Monday, November 10, 2008
Zs / Child Abuse 7" on Zum records
Zum records, who put out that great Abe Vigoda / Mikaela's Fiend split single are back with another volume of a split single series (?) it seems like they have been putting out there recently.
Zum calls Child Abuse and Zs Brutalists...I can't think of a better categorization.
Child Abuse offers two pummellings 'Hat' and 'Beard and Conversations', they seem to be the more structured sounding of the two sides so I probably ended up on this side more... but I'm using that term, 'structured' very lightly. Out of the murk I could hear a definite synth sound involved, a really messed up ring toned synth, which I approve of highly... or maybe now that I'm hearing it again...that's a heavily effected guitar. Drums come in the double bass variety or insane fast foot. A discernible groove makes it's way out from the chaos... you can imagine that live this is a sweaty challenging mess, but maybe they are just admitting they can have a handle on it before they let it go or it slips away again.
There's a bassline that could almost be a sax sound, a low bass electronic sound which has that wavering vibrato feel... the whole thing starts to grind to a halt, and I mean grind.... but picks up again for a big stuttered stop.
Vocals are really death metal style growls and distortion. Like old alternative tentacles stuff.... or cannibal corpse.
But it's not over....'Conversations' is about banging on a synth just out of sync to the bass cymbal fast off beat and high hat...and then it's over...not even 8 measures.
On to Zs.....this track, 'In My Dream I Shot A Monk' is that balance between strict on the beat verse sounds and then chaos. There's choruses of voices yelling... I can't imagine how it's composed, what sessions in the practice space leads to this or what kind of people can revisit this night after night in rehearsal or let alone live. It's that Captain Beefheart, or Zappa on speed sound that's punishing for the performers....some would argue the listeners as well, but all I can think of is the preparation and time that went into what sounds to me like complete disorder. The vocals at one point follow a tom beat for a while and then it doubles back to everyone's free form jazz/sound noise. I swear there is real sax in here...or horn of some kind with a nice stereo mix going on, the drums panning back and forth. I think content-wise it's a dream about shooting a monk in the backseat of a car on the pacific coast highway. In the end the monk looked just like him, rolling up his sleeves and continuing down the highway. So he shot himself? Kind of.
I'm a little surprised to see that the Zs tracks were recorded in '03 and the Child Abuse ones just last year. These tracks completely make sense together and don't show any kind of age, just a log time for like minds to be split together on this single.
This is a great gateway 7" into these insane no-noise worlds of Zs and Child Abuse.
This is something you probably will have to listen to alone then make up your mind to catch them live ...as that's all I could think of is 'Who's making this noise?'
Zum records says:
Another in our split 7" series (most recent being the Abe Vigoda / Mikaela's Fiend 7") pairs New York prog brutalists Zs and Child Abuse. Child Abuse features Oran Canfield (Dig That Body Up...It's Alive, Optimists International, Murder Murder) and Luke Calzonetti (Meths, ABK, and Sheath). After a series of drums and keyboard recordings - including the "Blessed From the Bowels" track on Zum Audio Vol 3 - they added bassist Tim Dahl and released a full-length on Love Pump Records. This latest single includes a version of a Dolphy tune "Hat and Beard" along with the synth squak of "Conversations". Zs have enchanted and confounded many since their 2000 conception in Manhattan. Output by the band has found homes on labels such as Troubleman Unlimited, Planaria, Gilgongo, and 31G. "In My Dream I Shot A Monk" harkens to the vintage sextet formation that dovetails nicely with their current output, an aggro vocal workout of epic man-angst. Zum022 is in a black vinyl pressing of 500. Cover artwork from John Dwyer (Thee OhSees).