Review & Full Album Stream: Zaum, Divination

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on May 8th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

zaum divination

[Click play above to stream Divination by Zaum in its entirety. Album is out May 10 on Listenable Records.]

Across a three-track sprawl, Canadian duo Zaum successfully manage to stay on theme while significantly expanding their sound. At its core, Divination — which is the Moncton outfit’s third full-length and first for Listenable Records — holds to much the same methodology as 2016’s Eidolon (review here) or even 2014’s debut, Oracles (review here), but the context has shifted as bassist/vocalist/etc.-ist Kyle Alexander McDonald and drummer/percussionist Christopher Lewis have begun to embrace different contours and textures in their work. As with the last two albums, there are some clues to be found in the artwork, in this case exploring the theology and mysticism of Southeast Asia as well as some of the folk influence, but Zaum‘s central purpose has not wavered and throughout the 18:27 opener and longest track (immediate points) “Relic,” they show growth not by moving away from their initial purposes, but by advancing deeper and more complex arrangements.

Like the similarly-minded Om before them, Zaum have begun to push outside the confines of a bass/drum duo, incorporating various bells and other atmospheric elements in order to convey the ambience that is so crucial to what they do now more than ever. It’s worth noting that McDonald and Lewis have furthered the visual side of their live presentation as well, bringing aboard Nawal Doucette as a presence onstage. Whether or not she contributes to the album, I don’t know — there are vocals near the beginning of “Relic” that could be hers, but I haven’t seen proper credits — but either way, “Relic,” as well as “Pantheon” (8:48) and “Procession” (13:58), which follow, bear the mark of this increased focus on atmosphere. Of course, this was not an area in which Zaum were exactly lacking prior to Divination, but it’s a question of balance in their sound, and they have grown more patient in their execution as well as more willing to explore the spaces they naturally create in their material. This has only made them a stronger band and more suited to their aesthetic purpose.

The sense of ceremony is immediate as “Relic” begins to unfold, and it remains prevalent no matter how tonally weighted Zaum get. Echoing voice, flute sounds, finger cymbals and darkly psychedelic textures put the listener precisely in the place the band wants them to be, and though the first few minutes of “Relic” are quiet, the patience they instill in the audience is another triumphant aspect of Divination on the whole. Soon enough, the drones and bass and echoing march will commence, and “Pantheon” as the centerpiece/side B leadoff hits with even more impact ahead of “Procession,” which casts a more strictly doomed pall on the way to its apex topped by righteously harmonized vocals. There are ebbs and flows along the way — plenty of flow throughout, actually — in volume and intensity, but at its most subdued or its loudest push, Divination remains informed by that original showcase of patience, and the temporal slowdown that ensues is all the more effective for it.

zaum (Photo by Pierre Morin)

But Zaum‘s dynamic isn’t just about volume tradeoffs or writing long songs. It’s the feeling of ritualization that helps to distinguish them, and “Relic” shows this as well from front to back, dipping into some spaces that feel born of more extreme metal — thinking just past the halfway point before the vocals drop out. As Zaum have moved toward discovering their own sound, they’ve worked to conjure a singly dark vibe that Divination certainly brings to its most resonant realization yet. It’s not that Zaum are suddenly playing death or black metal — far from it — but as they began by transposing the tenets of doom onto their style, their breadth in that regard would seem to have expanded as well along with the rest of their modus. As “Pantheon” sets its ambient foundation in the first minute and then begins constructing a temple build of foreshadow harmonies and drone metal leading to bleak incantations, it’s hard to tell just with what gods Zaum are communing — all of them? — but clear just the same that the intent is not of this world.

It is a grim psych of the spirit, and the “Procession” to which it leads feels very much like the march to death. The closer isn’t the longest work Zaum have ever done — both tracks on Eidolon topped 20 minutes, there’s “Relic” here and the 19-minute “The Serpentshrine” from their 2015 split with Shooting Guns (review here) — but it might be this album’s highest achievement. To hear Zaum use vocal layering as they do effects and percussion along with the bass and drums as another instrument at their disposal puts them in a different category of songwriters entirely, and it only speaks well for their search as it continues to move forward from here. “Procession” winds down before building back up to its 10th minute, eventually making its way into the aforementioned harmonies, chant-like as they are.

