Sunday, April 22, 2018

Music Review:
Zach Zinn
"Upon Arising At Dawn I Was Unaware"

While I have reviewed the music of Zach Zinn before, I feel like "Upon Arising At Dawn I Was Unaware" is a prime example of how long it can take sometimes to review something.    Sometimes life gets in the way and I get it- people are busy- and other times it's simply a matter of being overwhelmed with music (Take a number, get in line, etc. etc.) but with this particular release by Zach Zinn I listened to it in all of my standard fashions- headphones, no headphones, while out walking- and while I enjoyed it there was just not that part of "How do I write about it" clicking.   Sometimes music clicks right away, like, "This is good because..." and other times it does not.   I recognized this was good from the start but couldn't find the words to type this review for months.

"A Golden Thread" begins with this static but not in the typical way you might think with a windstorm that sort of static but more of a direct static.  I can't explain it without you hearing it (Which is often the best sounds) but if you can picture most of the static I write about as being like a cloud, that scattered sense of it, then this has more of a streamlined effect.   It skips in and out and there is an added sound which is either a clarinet or flute.    These tones take over by the end of the first song and it has a certain harmony to it.

The second track is simply called "..." and features this fog horn sound mixed with what sounds like clanking marbles together but could also be a percussion instrument- like some sort of finger cymbals- and other tones come through but this just feels nautical.   The third song takes on this role of beats which sound like footsteps coming through in a rhythm that almost makes me want to dance.  Whirrs mix in with this and then something rather electronic.   It evens feels a little like pinball glitch.   The length of the first three tracks combined is shorter than the total of the fourth-- just proving nothing needs to adhere to your ideas of normal.

"Simon Bar Sinister" begins with these quiet howls and for some reason I feel like it has this Native American/wolf feel to it, but then the sounds shift to this frequency that makes me think it is in space.  How would an old school Native American react to one day waking up in space?  Someone should write a book about that.   A buzzing/hum and organ tone join the melody now and it feels like we are on a mission.   Sounds like screams come in and this becomes haunted.    To be fair, this song is named after the villain in "Underdog" and as such, I feel like it could have a mad scientist feel to it as well.  (Now can someone pay homage to Tennessee Tuxedo and the Go-Go Gophers?)   Whirrs make it feel like we are caught in a raygun. 

Around the six minute mark it fades and comes back with some sort of strings.   Voices can be heard and though they sound like children there are no actual words being spoken that I can tell.   This trill comes in as well which reminds me of something you would use to detect radioactive matter.   True Fact: I only saw the CGI Underdog movie once and I barely remember it.   Frequency whirrs seemingly replace everything else now around nine minutes.    A sound like cranking somehow comes in with this.   A maniacal piano type sound comes through as well. 

A louder tone comes blaring out that really reminds me of a flute now.   It feels like this is a lot less quiet now and has become quite more rocking.    Lone organ type tones now bring out slight humming behind it (like a lightbulb) and then it fades into just that buzz.    The tones which were once up front seem to have faded into the back.    The song ends so calmly, so quietly.   "Simon Bar Sinister" is the type of song you could put on both sides of a cassette by itself and it'd be worth it.

"Murmurer" comes through in a louder, distorted guitar sounding way.   Static comes through in bursts next, somewhere in between a windstorm and a demon being caught inside technology.    A sound as if the horn on a barge is coming through now.    Static bursts feel like they could be cannons fired on those old pirate ships.    Whirrs come through in waves and static, a little bit like The Who now on the titular track.   Tones come through like a wild carousel ride.   A quieter ringing tone jingles through "Lunar Pill/Sonar Pill" like a morse code message.    This turns into these horns coming through which sound like a trucker horn is being manipulated.    It fades in and out and before the song ends there is a bit of percussion, some cymbal thrashing briefly.

Whirrs and beeps are part of the final song and there are even these other sounds like a harmonica.  They come out in a "Doctor Who" way at times but not overall so it's strange how sometimes the pacing can feel faster than it is and other times it feels like slow motion.    This also comes through wavy, like we're at sea and the ocean isn't quite still.    One of the most fascinating aspects of this album is that each song really needs to be taken in on its own and only then- once you experience each song fully and begin to understand it- can you see the whole picture and understand how brilliant this entire truly album is.  

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