. Because, in a more and more confidential way, and since the inaugural Prométhée, Thierry Zaboitzeff signed with his name alone about twenty albums. We rediscover with a lot of interest extracts of the excellent Dr. Zab & His Robotic Strings Orchestra (1992) or Heartbeat (1997), from which comes the superb El Amor Brujo (Live), one of the most exciting pieces of the box set.

Even if this triple album is a compilation, it is good to specify that a great part of the tracks were reworked for the occasion. Between the remakes, the remixes, the remastered versions, those played again with the piano, the live versions, the short versions, the long ones, even the most attentive listener of Thierry Zaboitzeff's work will have the feeling, legitimate, to rediscover a work unceasingly reinvented. Because it is about that, finally. These 50 of music (s) stroll us since the ashes of the progressive rock of the end of the Sixties until the techno of the beginning of the XXIst century, of the most insane experiments until moments of gathering full of reserve and intensity mixed, and this journey, these journeys, are not those which are made of a point A, which would be the departure of something, in a point B, its arrival; no, the crossing to which Thierry Zaboitzeff invites us here plunges us in the eye of the cyclone, within a spiral in movement whose only conceivable, reliable way, through this inextricable maze of music (s), is the one that the listener will have chosen to trace himself. Alone, but nicely accompanied.

Franck Marguin

About 50 years of music (s), retrospective box set of 3 CDs by Thierry Zaboitzeff - Monstre Sonore / Thierry Zaboitzeff / WTPL-Music - Distribution : PIAS 
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Rythmes Croisés (F)

Thierry ZABOITZEFF : At the heart of fifty years of Music (s)
28 October 2022 Philippe Perrichon Articles and Interviews, Reviews

At the heart of fifty years of music (s)

by Philippe Perrichon - 28/10/2022

For many, Thierry ZABOITZEFF is, first of all, the co-founder and an essential composer, alongside Gérard HOURBETTE, of the group ART ZOYD, and this is certainly considerable. But if this is probably the crucible that allowed him to develop his own colours, his career goes far beyond his role as a composer and musician within this group. Thierry ZABOITZEFF has indeed produced more than thirty-five solo recordings (vinyl, CD, digital recordings), even more than ART ZOYD, a group to which he has nevertheless stamped his style for more than twenty-five years. In 2022, Thierry ZABOITZEFF celebrates 50 years of a protean musical career. On this occasion, an album aptly titled 50 Years of Music(s) has been released, which we suggest you get to know better, especially as it takes the form of a triptych.

This triple CD which pays tribute to the fifty years of music of Thierry ZABOITZEFF is a beautiful object to which we are indebted to the talent of another Thierry, a friend of the first, Thierry MOREAU, to whom we owe many of the covers and jackets of the music we love without having taken the trouble to check which talented graphic designer was the author.

Thierry MOREAU's deliberate choice of a container rich in colour and careful graphics echoes Thierry ZABOITZEFF's varied palette as well as his concern for precision, so perceptible in each of his works. The affinities between these two artists do not date from yesterday: Thierry MOREAU had already illustrated the reissue of the recording of Symphonie pour le jour où brûleront les cités by ART ZOYD but also Pagan Dances, Professional Stranger, ARIA PRIMITIVA by Thierry ZABOITZEFF. It was certainly still a question of affinities with the Belgian group UNIVERS ZÉRO when Thierry MOREAU made the cover of the CD Phosphorescent Dreams. If you wish to compensate for your lack of knowledge about the work of this prolific graphic designer, do not hesitate to click on the link below: Translated with (free version)

But let's discover what is behind this beautiful album by Thierry ZABOITZEFF, entitled 50 Years of Music(s).

The enclosed booklet opens with notes by DENIS DESASSIS: besides the invitation to immerse oneself in the universe of Thierry ZABOITZEFF, DENIS DESASSIS seems to hesitate between the multiple facets of Thierry ZABOITZEFF's music. What does it tell us? How to evoke in a few words a music that goes beyond itself, highly congruent with a powerful choreographic work that extends and intensifies it? Confusing? Yes. Seductive? Just as much. Thierry ZABOITZEFF's music never strays from a vein of inspiration characterised by a chiselled choice of timbres and colours, generating multiple atmospheres, like so many worlds. DENIS DESASSIS concludes his apologetic introduction with these words - which the listener will be able to confirm once he has made the journey himself: "This is a story that questions our world, whose implacability is well known, following the contours of a hypnotic dance streaked with telluric vibrations as much as with flashes of light capable of calming the shadowy areas that the latter reveal. It is safe to assume that somewhere, very close to us, there is a Planet ZABOITZEFF. Wonder awaits you".

