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 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

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 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

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 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Zu
The Way of the Animal Powers
Xeng Records

Rating: 7.5/10 ?


October 27, 2005
Joseph Campbell was an American writer and orator well-known for his studies on comparative mythology. The title for Zu's (a jazz/industrial trio hailing from Rome) latest record is taken from 1983's The Way of the Animal Powers, a fine introduction to world mythology. Since there's no greater mythology than that of rock music, an instant connection is made and appreciated - so let's move on with no further delay.

Simply put, this 25-minute record shows the Italian ensemble at their most mature, and it follows Radiale - a much-acclaimed collaborative effort with Spaceways Inc. - released last year on Atavistic. Despite its title, we believe no animals were harmed in the making of these nine dysfunctional, droid-made, jazzy clusters. In order to augment their eccentric orbits and spit out all the insurrect sounds they live up to, Zu invited Fred Lonberg-Holm, a renowned cellist that has worked, among others, with Morton Feldman and Anthony Braxton.

But what really makes Zu break from the norm of contemporary jazz-core is its readiness to wrangle around a song, articulate it with strings at fucked-up angles and go beyond the symplistic take on chunk-based music. For instance, Luca Tomasso's sax is not in the slightest reminiscent of the apprentice's scholastic mannerisms, but more in tune with Sweden's Mats Gustafsson (with whom Zu will be releasing How to Raise an Ox sometime next month).

If the opening track, "Tom Araya Is Our Elvis," makes you wonder which direction Zu is heading to with this album - from the sample-endorsed "Anatomy of a Lost Battle" on - the band scotches any fear that their sound would be less bleak and easier than usual. You may argue that simplicity is what it takes to hold everyone's heart, but simplicity is rather boring sometimes. Aging a song is like nurturing and looking after a baby and it takes time.

Jacopo, on percussion, also does the vocal part on the last piece, "Every Seagull Knows", a contemplative drum-based invocation of all things supernatural. It features a crying baby and wards off the spread of tainted, diehard stiffness that popped up from the rest of the album. Massimo's bass lines are a case study in unpatterned, sinister ventures, hanging clouds of dust and heavy rain here and there.

Before that, the circular, lounge-driven number that is "The Witch Herbalist of the Remote Town" on its own makes the album a valuable purchase, but in the case that you like going all quartz-like, detailing each parameter in music, the following track should be your favorite. Either way, Zu is one of the missing links between Evan Parker's spiraling tones and John Zorn's aggravated subtelities. Go and grab it now!

Reviewed by Helder Gomes
Currently living on the south bank of the Tagus river, in Portugal, Helder Gomes is a working class hero. He is a journalist for the local radio station Rádio Nova Anten. In his spare time, he skates and watches many odd movies. He is in love with the French nouvelle vague, and the Danish/Swedish invasion. He writes for a number of publications, on the Internet or otherwise, notably the underground Portuguese magazine Mondo Bizarre, and the Jazz Review website. He is also the news collector and a staff witer for the adorable Lost at Sea. Oh, and there is also the Coffee Breakz radio show that he tries to host every Saturday.

See other reviews by Helder Gomes

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