of Zone Works
- Sword Of The Sun
- Beautiful Machine
- Born Of Fire
- The Divine Simplicity
- Angel Of Freedom
- Alien Nature
Sword Of The Sun
|A time capsule has opened and out of the past
comes a lost sound, resurrected with new found vitality! Entering the Zone
one finds a music we once called "industrial" accompanied by the
atmosphere of post-apocalyptic terror. Dark and mysterious this music
lurks, casts cold stark shadows and moves most strangely.
Placing frames of reference on this album could well do more harm than
good, as Zone’s style of instrumental electronic music is quite
individual, but having said that, actual description is most difficult. So
take, for instance the stark spacious instrumental music of Throbbing
Gristle, add a little bit of Asmus Tietchens weirdness, a tinge of ethnic
and neo-classical music, and you’ve got some of the most devastatingly
glamorous music to appear on record since...?
Shamefully, the LP is a limited edition of 100 numbered copies, so make
sure you’re quick in ordering (unless you’re happy with it on tape) if you
don’t want to miss out: it’s only £6.25 (Inc. P&P) anyway! [Potentia]
|Excellent debut recording from a Welsh outfit
whose music fits loosely in the ambient/industrial, electro-acoustic vein,
with heavy processed, muted, and muffled sounds which are looped and
repeated. The raw materials include taped or sampled found sounds, as well
as electronically generated tones. As with all good repetitive music, Zone
layers other sonic material over the incessant ostinatos, providing
different levels of interest and varying textures: more depths to plumb.
The music often has a menacing and mysterious quality, as well as a
somewhat exotic feel. Thus, one can find elements of Throbbing Gristle,
recent Asmus Tietchens, Peter Frohmader, J. Greinke, Jon Flassell, and
Brian Eno mixed into a weird, eerie, wonderful, and most satisfying whole.
This is available as a cassette, and for you collectors, also as a limited
edition vinyl disc of only 100 numbered copies.
|From Swansea with tales of religious cults
and music being sacred, Zone make an album's worth of ambience, punctuated
by rhythmic chants and emotive movements. This is the kind of album that
people profess to enjoy strange sexual endeavours to, or even visualise
their God after. Not as heated and debatable as Scorseses The Temptation
Of Christ but moving in the same area and answering no questions.
|Round Up The Usual Suspects
Electronic Music for the mind and body. The hoariest argument ever
produced by the propagandists of the tyranny of rhythm ruling the popular
culture is the one claiming a music can only be physical when it's walked
all over by a four-square dance rhythm. The statement is invariably backed
up with the somewhat dubious contention that anything refusing severe
dance regimentation is somehow abstract head music totally lacking in
feeling. Well, here's a new sine wave of cottage industry-produced
electronic music that severs at the neck once and for all those who insist
on a separation of head and heart…
Journey Through A Body was the title of an infamous Throbbing Gristle
bootleg. It is also a most apt description of Zone's Sword Of The Sun
(Potentia Records, Potentia House, 12 Martell Street, Fforestfach,
Swansea, SA5 8HX or from Rough Trade Shop). Zone are a (presumably) Welsh
group who generate the most elemental noises this side of a volcanic
eruption and organise them into great blasting pieces like "Stopping The
World" (it's all over within seconds) or into deep reverberating tone
patterns capable of agitating less than secure structures to the point
where they collapse ("To The Centre Of The Cyclone"). Impressive party
tricks you'll agree. But what really makes Zone's record so exemplary is
their compositional range. Some pieces take shelter under a great yawning
umbrella of noise electronically expanded from a single source, while
others tap nervous energies to fuel pulsing rhythm workouts. The sort of
record Tarkovsky's Stalker might dance to.
|I'd nearly forgotten how beautiful
Sword of the Sun is in its own right, overshadowed as it tends to be by
the breathtaking vocal fugues and thematic brilliance of Zone's proper
debut album, Born of Fire.