Amid all the nuance of arrangement, Zaum make an easy argument for themselves as a progressive band. The simple fact that they’d work so directly toward an atmospheric ideal does that alone, never mind how they actually get there. But with the ending of “Procession,” and really with Divination the whole way through, Zaum separate from the paths of their influences and find their own way. They are the monk leaving the monastery to create a new path, and the sound they find on that journey is as enriching as any dogma might provide. Again, for those who’ve experienced Zaum in the past, it’s not so much that Divination is a radical reinvention of what they do. It’s not supposed to be. Instead, what it does is to show how malleable their approach is to further growth and how much it’s able to branch out in terms of expression without sacrificing its basic level of impact to that cause. Those who’ve heard them before will still recognize them, but the shape of what’s being recognized has changed and signals in this material that change will be ongoing. So be it.

Zaum on Thee Facebooks

Zaum on Instagram

Zaum on Bandcamp

Listenable Records website

Listenable Records on Thee Facebooks

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Zaum Set May 10 Release for Divination

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 14th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

I don’t think it’s been a full four days since Zaum‘s Eastern European tour dates were posted here, but here we are again as news comes down that the Moncton, New Brunswick, mantra doom outfit will release their third album, Divination, on April 26 in Europe as they wrap up said tour — they’re in Gdansk that night, which seems as good a place as any for a release gig — and May 10 in North America, both through Listenable Records. No audio, preorders or even a tracklisting yet, but the cover art’s out and there’s a bit of background on the record from the PR wire that gives a sense of some of the exploration at hand in the songs. Certainly there’s no shortage of reasons to be intrigued.

To wit:

zaum divination

ZAUM: Ambient Doom Alchemists To Release Divination Via Listenable Records This Spring; European Tour Announced

ZAUM is a passage toward the dark realizations of the old world; a monolithic, doomy mantra-based meditative experience forged by bass and drums interwoven with sitar, woodwind, string, and synth textures. Based in New Brunswick, Canada, observers experience a tranquil resonance whereby the astral and physical planes can coexist and be understood from a natural perspective.

ZAUM impending new album Divination, set for release this May via Listenable Records, is a direct continuance of the ever-evolving lore and world in which ZAUM has exposed. Conceptually, the album unpacks a transmundane darkness from ancient Burma – touching on conflict, theism, and some esoteric events which play a key role in the developing canon of ZAUM based on their previous releases to date.

Audibly, the album portrays a dense and vivid dreamstate, supplanting the listener into an overseer’s perspective of these aforementioned esoteric depths, reexperienced with a celestial clarity. The soundscapes within encapsulate an unveiled mysticism harnessed to unpack the fluidity of consciousness at the crux of the human condition.

While ZAUM’s meditative “mantra doom” sound stays quite true to what people have experienced to date, their sound and presentation certainly has progressed further into new territory on Divination with the inclusion of recorded instrumentation such as jaw harp, digideroo, singing saw, dilruba, saz, brass bells, brass bowl, and finger cymbals. In addition, their live experience now features a monumental change with the recruitment of Egyptian-Canadian evil queen Nawal Doucette to ZAUM, performing her mesmerizing dark dance rituals entrancing those who observe.

Divination will be released on April 26th in Europe followed by a North American release date of May 10th with preorder options to be available at the Listenable Shop at THIS LOCATION in the coming days.

Prior to the release of Divination, ZAUM will bring their psalms to European stages. The trek will run from April 9th through April 28th. See confirmed dates below.

