Thursday, July 17, 2014
Zaum - Oracles
When I first heard about Zaum from Canada, all I had was some video/audio snippets. It was enough to pique my interest toward the release of their album, 'Oracles'. At the same time, I was slightly leery since I had only heard bits and pieces and no full songs but all my worries were unfounded. Zaum has created a masterpiece, a truly one-of-a-kind album of the highest order full of amazing visions and suggestive sounds. What's even more impressive is that 'Oracles' is Zaum's debut which promises so much for the future.
For a band that is just over a year old, this duo must have had a very clear distinction on what they wanted to do from the get-go. What I mean is Kyle Alexander McDonald and Chris Lewis' performance and song writing skills are second to none. To me, they knew exactly what to do and how. If I'm wrong, which I have been many times in the past, and they conjured their magic through jam sessions only, then holy fuck I want to be a fly on the wall in their rehearsal space!
Taking the trippy Middle Eastern Mantra Doom to heights unknown, the four songs featured on 'Oracles' are hypnotic, transcendental, heavy, punishing and other-wordly. Synth soundscapes blend into the pulse of bass guitar and drums with a sitar bringing suggestive Middle Eastern tones. Never really going beyond a slow pace adds to the mystique, and hallucinatory effects create visions I have never seen before. This is so magical and soothing yet there is a dark feel lurking in the background waiting to pounce at any minute.
Long, minimalistic and droning passages will induce you into a trance. And the very moment you lose yourself, Zaum alters the tempo enough for you to catapult into worlds unknown. Let it envelop you and let go. What you will experience is cleansing and total enlightenment while being exposed to a musical revelation. I have heard many bands working within the same sphere as Zaum but no one gets close to what these Canadians are doing. 'Oracles' is that rare release where a band is doing something totally new. Musical influences are there but there is no way of pin-pointing them or even really hearing them. And that's another beautiful thing about this duo.
What is left to say about Zaum? Go buy a copy of their debut. It is a must-have in any music collection. Multi-intrumentalist and singer Kyle Alexander - bass guitar, sitar, synth and textures - and his partner in crime, drummer Chris Lewis, have tapped into a well of strange and beautiful music that, if nurtured right, can be endless and amazing. Truly one of 2014's best releases....check it out, you hear!