Released as the initial Zone offering, Sword of the Sun is more
accurately considered a collection of pieces created separately by
Swansea's Andrew Cadmore and Chris Brandrick prior to their
collaboration as Zone. Etheric workings inspired by Eno, Throbbing
Gristle, Tangerine Dream, and Italo Calvino's Mr. Palomar. Protoplasmic
electro-organic/orgonic ambience, sublimated tape-looped rhythms, and
traces of ethnomusical tinkering make this comparable to :zoviet*france:
or Rapoon. But Zone always overlays a scrim of delicate melodicism and
near-sacred (some might say Gothic) atmosphere that calls to mind the
ancient instrumental music of Dead Can Dance or David Toop & Max Eastley.
|Like a field trip through subatomic zoological gardens.
Art Booknews No.2
|The Artist's book presented here is quite
conventional in terms of production and presentation. It takes the form of
a hand bound, hardback consisting of predominantly colour and black and
white graphics and four pages of text which presage the images. The images
themselves are individually hand printed and are protected by an
interleaving page. The size of the book is not unusual either and it is
not difficult to shelve. It does have a certain presence however, through
the plain lettering on the spine.
Themes in each chapter are all interrelated becoming unified in the
fourth chapter whose brief is to allow for absolute complexity within the
utter simplicity of unity. At first appraisal this may appear to be asking
a lot of the printed page. So in the reading Zone expect as much tolerance
and love for others. It seems that a beautiful machine may as much be a
metaphor for the World in which we live as it is a method of travel
conveying the soul from spiritual desert to oasis. The images support the
text in a vaguely surreal fashion in that the use of montage has allowed
Zone to divulge surprising and imaginative juxtapositions. This resonates
most satisfyingly with the plate entitled The Treader of the Dust.
A factory interior peopled by workers positioning a long torpedo beneath a
precariously mounted Sphinx. In appearing to hover this Sphinx is a
Cheshire Cat both friendly and menacing: ‘The cat only grinned when it saw
Alice. It looked good-natured, she thought, still it had very long
Born Of Fire
Simply the best of endorsements. Listen to
the words of Jim O'Rourke after
listening to an advance copy of 'Born Of Fire', back in 1990. Thanks Jim.
New Musical Express
|Zone are a two-man team from Swansea who have
a musical vision that is mysterious and their own. Their first record was
an LP entitled ‘Sword Of The Sun’, a work which the pair decided to
release on the day that Swansea officially became a nuclear free zone.
Their second project was a hand-bound volume of graphics, a grimoire of
sorts which explained pictorially the entire Zone philosophy.
‘Born Of Fire’ is the follow up to ‘Sword Of The Sun’ where the general
themes of Awakening, Struggle. Humility and Unity are given more musical
and atmospheric scope. All very strange stuff you may well be thinking.
But there is a pulse to Zone’s work and a kind of hideous beauty which
reveals itself slowly to the careful listener.
Huge slabs of gothic atmosphere are erected during ‘Beautiful Machine’
only to be torn down and replaced by something more delicate on ‘The
‘Born Of Fire’ is meant to be listened to as a complete piece, but
individual sections can be singled out without too much damage being
caused. Zone are a strange and powerful force that you should plug into as
soon as possible.
|Translated from the original
Of course, opinions differ over the diverse post-industrial experience
as to whether it proceeds along the path of consumerism or goes down the
blind alley of noise, repetition and self-indulgence. In reality, the most
recent recordings rooted in "industrial culture" have learnt to develop in
new and (fortunately?) unclassifiable directions, taking on board both
traditional music and more apparently irreconcilable cultural stimuli to
create potentially enjoyable works to anyone who applies their sincere
intellectual curiosity. The Welsh group ‘Zone’ are certainly more eligible
to make this assertion and, without taking away the rough charm of ‘Sleep
Chamber’ permit me to advise, with particular enthusiasm, to listen to the
CD ‘Born Of Fire’ that follows the LP ‘Sword Of The Sun’, released a
couple of years ago in an ultra-limited edition. "Zone is a creative unit,
based in the United Kingdom, who recognise the apparently differing
individual, social and religious needs inherent in all cultures as
permutations upon the central NEED for Love, Life and Light." is what is
stated on the cover of this work produced by Andrew Cadmore and Chris
Brandrick, with the help of their guests: a work not at all "negative" and
unlistenable, but which moves from the measured techno-ethnology of ‘Heart
Of The Atom’ to the very ambient electronic mysticism of ‘Born Of Fire’,
from the sumptuous Gregorian chants of ‘Beautiful Machine’ to the
unexpected acoustic folk of the ‘Butterfly Effect’ (with female lead vocal
and Celtic melody similar to the Incredible String Band!), it all pulls
together into an admirable spiritual severity on an invisible thread that
binds the Arabic monastery represented on the front cover of the package
with the Atomic Bomb Memorial Dome on the back. Don’t be afraid of the
sacred fire of Zone, listen and absorb what is communicated.
