• znr Traite de Mechanique Populaire (CD, £12.25)

    The second and last release by this most exquisite and eccentric of groups (Hector Zazou, Joseph Racaille, Patrick Portella). There's been nothing like ZNR before or since. The original sketch by Captain Beefheart on the inner sleeve of that first release didn't hinder, them, but mainly it was the music that earned their reputation with its Satie-esque simplicity, timeless self-confidence, wistful modernity and uncompromisingly eccentric arrangements. After the first LP, the band disbanded, reconvening briefly in 1979 to make a second LP - because by then interest in the first had finally provoked national interest, to the extent of their being invited onto heavyweight French art television as cultural spokesmen. They stayed together this time just long enough to finish the recording, and then folded their tent forever. That LP quickly went out of print and has been much sought after by collectors since, so we are pleased, finally, to have the chance to reissue it - and in a properly re-mastered and repackaged form. Although the band had a very short life and hardly ever performed live, its three main protagonists all went on to rewarding and unusual careers: HECTOR ZAZOU is widely recognised as one of the earliest and most impressive experiments in fusing African and electronic music. In 1994, he released the album Chansons des mers froides (called Songs from the Cold Seas in the anglophone market) based on ocean-themed traditional folk songs from northern countries like Canada, Finland, Iceland, and Japan. It featured vocals by pop and rock artists including Björk, Suzanne Vega, John Cale, Värttina, Jane Siberry and Siouxsie Sioux as well as recordings of shamanic incantations and lullabies from Ainu, Nanai, Inuit, and Yakut singers. Zazou was also a member of the musical collective Slow Music - with Robert Fripp, Peter Buckon and Fred Chalenor. He died in 2008, in Paris. JOSEPH RACAILLE was a composer, writer, arranger, musician and singer. Was born in Champagne country and now writes for theatre, dance, television and film - and is an arranger for various artists (inc. Kate St John (95-97), Arthur H (90-97), Dick Annegarn (97-2008), Bashung (97-99) &c., as well as being a member of a number of performing groups - with Cyril Lefèbvre and Jean-Pierre Arnoux (off the wall Hawaiian); with Daniel Laloux; with the "Ukulele-Club de Paris; with Split!! (slavonic punk-folk) and with Mr. Lear (strange music with limericks). PATRICK PORTELLA was a contemporary exotic composer. As a clarinettist he was involved in a number of underground experiments in the rock field in the '60s. In the early '80s, he was a natural post-modernist and can be heard on several compilations, including the mythical Miniatures (featuring Robert Wyatt, Gavin Bryars, Michael Nyman, The Residents…). In 1981 he became an associated composer with the G.M.E.M. (National Center for Musical Creation, Marseilles), a collaboration that lasted for over 30 years. Commissions allowed him to travel to the most remote countries and absorb sounds (music and language) with which to compose according to diverse and rooted traditions (Haiti, New Caledonia, Crete, Indonesia, Southern India, Benares, Bengal, Thailand, Cambodia…)

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