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ZNR: Barricade,Vol. 3 *

Album Notes

Released in France in 1977 and reissued worldwide by Recommended in 1981 and on CD in 1993, Barricade 3 is the perfect anti-pop record, utterly strange and witty. Recorded with very limited means by Hector Zazou and Joseph Racaille (ZNR), it already showed how inventive and resourceful a record producer Zazou would become. The album is put under Erik Satie's star, from the highly simple melodies and occasional outbursts of madness (the Satie of "Parade" and "Mercure"), down to convoluted song titles like "Editioun Especialo d'uno Griho de Jardin" (neither French nor Spanish) and a clearly intentional amateurish feel. The pieces, very short, are mostly instrumental. Whenever French lyrics pop up, they follow their own dadaist reality. Instrumentation is often limited to piano, synthesizers, and woodwinds, but also includes occasional percussion and guitar. When more lyrical, the music rises to the level of Robert Wyatt's songwriting, particularly impressive in "Annie la Telie" and "Solo un Dia." These two provide strong highlights, along with the suite "La Pointe de Tes Seins Est Comme un Pétale de Pavot," "Le Grande Compositeur Vu de Face," and the stupidly funny "Avrile en Suède." Back in 1977, this album didn't have its match when it came to weirdness. With age it remains an unusual attempt at accessible avant-garde art, French style, and a very entertaining listen for anyone interested in music that is left of center. One could even argue it predated by two decades the naïve pop current represented by Stereolab and Felix Kubin. ~ François Couture


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