09/04 – Dresden, DE @ Bärenzwinger
10/04 – Osijek, HR @ Dungeon
11/04 – Thessaloniki, GR @ Eightball Club
12/04 – Athens, GR @ Death Disco
13/04 – Kavala, GR @ T.E.I. Kavalas
14/04 – Istanbul, TR @ Mecra
15/04 – Sofia, BG @ Mixtape 5
16/04 – Timisoara, RO @ Reflektor
17/04 – Bucharest, RO @ B52
18/04 – Cluj-Napoca, RO @ Flying Circus
20/04 – Pescara, IT @ Tube Cult Fest
21/04 – Krško, SI @ Krško MC Klub
23/04 – Budapest, HU @ Dürer Kert
24/04 – Szeged, HU @ Grand Café
26/04 – Gdansk, PO @ Protokultura
27/04 – Wroclaw, PO @ Czasoprzestrze?
28/04 – Warsaw, PO @ Mala Warszawa

ZAUM:
Kyle Alexander McDonald – vocals, bass, textures
Christopher Lewis – drums, percussion
Nawal Doucette – visual performance art, ambiance

https://www.facebook.com/zaumn/
https://twitter.com/zaumdoom
https://www.instagram.com/zaumdoom/
https://zaum.bandcamp.com/
http://www.listenable.net
http://www.facebook.com/listenablerecs
https://twitter.com/Listenable

Zaum, Eidolon (2016)

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Zaum Announce Eastern European Tour Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 11th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

zaum (Photo by Pierre Morin)

New Brunswick meditative doomers Zaum will make their debut on Listenable Records later this year after being announce as having signed to the label last Fall. They’re certainly well due for a follow-up to 2016’s two-song full-length, Eidolon (review here), so I’ll take what I can get. I haven’t seen word that the album is done yet — doesn’t mean it isn’t, doesn’t mean it is — but I’m intrigued to hear what direction they follow after the last record seemed to find them so readily expanding their sound. I think ultimately they’re too vinyl-minded for such a thing, but if it was all just one song as well, that’d be fine by me.

The band will head to Europe next month to play Tube Cult Fest in Italy and will have Eastern European tour dates before and after that slow, playing places like Hunagaria, Romania, Turkey, and Bulgaria, among others. Looks like a cool tour, and somehow fitting for Zaum to trod on such ancestral ground. Their sound seems made for some sort of atmospheric orthodoxy.

Dates and such come from the social medias:

zaum eastern europe poster

Zaum – Eastern Europe Tour

Eastern Europe: we’ve prepared a special one for you next month. Please spread the thought of ZAUM, see you soon.

09/04 – Dresden, DE @ Bärenzwinger
10/04 – Osijek, HR @ Dungeon
11/04 – Thessaloniki, GR @ Eightball Club
12/04 – Athens, GR @ Death Disco
13/04 – Kavala, GR @ T.E.I. Kavalas
14/04 – Istanbul, TR @ Mecra
15/04 – Sofia, BG @ Mixtape 5
16/04 – Timisoara, RO @ Reflektor
17/04 – Bucharest, RO @ B52
18/04 – Cluj-Napoca, RO @ Flying Circus
20/04 – Pescara, IT @ Tube Cult Fest
21/04 – Krško, SI @ Krško MC Klub
23/04 – Budapest, HU @ Dürer Kert
24/04 – Szeged, HU @ Grand Café
26/04 – Gdansk, PO @ Protokultura
27/04 – Wroclaw, PO @ Czasoprzestrze?
28/04 – Warsaw, PO @ Mala Warszawa

Poster by Johnny Doe.

ZAUM:
Kyle Alexander McDonald – vocals, bass, textures
Christopher Lewis – drums, percussion
Nawal Doucette – visual performance art, ambiance

https://www.facebook.com/zaumn/
https://twitter.com/zaumdoom
https://www.instagram.com/zaumdoom/
https://zaum.bandcamp.com/
http://www.listenable.net
http://www.facebook.com/listenablerecs
https://twitter.com/Listenable

Zaum, Eidolon (2016)

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Zaum Sign to Listenable Records; New Album in 2019; New Lineup Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 16th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Formerly a duo, Moncton’s Zaum become a three-piece with the addition of Nawal Doucette to the lineup handling the visual side of their presentation and ambient whathaveyou, which, if you’re familiar with the Canadian outfit, you already know is not a minor consideration when it comes to their sound. Zaum toured through Canada in September alongside Sweden’s Firebreather, and when I just happened to run into the band in August at Psycho Las Vegas, they said the plan was to finish working on their next album after that tour. I guess that’s where we are now, and the announcement that they’ll release the follow-up to 2016’s Eidolon (review here) through Listenable Records is all the better. Not that I Hate Records was doing them wrong in anyway, but the more promotion behind their work and the wider the distribution, the better.

