Saturday, June 11, 2016

ZALHIETZLI / PROUD/FATHER “Split”
(Zugzwang Press)




This split is the meeting of pure minds. Zalhietzli, a sound experimentalist from Angers, France, dabbles in “drone, noise, ambient, indus & various sound maniuplations using mainly effects pedals, samples and tape collages.” Proud/Father, on the other hand, hails from pretty much my backyard, Gainsville, Florida (I don’t live in Gainsville, though), and sounds like a Creed cover band. I kid, I kid! Isn’t Creed from Gainsville, though? If you think I’m gonna fact-check that, you’re out of your mind. No, Proud/Father is the synthy, droney – dare I say shoegazey? – yang to Zalhietzli’s yin. Or is it vice versa, and Proud/Father’s the yin? I have no intention of researching that either. You’re just going to have to live with it.

Zalhietzli’s side consists of two lengthy slabs of noise totaling twenty-five minutes, and to say those minutes are filled with dread is an understatement, and only probably because of what I’m reading into them. The titles are easily translated, so I don’t have to look those up either (sense a trend?): “Nadir, la source” and “Sacre.” The first obviously suggests the central locus from which all chaos and disharmony springs, surging into waiting eardrums to bring listeners to their lowest point. Menacing! “Sacre” means “sacred,” like when you say “Sacre bleu!” you’re saying “sacred blue!” Come to think of it, I have no idea why that’s even a thing – it literally doesn’t make sense. I bet a quick Google search will tell me the answer. Guess what I’m not gonna do though.

Proud/Father’s side is much more approachable for the newbie, as the synth compositions wash over the listener, enveloping and consuming in equal measure. You’re part of it, it’s part of you, and there’s no way to release yourself from its powerful gravity. The six tracks on this side are shorter, more digestible, and range from fifty-one seconds to 5:24. The intersection of noise and shoegaze is the perfect entry point for the stylistically adventurous who have only listened to Creed before now, as the tones and moods are much more forgiving and land in a far more comfortable sonic range. Wait, no, you need to be further along than Creed to listen to this. You need to at least have made it as far as “indie rock,” I think, before diving in any further.

Anyway, there’s a lot to like here on both sides, and it’s a real smorgasbord depending on your mindset, which may even switch halfway through, in which case you’re super golden with this tape. It’s also got some neat packaging – all handmade, Xeroxed artwork, “tape packaged in an unfolding envelope on 240g colored paper.” Looks super slick. No computers.





--Ryan Masteller

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