Zero Times Everything — Sonic Cinema
(7d Media 7D1711, 2017, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2017-05-19
There’s a long history of progressive rock intersecting with electronic music, going back to Heldon, Manuel Göttsching, and so on, with results of varying quality. The origins of this music are sometimes with rock musicians bringing in electronics, and sometimes with electronic musicians incorporating rock. Zero Times Everything presents a very interesting take on this intersection. The album starts with a short track consisting mainly of guitar feedback, but while it sets a tense mood, it is not representative of the rest of the music. “Events in a Field” follows the noise with five minutes of beautiful floating sounds from piano, synths, and guitars; it acquires a pulse four minutes in as it builds to a subtle climax. This is followed by a short rocking tune called “LED” which features a heavy guitar riff and programmed percussion backed by ambient washes of synth tones. One of Sonic Cinema’s longer tunes, “Accident” is a ten-minute epic based around two factors: ominous gauzy percussion in a slow, echoed rhythm, and samples of a woman’s voice from an old movie. “There’s been an accident here, you better call the police,” she says, and varying sounds ebb and flow around her, some clearly arising from guitars or keyboards, other of less certain origins. I learned from interviewing the band that the music on the track is excerpted from a much longer improvisation built around the base elements of percussion and sampled voice. However they made it, it is a great piece of music. The other lengthy track is “Vox Populi,” which is much more composed, having been written to accompany a short film, and it features a steady pulse and rhythmic guitar parts that fit together like something from an 80s King Crimson album. But on top of that are vocal samples and sweeping keyboard melodies that aim in an entirely different direction. Another noteworthy track is “Schizoid,” which might be called a post-industrial re-interpretation of “21st Century Schizoid Man.” It features a little girl’s voice reciting the lyrics to the famous song backed by massive array of keyboards and overdriven guitars. There are hints of the original riff buried in the arrangement, played at an ominous, plodding speed. Richard Sylvarnes, Pietro Russino, and Tony Geballe are three musicians operating at the top of their game, and they have combined their talents into a distinctive sound that reveals more depth on every listen. Who knows? Maybe even prog rock fans who aren’t into electronic music will go for it.
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more
Chick Corea RIP – The sad news has reached us that Chick Corea has Returned to Forever, so to speak. The innovative keyboardist and composer died on February 9 at the age of 79. With a career that spanned from the 60s until shortly before his death, Corea touched many listeners with the incredible variety of music he produced in his lifetime. » Read more
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more