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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Zanov Lost in the Future (2023)

A more accessible album, even in its experimental progressive envelope

1 Quantum World 8:41

2 Conscious Machines 4:19

3 Brain to Brain 7:58

4 Extended Life 6:27

5 Living with Robots 5:00

6 Interstellar Travel 7:07

7 Time Manipulation 5:22

(CD Digipack/DDL 44:57) (V.F.)

(Prog-experimental E-Rock)

Taking care to mature his albums philosophically and artistically, Zanov has always separated his opuses by a period varying from 2 to 4 years. In this way, the sonority of his works evolves with the modernity of new instruments to create electronic music (EM). In a sonic jumble that equals the boundaries of Chaos Islands, the keyboardist from France pushes his limits, infusing his music with a cosmic industrial touch that matches his propensity to provoke the ears. Zanov seeks to stimulate our listening while being able to fashion melodies that lodge like earworms in the depths of our eardrums. LOST IN THE FUTURE is an of progressive EM which flirts with this experimental-melodious aspect of Pierre Zalkazanov. As stated by the artist, his new album explores the idea of being immersed in the future world, suggesting a sense of adventure, uncertainty and the enigmatic nature of what lies ahead. Honestly, I couldn't think of a better way to introduce this LOST IN THE FUTURE.

The pulsating bass sequence jumps with strength, spreading a vibrating irradiance for a wild electronic rock that initiates Zanov's latest work to our ears. Quantum World gets straight to the point with a fiery opening that leads into a lively and harmonious structure from the harmonies of the synth. Percussion, sequences jumping in sets of 3 and jerky orchestral pads are other elements that help solidify this rhythm, which goes beyond making our neurons dance with its spontaneous outbursts that are slowed down slightly to let us hear melodious synth solos, even in their melancholy tones. Pierre Z. plays a lot with the tonal possibilities of the sequencer, just to give more punch and depth to this fiery electronic rock that would justify its place in a Rave party. Especially as it has a rather industrial, post-apocalyptic MiDi-Bitch feel to it. There's a short reset phase past the 3-minute mark, but for the rest, the rhythm is steady and sets our feet on fire. The opening of Conscious Machines is futuristic and sci-fi. The rhythm that emerges is of the bouncy kind, more likely to make you hobble than dance. It takes a more animated tangent when 2 sequencer lines alternate their leaps, creating a minimalist rhythm sequence under a divine synth that lights up the ears with a mix of orchestrations, industrial textures and intergalactic sound effects. This sequence is best heard just before the 3-minute mark. It is heavy and moderate in a sound envelope always close to the Cosmos and its vagaries. Brain to Brain follows with a rather experimental opening that is typical of Zanov universe. Twisted sonic filaments, organ-like keyboard chords and successive metallic snaps are the elements that make up this eclectic opening, from which emerges a splendid synth melody hummed under the stars. It's all very cinematic. Imagine Vangelis in Pierre Zalkazanov's studios...!

Extended Life continues this journey into Zanov's experimental frontiers. The opening is lulled by synth pads of which the dreamy texture is jostled by bursts of buzzing sound effects. It sounds like a procession on a cosmic footbridge disrupted by raging winds. Zanov lays down a beautiful melodic approach that tinkles and sings on 2 keyboards. Cadenced chords start jumping around after an atmospheric passage, just before the sequencer spits out a lively rhythm line. The synth swings out melodious solos on this short passage whose ferocity is absorbed by a slow, sound-heavy and rather atmospheric finale. Like some cosmic cinematic music. Bathing in this texture of cosmic procession, the rhythm that peacefully initiates Living with Robots seems to float with its bass sequences that leap with a state of weightlessness. The texture of the cadenced keys is made of rubber created from an organic strain. The synth hums, whistles a melody that is in symbiosis with the delicately cadenced procession. The tonal backdrop is heavy and always rich with the thousand and one capabilities of the synthesizers and other electronic music equipment that fill the studios of the French musician-synthesist. The procession is weighed down by percussion coming out after a cloud of woosshh. Giving Living with Robots the essence of its title, with an increasingly mechanized structure surrounding its evolution. Interstellar Travel has the artistic vision of its title, with a static environment where a legion of pulsations and oscillations interweave their vibratory heaviness in a mechanism that is at once stroboscopic and linear. The synth hums a spectral tune from the Cosmos while unraveling a range of cosmic sound effects that are specific to the analog years. Trials of the first sound crushers back in the 70's! Arrangements, howling winds from the bank of samplings, percussive tinkling and much more adorn the progression of a mostly rhythmless track. Time Manipulation closes LOST IN THE FUTURE just as Quantum World began it. A strange electronic rock bludgeoned by solid percussion and a line of juicy black sequences that roll against the rhythmic harmony of the keyboard. Zanov at its best!

Sound illusionist. Architect of convoluted multi-structures that converge in symbiosis. Designer of progressive and experimental EM with a strange fragrance of invading harmony. Zanov is as brilliant as the parameters of his music are complex. Rather like Synergy, especially its first 3 albums, Pierre Zalkazanov is used to creating albums that take a few listens. But not with LOST IN THE FUTURE, which divides itself between its driving rhythmic portion and its few floating episodes that only demonstrate his propensity to innovate...for the pleasure of our ears. Always for that pleasure!

Sylvain Lupari (December 20th, 2023) ****½*

Available at Zanov Music

(NB: Texts in blue are links you can click on)

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