7D Media 2017
Bleeding in black-and-white, imaginary movie explodes into space – and time.
The idea of soundtracking a non-existent film can’t be deemed original, but that doesn’t mean there’s no original means to approach the task. When alumni of Robert Fripp’s Guitar Craft seminars get involved in it, chances are the results will be rather riveting, if not commonly palatable. Helmed by multi-instrumentalist Richard Sylvarnes, who has a real directorial credit to his name, ZXE’s music is cerebral yet full of intrigue, the band’s flight of fantasy convoluted and full of spark and quirk.
While the introductory noise of “And Now This…” may signal the baring of a raw, bluesy nerve, which will come to the fore in “LED” as a heavy rifferama – caught in a crossfire of Pietro Russino and Tony Geballe’s guitars – it’s actually a storm before the calm. This serenity is sprinkled, dewdrops-way, over “Events In A Field” whose crystalline piano chords and looming loops erect an ethereal temple of nature – its ever-intensifying image welcoming steps for a rhythm – to be reflected in “(The Cathedral Of All Saints)” where celestial organ is possessed with sci-fi demons.
The most disturbing of all is “Schizoid” – a child’s reciting of KING CRIMSON lyrics immersed in the electric violin-fueled nightmare – yet, contradicting its own title, the epic “Accident” is strangely uneventful: abstract, hazy layers of space throb where a disembodied voice meanders between sonic orbits until guitars’ squeal brings solar fire to the picture. The nebulous sounds behind “Ghost” perfectly convey this cut’s spectral gist, though, but the short “Natron 40” infuses the flow with a mirage-like groove.
Unlike the preceding pieces, funky tickles of “Kapital” give way to an orchestral wave to envelop that robotic spoken word and process a Marxian axiom into martian, motorik shadow of a rhythm, kissed with six-string magic and electronic effects; in this context, the expansive dance that is “Vox Populi” feels only logical, its tumult completing the overall noise picture yet letting strands of folk drone to seep in. Regular multiplication, equating the ensemble’s name to zero, wouldn’t work here; it takes going beyond the obvious to grasp the logic of it – and the effort is worth the trouble.