Zao — Osiris
(Musea FGBG 4130.AR, 1974/1995, CD)
by Rob Walker, Published 1995-11-01Zao's second album was recorded in 1974, and originally released on Richard Pinhas' startup Disjuncta label. Despite the minimal resources available to Pinhas, Osiris fared well, surpassing sales of Zao's debut album. Unfortunately, the label went under in 1975, and its albums, including Osiris, were deleted. Now twenty years later, Musea's reissue has finally revived this early zeuhl classic. As on their first album, Zao's music bears a cursory resemblance to the early Magma sound, but Osiris finds them starting to develop more of an original, fusion-based style. Founding members Francois Cahen and Yochk'o Seffer bring a jazz sensibility to the group, but the repetitive riffs driven by a heavy fuzz bass and the slow, deliberate tempos give this album first and foremost a very strong zeuhl feel. The soloing is moody and atmospheric as opposed to jazzy and technically showy, and the few vocal sections are quite reminiscent of Magma in their dark and ethereal nature. The CD reissue includes a 12-minute bonus track, recorded by Cahen and Seffer in 1973 with a different band, which is probably the strongest piece on this release. The lively tempos and active instrumental performances avoid the slight tediousness which occasionally afflicts the tracks on the album proper. Zao would not hit their peak until a few years later, but Osiris remains an interesting and compelling album that has thankfully received its long overdue reissue.
OBEY Convention XI Set for May 24-28 in Halifax – As the 2018 festival season rapidly approaches, we’d like you to be aware of a real treasure of diverse and creative music that’s going to take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next month. The OBEY Convention is on its 11th outing, and features a wide range of artists from around the world. From avant-industrial noise to experimental takes on Classical Chinese music, from chamber jazz to doom metal, from ambient soundscapes to Canadian First Nations drumming, you’d be hard pressed to find a festival with more variety in sound anywhere in the world. » Read more
Close to the Rain Festival in Bergen Announces Lineup – Now in its second year, the Close to the Rain Festival of progressive music is scheduled to take place in Bergen, Norway, on June 7 - 9. They've got an amazing slate of bands lined up, including such powerhouses as Anekdoten, Major Parkinson, Arabs in Aspic, Tusmørke, and many more. » Read more
Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington and Oregon. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more
Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more
Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more