This collaboration, only released recently, may have been the last work of the respected French musician, producer and remix specialist Hector Zazou, who died in 2008. It is a fitting crown to his life’s work, successfully melding many forms of folk and popular musics into a long, contemplative journey through timbre, colour and emotion. The core of the musical material consists of familiar arrangements and compositions based around Bulgarian folk song or Orthodox church music, beautifully sung by the Eva Quartet and backed by the virtuosos of the Diva Reka group. But the driving force and the sonic imagination are unmistakeably Zazou’s. Around the vocal arrangements, an extraordinary array of guests from the worlds of jazz, rock, electronica, classical and experimental music have layered their contributions, mediated by Hector Zazou’s electronic treatments, soundscapes and acoustic spaces.
The sonic world of this album is stunningly beautiful, from the opening of ‘Lazaritsa’ to the chiming guitar and spectral musical saw preceding the quiet dissolution of the closing ‘Kadóna.’ The slow development of the music over the 12 tracks leads the listener from ritual to reconciliation, shadowed by instruments, haloed by bell-like reverberations, and privy to all kinds of strange and inspiring meetings. Hear how in ‘Dostoino est’ a sacral Marian chant fuses with the sounds of an Indian raga and shimmering synthesizer chords, to end in a slow, expansive dance of joy. A wonderful, endlessly absorbing masterpiece.
TRACK TO TRY: Minka