Revve Et Corrsgée No.7
|Translated from the original
‘Born Of Fire’ is the second album from Zone after ‘Sword Of The Sun’
[100 copies (?)] released in 1988. The new recording from these Englishmen
from Swansea all at once deceives and seduces. It appears to be out of its
time in displaying freshness and clarity. Four pieces in complete musical
opposition composed of:
- Religious chants sung by a core of men and the spontaneous pealing
of bells. ‘Beautiful Machine’.
- Rhythmic progression (explosion) by the gradual grafting of new
timbres up to a final rupture. ‘Heart Of The Atom’.
- Duet of mixed vocal’s for a Spring-like ballad, founded on acoustic
guitar, violin and percussion. ‘The Butterfly Effect’.
- Slow rise in harmonic power generated by synthesisers. ‘Born Of
Zone thus mark their Interest in diversity, crossing four themes which
in themselves have nothing in opposition: ‘Awakening’, ‘Struggle’,
‘Humility’ and ‘Unity’. This impeccable production writes itself into a
musical trilogy and makes from Zone a remarkable work that perfectly
masters (keeps control of) its subjects with/by a poetic language going
right to the body (heart?).
Music From The Empty Quarter #2
|Zone's Born of Fire is a musical
interpretation of their book Beautiful Machine. The recordings represent
the themes of Awakening, Struggle, Humility and Unity, apparent in their
writings. The music itself attains an air of religious splendour, a
grandeur only attained through a cleansing of the mind. Many would class
the opening Beautiful Machine in classical circles, with its use of
clear, open spaces and neo-religious singing. Heart Of The Atom (Ground
Zero) is a delicate binding of soft voice and oriental synth motifs
and rhythms, while the acoustic guitar of The Butterfly Effect is
as flickering, as the creature portrayed. The title track reminds of
Vasilisk, with murmuring synth and hypnotic percussion, but they close
with (Reprise), a shimmering of past beauty. Zone are two people,
sharing in their intentment of a need for expression and communication.
Though their creativeness is not only musical, the side of their output as
expressed here, is a joyous existence.
Background Issue #33
|To say that Zone creates
some truly stunning music is an understatement. Though worlds apart from
their first, limited edition LP, which focused on dark, gothic
electronics, this CD lives up to the standards set by their initial
It opens with ‘Beautiful Machine', a simply devastatingly gorgeous
work. This eleven plus minute work combines a most exquisite, polyphonic
medieval sounding Kyrie with piano and electronics in a way that is at
once sumptuous, yet merely ostentatious or overblown. As befitting a mass
movement, it exudes a reverent majesty and ecclesiastical solemnity,
underscored by the church bells and organ-like timbres of the electronics.
‘Heart Of The Atom (Ground Zero)’ is quite different with its world
music samplings and borrowings, which range from energetic African
poly-rhythms to doleful Asian modes along with a plethora of exotic
instruments such as strange double reed instruments, flutes, gongs, drums
and bells, that seem to be derived from Japanese Gagaku, Moroccan dervish
ceremonies, and other ritual music, not to mention some kind of Middle
Eastern incantation and other non-Western singing. The resultant music is
a rich multi-cultural bleed which is at once timeless and contemporary.
universal and quite Western.