Three fine slices of deep blue pleasure are offered to us in three promising musical sections. They are full of emotions, dense expression and sound landscapes which are all unheard of universes that lead to the perception of this feeling of urgency, of absolute necessity to make this inner, demanding and passionate music of Thierry ZABOITZEFF spring forth into our sound space. At first glance, one might have expected a chronological distribution of the titles proposed. However, this is not the choice made by the composer. For it is indeed a proposal: Thierry ZABOITZEFF's production is summarised here, but in a non-exhaustive way, far from it.

Indeed, the work of the composer and multi-instrumentalist (bass, cello, samplers, voice, guitar, percussion, programming...) - who generally also takes care of the recording, mixing and mastering - stretches without empty passages under our ears since the 1970s. Thierry ZABOITZEFF balances with talent the expressiveness of the voices and the different instruments with the almost clockwork precision of his compositions which, since ART ZOYD, has been the hallmark of this mythical band's style. This preoccupation with precision, this refined asceticism, at first sight austere, is omnipresent in this triple album. This recapitulation exposes compositions with climates specific to the varied and complex universe of Thierry ZABOITZEFF. The composer, master builder and architect, combines sustained and intense pieces with calmer or more soberly orchestrated pieces, in the way that breathing is articulated between inspiration and expiration, an alternation necessary to the musical journey that he offers us in his universe.

I don't think he will take offence if I say that Thierry ZABOITZEFF is a remarkable hypermnesic. Indeed, taking advantage of the forced event lull suffered by all the artists and the public under the guise of health security, Thierry has regularly added a section to his site relating his incredible career. Like many of his admirers, I regularly awaited the new publications, year by year, that he published on his site. This section is a gold mine for all music lovers and musicians as it is full of anecdotes that are so similar to the experiences of many musicians who started touring in the 1970s. To get an overview, click here:

His collaborations are multiple and we will note, to make a short note, his important contribution as a musician-composer until today with the Austrian dance company Editta BRAUN COMPANY and the magnificent period of ARIA PRIMITIVA of which two superb recordings testify: Work in Progress and Sleep no more. His Thierry ZABOITZEFF & CREW period, from 2002 to 2020, also gave rise to the magnificent Missa Furiosa, of which here is an excerpt, the Kyrie, given in public:

The writer's pretension cannot go beyond an invitation to explore by yourself this triple album, which itself can be compared to the emerging part of an iceberg so dense and prolific is Thierry ZABOITZEFF's work. We will limit ourselves to offering you a few highlights; but this choice is obviously subjective and can be likened to a selection of postcards taken from a journey that is impossible to summarise. May it encourage you to make this profound journey yourself in the company of the maestro.

Voyage is the title of the first piece on the first CD. This piece, composed in 2005, with its festive, ethnic colours, takes us to Africa, China... The magnificent timbres where the bass and the staccatos of the cellos mingle in velvet textures are well representative of the way in which Thierry ZABOITZEFF establishes his compositions. This predominance of strumming is found in the following piece, Domagali, composed in 2007, where Thierry lays down this little cello chorus based on harmonics which is very much in his style.

From the title Pagan Dances, composed in 2021 - a piece taken from the eponymous album - we are plunged into the darker and tenser colours more familiar to connoisseurs of Thierry ZABOITZEFF's music. This re-immersion will culminate in Cérémonie Parts 1-2-3 composed in 1983 or Prometean Waves from 1984, the second part of which will provide some of the ingredients of a piece present in the fabulous Mariage du Ciel et de l'Enfer, a work composed for a ballet commissioned by Roland PETIT, the music of which was played live by the band at the same time as the dance troupe. The refreshing break with Ballade, written in 1982, takes us back to the "historical" world of Valenciennes, a land of miners and metalworkers (a similar social context presided over the birth of UNIVERS ZÉRO in Belgium):

Épreuves d'acier - Fragments d'une forge : Épreuves d'acier is originally a composition commissioned to Thierry ZABOITZEFF by the photographer Philippe SCHLIENGER and his association "Les Insatisfaits" for the exhibition "Épreuves d'Acier - Fragments d'une forge". This project was piloted in France for Thierry ZABOITZEFF by the association Soundtracks. This work was published as a book-disc by the French publisher Contrejour. The music was composed, performed and recorded by Thierry ZABOITZEFF in 1995.

Mein Augenstern, composed in 2000, spreads its rainy piano notes over a silk carpet of cellos that evokes certain Bartokian atmospheres, while the harmonics of the solo cello stretch out of time.

The playful piece entitled Sangria, composed by Rocco FERNANDEZ, ART ZOYD's first founder, was originally released in 1971 and was arranged in 2022 by Thierry ZABOITZEFF.

After Confusion and Crash, the composer takes us through a lunar landscape of which he has the secret. Planet LUVOS Act 8 exhales its mystery in a semi-darkness that is one of the composer's facets, and there is the delicate work on timbres, the balance of nuances and the mastery of space that gives a real dimension to the piece and gently invites the listener to it.

LoSt opens the second chapter of the triple album. The colour goes wild in the direction of a binary rock, but whose airy harmonies draw a filigree conducive to long saturated notes and yet, quite quickly, the strings speak again, with a sense of counterpoint that sets up a harmonic march opening the way to the initial colours of the piece.

Amina and its muffled strings, punctuated by percussion and a melodic line and harmonies almost conventional in the musician's universe was composed in 2007 for the film Winds of Sand - Women of Rock by Nathalie BORGERS.

The dreamlike dimension is often underlying Thierry ZABOITZEFF's work, and these mysterious dreams or nightmares sometimes give his music a cathartic dimension that does not evade any of the emotions that can emerge from the unconscious. The fragility of the human being is here extirpated from its fears to express itself while the creative power through which music liberates the musician and the listener is asserted with strength, gentleness, enthusiasm or anguish. Thierry ZABOITZEFF's music is not easy, nor is it designed to distract the conscience from itself and from the necessary introspection of the depths of our souls. Following the example of Gestalt, we could say that Thierry ZABOITZEFF's music is a music of contact, a music that leads the listener to contact feelings? emotions and sentiments without any concern for avoidance or mawkishness.

Here joy rubs shoulders with fear or fervour, softness and silence, but nothing is gratuitous, everything serves the purpose of a music that is an inner journey. Unclassifiable - and so much the better - this musical register, to which the works of UNIVERS ZERO or PRESENT are related, is free from fashions and trends, from clichés and facilities. It is probably this non-subjection to fashions and other trends that allows Thierry ZABOITZEFF to bring together pieces created at different periods in an order that corresponds more to an initiatory journey that allows us to discover the varied facets that characterise his inspiration.

But let us continue with Thierry on this journey to the centre of his music.

The Cabinet of Dr Caligari Akt IV follows Thierry ZABOITZEFF's work with ART ZOYD on Nosferatu (MURNAU), Faust (MURNAU), Häxan (CHRISTENSEN), three film-concerts produced between 1989 and 1996. Thierry ZABOITZEFF, fifteen years later, revisits these compositions... This time he is alone on stage with a whole hi-tech arsenal without abandoning his favourite instruments: the cello, the bass, the percussions, the guitars and his voice...

Premiered on 9 September 2010 in Berlin, The Cabinet of Dr Caligari Akt IV takes us, via its dreamlike evanescence, into this dark and haunting world of percussion which suddenly bursts forth to give way to a haunting ostinato: oscillating between dream and nightmare, we are invited to this atonal round, sometimes dissonant, in which the composer plays with the sound planes, the distant or close spaces, thus conferring on his piece a dimension of freedom which is sometimes intoxicating.

Komba is taken from Heartbeat, Concerto for Dance and Music, whose full title is Heartbeat, Des Cornes de brume, un capitaine. A woman sleeping in the belly of a ship. Two Dreamers... was premiered in 1996-1997 in Salzburg. The premiere took place on 11 April 1997 at the Szene Salzburg. It is a joint work combining live music and dance. The music is by Thierry ZABOITZEFF, and the dance and choreography by Editta BRAUN. The concept and artistic direction were provided by Stéphane VÉRITÉ. This live show has toured to: Szene Salzburg / Festival Tanzsprache WUK Vienna / Bela Bartok Komitat Györ in Hungary / Festival Maishofner Sommer / Tauriska / Sommer SZENEfestival / Steintheater Hellbrunn / Festival Mautfrei Brotfabrik in Bonn / Festival Österreich tanzt / Festspielhaus St. Pölten / Impulsfestival Bregenz / Théâtre de l'Odéon / Festival Tanzpool in Vienna.

Komba is emblematic of the climates developed by the composer in his solo performance Dr. Zab & his Robotic Strings Orchestra. The piece, whose writing has an 'ascending' character, dates from 1993 and rather than a long speech, let us let the music speak for itself:

After this frantic vertical race, Thierry ZABOITZEFF takes us into a delicate and hushed universe where a piano ostinato welcomes his voice which knows how to be soft, delicate guitar arpeggios, a background song which is not without evoking a traditional pygmy song. This is Clear Light, a piece composed in 1992. The composer shows great technical and instrumental mastery, as well as a keen sense of mixing and balancing timbres and spaces. The spatial perception of the piece does not detract from its intention of intimacy.