The bottom line I guess is 2019 should be an interesting year for the revamped longform-working, multi-textured progressive doom outfit. I don’t know how much touring they’ll do, but when I hear whatever I hear I’ll let you know. Till then, the announcement of the Listenable signing came through the PR wire.

And here it is:

zaum (Photo by Pierre Morin)

ZAUM: Canada-Based Mantra Doom Act Joins Listenable Records

Canada-based mantra doom act ZAUM has signed a multi-album deal with Listenable Records.

ZAUM is a passage toward the dark realizations of the old world; a monolithic, doomy mantra-based meditative experience forged by bass and drums interwoven with sitar, woodwind, string, and synth textures. Based in New Brunswick, observers experience a tranquil resonance whereby the astral and physical planes can coexist and be understood from a natural perspective.

ZAUM’s most recent full-length musical chapter, Eidolon, was released in October of 2016 via I Hate Records. In their few years as an active, touring band ZAUM has performed over two-hundred shows including support stints for Voivod, Cauldron, Mars Red Sky, and Bison as well as showcases at Roadburn, Haywire Festival, and Incubate.

ZAUM is currently composing new material for their next full-length, slated for a spring 2019 release via Listenable.

ZAUM:
Kyle Alexander McDonald – vocals, bass, textures
Christopher Lewis – drums, percussion
Nawal Doucette – visual performance art, ambiance

https://www.facebook.com/zaumn/
https://twitter.com/zaumdoom
https://www.instagram.com/zaumdoom/
https://zaum.bandcamp.com/
http://www.listenable.net
http://www.facebook.com/listenablerecs
https://twitter.com/Listenable

Zaum, Eidolon (2016)

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Zaum Post “The Enlightenment Pt. 1” Video; Touring Canada Next Month

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 3rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

zaum

I like the idea of a band saying goodbye to one release on the way to their next. I also like the idea of bands swapping tours — a little of the ol’ you-come-here-we’ll-come-there happening. Accordingly, as New Brunswick two-piece Zaum have a video posted for “The Enlightenment Pt. 1” from their 2016 album, Eidolon (review here), and seem to be using that as a means to bid farewell to the record as the make ready to have one out in 2019, and as they’re hitting the road in their native Canada alongside Gothenburg, Sweden, three-piece Firebreather, with whom they toured Europe in 2017, it seems like nothing but good news all the way around.

And fair enough on the timing of moving forward. Eidolon has sold through multiple vinyl pressings as well as a tape release and the band have a whopping five copies left of the CD as listed on their Bandcamp page at the time of this post. One imagines if they’re not gone before, they will be by the time the next tour is over. “The Enlightenment Pt. 1” of course comes from the album, but is an edit of the full side B track, the complete version of which runs a drone-filled 21 minutes and can be heard with its side A compatriot, “Influence of the Magi,” which also runs an even 21 minutes, in the player at the bottom of this post.

It doesn’t at all take Zaum that long to immerse the listener in their tones and rhythm, though. The bass/synth/drum/noise combination is hypnotic from the outset even in its shortened video form, and the narrative of the clip itself is likewise intriguing. Enough so that I can’t help but wonder if the band might at some point do a video for “The Enlightenment (Pt. II)” before next year gets here and they record and release their third album. Seems by the end of the video that the story is just heating up.

That’s a dad joke. I can make those now.

More info and tour dates follow the video below.

Please enjoy:

Zaum, “The Enlightenment Pt. 1” official video

New Brunswick’s ECMA and Music NB award winning mantra doom duo ZAUM are sharing with fans their new music video for “The Enlightenment.” The track is off ZAUM’s second full length “Eidolon” released in 2016 via I HATE Records with distribution via Plastic Head/Sony Music throughout Europe and Century Media in North America to follow their 2014 debut album “Oracles”.