Only in the title-track does ZONE spotlight sinister and luxuriant
electronics, though even here the approach is more rhythmic, if not a bit
more accessible. The only miscue on the recording is ‘The Butterfly
Effect’ and its reprise at the very end which features a kind of poor
man’s 'Dead Can Dance' style, though the primary melody is rather banal
and overworked and the singing without strength or conviction. Otherwise
this is a splendid recording worth seeking out.
|Zone tell us that their one
aim is to communicate to the listener Love, Light and Life. Yes, it does
sound a little bit twee. But, against all expectation Born of Fire
succeeds. This is a mature, perfectly poised album. At times it's serene
and delightful, as on Beautiful Machine, which announces itself
with a single bold chord, going on to combine Gregorian chant, bright,
clear piano, bells and soft synths to create something refreshing and
beautiful. At others, it becomes more intense, creating a shimmer of
wailing sound via peculiarly harmonised synths and rhythmic percussion,
although it's never overbearing. Miles from New Age nonsense or shapeless
soundtrack noodling, this is purposeful, emotive, expressive music. My
only criticism is that there simply isn't enough of it.
|It's great! If you have a soul, don't
loose this music... It's a masterpiece!
|Born of an otherworldy vision.
Zone aren't that well known outside cult electronica circles, which is a
shame. Their low profile has kept them safe from compromise, but it's time
more people in the know knew about their four albums. It's intense music,
but never too heavy. Like meditation by other means. If you love music
that turns your head *and* expands it...
|"Beautiful Machine," with its
harmonized call-and-response chanting, carillon bells, stately piano
chords, and organ-and-string coloration, may be one of the most sublime
pieces of secular music ever created. As an expression of near-holy awe
at the fearful symmetry of Nature's design, it's the equal of William
Blake and serves as a heart-in-throat overture to Zone's proper debut
The bells die away as the tribal "Heart of the Atom (Ground Zero)"
offers remorseful devotion to an Earth fated to be scorched and scarred
by manmade fires. The inevitable moment of immolation is as harrowing as
one would expect.
From the ashes rises not the Phoenix but a singular butterfly, a perfect
if evanescent emblem of hope which Zone serenades with a hymn-like folk
orison, "The Butterfly Effect." Planetary rebirth begins with the
rhythmic morphogenesis of the title track, an igneous ballet of proteins
and ionic gases that sets the evolutionary stage for the re-emergence of
Life - again in the form of the fragile "Butterfly" theme.
Okay, so it's just an album, not a post-Apocalyptic prequel to a new
Darwinian Testament. But it's exquisite, and it deserves to be heard.
Unfortunately it is also yet another tragic casualty of the dissolution
of World Serpent Distribution.
|Before Ulver set up camp in the post-Gothic cathedral of infinite echoing corridors, Zone cleared the debris of forgotten civilizations, making it habitable for the upright apes who dream of nebulous bodies floating through the solar flares of alien stars. Born of Fire doesn't dismantle the mind as expertly as Sword of the Sun, but its slightly awkward longing makes it the more human album.
The Divine Simplicity
New Powers Music
|3rd CD from mystically-influenced British
duo, their first new recordings in 4 years. Their previous CD, Born Of
Fire (just reissued), had samples of Asian music, Tibetan horns, Gregorian
chant, church bells, with their music on piano, synths, drums and
female/male vocals. The new one has 2 long tracks over 46 minutes, which
add more World chants, tribal drumming and guitar feedback to the
neo-classical mix. Desert Winds and The Wisdom Of The Prophets
are made up of shifting sections, with the drumming coming in and out of
the mix. 'A' for the effort and production, 'B' for the results. Nice
booklet and picture disc of photos from religious sites.
|The Divine Simplicity (1994 ZONE
CD004) by Zone provides powerful ambient music for conjuring spells
from the Egyptian Book of the Dead.
John Marshall writes: Lots of different styles fade into one
another. Some of it is pretty hypnotic: other times it's eerie. Some of it
would sound good in a wildlife documentary or on a film soundtrack. Track
2 starts out a bit like something from Clockwork Orange, but
underwater! Then, when the piano comes in, it's a bit like Lydia Lunch's
Drowning of Lucy Hamilton but more unnerving, less aggressive.
A great deal is said and
written now about the 'inner' life, but forgotten almost entirely is what
is 'innerly, or - as defined in one old dictionary - 'more within'. Their
fascination with pan-cultural expressions of mystical and spiritual
sentiment and sound already established on their first two albums, Zone
here go deeper. Yes, there is the industrial edge, but perhaps only as a
boundary or container for a search in music through the innerly qualities
of space, time and life that hold us hostage to love. Divided into two
nearly equal parts, the first of which, Desert Winds, is a strange
drifting and gyrating sandstorm of sound that comes to rest only after
some minutes of purposeful agitation. Then segueing into a more pastoral
but proactive section characterised by religious chanting and plaintive
piano, it becomes more meditative and patient with itself. As with
everything Zone do, there is an attention to detail and genuine sense of
not just searching but also finding, and it is this rare latter expression
that makes their sometimes lonely and even troubled music as potent as it
can be poignant. It is hard not be moved by this very human music,
informed as it is by the nervous modernity of machines and too much
thought, that moves at times hesitantly to a declaration of, if not
freedom, then independence. When Desert Winds resumes its more powerful
motion, it is with a feeling of confidence, a propulsive snare
underpinning a strangely detached sample of mystic chanting that makes you
stand back and listen with a peculiar clarity.
The Wisdom of the Prophets,
which constitutes the second half of the album, once again builds a kind
of sonic sacred geometry upon a shifting, modern soundscape. At first more
gentle, it soon accelerates into competing layers of strident and
syncopated rhythms generated by a number of instruments harking us back,
paradoxically, to a timeless place. It is this conscious, engineered
collision of the apparent past and notional future in a present rendered
real that makes Zone's music and approach at once enervating and
intimidating and, at times, elusive. Saturated with so many cultural
influences and traditions as to make fixity of origin a futile pursuit,
this is music that is made at once for its own sake and for that of all
who listen to it.
From the inner to the innerly, not wider, but deeper, Zone
continue to bring their mind into their music with marvelous focus. Not
Angel of Freedom
25th July 2000
It's been six long years since Zone's
last - and sublime - album, The Divine Simplicity. This new CD from Chris
Brandrick and Andrew Cadmore reflects a more varied approach with some
strongly song-based material and some progressive jazz sax courtesy of
Roland Ellis. The title track is a pleasant ambient instrumental with
filmic qualities, 'Golden Rain' has a Celtic sound, whilst
'Frozen In Heaven' is soft mood music with an Andean theme inspired by
a TV archaeology program about an Inca sacrifice.
A collaboration with Jeremy S Gluck reading his own poetry reaches its
fullest expression on the 21-minute final track, 'Scavenging Soul (The
In the six years since their last release, The
Divine Simplicity, music has changed. The first Zone album to be recorded
entirely digitally, it is also - after the seductive discovery phase which
witnessed so much of it for the band - one that is not at all dependent on
sampling. In sense this is Zone's most direct and conventional album, its
unifying theme of the motivation through love to freedom and enlightenment
sublimated to the music itself, which is not as explicitly religious as it
had been on its predecessor, where two long pieces forced the listener to
co-operate in an exploration of its mystic, mythic themes. Paradoxically,
through its very structure and discipline, Angel of Freedom is the more
liberating of the two albums; The Divine Simplicity had sweep and a
peculiar grandeur, but lacked the variety of this album, which veers from
intimations of jazz to flashes of idiosyncratic brilliance more
reminiscent of Robert Fripp than Psychic TV.
Beginning with Other Lives, a mixed meditation on the intertwining of
lives through time, with Jeremy Gluck on vocals, the album then jumps to
the clattering but harmonious Totality, featuring some sinuous saxophone
from Roland Ellis that sets the tone for the bemusing journey this album
represents, being a soundtrack of sorts for a Europe lost in itself to the
East and surrendered to its fate. Indeed, this sense of the Occident and
Orient in uneasy mutual recognition and collaboration often visits this
work, which poised on the 21st century is bound to contain elements of its
timestamp of a transition full for some of foreboding. What will be
sacrificed, seems to be the keynote question at times, as - on Exorcising
Attachment, for example - wordless vocals sounding Japanese in nature
bring into close contact the feeling of the East and West on a middle
ground of uncertain assignation. Clever, perverse, and even witty, this is
part of the new Zone, with band's enduring duo of Andrew Cadmore and Chris
Brandrick more at ease and effortless than usual, the cerebral pursuits of
wonder now transformed to a gentler but more incisive flux rendered
tangible on the gorgeous Herald Of Coming Good, a sprightly effusion of
chastened wonder. Eros, whose face – in the form of a treated image of an
ancient statue – graces the album’s cover, is again gentle, but with that
subtext of energetic shedding of the superficial that here makes Zone more
prescient than pleasant, a perception confirmed by the closing track,
Scavenging Soul (The Benefactor) a lengthy piece hosting a spoken word
journey over crisp, mechanical loops. The graduated, small tension of the
title track, a slip of a song based on acoustic instruments, that moves
from a shy suggestion of the possibilities of growth to a more expansive
assertiveness is what this strange and powerful album is really all about:
big on the inside.
Unusual, amazing, liberating: Zone.
It really is difficult to nail Zone. Their transformations go on, widely
spaced, all content and no style except themselves. This is powerful
electronic music, industrial to a point, elsewhere bordering on free jazz
and contemporary classical boundary-pushers. If you value originality and
elegance, look no further.
|One of the most varied albums I've ever heard. It sounded like every song was made a different band. This has left me captivated throughout the whole album. However it's impossible for me to decide what genres to tag this with.
5th Sept 2005
L’anima del mondo che non conosciamo
Zone è il progetto di Chris Brandrick e Andrew Cadmore, a sua volta
boss della Potentia, label per cui incidono, e ‘Alien Nature’ è il loro
nuovo lavoro per ora stampato con una tiratura di sole 500 copie. Il suono
è quello di una elettronica minimale e sperimentale, a tratti quasi
dadaista, ‘The Cabinet’. Praticamente non cantato, l’unico brano con una
voce che più che tutto parla è ‘Always The Same’, ‘Alien Nature’ si
espande su di uno stile che, pur restando sempre minimale e vicino a
strutture ambientali, riesce in ogni brano a creare un percorso
abbordabile e convincente.
La varietà dei suoni, che vanno dalla minimal trance di ‘He Came Out To
Me’ all’etno trance di ‘Chinese Whispers’ per intervallarsi con momenti
sinfonici, ‘Zero Point’ o ‘Enchanted Domain’, e strutture ambientali,
‘Duchamp’s Cycle’, rendono l’album decisamente fruibile confermando come
si possa realizzare musica di ricerca senza dover per forza ergere un muro
tra gli autori e gli ascoltatori. Quello che per ora manca agli Zone è per
paradosso la capacità di creare uno stile loro che per ora appare ancora
un incrocio di svariate influenze e che rende in definitiva ‘Alien Nature’
certamente un buon album ma non incisivo come avrebbe potuto essere.
Review rating: 3.5 out of 5
16th Sept 2005
Wenn man sich die Jungs aus Swansea mal anschaut, erinnern sie eher an
Buchhalter. Sie sind etwas dicklich, unscheinbar und nicht im Gegensatz zu
den vielen durchgestylten Musikerkollegen sehen sie völlig natürlich aus.
Dagegen ist das, was sie machen wirklich extravagant. Zone haben sich
Avantgarde auf ihre Fahnen geschrieben. Auf „Alien Nature“ geht es sehr
experimentell zu. Das schon seit 1988 existierende Duo versteht sich nicht
als Clubmusiklieferant, sondern fordert die Menschen auf, sich bewusst mit
ihrer Musik auseinander zusetzen. Ihre Melodien sind elegisch, Rhythmen
sind sehr selten zu hören, der Blick auf verschachtelte und gleichzeitig
auch grazile Klangbilder macht Zone aus. Und was sie da geschaffen haben,
ist auch sehr hörenswert, auch wenn es den heutigen Gepflogenheiten nicht
mehr entspricht. Das angenehme aber daran ist, dass die meisten Songs sich
im Bereich von drei bis vier Minuten aufhalten und somit recht knackig
sind. „Enchanted Domain“ steht im Mittelpunkt, da diese wunderbaren
Klaviermelodien das Gehör umschmeicheln. „Always the Same“ hat fast schon
Hörspielqualität mit den verschachtelten Gesprächsparts. „Attacking The
Heart“ ist vielleicht das extrovertierteste Lied auf dieser CD. Und dann
gibt es natürlich auch noch den Neun Minuten Epos „Chinese Whispers“.