After Zart, a multi-part piece composed in 1995, in which the clarinettist Christian KAPUN brought his voice to the instruments all played by Thierry ZABOITZEFF, it is the turn of Mariée avec la nuit to take us into the dance.

This piece, composed in 1984 and recorded in 1990, is revisited here by Thierry ZABOITZEFF: taking over the writing, he envisages it in a shorter version and closer to an instrumentation that could be qualified as rock-progressive: it is indeed composed of six electric guitars (of which the one that holds the central melody is assured by Thierry ZABOITZEFF) and three bass players (obviously Thierry also plays his own bass part). The initial project, intended for the stage and called Overdrive, will unfortunately not succeed, and only this superb piece will remain, recorded in 2011 and whose reorchestration has not altered the already dense energy of its first version. Thierry ZABOITZEFF achieves the tour de force of proposing here a piece accessible to an audience unfamiliar with his work without conceding anything to the easy way out.

So Etwas Wie Blau, recorded in 2021 for the album Professional Stranger, is yet another of those calm but vigilant breaths of which the composer has the secret. A swaying between two piano chords on a velvet bass serves as a framework for the quivering of a cello, which is soon joined by the composer's voice and then the dissonant and crystalline pearls of the piano's right hand... Where dream and reality intermingle?

As the intention of this article is to invite you on this journey, it would be tedious to map it out here. We have to admit that it may seem unfair and reductive to limit our comments to certain pieces of this opus, as it is true that none of them is minor. We will therefore limit ourselves, as announced, to mentioning from now on some of its stages, keeping in mind that the audition of this triple album reserves some gems not mentioned here, in order to preserve all its fresh flavour.

With Rage & Domination we visit the album India recorded in 1998. A superb energetic piece that masterfully mixes instruments and recordings (of sound effects and voices) in a compositional technique that could be compared to a form of collage, but which is never disconnected from the living and present character of the work. This is a skill that is often required of the composer and he masters it without ever losing himself in it, without ever losing us. Thierry ZABOITZEFF plays cello, guitar, samplers, programming, recording, mixing and mastering as he does throughout this triple album.

Baboon's Blood in its 2022 version is a new arrangement of this piece recorded in 1987 on the album Berlin. Daniel DENIS, the founding percussionist of UNIVERS ZERO, is Thierry ZABOITZEFF's partner: Daniel DENIS is an essential composer of UNIVERS ZERO and also plays the percussion. Their joint performances are partly visible and audible in the concert extracts filmed as part of the RIO, the Rock In Opposition festival. The piece is pushed to its maximum tension, Thierry ZABOITZEFF adding some sound effects and an imprecatory dimension absent from the initial version. Here the composer makes a new reference to Macbeth. The piece ends with a sneer that is both sinister and... jubilant!

This second part of our initiatory journey ends with Die Maschine, a piece composed for the album Multiple Distorsions in 2013, which, despite its mechanical character, is vibrant with light. We are ready for the last stage of the rocket, let's go, we follow you Thierry!


And we enter the universe of ARIA PRIMITIVA with this piece Sleep no more. Some will have understood: Thierry ZABOITZEFF's music is never there to lull us to sleep, even if it does not exclude gentleness, and when it seems violent at first sight, it invites us to share the joyful fervour or, at the very least, the vibrant vital energy that animates it. It is a contract between us and the composer. The deal being done, we can walk with him in his universe and discover the sensitivity behind what we would have mistakenly taken for coldness.

ARIA PRIMITIVA is a very accomplished formation in the musical approach of Thierry ZABOITZEFF. It is a trio composed of Nadia RATSIMANDRESY (ondes Martenot - a marvellous instrument so brilliantly highlighted by MESSIAEN, notably in his Petites Liturgies de la présence divine - keyboards and samplers), Cécile THÉVENOT (keyboards and samplers) and the composer and performer himself.

Sleep no more, a piece from the eponymous album, is clearly a fervent invitation not to let go of his vigilance and to pursue the creative process in which the composer is involved. Its first version dates from 1990 for the album Nosferatu, composed in the context of ART ZOYD to illustrate MURNAU's film version of the same name. The version that appears on the present album dates from 2019.

