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Traite De Mecanique Populaire

ZNR: Traite De Mecanique Populaire (Recommended Records)

French composer and producer Hector Zazou's 2nd and last release with a "most exquisite and eccentric of groups, who hardly touched the world of working bands, and whose existence was tenuous, flickering, mythological - and yet who managed, stealthily, to find its way in time to legendary status by leaving an indelible trace in recorded form of their verifiable existence."

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product information:

UPC: 752725038720

Label: Recommended Records
Catalog ID: RER ZNR2
Squidco Product Code: 25475

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2018
Country: UK
Packaging: Digipack
Recorded at Mannderly Studios in Feucherolles, France, in 1977, by


David Rueff-alto saxophone, flute

Louise Alcazar-arrangement

Giuseppe Racaglie-choir

Gustave Beck-chorus master

Manfred Le Lalo-clarinet, tenor saxophone, Bandoneon

Harvey Neneux-guitar

Hector Zazou-electric keyboards, bass

Fred The Vicomte Electrique-performer

Patrick Portella-performer

Joseph Racaille-piano

Remi Demillac-violin

Humphrey Neneux-voice

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Artist Biographies:

"Hector Zazou (July 11, 1948 - September 8, 2008) was a prolific French composer and record producer who worked with, produced, and collaborated with an international array of recording artists. He worked on his own and other artists' albums, including Sandy Dillon, Mimi Goese, Barbara Gogan, Sevara Nazarkhan, Carlos Núñez, Italian group PGR, Anne Grete Preus, Laurence Revey, and Sainkho since 1976.

Zazou first came to international attention as part of the ZNR duo with Joseph Racaille, where both played electric keyboards. Their 1976 debut album Barricade 3 was notable for its "strong Satie influence, stripped to minimal essentials, everything counts".

Long-time collaborators include trumpeter Mark Isham; guitarist Lone Kent; cellist and singer Caroline Lavelle; trumpeter Christian Lechevretel, who has appeared on all of Zazou's albums after Sahara Blue; clarinetist and flutist Renaud Pion, who has appeared on all of Zazou's albums since Les Nouvelles Polyphonies Corses; drummer Bill Rieflin; and Japanese recording artist Ryuichi Sakamoto.

His discography demonstrates his affinity for cross-cultural collaborations, and incorporated modern techniques and sounds in re-recordings of traditional material. He was influenced by Peter Gabriel's album Passion: Music for The Last Temptation of Christ in his fusion of musical polarities (traditional and modern, electronic and acoustic) on his own album Les Nouvelles Polyphonies Corses.

His groundbreaking 1983 album Noir et blanc (recorded with Congolese singer Bony Bikaye) garnered a lot of international attention, and is widely recognized as one of the earliest and most impressive experiments in fusing African and electronic music.

Zazou regarded his work during the 1980s as his time of apprenticeship in the studio. On his 1986 album, Reivax au Bongo, he experimented with fusing classical vocals with an electronic backdrop. On his 1989 album, Géologies, he combined electronic music with a string quartet.

The albums that he has released under his own name from the 1990s onwards are usually concept albums that draw from literary or folk sources and revolve around a specific theme. The collection of songs on each album assemble contributions from a diverse and global range of pop, folk, world music, avant-garde, and classical recording acts.

Zazou's 1992 offering, Sahara Blue, was based on an idea by Jacques Pasquier. Pasquier suggested Zazou commemorate the 100th anniversary of the death of author Arthur Rimbaud by setting music to Rimbaud's poetry. Contributions included spoken word from Gérard Depardieu, Dominique Dalcan and music by Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard of Dead Can Dance, Tim Simenon, and David Sylvian. He even adapted a traditional Ethiopian song.

In 1994, he released the album Chansons des mers froides (called Songs from the Cold Seas for the anglophone market). The album was based on ocean-themed traditional folk songs from northern countries, such as Canada, Finland, Iceland, and Japan. It featured vocals by pop and rock artists such as Björk, Suzanne Vega, John Cale, Värttina, Jane Siberry, and Siouxsie Sioux in addition to recordings of shamanic incantations and lullabies from Ainu, Nanai, Inuit, and Yakut singers. Musicians included Mark Isham, Brendan Perry, Budgie and the Balanescu Quartet. A cameraman accompanied Zazou on the project and they shot and recorded in Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Japan, Scandinavia, and Siberia. The single "The Long Voyage" was the only song to be an original composition from Zazou. He wrote it in gratitude to his record company Sony who gave him complete artistic liberty. Performed by Suzanne Vega and John Cale, it was released as a single in 1995. The single featured remixes by Mad Professor as well as Zazou himself.

His 1998 album, Lights in the Dark, showcased ancient Celtic music sung by Irish singers.

Zazou's collaborative 2000 album 12 (Las Vegas Is Cursed) with Sandy Dillon was regarded as a financial and critical failure. In the book "Sonora Portraits 2", which accompanies the CD Strong Currents, Zazou says that 12 (Las Vegas Is Cursed) was his most elaborate album. He describes it as a work of black humour and regards his instrumental composition "Sombre" on the album as one of his best songs ever.

Strong Currents was released in 2003 and featured an all-female vocal cast which included Laurie Anderson, Melanie Gabriel, Lori Carson, Lisa Germano, Irene Grandi, Nina Hynes, Jane Birkin, and Caroline Lavelle. Musicians included Ryuichi Sakamoto, Dennis Rea, Bill Rieflin and Archaea Strings. The album took six years to complete.

In 2004 Zazou released a companion CD of sorts, L'absence, which included instrumentals, many of the same female vocalists that were featured on Strong Currents, and one male vocalist, French singer Edo.

