Category Archives: Review

Ziúr “Deeform” Review

https://ziurmusic.bandcamp.com/

Ziúr is a woman who lives in Berlin who identifies as an “earth citizen,” and Deeform is the first 12″ release on Lara Rix Paradinas‘ Objects Limited label.  The label’s mission is to release music by “female identifying/non binary electronic producers.”

Ziúr’s gender identity is orthogonal from her music; the label’s sexual politics matter but her music stands alone.  It has prerequisites across the electronic music spectrum.  In “Himilaya”, The juxtaposition of distorted electronic beats with africa drums and hand percussion recalls Muzlimgauze. The sustained synthesized voices echo those prevalent in Pardinas’ music as Lux E Tenebris.

At the lighter end of Ziúr’s music “Bud Dallas” builds up a sort of tongue and cheek funk around an E flat 7th chord and a start-stop drum pattern.  The bassline’s repeated 16th note patterns flex under the shifting accent of the snare samples. A flute-like lead melody drifts in and out of tune.  This piece recalls Muziq’s Jake Slazenger tracks a bit, in that both are at the same time serious and playful.

“noR3gGts” has a staggering break beat pillowed in degraded, noise.  About a minute a dog’s bark comes in as the lead sound. It is played in the dog’s natural triplet rhythm, which rubs against the more or less straight programmed beat.  The dog sample plays both naturally and artifically — Ziúr’ lets it play out at its recorded pitch, but then repeats it in straight 16th notes, calling notice to  the sample’s artificiality.

The tension of Ziúr is this interplay between the real and the virtual.  Blatantly ‘fake’ sounds versus minimally processed found sound. Distorted drum synth kicks play off against bells and tambourines.  Human voices yell in combination with obviously digital synth sounds.  There’s a sense of a natural acoustic space, simulated with digital reverb, but the reverb is sometimes sucked out of the mix to leave the dry sound naked.

Leaving that conceptual tension aside, Ziúr has come up with an original take on electronic music.  As with fellow traveller Lotic, she’s no slave to club hedonism or the dance floor, even as her complicated, hocketing drums achieve their own sort of abstract funk.  If her music is on Blackdown’s breakbeat continuum, it’s not on the one-dimensional line. It’s out there somewhere on the complex plain, circling around its own obsessions.

My Bloody Valentine “M B V” Review.

OK, new MBV first reactions. The overall sound hasn’t changed much if at all. If I had made a record as epochal and evocative as Loveless, I guess I’d have problems finishing a follow-up. There are kids in their 20s who literally grew up listening to it. I know it was on heavy rotation in my car driving kids around, and my sons are 24 and 27.

Where it’s different? “New You” is pretty sunny and not as fuzzy as the usual MBV song; the focus is on Bilinda’s multitracked vocals. It points up the influence of 60s french singers like Jane Birkin and France Gall on Shields. The album almost sounds like a noisier Stereolab at times. The two bands were more or less contemporaries; Stereolab had french women vocalists who made that connection more explicit, but it’s a serious part of Shields’ stylistic vocabular.

“If I Am” bears close listening, because it’s maybe Shields most fully realized, appealing vocal melody. If anything has changed in 22 years, it’s that Shields has progressed as a songwriter, especially in the songs he wrote for Bilinda Butcher.

“Nothing Is” in my opinion should have been left a B side, and replaced with another pop song. It is a relentlessly repetitive loop that gets slightly louder and then ends. It would be fun to hear them play it live, but compared to the more fully composed songs it comes off as a piss take.

ValentineIf you’re at all a fan it’s worth tracking down the Tape Op interview where he describes his recording techniques. It’s easy listening to MBV to feel like there’s something complicated there, but once you know how simply he recorded the music it’s more impressive — there aren’t a whole bunch of overdubs — he spends time getting the sound he wants, and he might have 4 tracks of different microphones on a guitar cabinet, but compared to a Beyonce record they’re very simple and transparent.
Image stolen from Mojo Magazine without permission.