ZANOV: Virtual Future (2014)
“Solid sci-fi rock wrapped up in sonic ambiences and membranes coming out of future, Virtual Future exceeds the usual borders of EM”
1 Very Far 9:41 2 Neuronal Storm 7:31 3 World Adrift 5:44 4 Brain Activity 5:37 5 Conscience in Danger 4:18 6 Alone Again 6:14 7 The Final Cut 4:11 Zanov Music
(CD/DDL 43:27) (V.F.)
Surprisingly, in spite of all the panoply of electronic instruments and their infinite possibilities, few artists made a purely futuristic sonic bend. The musical genre has found rather shelter in an experimental approach, favoring the improvisations sessions or the minimalist structures versus a more structured artistic approach. And while the cosmic music of Jean-Michel Jarre made us travel in stars and the cosmic rock of Tangerine Dream pushed us in the hallucinogenic musing, Zanov upset the chessboard with a clearly more strategic music which already, in 1976, breathed of this strange perfume of science fiction. And after an absence of more than 30 years, the French synth wizard makes a strong comeback with an album, but especially a style, which starts again where In Course of Time had stopped.
Well hid in an artwork which depicts pretty well the musical approach of Pierre Salkazanov, Very Far gets loose from its ambient sound strands to spit an oscillatory rhythm which makes roll its ample rhythmic loops beneath the spectral singings of a synth to the harmonies as much melancholic as a person sentenced to death. Zanov follows his curve of time by watering his music of sound effects worthy of a futuristic movie, while the harmonies divide into halves their melodious spectres on a structure of rhythm which reasons its mad course for a beautiful ambiocosmic passage where rise ambient organic noises. These fascinating white cosmic noises withdraw to give room to a nice lunar melody of which the aromas of French movies of the 60's are now surrounded by a mix of ghostly and sci-fi rustles. The rhythm takes back its rights. Slower, it's dying in sonic clouds with prisms tinted of solitude. This is as much beautiful as striking. More black and vampiric, Neuronal Storm steals the same the rhythmic basis of Very Far. The percussions slam, the cosmic effects abound and the rhythm remains proud of its jerky pulsations and of its robotics percussions which couple to a beat of futuristic rock where synths subdivide the approaches with lines fed by white noises and by cooing solos. This sounds as Kraftwerk, for the rhythm, on Jarre, for the cosmic ambiences. Ambiences which also wrap the very ambient World Adrift and its dialect molded in a mixture of interferences and crushed harmonies. Psy-fi at its best? Not as much as the delicious black march of Alone Again where one would say an irregular robot which roams without its mother board. After an intro fed by uncertainty and by its noises as colorful as its ill-assorted harmonies, Brain Activity offers a structure of rhythm as crawling than on Alone Again. Except that the march is blacker, closer to the cabalistic moods of the Phantom of the Opera, but in a version of the 2222 year. Consciousness in Danger is less quirky, although the delicious ambiences of a universe in dissolution always abound, and offer a more invigorated structure of rhythm, let's say between Very Far and Neuronal Storm, with arpeggios and sequences of which the parallel movements are waving or flickering in a rich ambiospheric pattern torn between the past and the future. After the very funeral Alone Again, which is literally going to nail you on your armchair, The Final Cut awakens our senses with a lively rhythm which taps of the foot with impatience in a sonic envelope where the words chew our ears and the gurglings flip them from back to front.
Strong sci-fi rock (remember these scenes of dance-music in Star Wars) wrapped up into sonic ambiences and membranes which go out of future; Zanov builds, beat by beat and futuristic vibes between-welded, a sonic universe which exceeds the usual borders of EM such as we know it. And I have to admit that I was taken by surprise by all this luxuriant sound fauna of the Zanov universe. My distant memories remind me an album (In Course of Time) that my friends praised as brilliant, while my senses were still numbed by Jean-Michel Jarre's Oxygene and by Tangerine Dream's Stratosfear. It is only years later, Internet and Napster helping, that I was lucky enough hear again In Course of Time and I had been struck by the very avant-gardist approach of Zanov. In spite of 30 years which separate VIRTUAL MACHINE of its embryo (Nous Reprenons Notre Avenir), this last album of Zanov breathes of all this sonic freshness that the French synthesist had blown on EM of the 70's. This just goes to show that he was really a stage farther than a lot of EM craftsmen. A sensation which is always so present with this very good VIRTUAL MACHINE. Let's just wish that Pierre Salkazanov will reedit his catalog for the biggest good of EM which should visit the intersidereal spaces skillfully sounded by Zanov much more often, so much the possibilities seem to me so infinite.
Sylvain Lupari (October 12th, 2014) *****
Available at Groove NL