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Un amour si grand – Concert pour Ghédalia
French cult artist Ghédalia Tazartès was an uncompromising character who defied categorization. He recorded alone more that 20 albums, calling his Art “Impromuz” for lack of a better term. Before the years 2000s, his public appearances remained exceptional events.
Ghédalia Tazartès’ music has always been a mystery. It switches from musique concrète to – existing or invented – ethnic music, from poetry to noise, or from loops and collages to sad and extremely beautiful tunes in a second, but it constantly is in flux and coherent.
In 2004, Ghedalia finally decided to do live performances again. He first worked with other musicians (Les Reines d’Angleterre, David Fenech & Jac Berrocal, Norscq & Black Sifichi, Nicolas Lelièvre) then went solo for ten years.
In 2008, Tazartes was invited to perform for the Patti Smith exhibition at the Fondation Cartier in Paris. His set included a lot of poems by René Daumal.
In the same Cartier Foundation and in Le Lieu Unique in Nantes, he later created the cinemix “Häxan” on April 21st 2011 for the “Vaudou” exhibition and toured with the project for a couple of years to great aclaim.
Ghédalia presented in 2013 a new solo show at CTM in Berlin Festival to a packed HAU2. The new show was based around the music of his album ‘Coda Lunga.’ Says Tazartes: ‘I thought I had only played for 5 minutes in Berlin… then I realised I had been going on for more than one hour!’
In 2018 Ghedalia decided to stop playing solo and to collaborate with other musicians again: Paul Romanchuk and Andrzej Załęski, Maya Dunietz, Rhys Chatham, Chris Corsano and Dennis Tyfus, Quentin Rollet and Jérôme Lorichon…
His lats studio session was for “Jours de grève” (Versatile Records, 2021), an album by Emmanuelle Parrenin ans Detlef Weinrich (aka Tolouse Low Track). Parrenin and Weinrich are now touring with Quentin Rollet – check their first show at Lafayette Anticipations, Paris in May 2021 – a show they dedicated to Ghédalia.
“Impromuz” explained by Ghédalia.
Rhys Chatham & Ghedalia Tazartes 08/09/18 Paris, Le Jardin de Simone from NO MORE RETURN on Vimeo. This was the first show of the meeting of the two giants. They played another final show in 2019. Part of these concerts and more will be featured in the album “Two Men in a Boat”, out on Sub Rosa label out 13 October 2021.
Ghedalia talks with the people of Bisou Records label about his “La Bar Mitzvah du chien” album.
Ghédalia performs to the film Haxan, Witchcraft Through the Ages, by Benjamin Christensen, 1922. Photo ©Martin Argyroglo pour le Lieu Unique (Nantes).
Live at BBMIX, Boulogne-Billancourt, France, 2014
Live in Rome, 2017
Photos by Gianmarco Del Re
How cool is Kim Gordon?
* Diasporas, LP, recorded 1977, Cobalt, 1979. Reissued on LP by Dais Records, USA, in 2011.
* Quelque Part Quelqu’un, Recorded in 1978. Released in 2011 on 10″ by Vinyl On Demand, as part of the “Works 77-79” boxset. Re-pressed in 2017.
* Tazartès Transports, Recorded in 1977 (tracks 1-15) Originally released on transparent LP in 1980 by Cobalt, France. Reissued on CD in 1997 by Alga Marghen, Italy with three bonus tracks (16-18). Re-released on 10″ vinyl in 1998 by Syntactic, Austria. Released again on CD in 2015 by Alga Marghen with the four tracks of “Les danseurs de la pluie” as a bonus.
* Une éclipse totale de soleil, Originally released on LP in 1984 by Celluloid, France. Reissued on CD in 1996 and in 2015 by Alga Marghen, Italie.
* Tazartès, Originally released on LP in 1987 by Ayaa, France. Reissued together with Diasporas on a single CD in 2004 by Alga Marghen, Italy. Reissued again on CD by Alga Marghen in 2015 with the B side of “Granny Awards” as a bonus.
