Uncategorized

Zoltan – Sixty Minute Zoom (2014) review

February 28, 2015

Zoltan – Sixty Minute Zoom (2014) review

Zoltan “Sixty Minute Zoom (Cineploit, 2014)
In only a few short years Zoltan have managed to chalk up an
impressive back catalog of releases, with Sixty Minute Zoom being their second
full-length album since 2012.  But what’s
much more impressive, is the quality of the music on the releases.  I keep waiting for Zoltan to put something
out that isn’t up to par, but that doesn’t look like it’s going to be happening
anytime soon.  While I absolutely loved
First Stage Zoltan, and both the Psychomania and Tombs Of The Blind Dead are
amazing pieces, Sixty Minute Zoom shows the growth and progression that have
taken place in the band much more clearly in my opinion, airtight arrangements
and compositions so creepy and atrophied that they might as well be embalmed
corpses rising from the grave to be committed to tape!  Starting with “Antonius Block” you know from
the moment that Sixty Minute Zoom starts it’s going to live up to its’
title!  Recalling heavy Phantasm vibes
before moving into a more Giallo like territory, Zoltan’s specialty in my
opinion, “Antonius Block” is one of the best album openers I’ve ever heard and
ensures that you’re not going anywhere for the next hour or so.  Flowing into the ethereal soundscapes of
“Uzumaki”, Zoltan quickly turn on the heavily melodic and motorik rock sounds
that open the album to reveal their love, as well as an impressive knowledge,
of kosmiche, prog, and avant-garde soundtrack music.  While there may be a lot of bands that are
trying to do the ‘horror soundtrack’ thing these days, Zoltan are one of the
few bands that I’ve heard which have the knowledge and skill to actually pull
it off.  Deftly moving into a definite
Goblin like groove “Uzumaki” also has these awesome little chasms where the
beat will drop out and these piercing stings of synthesizer pierce the veil of
gaping space and cleverly constructed dropouts. 
Quickly recalling a litany of Italian composers and combining it with
their own unique take on the full-band elements of Goblin and American horror
cinema soundtracks of the 70s and 80s, “Uzumaki” is an amalgam of everything
that makes Zoltan who and what they are in a tight five minute package.  “Table Of Hours” is a more abstract piece,
something that’s nice to hear on one of these albums which are normally
consumed with Carpenter-espque heavy sythn driven songs for the most part.  One of my major fascinations with soundtrack
music is that it actually exposes a larger audience of people to instrumental
avant-garde music, and while most people will remember tracks like the opening
title theme to Escape From New York, I’ve always loved the more out-there stuff
like “Reel #9” from The Fog.  Tapping
into that ghostly spectral aesthetic Zoltan crafts “Table Of Hours”, an ominous
tension fueled track that instantly sets the listener on the edge of their
seat, constantly glancing over their shoulders, peering at the shadows in the
corner of the room with apprehension and bated breath.  It’s amazing how dark and foreboding Zoltan
manage to make “Table Of Hours” with the sparse sounds and uncluttered
composition leaving plenty of room for the song to really sink in and take
hold; have no doubt this is the real deal here and Zoltan is just getting
started.  “The Ossuary” recalls the
high-octane energy feel of the album opener “Antonius Block” while
incorporating the extended pallet of sounds and compositional arrangement
demonstrated since.  I can’t help but
think of poor Francesco Dellamorte and his star-crossed love walking through
the Buffalora cemetery admiring the beautiful ossuaries while being stalked by
her dearly-departed husband recently returned from the dead turned zombie!  There’s a certain tenderness, a brooding and
emotional melody, at the heart of the pulse-pounding arrangement of “The
Ossuary” and it emerges more and more the farther into the song you get, before
you’re completely engulfed in a sweeping wave of cosmic distortion that
dissipates into the fifth and epic final track of Sixty Minute Zoom.  Building from sweeping echoes of distortion
and sparse keys “The Integral” would be just as at home in a sci-fi disaster
flick like Aliens as it would in a psychological slasher horror film like
Maniac.  Towing a thin line and managing
to evade simple label or definition, “The Integral” makes its first
transformation at around three minutes in, the drums shedding added weight and
building to a muted crash behind pulsating balls of synthesizer.  Later, again breaking down and transforming,
“The Integral” shutters to a complete halt at five minutes and is reborn from
the ashes by the glimmering hope of a shinning line of keys splitting through
the deafening silence.   Obviously offered
as a complete suite composed in sections, like you would find in an actual
soundtrack, “The Integral” is the song on Sixty Minute Zoom that should drive
home how much time Zoltan puts into writing, composing and arranging a
song.  It’s damn near impossible to get a
twenty-minute long song that doesn’t just repeat the hell out of itself or
completely derail to sound like there’s any sort of coherency or sanity to
it.  Zoltan just keeping proving that
anything’s possible if you have the talent and determination to make it happen
though, retreating back into the singularity of keys again around nine minutes
in.  The bass becomes a much more
integral, holding time as much as the drums and taking up about as much space
in the mix, the sound growing tense and restrictive.  It’s like you’re stuck in slow-motion running
from some hideous nightmare coughed forth from the grotesqueries of your own
mind in quick sand, and just like a nightmare things slowly begin to melt and
change, taking on new shapes and contorting into deformed reflections of themselves.  The sounds that follow are some of the most
sinister and unnerving sounds I’ve heard summoned up from the dark
Lovecraft-ian bowels of Hades in a long while. 
This section of “The Integral” is like listening to Coil’s Unused Themes
For Hellraiser
for the first time; it’s actually scary.  The strings rise to a frenzied peak before
the heavy thud of the synth comes crashing down and the drums rise from the
grave to pound a frantic SOS to anyone in earshot.  Things get almost downright sci-fi for a moment
again, the pulsating sounds of the keys in the back oscillating and degrading
into more sporadic chaotic stabs and stings, fading and gliding through the mix
like dark mysterious serpentine figures you catch in the corner of your eye
just outside the window of the small shuttle rocketing you through the
terrifying expanses of space.  This
section of “The Integral” has all the wonderful elements of disjointed gonzo
The Fog-era John Carpenter stuff that I love going on, but Zoltan are able to
expand on that sound, adding a layer of gritty Giallo energy and funk to the
mix.  The cyclical nature of “The
Integral” didn’t really strike me that heavily until I had listened to it for
the fifth or sixth time but the song makes an almost a complete circle back to
the melodies and rhythms that began it some eighteen minutes before, reprising
the unhinged, psychotic sounds that started it. 
Not only would the music operate perfectly as the soundtrack to a film
but if you pay enough attention to the composition, it’s actually written in
such a way that it creates its’ own characters, situations, settings and scenes
in your mind’s eye.  Sixty Minute Zoom is
an impressive notch in Zoltan’s belt, proving that they don’t even need a film
to score; instead they’ll make you come up with your own.  With Zoltan being as prolific and active as
they are, I’m super excited to see what they have in story for 2015 as each
release they drop is even better than the last… 
Out now on Cineploit Records, the geniuses behind a ton of Orgasmo
Sonore’s releases, if you enjoy horror, dark wave, soundtrack, avant-garde,
prog, or even just good instrumental rock, I highly recommend that you pick
Sixty Minute Zoom up now, even the CD is limited to only 500 copies, and seeing
as this is definitely one of the best albums of 2014 there’s one thing for
sure, Sixty Minute Zoom is not gonna to be around for long! 
Review made by Roman Rathert/2015
© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/2015
Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *