Monday, 17 September 2007
Earlier today, I was browsing posts from the excellent Jizz Relics blog that came under the 'experimental' tag, I decided to download an album called 'Tazartes' Transports' by Ghedalia Tazartes (http://jizzrelics.blogspot.com/2007/07/ghedalia-tazarts-tazarts-transports.html).
I knew nothing about the artist, when it was recorded, or anything like that, but the music was utterly captivating and I've listened to the album several times already. Utterly disregarding any generic conventions, and categorisation, it unfolds in a hypnotic, totally engaging way and manages to sound like very little else. Vocal samples weave their way in and out of the music, often gravely beautiful Arabic-sounding melodies, sometimes played normally in the midst of much complex electronic trickery, sometimes speeded up, sometimes slowing down, sometimes simply allowed to unfold in a quietly meditative haze. The same samples re-appear on different tracks: a woman's laughter can sound light and airy on one piece, sinister and nightmarish on another, where dissonant noise builds up underneath until, just at the climactic moment, the music unexpectedly switches direction for a a moody, vaguely Oriental soundscape full of high-pitched electronic speaks and sqanks and something that sounds like a bird...or a cicada. Screams of "All animals have personalities" add a comedic touch...at another point, Tazartes produces something which, for a few seconds, sounds strangely like an Evan Parker saxophone solo. It's intriguing for the way it merges the human and the machine, the emotional and the robotic, cutting-edge electronic sounds with the simplicity of an ancient melody -
Before popping Tazartes' name into google, I thought that this must be contemporary electronic music, of the Autechre/Aphex Twin variety...Unbelievably, though, it was recorded back in 1977 (with three more recent, slightly less adventurous bonus tracks). I've been unable to find much info about him; he doesn't have an official website, or myspace fan page, or anything like that, and most of the information I can find is in French. Despite the astoudning quality of this music ,he doesn't seem to be a very well-known artist at all, having released only a handful of recordings ('Transports' was self-produced, although the CD re-issue from 1998 comes on the Italian label Alga Marghen, who have also re-issued some of his other recordings). Rateyourmusic gives his birthdate as 1947, so he's not that old, and he still seems to be recording (here's his latest release (http://centremalraux.com/redirect.php?unevar=2)). I did manage to dig up one interview with him, but it's in French, and Google translater renders the meaning very sketchy indeed! (http://demosaurus.free.fr/demosaurus/ghedalia_tazartes/ghedalia_tazartes_interview.htm) The author of this page (http://www.woebot.com/2006/03/auteurs.html) says that he was offered the opportunity to interview Tazartes for 'The Wire' magazine, but turned it down, becaue he couldn't guarantee they'd be interested...And the only other useful page I could find was this one, which has a (very brief!) bio, and information about a couple of newer releaeses: http://www.homme-moderne.org/jardinaufou/tazartes-bio.html
Oh, and I also find this list of Tazarte's re-issued recordings: http://www.forcedexposure.com/artists/tazartes.ghedalia.html
I am mightily intrigued. If anyone else knows of any more resources relating to Tazartes, or has anything they'd like to add regarding his music, spout away in the comments!