"Reivax au Bongo"
CD
1. Generique
2. Chez Le Commandeur
3. Le Passage de la frontiere
4. Le Village du chef Bingo
5. Reivax broie du noir
6. L’Apparition
7. Chanson Bongolaise

In this dreamy aural movie set in a ficticious African country, imaginative French composer Zazou has confronted three prominent singers/musicians from Congo (Bony Bikaye, Kanda Bongo Man and Ray Lema) with fifteen classical musicians & vocalists, as well as his own electronic textures. A blueprint for Zazou's later masterpieces such as "Sahara Blue" and "Songs From The Cold Seas"(with Björk & Suzanne Vega). "Reivax" is supposed to be the soundtrack for a photo-novel by Zazou and renowned photographer Xavier Lambours, who plays the title role. The photo-novel really exists: it is included in the CD booklet... Hector Zazou has released around eleven albums on Crammed (including 3 with the Zazou Bikaye project).

Reivax by Paul Stump

The music is opaque, suggestive, colourful; it is diatonic, accessible, sensual. There are shuffling, spooky beats, sunny-side-up stylophone ditties, rapt Holy Minimalistic contemplation. All centre identifiable in music, however, are rendered quite superfluous. For instance, grave lamenting string sonorities which are pure Shostakovich, from the depth of which sprout mbiras and West African chants. But it sounds like the most natural thing in the world. A kind of Candide, this satire on a concept album has Zazou's Panglossian hero Reivax at large in the idealised African republic of Bongo; as such, we are treated to an idealised World Music from an idealised world without borders. The seamless marriage of different musics to a point whereby differentiation disappears is Zazou's genius. This is music that isn't apparently patchworked as with most multiculti product; it seems to have been conceived as one entity. (...) Best thing about Zazou ? You can play him to your granny and still have the hippest record collection on your block. Zazou doesn't only demolish borders in music, but in his audience also.

This piece has appeared in Wire magazine in 1996

Reivax in the press

"A sound both primitive and hi tech, that borrows from practically every school of musical thought one could mention (African, Asian, Jazz avant garde) yet seems totally original. (on side 2), stripping his arrangements down to just synth, horns and the operatic mezzo of Catherine Renoult, the composer creates an unnervingly beautiful sonic landscape... imagine Meredith Monk singing Gregorian chants in an obscure alpine cathedral and you'll get an idea... pop music for the global village" (Rockpool, USA)

"Subtly deliquescent chamber music, delicately deadpan and marvelously suave" (Actuel, France)

"Possible clues: Roussel, Robert Wyatt, Satie, Duchamp, snatches of silent movies..." (Libération, France)

"In which Reivax, French secret agent, sets out on a perilous mission to Bongo to foil his arch-enemy Zorello's attempt to depose King Lolo X. Clad only in a Comme Des Garçons outfit and a pair of badly-fitting plastic ears, he journeys across a darkly shifting sonic landcsape of electronically treated avant-garde Afro-internationalism before the inevitable showdown with Zorello who, for some unaccountable reason, is disguised as a South Sea Island beauty (...) Mixing electronics with African voices such of the likes of Kanda Bongo Man sounds like a wacky, conceptual sort of thing, but it works... the music makes a virtue of its contradictions... impossible to dislike" (Melody Maker, UK)



Releases

HECTOR ZAZOU - In The House Of Mirrors
HECTOR ZAZOU
In The House Of Mirrors
craw47
HECTOR ZAZOU - Sahara Blue
HECTOR ZAZOU
Sahara Blue
mtm32
HAROLD BUDD - Glyph
HAROLD BUDD
Glyph
mtm37
HECTOR ZAZOU - Geographies
HECTOR ZAZOU
Geographies
mtm05