After the breath of a Phantasiespiel that can be heard as a neo-classical interlude whose contrapuntal intention is announced by the initial piano theme that unfolds in canon we enter the ascending phase of this anthology. Aria Primitiva, which gives its name to this group, is a title composed in 2019 that leads us into a new universe, specific to this trio. The piece is a real success: it combines timbres and instrumentations and then voices laid on repetitive and cyclic rhythms with a haunting character. However, despite this reference to a vein of inspiration already tested by the composer's past experiences, the instrumental and electronic mastery of Aria Primitiva places this piece firmly in its time.

We mentioned above the Missa Furiosa, an ambitious work articulated in different movements directly inspired by the Christian liturgy and having served as a basis for many other famous masses in the classical repertoire, from Jean-Sébastien BACH to Ludwig Van BEETHOVEN. A daring undertaking and a veritable musical monument, articulated according to the classical structure of the mass, Thierry ZABOITZEFF's Missa Furiosa logically opens with an Introitus recorded in 2002 in the context of the formation ZABOITZEFF AND CREW. The vocal section is composed of Christine AUGUSTIN, mezzo-soprano, Jean BERMES, baritone, Rupert BOPP and Thierry ZABOITZEFF. A rare feature for the composer is the addition of a drummer, Peter ANGERER. The last two pieces of this third part are also extracted from the Missa Furiosa: they are the superb Requiem and the intense Libera Me, which we will discuss later.

A sound illustration is necessary, here it is: 

Deil Zom an de Lay, recorded in 2012 for album 16, lays its round, velvety bass over the left hand notes of the piano. This depth vibrates in the sternum. The arpeggio spins a lace that welcomes Thierry's voice. A soft melody completes this peaceful pause. His guitar throws its stretched complaint into space in the manner of a Matte Kudasai dear to KING CRIMSON. The piece is still a real alchemical jewel.

We can feel that Captain ZABOITZEFF has conceived his interstellar vessel and his initiatory approach with a logic and a sensitivity turned towards his audience. With Konzo Bélé, we are on the edge of the solar system, observing the Milky Way with wonder, reconnecting with our childhood souls. As if in a distant echo, we hear from the blue planet the pygmy songs that welcomed us at the beginning of the journey. The airy, crystalline instrumentation evokes that point in the journey where we can only be different, purified, ready for the big jump. Composed in 1992 for ART ZOYD's album Marathonnerre 1 and 2, the piece was remixed in 2022 for the present triple album.

The big jump is here, are you ready? Here is Komba in its piano version, piano played by Thierry - it is perhaps superfluous to remind you that any instrument presented to him seems to be a challenge for this man! Komba is probably an act of faith on the part of the composer: this piece, of which we have already heard the orchestral version, Thierry ZABOITZEFF first wrote it for bass and computer, then transposed it for solo piano as part of his collaboration with the Editta BRAUN COMPANY for the Close up project. This is the version he performs himself, for piano and computer, recorded in 2021. A dense piece, with its obsessive staccato, Komba runs from one key to another in a sustained race that has all the makings of an ascent that nothing seems able to stop. Resolutely tonal and tonic, the piece does not lack, in this version, affinities with the first and third movements of Béla BARTOK's Piano Sonata Opus 26 (while remaining, however, in a resolutely more consonant framework) or even certain pieces for solo piano by a certain Nik BÄRTSCH, whose approach we have already mentioned in these columns:

After Komba, we are ready for a sort of finale in two parts which, together, can sum up the feeling that sometimes emerges from the music of this composer: between the Requiem (freely adapted from MOZART's Requiem) of his Missa Furiosa and his Libera me, which closes this work, we pass from extreme gravity, from the most delicate recollection, tinged with melancholy, to the deployment of an urgent, essential vital energy, animated by an aspiration to a form of mystical liberation expressed in a sort of vertical march. With his Missa Furiosa, Thierry ZABOITZEFF has built a musical monument to which this triple album bears witness and whose apotheosis is emblematic of his creative approach. Translated with (free version)

Interview with Thierry ZABOITZEFF

Thank you Thierry for accepting the principle of this interview because, if I understand correctly, your timing is rather tight...

Thierry ZABOITZEFF : Yes, and I apologise for that. Indeed, as soon as this box set project is finished and delivered, I'm back in the studio to compose and record a soundtrack for a 19' LUVOS Migrations film, a project piloted by Editta BRAUN COMPANY. "Vision of the future or images from a parallel universe? In breathtaking natural settings, automated industrial landscapes and deserted ruins, a journey through time and living spaces unfolds. The strange LUVOS creatures of Editta BRAUN's theatre of body illusion take over the music of Thierry ZABOITZEFF.

It's a new challenge for me and I thank Editta BRAUN for her confidence each time.

A teaser of this soundtrack is available here:

This recap has a striking effect: it makes one realise how much your work has been spread out over time and makes one want to delve into your discography and your considerable output. How did this triple-album project come about?

