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Author Topic: Zoviet France  (Read 1108 times)
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post-morten
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« on: January 12, 2021, 05:17:21 PM »

Not sure if I'm missing something but this iconic group still seems to be lacking a dedicated thread. In 2012 I wrote this elsewhere on the SI forum:

I'd love to see :zoviet*france: being given the VOD treatment. The early albums plus selected pieces from their vast archives of unreleased material. As far as I understand they have been approached by VOD, it's "only" a matter of the different factions to come to an agreement.

So the ZF retrospectives finally happened. I have acquired the second volume of Chasse but won't have the opportunity to give it a spin for yet some time to come. Curious if anyone have opinions on the two LP's of unreleased music from their archives. How do they hold up compared to the previously released material?
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post-morten
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« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2021, 12:20:56 AM »

I find it odd that pretty much every artist or group that were involved in laying out the foundations of the industrial scene, or followed thereafter, have their own topics (hell, even Rapoon). But not Zoviet France, who championed a style that set them apart from the contemporary industrial lot, and spawned so many great descendants with ZF dna in their lineage.

For me, after hearing and reading about ZF for some time, it started with getting the Shouting at the Ground 2LP. I was intrigued and started to collect whatever I could lay my hands on. I remember a particularly lucky mid-nineties record buying spree in London, where I scored both Mohnomishe 2LP and Gris 10" at the Record & Vinyl Exchange shop in Notting Hill Gate. I have since acquired every official release in (at least) one format or another and caught a number of concerts.

So come on and drop your ZF anecdotes... albums you liked, gigs you went to, perhaps they even influenced your own creative output?
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Zeno Marx
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« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2021, 12:47:39 AM »

I've never found there to be much interest, at least in talking about them.  I'm not sure why that is.  They were one of the first experimental groups I heard, and they quickly became a favorite.  I haven't heard those unreleased albums yet.  I don't really have a need for anything but those, and I'm not buying massive box sets for the hell of it.  I am curious about what remastering has done to them, but not curious enough since I already have most on both LP and CD.

I don't know what it is like now, but most of their vinyl was relatively easy to find up to 2000.  Maybe it still is, but I don't check Discogs for that.  It seemed like 75% of the shops I visited, no matter where I was, had at least 1-2 ZF records in their used bins.  Sometimes with part of the packaging missing, but they were there nonetheless.

The only thing I can add that I haven't already said on this board is that I stupidly ignored early Rapoon until 2020.  I fixated on all those early albums for a few months there.  I think up through 1996?  Incredibly great.

You can do an advanced search with "zoviet" and my user name to find my posts.  For some reason, the board doesn't offer a direct link after the search is implemented.
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post-morten
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« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2021, 01:11:39 AM »

I've never found there to be much interest, at least in talking about them.  I'm not sure why that is.  

I think because they just kept on keeping a low profile. They didn't stir up a lot of shit like the Broken Flag camp. They didn't dabble in the occult and esoterics like the PTV/Coil/C93 axis. They were not authoritative scene figures such as Steven Stapleton, Andrew McKenzie, or Boyd Rice. They were not active networking in the mail art underground like Nocturnal Emissions, Merzbow, the Haters, and many others. I see them as more aligned with the likes of Illusion of Safety, HNAS, or Organum: early progenitors that let the music do the speaking, never resorting to the adoption of antics or imagery that were en vogue at a particular moment in time.
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magnus
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« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2021, 02:15:40 AM »

Hi Mårten, been a long time!
I saw Zoviet France a few times, remember one at the punkplace Kafé 44 here in Stockholm, you probably were there too, when a punkguy regular to the place after the show went to the stage and told them something along the lines of: "i have never heard music like this before but it was fantastic" - and it was!
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« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2021, 11:46:46 AM »

Hi there Magnus, yep been out of the loop for quite some time. Guess I still am but ZF pulled me back, at least temporarily.

I remember the 1997 show at Kafé 44 very well. A great evening through and through, with Pluxus supporting - their first ever gig. The ZF interview Ingrid and I did on this occasion subsequently went into the Soma 'zine. This was back in the days when they still hauled their arsenal of instruments and huge racks (photo) around the world, being hit for excess weight at every airport check-in. Which eventually had them scaling down and going for a more digital approach. Who can blame them?
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Strömkarlen
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« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2021, 12:53:49 PM »

Hi Mårten

Long time no see... remember that interview well although I can't remember which issue it was. I should dig out the old zines and re-read it.

Shouting at the ground is such a great release and I'm extremely fond of Just an illusion. I most have gotten them at roughly the same time. Late eighties early nineties.
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« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2021, 02:45:38 PM »

I've never found there to be much interest, at least in talking about them.  I'm not sure why that is.  