Zazou was a member of the musical collective named Slow Music. The lineup also included Robert Fripp and Peter Buck on guitars, Fred Chalenor on bass, Matt Chamberlain on drums, and Bill Rieflin on keyboards and percussion. He contributed electronics to the group's music. At the same time, he was exploring other electronic music in other work, including a soundtrack for Carl Theodor Dreyer's silent film La passion de Jeanne d'Arc and the multimedia collaboration released as a CD in 2006, Quadri+Chromies.

Zazou's last projects are documented on the Music Operator interactive multimedia web site, which graphically documents his collaborations while in the background his music plays. In January 2008 Hector Zazou released his Corps électriques album, featuring "one of the original riot grrrls" KatieJane Garside, Bill Rieflin, Lone Kent and nu-jazz trumpeter Nils Petter Molvær.

The last project he worked on is an album entitled In the House of Mirrors, on Crammed Discs, in which he offered a new take on classical Asian music, subtly reprocessed with a nod to some of the music produced in the '70s by Terry Riley and Fripp & Eno. In the House of Mirrors was recorded in Mumbai with the collaboration of four outstanding instrumentalists from India and Uzbekistan, as well as guests such as Diego Amador and Nils Petter Molvær. This album came out only a few weeks following his death in September 2008."

-Wikipedia (

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"Patrick Portella, Born in 1953, Lives and works in Marseille.

Clarinet and electroacoustic composition studies at the National Conservatory of Marseille.

Composer at the National Center for Musical Creation Gmem since 1981.

He participated in the early 80s in the emergence of the Post-Modern movement with several compilations including Miniatures (with Gavin BRYARS, Michaël NYMAN, THE RESIDENTS...) and collaborated with Joseph RACAILLE for Les flots bleus ( Recommed Records).

Since 1987, he has been particularly interested in the meeting of traditional music / contemporary music, spoken and sung texts, sea conch, musical theater.

Haiti, New Caledonia, Crete, Indonesia, South India, the Marquesas Islands, Bengal, Thailand, Benares, Cambodia...

Several stays to listen to the language and write after tradition, Hélé, Agoué-agoué, The massacre of the Eletok, Caterina, Matjapat songs, Les Rêveries de la Résonance, Flee over there fleeing, Between time and eternity, Chronicles of Siam, A final outbreak, Angkor released from the forest...

Numerous concerts in France and abroad, notably in Lyon (Nuits Electroacoustiques du Grame), Nice (Festival Manca 1988), Reims (Festival Musiques de Traverses 1984), Linz (Festival Ars Eletronica 1986), Haiti (Port-au- Prince 1989), Berlin (Festival Inventionnen 1992) Cagliari (Festival Spaziomusica 1993), Marseille (Festival Musiques 92, 94, 96, 98, 2000), Paris (Salle O. Messiaen 1996 / Théâtre du Lierre 2003 / Cité de la Musique 2004 ), Indonesia (tour 1998) Grenoble (38 e Rugissants 2001/2002) India (tour 2003), Brazil (2003-2004), Netherlands (Musica Sacrae 2007) Cambodia (tour 2008)."

-Patrick Portella Website (

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"Joseph Racaille (real name Étienne Crubellier) is a French musician, singer, author, composer and arranger. He has notably worked for Alain Bashung, Christophe Miossec, Olivia Ruiz and Thomas Fersen. He signed the music for several choreographies by Philippe Decouflé and in particular for the opening ceremony of the Albertville Olympic Games.

His personal work is somewhere between song, classical music and experimental music. During an interview for Planeta in 1985 , Joseph Racaille enrolled in popular, accessible music, but he sought to "surprise" and "do something else", he set up two points of reference: Robert Wyatt and Moondog.

He was part of ZNR with Hector Zazou, Des Dignes Dindons with Tony Truant, Cyril LeFebvre and Ernie Brooks, and contributed to the development of Hawaiian music in France by co-founding the Ukulélé Club de Paris with Cyril LeFebvre and Brad Scott.

Joseph Racaille is a pioneer in self-production. In 1985, he co-founded with Bruno Girard (de Bratsch) APASACA (Association For Aid And Support To Audacious Creators). The first record produced in 1988 is "notes de voyages" by the Bratsch group which, until its dissolution, thus self-produced all of its records as well as its tours."

-Wikipedia (Translated by Google) (

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track listing:

1. Ancien Automate Mexicain 1:56

2. Ecorcherie Romantique Pour Coeur Fele 1:44

3. Enchevetrement Desordonne 3:21

4. Alia Lasse 2:25

5. La Vieille Montre 1:45

6. Tout Debout 1:17

7. Printemps Au Jardin Potager Vu D'en Haut 1:07

8. Triste Prose Et Vieux Billards 0:59

9. Garden Party 2:02

10. Chanson Triste Pour Faire Dancer Les Petites Filles 2:10

11. Nu Au Bain 1:00

12. Serenades Italienne Pt. 1 0:57

13. Serenade Italienne Pt. 2 0:52

14. Trou De Ble 1:59

15. Vieille Chanson Irlandaise 1:13

16. Memoire D'un Chien 3:07

17. Printemps Au Jardin Potager Vu D'en Bas 1:10

18. Un Veritable Monstre A Musique 0:53

19. Deux Pieces Elementaires Pour Piano: Retourne A Melbourne 0:14

20. Deux Pieces Elementaires Pour Piano: Retourne A L'ecole 0:24

21. Prelude A La Graisse De Phoque 0:53

22. Le Fils Du Grand Compositeur 2:14
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"The second and last release by this most exquisite and eccentric of groups, who hardly touched the world of working bands, and whose existence was tenuous, flickering, mythological -- and yet who managed, to find its way to legendary status -- rather like Duchamp's fountain, by leaving an indelible trace in recorded form of their verifiable existence. If Captain Beefheart had been Erik Satie..."-Recommended Records

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