TZ : Well, as you know, I'll soon be 70 years old, and when you're lucky enough to reach that age without too many problems, you can't help but look back, not without a little bit of pride, and make a kind of assessment, and I thought it would be interesting to gather in a box set with a relatively tight format in order to avoid any repetition or redundancy, an anthology, I prefer this word to the one of compilation which I find bland and ugly...

In any case, there was absolutely no question of releasing my 30 albums in a box set at the risk of an economic disaster and a serious indigestion.

So I started to work summarily on 3 or 4 playlists, just to see what the task was on an artistic level. Then convinced of the feasibility, I decided to go round my contacts to find out who could co-produce such an album. Out of politeness, as it should be in the business, I first contacted the label and publisher that has been supporting me since 2005 (WTPL-Music and Monstre Sonore) who were immediately willing to accept the conditions I set. It was in December 2021 and we had already planned a release for June 2022 but finally we postponed it to September 2022.

It was a complicated and difficult job which I am happy with at the end and I think the secret was to forget any chronology and then we had to master and unify all these recordings from different periods.

There are several aspects of this set that are very impressive: first of all your poly-instrumentalist skills and then your mastery of current technologies. How did this expansion of your skills come about?

TZ : A long time ago, I was only a bass player but also a bit of a guitarist, which suited perfectly the rock-prog rock framework of the 1970s, but very quickly Gérard HOURBETTE and myself within ART ZOYD, decided to break the codes, which Rocco FERNANDEZ had already started...

This resulted in the progressive addition of effects pedals of all kinds, echo chambers to lengthen the sounds, to give them wider spaces, from our second album, I started playing the cello to reinforce this electrified chamber music side... Thus, one thing leading to another, we also became interested in studio techniques which were financially inaccessible at that time. In spite of the magnificent work done for each album in the studio, we always had huge regrets: not enough time for recording, mixing, etc.

But then, in the mid-1980s, computer music came along and from then on we equipped ourselves to become completely autonomous in our recording. Without going into too much detail, it was a revolution for me, for us: MIDI/keyboards/and very soon affordable hardware samplers/digital multitrack recording systems. We had to learn on the job and master these new lutheries, from that time until today, taking care not to let ourselves be eaten by the technical side. For my part, I've always tried to strike the right balance between machines and acoustic instruments, but sometimes, and this happens, the machine gives off something that you can't reproduce with an acoustic instrument and that fits in well with the context of the composition.

I have only one small regret, but it is undoubtedly the price to pay for the exercise of an anthology: I had really liked your work on the Livre Vermeil by Montserrat and this is perhaps one of the lesser known aspects of your work as an arranger and composer. Do you also have this regret?

TZ : As you say, it's the price to pay. Of course I tried to include one of the pieces in this project, The Vermeil Book of Montserrat, but in the end I realised that I didn't have good enough material for that. In the meantime I phoned Sandrine ROHRMOSER and we agreed to record this project professionally next year.

Can you tell us about your collaboration with Thierry MOREAU who also honours us by writing in our columns?

TZ : I knew Thierry MOREAU for many years (ART ZOYD period) then by chance, I met him in a train between Douai and Paris in 2004 I think : we exchanged very nicely, I sent him some albums and time passed.

Little by little and very discreetly, he approached me, telling me about his graphic work, especially for album covers. He very quickly offered to work on my album covers, which I refused because I rarely had the budget for it. However, his approach and his work had immediately seduced me so much that in 2017, when it was a question of an album for ARIA PRIMITIVA, I did my utmost to have his graphic design work integrated into the production budget. The work was done in a great mutual respect, right up to this box set, on which he did a fantastic job completely outside of what he or I could have imagined.

Are you animated by a form of spirituality (even if it is quite personal - as a self-respecting autodidact! - In my modest capacity, I am also self-taught and I know that it is sometimes difficult but that it is a choice that makes you freer)? This question comes to me through your recourse to Latin, which is a culturally marked choice, typically European, and, also, anchored (and inked) in a Christian context that has marked our continent (and beyond).

TZ: Dear Philippe, I am animated by diabolical thoughts! (laughs) No, I'm kidding! The reference to Latin is linked to my personal history with my maternal grandfather: he was an organist and when I was a child I used to accompany him to the gallery for high mass. The power of the organ pipes made an impression on me... as did the Swiss guard who regulated the service. All this context much later inspired me for the Missa Furiosa, I had already wanted to tackle these slightly technoid riffs by associating them with Latin... The pitch was found !

Can you tell us about your strange cello? I've always been intrigued by this instrument...

