What would happen if two people as different as Hector Zazou (eclectic &
elegant French composer/producer) and Sandy Dillon (gravel-voiced maverick
American singer/songwriter) decided to collaborate?
The result: their new CD, '12 (Las Vegas Is Cursed),' music that defies
all attempts at categorization. The album largely revolves around Sandy's voice
and Hector's keyboards and soundscapes, but Zazou has also brought in his
longtime collaborators Christian Lechevretel & Renaud Pion (on woodwinds
& brass), as well as guitarists Marc Ribot, Justin Adams (Brian Eno, Sinead O'Connor) and Porl Thompson (ex-Cure), drummers Bill Rieflin (Ministry, Nine Inch Nails) and Pat Mastelotto (King Crimson), and several more.
Here, Zazou and Dillon have freed themselves from the usual restraints
and conventions in order to assemble this suite of unique pieces. Zazou
works more like a movie director, freely manipulating all the musical ingredients, bringing out their dramatic best. Unexpected slabs of horn or percussion arrangements appear from time to time to punctuate Dillon's supernatural vocals and her ferociously ironic texts. Even the seemingly most serious moments of the album are infused with playfulness and a corrosive sense of humor.
One thing Sandy and Hector share is love for the work of Captain Beefheart.
It may be more apparent in Sandy's case: "her voice is a rasping, husky wheeze,
it's pitched somewhere between the smoky desperation of Janis Joplin and the gravelly tones of Tom Waits... (The Times).
Zazou - after having based most of his work throughout the 90's on traditional
and sacred music, and having enlisted such guests as Björk, Ryuichi Sakamoto,
Gérard Depardieu, Suzanne Vega, or John Cale to collaborate to his largely
ethereal superproductions - is returning with this album to the rougher, freeform,
insolent spirit of his earlier musical adventures.