* variouse artists: Tabu. A 1987 K7 published by Anne Fremy “who put Art and sound composers in one swimming pool to enlarge the architecture and transform the place function” (thanks to Eve Couturier and Palix for that one).
* Check Point Charlie, Originally released on CD by french label Ayaa in 1989. Reissued on CD by french label Gazul in 2006. First time issued on double LP by Holidays Records in Italy in 2013, re-pressed in 2014. On bandcamp, tracks 1-4 are the original track listing of the first edition; tracks 5 and 6 are bonuses that appeared on the second CD edition only.
* Voyage à l’ombre, Originally released on CD in 1997 by Demosaurus, France. Reissued on LP in 2012 by Hot Releases, USA. Reissued on CD in 2013 by Hinterzimmer, Switzerland (different tracks).
* 5 Rimbaud 1 Verlaine, mini-CD. Originally released in 2006 on 3″CD by Jardin au Fou in France, then reissued on 10″ vinyl by Holidays Records in Italy in 2016.
* Les danseurs de la pluie, Originally released as a minimax-CD in 2006 by Alga Marghen, Italy, included in a 4CD boxset (see below). This boxset has been reissued in 2015.
* Alma Marghen Anthology, 4cd box Alga Marghen 2006 with: Diasporas, Transports, Une éclipse, Tazartes, Les danseurs de la pluie.
* Jeanne, Originally released in 2007 on CD by Van’Oeuvre, France. Tracks created for the theater play “Jeanne” produced in 2006 by the Pardès Rimonim company.
* Hystérie off Music, Originally released in 2007 on CD by Jardin Au Fou, France. Reissued on LP in 2014 by Holidays Records, Italy.
* Repas Froid, Originally released in 2009 on CD by tanzprocess, France. Reissued on vinyl in 2011 by Pan, Germany.
* Reines d’Angleterre: Les Comores LP, Bo’ Weavil Recordings, 2009. Reines d’Angleterre was El-G, Ghédalia Tazartès and Jo Tanz.
* Ante Mortem, Originally released on CD on Hinterzimmer Records, Switzerland, in 2010. Reissued on LP+7″ in 2012 on the same label.
* Works 1977-79, 4 LP-Box, Vinyl on Demand, 2011. Includes: Diasporas, Transports, Une éclipse, Tazartes, Quelque Part Quelqu’un and Elie en Italie (a DVD) (read more below)
* Granny Awards, Originally released in 2011on LP by Alga Marghen, Italy.
* Reines d’Angleterre: Globe et Dynastie Bo’ Weavil Recordings, 2012
* Coda Lunga, Originally released in 2012 on LP+DVD (filmed by Ghedalia in India) by Von, Italy.
* various artists: Veterans of the French underground meet la jeune garde. 2012, Les Zut-O-Pistes. Ghédalia performs Joy Divisé with Jac Berrocal and David Fenech
* GOL et Ghédalia Tazartes – Alpes, recorded 2011, LP Gollaberation vol.6, Planam Golta, 2013
* LA., LP, Originaly released in Norway on dBut interambiance by Per Platou, 2014.
* Ghedalia Tazartes, Bruno Letort, Cube Quartet, Etenesh Wassié, Semelles de Vent, Arthur Rimbaud’s trips Cubic Series #13, 2014
* Il regalo della Befana Originally released as a bonus track to the CD edition of “Une éclipse totale de soleil” on Alga Marghen, Italy. Re-issued in 2015 by Holidays Records, Italy as a single-sided LP, given to friends (each copy was personnalised and hand-numbered).
La Bar Mitzvah du chien/Don’t cry for me Originally released on LP in 2015 by BISOU.
* Ghedalia Tazartes, Chris Corsano and Dennis Tyfus: Vooruit 17.05.2015, LP Ultra Eczema 199, 2016
* Ghedalia Tazartes, Paul Romanchuk, Andrzej Załęski, Carp’s Head, LP, CD, MonotypeRec, 2016
* Ghedalia Tazartes and Maia Dunietz: Schulevy Maker, recorded live at Café Oto, London in 2013, issued in 2017, Holotype Editions, Holo7.
* Parrenin Weinrich, Jours de Grève, w. special guests Tazartes & Quentin Rollet, LP, Versatile Records, 2020
* Quoi qu’il en soit (a 40-page book with photos by Tazartes) + La chute de l’ange, a live CD by Tazartes, Quentin Rollet and Jerome Lorichon, recorded live at Eglise St-Merry, Paris, 2019. Bisou Records, 2021.
* Rhys Chatham & Ghédalia Tazartès: Two Men in a Boat, LP (Sub Rosa, October 2021)
ALL OF TAZARTES’ MUSIC IS NOW AVAILABLE ON THIS BANDCAMP PAGE (musician and Bisou Records label manager Quentin Rollet did a great job on this page)
Ghédalia Tazartès’s unusual home and music studio, which the musician (who has lived there since 1967) sees as fundamental to his compositional work. “Without it, I don’t know if I’m a musician”, he told Nick Cain in the interview.
“Ghédalia Tazartès is a nomad. He wanders through music from chant to rhythm, from one voice to another. He paves the way for the electric and the vocal paths, between the muezzin psalmody and the screaming of a rocker (…) Ghédalia is the orchestra and a pop group all in one person; the solitary opera explodes himself into an infinity of characters. The self is multitude and others. The author and his doubles work without a net, freely connecting the sounds, the rhythms, his voice, his voices. The permanent metamorphosis is a principle of composition, it escapes control, refuses classification. Off limits, music descends, cries and screams when it touches the ground.” (André Glucksmann)
“[…] every so often, someone introduces us to a piece of music that’s just so downright bizarre, so totally unlike anything we’ve ever heard, it really doesn’t need any kind of wacky backstory or WTF visual accompaniment. Such was the case with French musician-composer Ghédalia Tazartès and his 1979 masterpiece, Diasporas. […] Trust us: Don’t listen to it alone after dark or in an altered state of consciousness. Actually, listening to this will probably alter your consciousness all by itself. […] We could attempt to describe Tazartès’ music–French avant-garde gypsy trance minimalism?–but really, there’s not much point. You just have to hear it. This guy is attuned to some other frequencies, for real. weirdestbandintheworld.com
You need to have this as a part of your life, whether you are a indie rock nerd or a black metal nerd. http://iownsomerecords.tumblr.com
Unusually personal & intimate musique concrete have made Tazartes’ name a watchword for people with serious ears (and a cd reissues on Alga Marghen in the early 2000s certainly helped too). Fluid field recording loops of children talking & gabbering in French, with somber muted organ drone swaying slowly along behind them. Tazartes’ crackshot & cathartic vocal wailing is as beautiful as a blade of grass, & there’s plenty of it here along with metal riffs, koto boings, doom-laden classical strings, & other oddities. There’s even some recordings of Tazartes’ daughter & piano bits. Includes ‘Diasporas’, ‘Une Eclipse Totale de Soleil’, ‘Tazartes’, Transports’ and a 10 inch of unreleased material called ‘Quelque Part Quelqu’un’. http://weirdorecords.com
If you wanted to own a record of music that is absolutely different from almost anything you’ve known or heard, snap to it: Dais’ reissue of the NWW List-approved vocal melee by Parisian pyrrhic warbler Ghédalia Tazartès is instantly one of the most difficult records of my nearly 35 years aboard this dying mudball. Calls to prayer meets calls of strangulation, calls of possession, a spiritual intifada from the darkest corners of the cabarets to the recording studio to the vastness of the desert’s sprawl, all channeled through Tazartès’ extreme styles, going from soaring wails to multi-toned throat singing, sometimes in the same track. This is nightmare music that’ll make you feel unclean and weird, designed to break your concentration and focus on it and it alone. And if you can deal with it, you’re tougher than me. 500 numbered copies. (http://www.daisrecords.com)
“4LP-Box with 10″ Tazartes Transports, Tazartes, Diaspora, Une Eclipse Totale De Soleil, and Quelque Part Quelqu’un. The French artist and autodidact Ghedalia Tazartes who is born in Paris in 1947 is a true nomad spending more than 30 years within musical practice and experimentation. Ghedalia is the orchestra and a pop group all in one person: the self is multitude and others, freely connecting the sounds, the rhythms, his voice, his voices. The extra-European music opens the ear to Ghedalia’s intra-European exotism. The permanent metamorphosis is a principle of composition; it escapes control, refuses classification, diametrical to the purists of synthetic culture and technocrates of noise. He wanders through music from chant to rhythm, from one voice to another. Utilizing magnetic tape recorders, he paves the way for the electric and the vocal paths, between the muezzin psalmody and the screaming of a rocker. He traces vague landscapes where the mitre of the white clown, the plumes of the sorcerer, the helmet of a cop and Parisian anhydride collide into polyphonic ceremonies. This box concentrates on his early works from 1977-1979 and his four officially released vinyl-LP’s plus a 10” of an unreleased work from 1978. All the material is superbly remastered for vinyl by Anders Peterson of www.ghostsounds.net pushing the overall quality and dimension in sound to an amazing new level and experience.” SquidCo
‘Transports’ is the incredible 2nd album by audodidact and outsider musician/composer Tazartès. Originally released on vinyl in 1980, it has now been reissued with extra material on CD in 1998 and 2009, and “Probably represents the most original example of the artist’s poetical and personal approach to sound organisation.” The tracks for ‘Transports’ were recorded in 1977 at Ghedalia’s own studio in Paris, strafing stream-of-conscious between rippling electro rhythms to outernational singing styles, collaged field recordings and musique concrete, to chants, tape loops and exotic atmospheres with a perpetual sense of drift and magical imagination. We’re spellbound from the first to last, through the deeply evocative peal of church bells and swirling synthetic textures in track 2, via humid sci-fi scenes and alien avian chatter on track 5 and the lost zones of the closing stages. Also included are the two parts of ‘Transports’ which were composed and recorded for a theatre piece later in 1997 and produced by Emanuele Carcano. These are denser, more spacious and dramatic, but not necessarily that great. The disc concludes with ‘Elie’, a charming piano piece performed in duo with the composer’s young daughter. For the original ‘Transports’ at least, this is nigh on essential for fans of adventurous electronic music and composition. http://boomkat.com
Un orchestre à lui tout seul (sa voix se transforme en voix d’enfant , de femme, de vieillard, de chamane). “Il assemble des éléments sonores de différentes natures. De la musique jouée avec de vrais instruments, par lui et, le cas échéant, des invités. De vraies chansons traditionnelles. De la poésie savante ou populaire. Différentes langues minoritaires ou majoritaires, utilisées pour leur place symbolique dans le grand jeu de la domination culturelle. Une langue inventée par lui, aussi, spécialement pour chanter, et cristallisant ce que toutes les langues oublient de dire. Et il replace ces créations sonores de l’homme dans leur contexte bruyant signifiant, dans le grand bruissement de l’univers des choses. Des sons témoignages, des sons d’atmosphères, des prélèvements dans l’environnement social et naturel. Mais il ne les transforme pas en «autre chose» comme il est banal de le faire aujourd’hui avec les nouvelles machines. Non, il conserve leur identité d’origine et en renforce la signification. Ce qui l’intéresse est bien ce qu’ont à dire ces objets sonores du monde qui nous entoure, monde matériel et immatériel, monde de l’échange marchand et non-marchand. Il les rend plus bavards, il les fait parler en les plongeant dans des agencements qui leur sont étrangers. Il coupe et monte des images sonores selon les techniques utilisées au cinéma et cette technique fait ressortir leur sens.” (Pierre Hemptine).
“Beaucoup revendiquent un cinéma pour l’oreille, dans cette catégorie, Ghédalia Tazartès est de loin le plus grand de tous. Sa musique assemble des éléments sonores de toutes natures et de toutes provenances. Tout peut surgir d’un moment à l’autre quand on ne s’y attend pas et c’est toujours ce que l’on n’attend pas. On navigue entre Orient et Occident ou on ne sait où. Il y a surtout sa voix ou plutôt ses voix, car elles sont multiples, elles tissent des motifs incantatoires aux pouvoirs hypnotiques, mais il n’y a pas chez lui d’extase monacale ou de dépouillement, Ghédalia Tazartès fait dans la profusion, l’abondance, une jubilation jusqu’à la transe de sons et de mots malaxés dans différentes langues. Ghédalia Tazartès invente quelque chose de complètement différent. Dans les années deux mille, après une éclipse de presque une décennie, Ghédalia Tazartès revient grâce à une nouvelle génération de passionnés (qu’ils soient nommés et remerciés ici : David Fenech, Marie-Pierre Bonniol, Sébastien Morlighem, Dominique Répécaud.” (Dominique Grimaud)
“Tazartès fait de la musique expérimentale comme je me fais des pâtes. Fréquemment et sans mode d’emploi. À l’inverse de ce qui se trouve dans mon assiette, ce Repas Froid est succulent. Collages, envolées de voix chamaniques perdues en folies, ces archives déterrées par Tanz Procesz sont équivalentes au meilleur menu du maître. Un OVNI qui se déguste sans fin.” (nextclues)
Interview and photos from Ghedalia’s legendary Paris appartement in The Wire, 2008.
Ghédalia Tazartès in conversation with Mark Harwood, Cafe Oto, London, 2016.
Listen to “Semelles de Vent, Arthur Rimbaud’s Trips” by Bruno Letord, September 2019. Ghédalia Tazartès : voice, Etenesh Wassié : voice, Cube Quartet : String quartet.
Libération, February 2021
Les Inrocks, February 2021
Michel Chion, who wrote the music for the song Quasimodo Tango, recalls his collaboration with Ghédalia. February 2021
Beyond The Coda presents several very rare recordings by Ghedalia. February 2021.
The vocalist, improvisor and global sound collagist remembered by his occasional musical collaborator Dennis Tyfus – The Wire, February 2021.
Remembering the Work and Wit of Experimental Innovator Ghédalia Tazartès, April 27, 2021, on Daily Bandcamp. Author Phil Bloomfield says: “I wrote about the unique, strange and often hilarious world of Ghédalia Tazartès for Bandcamp. Ghédalia was one of the people who I subconsciously associated with Paris during my time there. He seemed to be part of the place itself in some way, a sliver of the ambience of existence, hidden beneath the skin of the city. When I heard that he’d passed away in February, I was saddened, in part because we’d only ever exchanged a few words – after his concerts, or a brief nod of mutual recognition in Le Baron Rouge [Ghédalia”s favorite café] – and a little part of ‘my’ Paris had vanished. Talking to his friends and family, I was delighted to hear so many happy memories and stories. Ghédalia brought a lot of joy and energy to other people’s lives, through his music but most of all through his friendship and presence. And I can’t help but wish I’d gotten to know him better. I think I thought that’d he’d always be there, an eternal ‘pilier du bar’ for an eastern corner of Paris.
About the album “Jours de grève” (see above): “This goes way beyond goodness, such darkness but such lightnings at the same time. Really love this melting of free jazz fragrances, drone sounds, otherworldly vocals and tribalistic grooves. Such a perfect meeting, and great appearances from Ghédalia Tazartès” Tim Karbon
July 2021: For The New Left Review and Sidecar, Sasha Frere-Jones writes on legendary sound-artist Ghédalia Tazartès: ‘Topic and mood are so impossible to determine that one can only listen, obediently, hoping to answer the only real Tazartès question: What is this?’
At the end of this interview (in French) on French national radio France Musique, Rhys Chatham recalls his collaboration with Ghédalia and plays a track from their forthcoming album “Two Men in a Boat” (Sub Rosa).
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– Qui sont vos maîtres? / Who are your masters?
– Maria Callas, Frank Zappa, Jimi Hendrix, JS Bach, Beethoven, Wagner, Mahler…
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