TZ : You mean my customised Yamaha Silent Cello ? For a number of years I worked as a composer and live musician, very often in the open air, summer and winter... My acoustic cello suffered so much from this, it couldn't hold a chord in extreme weather conditions and eventually broke... So I found this stick almost impervious to the elements thanks to its bass mechanics, but I re-equipped it with excellent quality piezo pickups, as the basic Yamaha system wasn't very convincing. This system allowed me to play in all weathers and without feedback problems by giving me the possibility to alternate between a classic or electro sound with the help of effects pedals that guitarists know very well.

What was your initial career path? I can imagine you as a complete autodidact...

TZ : I am the complete autodidact ! I had a problem with that idea for a while in my early days, I was always surrounded by very professional and trained musicians. Many of them I worked with were very respectful of that and very responsive to my ideas.

Then, as time went by, I freed myself: the experiences, my unconventional learning on the different instruments I use and then, also, my self-taught training on computers, recording techniques, constitute a whole and a heritage of which I am very proud because thus, I was able to follow my own paths with all the fantasy I wanted!

What are your projects for the months and years to come ?

TZ : As I said before, the recording of my adaptation of the Livre Vermeil de Montserrat with Sandrine ROHRMOSER, with a view to an album... Then a little rest !!!!!

Then a little later some surprises, I hope.

Thank you for this interview and congratulations again for this beautiful album !

TZ : Thanks to you, for your attention.

Article and interview by Philippe Perrichon - Photos : Bettina Frenzel (scenes) - Zablab2022 (portraits)

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Eurock (USA)

Thierry Zaboitzeff - 50 YEARS OF MUSIQUE (3)
by Archie Patterson, october 2022

In 1976 Art Zoyd 3 had been reconfigured since its creation in 1969 and released their first LP titled, 'Symphonie of the Day the Cities Burn'. Also in 1976 The band performed LIVE at the 'Théâtre de la Renaissance' in Paris on November 1976.
In 2022 Thierry just released an extraordinary 3-CD career spanning retrospective box set compilation of tracks from his soundtracks, music for dance and solo albums. In the annals of European experimental bands Thierry's musique is literally not comparable to any other European experimental or progressive music bands I've ever heard.
Today Thierry still writes and performs music for dance, theater, multimedia events, movie soundtracks, as well as music for his own projects and performances.
You can hear a sample 'Pagan Dance', Buy the box set (there are only 3 copies left), a Digital version of the complete set as well as all 31 of Thierry's digital albums (at 40% Off) at Bandcamp.
If you are a fan of French experimental music his new historical retrospective is essential! He's been consistently innovative and his music still embodies the spirit of the 1970's and 80's…
Go to Bandcamp @

Best Magazine (F)

THIERRY ZABOITZEFF, fifty shades of genius.
The unclassifiable THIERRY ZABOITZEFF is back this autumn with the anthology 50 years of music, an epic retrospective of an extraordinary career.

by Kevin Letalleur - september 2022

The general public tends to forget it, but in the heart of the 1970s, France was a Mecca for progressive music. Less successful than the legendary British scene - driven by the rich Canterbury school - the French prog movement stood out at the time for its avant-gardism, pushed to its furthest limits. Progressive rock was already avant-garde enough: sound experimentation, hybridisation and other oddities were the very essence of this movement. Ange, Triangle and Gong looked King Crimson, Jethro Tull and Genesis in the eye - a group that was more successful in France and Belgium than in its native England. Nevertheless, one band was to send French prog into the cosmos more than any other. This band is of course Magma.

The mythical band founded by Christian Vander - considered by some to be the greatest drummer of all time - embraced the principles of the genre so vehemently and intensely that even the label "progressive" seemed too narrow. They invented a genre, zeuhl, which was considered "multidirectional and spiritual" even more than musical, but also a dialect: Kobaian. A number of bands explored the magma chambers dug by Vander's band and, for some, drilled into the most remote calderas of this new kind of music. It is among these madmen of sound that we find the Nordic band Art Zoyd.

Founded in 1969 by Gérard Hourbette, Rocco Fernandez, and of course Thierry zaboitzeff, Art zoyd was at first just a hard rock band like so many others existed at the time. It is under the impulse of the last named that the band will progressively evolve its music and abandon the traditional rock instrumentarium, abandoning guitars and drums in favour of piano and cellos. It is in this neo-classical approach that Art Zoyd released Symphonie pour le jour où brûleront les cités in 1976, the first album of a labyrinthine and constantly evolving discography. From then on, they became the champions of one of the most radical prog movements, rock in opposition, which, as its name indicates, is unconditionally opposed to the radio format and generally to

to the radio format and more generally to the diktats of the music industry.

During the 80's, Art zoyd will progressively move away from his neo-prog roots to direct his music towards a more synthetic style, considering the arrival of the famous Yamaha DX7 and samples as an opportunity to push the boundaries of sound even further. At the same time, zaboitzeff went solo with the release of Prométhée in 84, again the beginning of one of the most prolific catalogues in France - and one that would sometimes see him release several records a year. It is precisely this part of the career of the man from Maubeuge that the anthology 50 ans de musique revisits, through three CDs of about fifteen tracks each. "Only", one would be tempted to say.

Thierry zaboitzeff's story is that of fifty years of pure musical creation, unfortunately unknown to the common man, to whom he probably doesn't belong. Therein lies the curse of authentic visionaries and true pioneers: to be condemned to the oblivion of the collective memory of future generations and to the ridicule of their contemporaries, for, as Jonathan Swift's famous saying goes: "When a true genius appears in this world, he can be recognized by the sign that the fools are all ganged up against him".

Kevin Letalleur Translated with (free version)

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Technikart (F)

Thierry Zaboitzeff - 50 ans de musique(s)


Interview Laurence Rémila 09/2022

He is one of the pillars of Art Zoyd, the mythical French free-rock band. To celebrate his half-century of musical agitation,
Thierry Zaboitzeff publishes a majestic 3-CD compilation. Career interview.

You are looking back on your career with this boxed set 50 years of music(s). How did you become one of the members
of the legendary Art Zoyd?

Thierry Zaboitzeff : Art Zoyd was founded in 1969. I joined the group with my ex-colleague Gérard Hourbette (violin), now deceased, in 1971. It was at the invitation of the founder Rocco Fernandez (guitar and vocals). Then the group was re-founded, with a search for a new style and language, and we released the album Symphonie pour le jour où brûleront les cités (AZ Production) in 1976.

Your discovery of rock?
So, it goes back a long way! I used to listen to a lot of old stuff, and then all of a sudden, as we lived not far from the Belgian border, I discovered a Frank Zappa concert on Flemish television.I saw a Frank Zappa concert on Flemish television. And I said to myself that this is what I wanted to do. There were musicians lying on a bed, sketches, a farting session, burping... Laughs)

What was the music industry like when you started?
It was freedom. There were no career plans, much less marketing... And we were a bunch of crazy people, sometimes very unaware.

And how were your first gigs with Art Zoyd?
When we opened for Magma, it put us in contact with an audience we didn't know. They came for Magma
and we were a kind of anti-Magma because we were a band without drums whereas in Magma, the star is the drummer (Christian Vander), but it was going very well.

You, it was: trumpet, violin and bass.
Yes, it was a skeleton band, but everything was electrified. With my bass, I took up all the space of a drummer. I was doing all the rhythmic. I was doing all the rhythms, I was using the bows on the violin. There was a rhythmic play inspired by Stravinsky, Bartok, Eastern composers...

With a will not to be too gliding despite the absence of battery?
Yes, we were coming out of the babacool movement. We were a new generation, we wanted something else.

You stayed with Art Zoyd for about thirty years.
26 years! We've always had a desire for originality, and we continued in the same way as we started until the Phase IV album (1982), which was the high point of this way of working. that was the high point of this way of working. We were then contacted by the choreographer Roland Petit, who asked us to write the music for his next ballet, as he had planned. his next ballet, as he had done with the music of Pink Floyd in 1972, and that's when we started to have keyboards in the group, Then we started to have keyboards in the band, then samplers, then we did film-concerts with Nosfératu and Faust which we played all over the world.

You left the group in 1997.
It was the end of a cycle: we had disagreements, my colleague was going for contemporary music with more machines,
and I wanted the opposite. Since then, I've had my own way.

These days you're releasing a compilation of your fifty years of musical activism. Why did you avoid a chronological tracklisting?
It was painful! I started out wanting to bring out little concepts on each of the three records. But it didn't fit together very well, it was It just didn't fit together well, it didn't work. So I started with something from the 2020s, followed by a piece from 1976 and so on. musically... So it jumps from one thing to another, but that was the wish.

And what do you think of the music industry in 2022?
I'd like to break down the barriers, to mix people who do techno, rock, jazz... There, you hear auto-tuned stuff on one side, classical and There, we hear auto-tuned stuff on one side, classical and contemporary music on the other; jazz people who don't want to leave it. So: a bit more musical mix!

50 ans de musique(s): compilation 3-CD sur
le label Monstre Sonore/WTPL Music

Interview Laurence Rémila
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