Friday, April 8, 2016

Cassette Review: Mazozma "Wake Up Baby" (Crash Symbols)

Mazozma has some interesting markings over their name on this j-card so I was thinking when I saw it about how it was going to have to be a lot of cut and pasting when typing about them, but then the markings don't actually show up on the Bandcamp page so I think I'm good.   I've never heard of Mazozma before but I like the name because it's one of those words that looks like a palindrome (we could break it into ma-zoz-ma) but just quite isn't.     Regardless of the name though, I do enjoy the music on here as well.

"Wake Up Baby" starts with these Indian-like string plucks which make me think of the sitar.   Sometimes they can take on an Oriental vibe while at other times they can simply sound like the wah-wah of a guitar such as that of Peter Frampton.    It all feels so very dreamy and spatial, as at times the sounds can be distorted or simply run a distorted drone in the background as the individual notes are plucked.    As I sit here typing this in the seventh day of April (now you can know how long it takes to go from draft to post) it is raining but even if it wasn't the sounds still fall in the way drops of rain do on lily pads in a swamp somewhere in space.

As we pause for the next song, the similar pattern continues musically but this time we add in vocals.    The singing is a cross between chanting and some old country anthem and I use the word "country" because it reminds me as much of a gunfighter in the old west as it does Johnny Cash.     This song brings us back around to those droplets of wah-wah notes and for some reason I can begin to hear that Porno for Pyros song coming out in a different way- you know, the one about making great pets.   It is also worth noting that the notes themselves form patterns which sound like scales or basic songs one would learn to play when first starting the guitar ("Mary Had A Little Lamb" comes to mind) but they obviously are not.   I just enjoy the beauty in that simplicity.  

On the flip side we open up with guitar notes which remind me of "Let's Get It On", so to say they have that bluesy soul would be an understatement.    Guitar notes also come out in a dramatic, cool and just slick fashion which brings a name such as Eric Clapton to mind.   This goes on for a song or so and then we switch over into something more closely related to FNL.    This is a nice change of pace but after listening to this several times through you'll see that the FNL sound is just there as a bridge to the next set of guitar notes which have a ringing dissonance to them creating and overall bleak sound.    I realize when I started listening to this side it had a blues feel to it but there is a difference between that type of sad and this end of the world type of feeling.

Overall I feel like this is one of those guitar-heavy cassettes (Though there is some more chanting with the jingle-jangle on Side B) that just goes to show you what one, singular instrument is capable of on its own two feet if you just know how to manipulate it properly.    The fact that these can survive as songs without much accompaniment (I hear no bass or drums) just goes to show you that the guitar is not only much more capable of what I once thought it to be but also that the pure talents of Mazozma bring that out.   I'd say something cliche here about how this is called "Wake Up Baby" because it is waking you up to the actual limits of what a guitar can do but this cassette makes me feel like the potential of a guitar in the hands of Mazozma is limitless.  

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