ZAUM’s Kyle Alexander McDonald (Bass/Vocals/Synth/Textures) comments:

“Being that I’m a giant fan of the work of Seth Smith and Nancy Urich (of CUT/OFF/TAIL) due to their unique and unconventional approach to filmmaking – I felt Seth’s David Lynch-esque perspective could be a bizarre yet intriguing take on “The Enlightenment” for people to consider. Their work (like our music) inspires and encourages thought rather than providing literal answers. I’m thrilled with the result and hope people open their minds to the layers of potential reality.”

In their three years as an active touring band ZAUM have amassed 200+ shows (mainly international) under their belts including support stints for Voivod, Pentagram, and Cauldron. The duo recently announced they will be embarking on Canadian dates in Ontario and Quebec (dates listed below) with support from Sweden’s FIREBREATHER whom the band toured Europe with last year.

ZAUM: Canadian Tour w/ FIREBREATHER
08/24/18 – Saint John, NB @ Secondspin *
09/13/18 – Ottawa, ON @ Orange Art Gallery **
09/14/18 – Montreal, QC @ Casa Del Popolo **
09/15/18 – Sudbury, ON @ Townehouse
09/16/18 – Hamilton, ON @ Doors
09/17/18 – Barrie, ON @ Foxx Lounge
09/18/18 – TBC @ TBC
09/19/18 – Kitchener, ON @ Hellcat
09/20/18 – Windsor, ON @ Windsor Beer Exchange
09/21/18 – Toronto, ON @ Coalition T.O.
09/22/18 – Quebec City, QC @ Scanner (venue change from Vietnam)
* denotes ZAUM only!
** denotes tribal dance artist Nawal Doucette performing in ZAUM

Zaum is:
Kyle Alexander McDonald (Bass/Vocals/Synth/Textures)
Christopher Lewis (Drums/Percussion)

Zaum, Eidolon (2016)

Zaum on Thee Facebooks

Zaum on Twitter

Zaum on Bandcamp

I Hate Records website

I Hate Records on Bandcamp

Superbob Records website

Superbob Records on Bandcamp

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Zaum Announce Tour Dates with Firebreather

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 23rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

zaum

Hey, look. Whenever Zaum want to get back in the studio and work on their third full-length, that’s cool by me. They want to jump right in and have at it? Great. They want to take a little time and hit the road with obvious-buds Firebreather and hammer out the stuff on tour first? Super. After their 2016 album, Eidolon (review here), I have every faith that the Moncton, New Brunswick, duo know what’s best. However they want to go, that’s cool by me.

Not that “being cool by me” is here or there, you understand. But still. Go get ’em, dudes.

Zaum and Firebreather toured Europe together in Sept. 2017, so their hooking up again for this Canadian run a year later only seems fair. The two bands go way back, as Zaum also toured with Galvano, the prior outfit of Firebreather guitarist Mattias Nööjd and drummer Fredrik Käll. Sometimes you get along with somebody. I’m kind of surprised the two bands haven’t put out a split at this point. Zaum — vocalist/bassist/synthesist/sitarist Kyle Alexander and singly-named drummer Lewis — are also reportedly looking to tour the US in 2019, and presumably the new album will be out by then too. Good news all around.

Poster and tour dates follow, courtesy of the social medias:

zaum firebreather tour

One last tour before we head into the studio for album #3. We’ll have our brothers FIREBREATHER from Sweden in tow! Poster by Josiah Barnett.

08/24/18 – Saint John, NB @ Secondspin **
09/13/18 – Ottawa, ON @ Orange Art Gallery
09/14/18 – Montreal, QC @ Casa Del Popolo
09/15/18 – Sudbury, ON @ Townehouse
09/16/18 – Hamilton, ON @ Doors
09/17/18 – Barrie, ON @ Foxx Lounge
09/18/18 – TBC @ TBC
09/19/18 – Kitchener, ON @ Hellcat
09/20/18 – Windsor, ON @ Windsor Beer Exchange
09/21/18 – Toronto, ON @ Coalition T.O.
09/22/18 – Quebec City, QC @ Vietnam
** denotes ZAUM only!

