ZANOV: Chaos Islands (2020)
Updated: May 20
“Zanov brings us to this point of convergence where chaos finds balance in this indefinable beauty that is the nature of music ... in all its forms”
1 Edge of Chaos Island 7:16
2 Inception Island 6:18
3 Strange Attractor Island 6:52
4 Three Body Island 6:46
5 Phase Space Island 8:10
6 Instability Island 6:57
7 Emergence Island 6:17
(CD/DDL 49:04) (V.F.)
One of the big challenges of visionary musicians is to tame ears accustomed to another sound, to another conception of musical structures. This was the case for Synergy, Vangelis and closer to the Berlin School, Keller & Schonwalder. And if we talk about contemporary artists in the field of EM without borders or territories, we must add the name of Zanov right next to Kurtz Mindfields. We see that the French musician is in very good company. And for good reason, CHAOS ISLANDS is an album of indescribable sound richness with 7 chapters, with an average duration of 7 minutes, where the music changes forms taking care to attach the mobile phases so that chaos , when there is, becomes harmony. Inspired by the mathematical drama of Theory of Chaos, this latest album by Pierre Zalkazanov introduces us to his world by offering us the delights of his latest gem; the Arturia's MatrixBrute synthesizer.
It's by mixing a philharmonic structure with waves of futuristic sounds that the introduction in morphic waltz mode of Edge of Chaos Island leads the listener into his first false perception. As soon as a jumping key appears after 60 seconds, this first title of CHAOS ISLANDS crosses the corridors of tumult and tranquility to stumble in an excellent electronic rock from the future. Effects of jerks shake the proposed phases, a bit like in the opening of World's Away from Strange Advance, while organic sequences and percussions cling to the strata of violins which have already reshaped the rhythm in a lunar ballad where chaos gets free from any constraint in a final that we have not heard pass. From its 7 minutes and dust, Edge of Chaos Island is of an instability to make our sense of hearing work fiercely. If it's a title that commands more than a first listen, Inception Island asks for a little more! The impression of being on a treadmill that slides through a glass tunnel giving visual access to a multitrack sound fauna is the best way I have to describe this fascinating funeral march where the souls of those who have left us are woven into musical sails and walls. These asymmetrical patterns are return and parade with these panoramic shakes felt in Edge of Chaos Island. The opening of Strange Attractor Island captured my interest from its first notes. I like this spheroidal structure which maintains the rhythm in its minimalist and catchy status, while the synths organize the different visions of a three-headed melody which brings us back to the first steps of French cosmic music. It's very good, even if sometimes the rhythmic indiscipline of Zanov disturbs its charm. But you have to live with it!
The example is the nice opening in nostalgia of Three Body Island. The chords are deep and resonate in symbiosis with a sad opera voice masked by the reverberating effects of the chords and of a circular curtain where prisms sparkle. A delicious undulating rhythm spreads a false impression of an accordionist who is lost in corridors where the sounds are reflected on mirrors in order to form a melodious entity. It's like a run in the wrong direction in a labyrinth where the beginning is lost in inexplicable hollow winds. It's in a racing effect of gasps and puny tremors that takes place the first moments of Phase Space Island. Structured on two phases which don't understand each other, the rhythm and its ambiences embrace the recto-verso of its antagonist in a structure of rhythm too quick for these same elements of ambiences. The quivering/shivering style of atmospheric layers makes a thick coat of strobe jerks on rhythm whose strange spheroidal shape dissolves it in a structure that crumbles after the passage of a note. I can well imagine this borderless down-tempo being part of dance music in the next Star Wars trilogies. And after several trial and error, the longest title of CHAOS ISLANDS melts at the same time as my problem of inattention resurfaces! Instability Island brings me back to what is the most beautiful in this last album by Zanov, that is to say two contrary entities which forge a pleasant melody in the tumult of the synths of the French musician. These elements which cross the horizons out maintain the level of listening on the alert, while under these rhythmic instabilities of atmospheric matters a beautiful melody gets created which attaches to arpeggios parading in short pyrographic phases. Would you be surprised if I mention that the finale sniffs the possibility of a transfer for an electronic rock? It's in a kind of Rumba, with jerky sound dimensions, that Emergence Island ends an enchanting album in terms of sounds and intriguing in terms of rhythm versus ambiences and melodies.
It's in a spotless production that CHAOS ISLANDS reveals its universe as special as the musical research and artistic visions of its songwriter and performer-synthesist. In a music that succeeds in weaving its links between complexity and simplicity, Zanov brings us to this point of convergence where chaos finds balance in this indefinable beauty that is the nature of music ... in all its forms.
Sylvain Lupari (May 20th 2020) ****¼*
Available at Zanov Music