Exposé Online banner

ZenLand — ZenLand
(Warped Records WR0002-2, 2015, CD/DL)

by Henry Schneider, Published 2015-08-19

ZenLand Cover art

ZenLand is the new group of Michael Zentner (electric violin), Tim Young (guitars), Doug Lunn (bass), Dean De Benedictis (keyboards), and Vonette Yanaginuma (harp). Their impeccable musical credentials (Zentner: The Muffins, Peter Blegvad, The Who, The Doors, Yes, Guns ‘n Roses, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sting, Frank Zappa, and more; Young: Wayne Horvitz, David Sylvian, Beck, Bill Frisell, Rufus Wainwright, Fiona Apple, John Zorn, and so on; Lunn: Mark Isham, Bruce Springsteen, David Torn, Andy Summers, Terry Bozio, etc.; De Benedictis: Brand X, Ian Boddy, etc; and Yanaginuma: Nelly Furtado, Seal, Outlawz, Solomon Burke, etc.) do nothing to prepare you for the six tracks of post-New Age music on ZenLand. I must be missing something here because the music just does not come together for me. The song titles “Ong,” “Song,” “Vong,” “Zong,” and “Song Long” are very similar and so are the electronic violin dominated instrumentals. The bass, guitar, and synths are barely noticeable from track to track. It is only Vonette’s harp weaving in and out of Zentner’s violin noodling that adds any spice to the otherwise bland and boring tracks. It is as if the five of them sat down in the studio, turned on the recording equipment and just started improvising. There is a considerable amount of introspective and repetitive reverbed riffing. Zentner apprears to favor the same notes and timbres over the course of the six tracks, which lends to the relaxing nature of the work. I am reminded in places of Manuel Göttsching’s ground breaking Inventions for Electric Guitar, but ZenLand is not of the same caliber. However, if you enjoy gentle sleep inducing music, then ZenLand is just what the doctor ordered.


Filed under: New releases, 2015 releases

Related artist(s): Michael Zentner (ZenLand)

Latest news

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Tim Berne - Science Friction – The current direction of modern saxophone icon Tim Berne began in 2002 with this eight piece CD featuring his world class multi-talented quartet. Studio versions of “Huevos,” and “Manatee...  (2005) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues