Thursday, January 21, 2010

Zu - "The Way Of The Animal Powers" LP

After 10 years and a number of releases on genre-bending labels like Atavistic and Ipecac, this Rome-based quartet turn to Public Guilt for the James Plotkin-mastered vinyl version, and it's a wonderful blending of elements and out-there instrumental (and organic) textures. Zu are like the missing link between free jazz, Black Flag, and no-wave, if you can imagine that. Or maybe the mutant offspring of Tortoise and Mr. Bungle. Either way, it's great and imaginative music. The memorably-titled "Tom Araya Is Our Elvis" opens, and this sets the stage with a monolithic SWANS (pre-"Filth") groove that meets Greg Ginn somewhere in a New Orleans bar. Awesome and annihilating. "Things Fall Apart" is a bewildering avante-tribal-jazz-improv that sounds like Crash Worship jamming with Ornette Coleman. Very kuhl. "The Witch Herbalist Of The Remote Town" is an apt title, capturing a feral set of magical tones, scrapings, and rolling percussion. Jungle jazz, indeed! Zu's innovative and out-there music can safely be called experimental, but whereas most sounds classified as such can be overly conceptual and academic, this album is both evocative and engaging, from start to finish. Stupendous work, and something that should be mandatory listening for jazz, metal, or indie rock purists alike. (Public Guilt)

Zuspace site