Zu exists along the intersections where an open embrace of the potential of sound dissolves all genre boundaries. Having previously delivered some tastily metallic riffage, jazz frills and math rock angularity, on their latest album Zu bear a passing resemblance to the ethereal electronica of Coil. While the music has moved on, Zu’s regular incorporation of collaborators remains intact with contributions from Jessica Moss of Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra and Kristoffer Lo of Highasakite, though it’s difficult to tease out and point to the specifics of their presence – a compliment to how well-entwined the various elements of this music are.
‘A Sky Burial’ fills the air with the twittering wings of birds, bats, insects over the beat of what impersonates a gong but may be a piano, a drum, bass. The glory of the bagpipes (or hurdy-gurdy?) as an instrument is the way multiple notes sound simultaneously and are constantly in slight motion making music unstable, unsteady, forever sliding in a way that the precise notes, chords and beats of most instruments do not. It’s a difficult sound and one that dominates a segment of this recording before the sound moves on. Second composition, ‘The Dawning Moon Of The Mind’ follows that same path of the sharply acoustic blurring into quixotic electronica until eventually the mind can no longer distinguish sources. Instead of the dominant tyranny of beats, there’s a more organic ascent and descent leading up to a full blown post-rock cresting which eventually descends into perfect moon music: sounds puff out, billow, pulse in competing rhythms. The final five minutes enter a gentle coda of shimmering strings, mournful choral meows, plucked notes pressing against the controlled growl of bass. This kind of music resides in the realm of the uncanny: where things seems peaceful but the listener is constantly awaiting a disturbance, something to intrude and collapse the fragile calm.
House Of Mythology has, in a relatively short space of time, demonstrated a very committed aesthetic across a string of high quality releases. Zu is no exception and the label seems the perfect home for their brand of no-limits exploration and ethereal space-walking.