ZAUM is:
Kyle Alexander : Vocals, Basses, Sitar, Synth.
Lewis : Drums, Lights

ZAUM recognize the support of Music / Musique NB and the Government of New Brunswick

https://www.facebook.com/zaumn/
https://twitter.com/zaumdoom
https://www.instagram.com/zaumdoom/
https://zaum.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/ihaterecords/
https://ihate.bandcamp.com/
http://www.ihate.se/

Zaum, Eidolon (2016)

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Zaum, Eidolon: Magi Enlightenment (Plus Full Album Stream)

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on October 20th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

zaum-eidolon

[Click play above to stream Zaum’s Eidolon in full. Album is out Oct. 24 on I Hate Records.]

From field recordings of rain falling and birds calling to chants, throat-singing, drones and tones that ring out like bells calling one to prayer, the prevailing sense of worship in its two extended tracks comes to define Eidolon through and through. Presented across two sides — one cut per, both listed at precisely 21 minutes long — the second full-length from Moncton, New Brunswick’s Zaum arrives via I Hate Records (tape on Superbob) and is coated in a meditative vibe.

The duo showed patience a-plenty on their 2014 debut, Oracles (review here), and on the 2015 Himalaya to Mesopotamia split with Shooting Guns (review here), and “Influence of the Magi” and “The Enlightenment” fall in line stylistically with Zaum‘s prior work in their Eastern inflection and post-Om roll, but sprawl they present in Eidolon‘s 42 minutes brings the band to a new level of headphone-ready, open-consciousness expanse. Each track works to establish its atmosphere — “Influence of the Magi” in its stone-walled drone, “The Enlightenment” in birdsong and horn-esque synth — and when bassist/vocalist/sitarist Kyle Alexander McDonald (also synth) and drummer Christopher Lewis crash in on both, it’s merely an extension of the ambience they’ve already put forth.

It’s not jarring. It doesn’t surprise. It just is. That’s the level of ritual Zaum enact throughout. It’s a hypnotic sensibility distinct in some ways from psychedelia, but benefits from some of the same effects on the listener, and it becomes hard to tell just how much McDonald and Lewis are letting go here — whether the unfolding of “Influence of the Magi” is steering them or they’re steering it. One way or the other, it makes the first four minutes or so of the opener, just before McDonald‘s central bassline kicks in, all the more exciting as a setup for what follows, which in turn, does not disappoint.

Of course, once the full breadth of “Influence of the Magi” kicks in, the direction the song will ultimately take becomes clearer. Forward, and forward slowly. The layers of bass and maybe-sitar/maybe-synth, the swirling echo around the call and response vocals, and the gradual plod of Lewis‘ drums, all come together to create the impression of a march — the pilgrimage is underway. They break for a time just before 7:30 in and let the bass and drone hold sway, but it’s not long before the next chanting chorus and verse emerge. Already their trance-state has been attained, and the roll that plays out satisfyingly maintains it in both atmosphere and consistency of rhythm.

In its makeup, I guess it would be fair to call even the heavier stretches of “Influence of the Magi” drone, at least on some levels, but at its most active it moves far, far away from minimalism, even if it’s intent on returning there sooner or later. At about 12:00, Lewis and McDonald once again break, this time to a longer span of drones and chants, and they return at 14:30 with harder-hitting impact and gruff vocals — not quite growls, but definitely in a more shouting vein. The apex. It carries through a final chanting chorus and “Influence of the Magi” caps its grand span with flute sounds, more droning and residual noise on a long fade into silence.

zaum

As “The Enlightenment” begins, one can’t help but be reminded of what Montibus Communitas have been able to bring to their interpretation of psychedelic folk through the use of field recordings, birds and running water and the like, but Zaum‘s take is more foreboding almost immediately, though the pattern that emerges is ultimately familiar to “Influence of the Magi,” even if the transition from the extended intro — also arriving shortly after four minutes in — is more fluid overall. When it gets going, side B moves somewhat quicker than did side A, or at least that’s the impression, but pace doesn’t matter. Nothing matters. Give up your expectations. Quit your job and move to the forest. Build a temple by a river and spend your days naming the gods who live in the trees around you.

