Exposé Online banner

Kramtones and Zzaj — Emotional Circus
((Not on label) no#, 1993, MC)

Zzaj / Kissinger — Critical Mass
((Not on label) no#, 1993, MC)

by Peter Thelen, Published 1995-03-01

Emotional Circus Cover artCritical Mass Cover artRotcod Zzaj is a do-it-yourself musician who produces his own cassettes, right down to the home-made packaging and the handwriting on the labels. Working in collaboration with other musicians, he produces a dreamy yet highly experimental music residing somewhere between improvisational jazz and modern electronics. Most of the pieces are fairly short — in the four to five minute range, and sound more 'constructed' rather than composed, finding an idea within a given area and working with it and around it as the material develops, changes, and eventually self-destructs. These sonic explorations are usually instrumental, employing synths, bass, drums and percussion, and other unidentifiable sounds (probably synths or processed guitars). When vocals are employed, they are usually multiple spoken overdubs, words swirling in and out of focus while the music grows around it, becoming essentially another instrument. Occasionally something can be understood, a word here or there, but in general the voice is just another part of this surrealistic stew. Both albums are full length 90-minute cassettes, and they move through a lot of different territory, like constantly evolving soundtracks to a long night of very strange dreams. Emotional Circus tends to be the more explorative of the two, while Critical Mass may be a bit more composed or arranged, and would likely appeal more to the listener coming from a progressive rock direction — but keep in mind, this is not rock or anything even remotely resembling it, but more of a pure sonic adventure. My only gripe is that the sound quality is more or less substandard, being quite bassy most of the time. I usually find myself wanting to hear the music more clearly. Perhaps the best material here should be collected and given a proper release.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 6, 1993 releases

Related artist(s): Dick Metcalf (Rotcod Zzaj)

Latest news

2018-05-14
Glenn Branca RIP – Experimental guitarist and composer Glenn Branca has died at the age of 69. He was known for compositions featuring large ensembles of guitars, and for the use of feedback. He founded his band Theoretical Girls in the mid-70s as an art-punk answer to what he saw as the increasing commercialization of punk music. His compositions were highly influential, with such figures as David Bowie, Thurston Moore, and John Lurie among his fans. » Read more

2018-04-05
OBEY Convention XI Set for May 24-28 in Halifax – As the 2018 festival season rapidly approaches, we’d like you to be aware of a real treasure of diverse and creative music that’s going to take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next month. The OBEY Convention is on its 11th outing, and features a wide range of artists from around the world. From avant-industrial noise to experimental takes on Classical Chinese music, from chamber jazz to doom metal, from ambient soundscapes to Canadian First Nations drumming, you’d be hard pressed to find a festival with more variety in sound anywhere in the world. » Read more

2018-04-04
Close to the Rain Festival in Bergen Announces Lineup – Now in its second year, the Close to the Rain Festival of progressive music is scheduled to take place in Bergen, Norway, on June 7 - 9. They've got an amazing slate of bands lined up, including such powerhouses as Anekdoten, Major Parkinson, Arabs in Aspic, Tusmørke, and many more. » Read more

2018-03-01
Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington and Oregon. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more

2018-02-26
Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Adrian Belew - Side One – Maybe it’s not fair to say Adrian Belew has been through a lot of phases. It’s more like he has many facets within him, and you see different things depending on which way he turns. For this...  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues