HECTOR ZAZOU & SWARA - In The House Of Mirrors - CD - CRAW47
Hector Zazou - sound treatments, percussion programming, guitar
Toir Kuziyev - tambur, oud
Milind Raykar - violin
Ronu Majumdar - flute
Manish Pingle - Indian slide guitar
Nils Petter Molvaer - guest trumpet
Diago Amador - guest piano
Carlos Nuñez - guest flute
Zoltan Lantos - guest violin
Bill Rieflin - guest percussion
2008 Crammed World
Hector Zazou invites four outstanding instrumentalists from India and Uzbekistan to step into a virtual hall of mirrors, in which sound is reflected from one note to another: an aural equivalent of a famous scene in Orson Welles' The Lady From Shanghai. Twenty-five years after laying the foundations for Afro-electronic fusion (with Congolese singer Bony Bikaye on the “Noir & Blanc” LP), and after many other groundbreaking albums, the ever-innovative Hector Zazou offers a fresh take on classical Asian music, in which the musicians' inspired performances are enhanced by his subtle reprocessing of the original sonic elements (no supplementary electronic sounds having been used). The album was recorded in Mumbai with a core group of four musicians: Toir Kuziyev (tambur & oud), Milind Raykar (violin), Ronu Majumdar (flute) and Manish Pingle (Indian slide guitar). Guest players on the album include Spanish flute player Carlos Nuñez, Nils Petter Molvaer on trumpet, flamenco pianist Diego Amador, Hungarian violinist Zoltan Lantos and percussionist Bill Rieflin (currently with R.E.M.). Notes and resonances create waves which drive the instrumentalist to dive from the surface into the very heart of the sound, explains Hector Zazou. The use of sound processing and reflections thus interacts with the way the musicians play, and reinforces the spiritual aspect of the music, just as church acoustics do with Gregorian chant. Through its use of these reflection systems, "In The House Of Mirrors" might also be viewed as a discreet homage to the music produced in the '70s by the likes of Terry Riley or Robert Fripp with Brian Eno, translated for the first time into a classical Asian environment.
2. Kanoon Ampa
3. Attainable Border: South
4. Wanna Mako
6. Nazar Shaam
7. Hool Ki Seva
8. Twice As Good As We Are
9. Darbari (With Soul Without Rules)
10. Attainable Border: East
Algerian-born French composer and producer Hector Zazou has a surprise waiting with each new record: twisted rock, neo-classical compositions, world music (from Africa to Central Asia), string quartets, pieces for wind instruments, voices or synthesizers, he's been using a wide variety of genres to create the most unexpected blends. From his first recordings with Crammed (he's released 10 albums with the label since the early '80s) and throughout the next two decades, Zazou has worked with an amazing collection of singers and musicians, including Jon Hassell, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Manu Dibango, John Cale, Harold Budd, David Sylvian, Khaled, Lisa Gerrard, Suzanne Vega, Björk, Peter Gabriel, Brian Eno, Peter Buck, Jane Birkin, Lisa Germano, Laurie Anderson, Asia Argento and Gerard Depardieu. He's already based several albums on traditional and sacred music, including “Songs From The Cold Seas” ('95, Sony) and “Lights In The Dark” ('98, Warner) as well as his productions for Tibetan vocalist Yung Chen Lhamo and Uzbek singer Sevara Nazarkhan (both for Real World)
Toir Kuziyev lives in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. He studied traditional music at the National Conservatory, has played with vocalist Sevara Nazarkhan (who records for Real World), and is always interested in new experimentations. He plays the tambur, a long-necked string instrument. He can be compared to Ry Cooder, Ali Farka Toure and Anouar Brahem, in that his approach is equally classical and modernistic, which enables him to blend traditional and electronic music in a new way.
Milind Raikar lives in Mumbai, India. He started out by studying classical Western violin, and later devoted himself entirely to Indian music. His master Pandit DK Datar taught him the gayaki style (in which the violin is made to sound like a human voice). His playing can range from masterful sobriety to staggering virtuosity.
Manish Pingle also lives in Mumbai, India. His mother was a celebrated musician. He studied with the great Vishwa Mohan Bhatt (who recorded "A Meeting By The River" with Ry Cooder), the master of Indian guitar, an instrument which is fitted with additional resonating strings and is played with a bottleneck. Manish is part of that new generation of musicians who are rooted in tradition, yet eager to explore new forms.
Ronu Majumdar plays the bansuri flute, an instrument which was only integrated in the Hindustani classical music tradition half a century ago, by the famous Pannalal Ghosh, before which it was considered as a folk instrument. Ronu's speciality is the "Shank Bansuri", a 3-ft long flute of his own design, which adds an extra dimension at the lower scales. Ronu has worked with many important Indian musicians, including Ravi Shankar, and has also recorded with the likes of Bela Fleck, Ry Cooder and Jon Hassell.