Zanov Music 2020
Offering a method to the madness of our time, French polymath finds miracles in faux-abstract sonics.
Pierre Salkazanov’s quiet revolution started in the mid-’70s when, formerly a mere composer, he began experimenting with electronics – only to stop in the 1983, long after once the work on the album number four had been well underway. Fast-forward to 2014, and the veteran returned to the fray with a label of his own and a new stretch of creativity, this record being Zanov’s third post-comeback release. An aural reflection of the “Chaos Theory” which locates order – patterns, feedback loops, fractals: all figures that easily lent themselves to music – in randomness, there are seven spellbinding soundscapes, each one with distinct characteristics to feel insular yet rendering the whole flow wondrously unpredictable.
That’s why the crystalline fragility which forms “Edge Of Chaos Island” seems to be on the verge of shattering like a cage waiting to be rattled and let freedom out in the open; and that’s why oscillating signals which shoot through lapping synthesizers and celestial organ are given an irregular groove and turn into riffs. The result is arresting, cinematic in a sci-fi way, but the throb of “Inception Island” reveals its spiritual core by almost conjuring up a Howard Blake classic before veering off towards abstract, albeit stereo-enhanced, beauty, whereas the no-more-elusive, multilayered melody of “Strange Attractor Island” takes Ravel to stratosphere and beyond.
For all the cosmic development of such epics as “Phase Space Island” whose slow retrofuturistic chug betrays the artist’s Berlin-school kink, these tracks bear an emotional load, the bold passages of “Three Body Island” painting a purely romantic picture with nervous piano ripples adding vulnerability to the scope, while the strands of “Instability Island” congeal into pseudo-new-age only to undermine its serenity. Still, “Emergence Island” will propose a tighter, tauter experience and send dynamics on a new adventure, making the album’s finale a fresh start. Chaos can and should be fantastic, after all.