Art Zoyd

Nosferatu

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    8
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Nosferatu is the first of three scores for silent horror movies the Belgian group Art Zoyd recorded between 1989 and 1997. Friedrich Wilheim Murnau's classic Nosferatu served as the first guinea pig and it worked wonderfully. This happened at a time when performing new music over screenings of silent films had yet to become a trend in avant-garde circles (in the mid- to late '90s), although this particular film was enjoying a revival of sorts (metallers Helstar released an album by the same title in 1989). The group managed to remain true to Murnau's chef-d'oeuvre while delivering a genuine Art Zoyd platter. The lineup is the same as for 1987's Berlin, but the ideas have matured. Taking a cue from the previous album's "A Drum, a Drum," the music includes vocal passages, some sung by Thierry Zaboitzeff in a low, gravely, hellborn voice, others being pre-recorded children's choir parts. The 60-minute suite follows the film scene by scene, but it stands marvelously well on its own. Keyboards are definitely dominating the sound, with touches of cello and saxophone added for an extra Gothic feel. Often fast-paced and exhilarating, the music consists of interlocking rhythmical motifs on keyboards punctuated by orchestral cues, percussion, or acoustic instruments. Melodies are few; the grandeur and drama rarely let go. The CD is rounded up by the three-part, 17-minute "Vorgänge," ballet music for the Salzburg Vorgänge Bewegungstheater. If you don't notice the track number on the CD player, you'll think you're still in Nosferatu. This album is generally more inspired, varied, lively, and less-complacent than Faust and Häxan, Art Zoyd's two other film soundtracks. Highly recommended, even to those who despise the group's post-1983 output.

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