It’s hard to know where one element ends and another begins in “The Enlightenment.” McDonald‘s vocals are a far-back swirl of semi-spoken reverb, and one can dig through the mystic fog of incense and find bass, and of course Lewis‘ snare cuts through as it would — punctuation no less invaluable on “The Enlightenment” as it was on “Influence of the Magi” — but in terms of some of the layers and what’s synth, what’s drone, what’s chanted, what’s sitar, it becomes a challenge. I wouldn’t want to speak to Zaum‘s intent, but it seems reasonable to think that’s the idea.

The idea isn’t that the listener sits and tries to pick apart each aspect of Eidolon, one layer, one wash at a time, but that the listener does exactly the opposite and lets the album carry him or her along with it on the journey it has undertaken. “The Enlightenment” holds more tension in part for its (relative) uptick in tempo, but trades between sections of drone and heavier push, manipulated sitar taking hold as a from-the-ground-up build sets the stage for a here-and-gone crescendo, disappearing behind low end and McDonald doing a better take on Cisneros-style singing than most.

It goes only to rise again and give way again in an ebb and flow that gives way to a reemergent swirl that acts as a capstone leading to “The Enlightenment”‘s outro of sampled thunder, flute sounds (synth, most likely), and a similarly patient end as that of “Influence of the Magi,” only with a clap of thunder, rainfall and birdsong as the last thing one hears — far, far back by then — as the album finishes out. That might be Zaum‘s way of easing the turn back to conscious reality — in which things do matter, you do have expectations, and building a temple is very, very difficult — but it’s still a considerable return to make when they’re done, which speaks to the quality of immersion they proffer throughout Eidolon.

What can be heard throughout these two pieces, in the end, is Zaum actively working to establish themselves as a unit separate from their influences. They’re exploring different textures and spirits within the music and finding out what works to represent their atmospheric expression. Given the effect Eidolon can have when one gives oneself over to it willingly, I think they succeed, but I would not be surprised to find McDonald and Lewis continuing to expand their sound going forward, and look forward to the worlds they may continue to conjure.

Zaum on Thee Facebooks

Zaum on Twitter

Zaum on Bandcamp

I Hate Records website

I Hate Records on Bandcamp

Superbob Records website

Superbob Records on Bandcamp

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Dinosaur Eyelids Post “Vernal Equinox” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 26th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

dinosaur eyelids

New Jersey-based heavy rockers Dinosaur Eyelids are currently in their seventh year and working on their fifth album. Their last offering, Bypass to Nowhere — even as I know the exact bypass they’re talking about I can’t help but wonder why it always comes back to highways with New Jersey — was released in 2014 and among its featured tracks is the spacey, jammy “Vernal Equinox.” And it just so happens that Dinosaur Eyelids have a new video for that song put together with satellite/ISS views from space, performance footage that I’m pretty sure comes from the Court Tavern in New Brunswick, some cool sunspots and so on.

Point is I doubt it’s anything you’d see paired with the track itself and think it’s out of place. While I think I’ll always hear an underlying edge of aggression in anything from my formerly beloved Garden State, Dinosaur Eyelids are at very least toning it way down here, I guess leaving the crunchier vibes for album cuts like “Halo Judgment” and “Talkin’ to Me” while the bulk of the record basks in a post-grunge alternamelodic looseness, and if it’s disaffection, well, at least it’s disaffection in the summertime humidity. These guys have always been right on the line between what I think fits around here and what doesn’t, and I won’t speak for their currently-in-progress next record, but at least this song works.

Find the “Vernal Equinox” video below, and enjoy:

Dinosaur Eyelids, “Vernal Equinox” official video

Official music video from the album “Bypass to Nowhere”

We’d like to take a moment to clear up some of the rumors currently circulating in the media. Yes, we are in the studio working on our fifth album. Yes, it is better than anything we’ve ever done. Yes, we are working with music legend Ed Wilson as our producer. Yes, Mark has impregnated all of the Kardashians.

We hope this clears things up.

Thanks to everyone who came out to our ALS Benefit Show at John in Peter’s (New Hope, PA) in December! We raised almost $1,000 for a very good cause. Thank you also to everyone who came to our big return to the Court Tavern (New Brunswick, NJ) on March 4th. It was our 20th show in the basement and definitely one of the best.

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