I think because they just kept on keeping a low profile.

Well, they did at least have the name. In the late 80s, in my town, I'd wager ZF were by far the most played project on college radio. And whichever whomever radio dj would always make a point of pronouncing the name with the quintessential smirky voice of mock authority. When I was a kid the project always held its own mystery or mythos, probably just from the name itself! But listening to the shit has always carried with it (and now perhaps more than ever) the fine fetor of indistinct, shadowy, slightly smudged or smeared...rite of initiation. Or some shit.
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« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2021, 03:41:26 PM »

Yes, the name - and the various ways it was written - were iconic and somewhat iconoclastic! First heard them on the "A Bead To A Small Mouth" compilation, and got "Shouting At The Ground" on the back of that. Loved the one on Mute - "Colluision" - and "Just An Illusion", but never got much further as I sort of headed down the power electronics alley more-so. I don't know, they seemed a little bit 'hippy-ish' by comparison?! Just an impression I had, probably ill-founded. Recently bought the "Gris" LP on VOD, and enjoyed that, but I'll hardly shell out for the complete set. Anyone have "Further Collusion"?
I do sort of regret not getting the "Popular Soviet Songs And Youth Music" special CD package when I saw it in the shops years ago, but at the time I suppose I was watching the pennies a bit!
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« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2021, 09:09:07 PM »

Long time no see... remember that interview well although I can't remember which issue it was. I should dig out the old zines and re-read it.

Howdy Jonas, long time for sure! Seven years on the dark continent severs ties, sadly.

I don't have my zine collection handy so can't help you locating that Zoviet France article. What I do remember is that two or three people told me that they got into ZF after reading it, which is the best testimonial one could get. Oh, and whatever became of your plans of collecting the best Soma material in a book?

Is Steve Cammack still hanging around here on the board, btw? I'm pretty sure Dieter Muh shared the bill with ZF at some point. Would be interesting to hear his stories!
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« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2021, 09:31:55 PM »

Since you posted the photo from the first part, I'm guessing you know about this interview.  For those who don't know.  I still haven't listened to most of the 2nd part.

Robin Storey podcast interview.  Not the most listener-friendly situation with them trying to be quiet and lots of background noise.

https://www.radiopanik.org/emissions/moacrealsloa/robin-storey-interview-part-1-of-2/

https://www.radiopanik.org/emissions/moacrealsloa/robin-storey-interview-part-2-2/
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« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2021, 12:18:10 AM »

Since you posted the photo from the first part, I'm guessing you know about this interview. 

As a matter of fact, Zeno, that photo was taken by me, at the concert mentioned above. I uploaded it somewhere a long time ago, then it went viral and has since been appropriated all over the place. As in this instance, to adorn a Rapoon interview by someone who is probably not even aware of that Robin Storey is not in the picture. Nevertheless, I did not know about this interview, but shall listen to it with mild enthusiasm and a condescending frown.
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« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2021, 10:17:48 AM »

The hidden diamond of ZF is the Garista cassette. It's one of those rare diamonds that most won't have the taste to appreciate. Words can not do it justice.
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« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2021, 08:17:46 PM »

Long time no see... remember that interview well although I can't remember which issue it was. I should dig out the old zines and re-read it.

Howdy Jonas, long time for sure! Seven years on the dark continent severs ties, sadly.

I don't have my zine collection handy so can't help you locating that Zoviet France article. What I do remember is that two or three people told me that they got into ZF after reading it, which is the best testimonial one could get. Oh, and whatever became of your plans of collecting the best Soma material in a book?

Is Steve Cammack still hanging around here on the board, btw? I'm pretty sure Dieter Muh shared the bill with ZF at some point. Would be interesting to hear his stories!

Still in Africa?

The book needs to be done. When ever I find time... but the I’m returning to publishing so perhaps now is the time!
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« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2021, 12:25:34 AM »

Still in Africa?

Yes, so it is. Now based in Zambia, so no more "Champagne in Mozambique" (on-topic pun - title of first tape by ZF offshoot Ingleton Falls).

Speaking of which, talking about any of the splinter groups would be fair game too in this thread. While I never really got into Dead Voices On Air, I quite liked a couple of albums by Spybey's Propeller project. Horizon 222 were the two Andys' foray into the dancey end of the electronic/ambient spectrum. Not bad for what it is... I imagine it went down like a storm at early 90s raves. Mark Warren's Penumbra project have a couple of respectable albums that oscillates from dark ambient to new age electronics and back, occasionally with hints of rhythms. 

Reformed Faction (of Soviet France)... I got their first CD on Klanggalerie which I remember as quite good. They churned out a bunch of albums but I didn't follow that trajectory. Any opinion on them?
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