|This is the debut album by a quartet of musicians who know exactly what they want to do and who already have a totally distinctive ensemble sound! Guitarist Yan Hazera and drummer Michael Hazera are alumni of the great band Sotos, who spent 8 years honing their sound. After Sotos disbanded, they wanted to persue a similar musical vein, utilizing elements of chamber rock, zeuhl, improvisation, Rock In Opposition structured complexity and even French folk traditions. They found an excellent bassist and then gave themselves the unique edge of adding a vielle a roue (hurdy gurdy) player. The vielle a roue dates back to medieval times and has several strings which vibrate by turning a crank attached to a resined wheel. You play a melody by pressing keys on the instrument, while the other strings drone. It's a marvelous instrument and it sounds like nothing else; in this context, it often sounds like a cross between a Mike Ratledge-style electric organ, a cellist and bagpipes! This album includes two lengthy pieces, with several shorter works as well, giving the album a nice balance. While you can certainly hear echoes of Sotos on this album, I think that Zaar have already moved further than Sotos and have the possibility to appeal to a greater number of listeners. Excellently recorded by Bob Drake, who captured the rich overtones of these four instruments - not an easy feat! A band with a unique voice who are in the great French tradition of excellence in 'left-field' rock.
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