Monday, June 27, 2011

Z is for...

And finally, 15 months later...

- Hector Zazou
- Zao
- Zed
- Zoviet France
- Zk
- Frank Zappa
- John Zorn
- Zakyumiko
- Aziza Mustafa Zadeh

Starting with four from France: Hector Zazou was, until his untimely death in 2008, one of the best exponents of world music. His Les Nouvelles Polyphonies Corses, Sahara Blue and Songs from the Cold Sea were great, sprawling, collaborative affairs. He worked with everyone from Bjork, David Sylvian and John Cale, to lesser known African, Tibetan and Uzbek artists. Even Gerard Depardieu crops up on one album. Saw him once, I think guesting (with Suzanne Vega) at a John Cale gig in New York.

ZNR was Zazou and Joseph Racaille - I have their only album, Barricade 3, an avant-prog affair from 1976. Also from that era were Zao, led by saxophonist Yochk'o Seffer - not to be confused with the American metalcore band of the same name. And Zed was a project name for Bernard Szajner's first album. He also recorded under his own name and as The Prophets and invented the laser harp. And again, not to be confused with another Zed, from New Zealand.

Zoviet France are not from France. Or Russia. They're from Newcastle. I have a few decent industrial ambient albums from the 80s, and they're still going. Zk are not too dissimilar and, now that Peter Christopherson is no longer with us, are the leading - and possibly only - exponents of weird electronica in Bangkok. 

Hats must be tipped to Frank Zappa of course, though I was never a big enough fan to own more than one or two albums. Likewise John Zorn. I have his Big Gundown and would probably like more, but the sheer volume of his output is intimidating. 

Zakyumiko is Yumiko Ohno, keyboardist of Japanese band Buffalo Daughter, together with Zak their engineer (and her husband). They've barely released anything but I have two privately released EPs of driving electronica which are fabulous. And finally, Aziza Mustafa Zadeh is a gorgeous Azerbaijani jazz pianist & singer who both Liz and I like a lot. I quite like her music too.

And the rest... Benjamin Zephaniah, Warren Zevon, Z'ev (whom I saw throwing buckets and chains around in support of Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voiltaire some 30 years ago), Zager and Evans, Zodiac Mindwarp, The Zombies and (gulp) ZZ Top?


  1. The only Z I'd add, is the late, great Hector Zazou from Tanzania. First heard by me on the Tanzania Yetu album & then made a few for Real World. Wonderful stuff.
    Once saw ZZ Top live, great fun. Liked the roadie coming on to light the cigar of the guitarist during a solo.

  2. Silly me! It's Hukwe Zawose that I'm on about!

  3. zK is 1/2 BKK. but, yes, the one located in BKK is a weirdo!
    ps. plague will do a zK CD