Schade, dass solche Bands so wenig Gehör finden. Wären sie vor 30 Jahren
aufgetreten, man hätte Zone bestimmt in einem Zug mit Brian Eno, Can oder
Tangerine Dream genannt.
Review rating: 4.5 out of 6
In de gezegende jaren tachtig ontstond Zone. Het resultaat van de
vereende adoratie voor ambient, industriële noise, en tribale muziek van
Andrew Cadmore en Chris Brandrick. ‘Alien Nature’ is hun vijfde album, en
naar goede gewoonte in de avant garde kringen verschenen op een
gelimiteerde oplage. Niet verwonderlijk dat ze ook verdeeld werden door
World Serpent Distribution, waar ze naast namen als Throbbing Gristle
in de catalogus prijkten. Maar de muziek die we te horen krijgen is voor
de maatstaven van de experimentele muziek redelijk toegankelijk. De
opening track is een samengaan van zware intense noise zoals we die kennen
van Gerome Nox en de tribale repetitieve klanken van bijvoorbeeld
African Head Charge. En de heimat klanken van de doedelzak in ‘He
Came Out To Me’ worden mooi ingepast in een cadans van elektronische
noise. Dat repetitieve ritmische aspect maakt hun muziek zeer toegankelijk.
Naast dit tribale aspect en de elektronica hebben de heren het ook voor
klassiek. ‘Enchanted Domain’ is zo een sober nummer waar een ingetogen
piano melodie centraal staat, aangevuld met wat spaarzame blazers. En ‘The
Cabinet’ klinkt dan weer middeleeuws heidens. Met andere woorden Zone
etaleert zich op ‘Alien Nature’ als een kunstig geluidproject met veel
gezichten, waarbij elk nummer een sterk eigen karakter heeft. Dit maakt
het afwisselend maar om toch een punt van kritiek aan te halen, het is te
uiteenlopend. De individuele nummers zijn sterk maar als geheel is het te
Um Gottes Willen, was soll das denn sein ? Kommt das aus den Boxen oder
ist in der Küche das Geschirregal zusammengebrochen ? "Leider" kam es
tatsächlich aus den Boxen, und was da rauskam waren Klänge aus dem
neuesten Werk des englischen Duos ZONE. Und jetzt darüber auch noch eine
Rezension schreiben ? Äußerst schwieriges Unterfangen, da ich
Schwierigkeiten habe, "Alien Nature" überhaupt erstmal als "Musik"
entsprechend meines persönlichen Standpunktes zu betrachten. Dies liegt
vor allem daran, das ZONE sich einer recht dubiosen Mischung aus
Avantgarde, Ambient und Elektronik verschrieben haben, die man
letztendlich unter "Experimental" als Genre zusammenfassen könnte. So
fliegen einem permanent teils verwirrende Soundkollagen und Klangfragmente
um die Ohren, die mich schon noch wenigen Minuten an den Rande eines
Nervenzusammenbruchs gebracht haben. Auch wenn im weiteren Verlauf auch "chillige"
Passagen mit Klavieruntermalung die Situation etwas angenehmer gestalten,
frage mich in solch Situationen ernsthaft, wie Menschen solch eine "Musik"
über eine Dauer von fast einer Stunde ertragen können. Manch einer soll
dabei sogar entspannen können - nunja, jedem das Seine. Die insgesamt 12
Songs sind überwiegend instrumental gehalten, nur sehr selten ertönt eine
menschliche Stimme zwischen den Klangbildern. Und was bleibt als Fazit ?
Wer noch nie etwas mit dieser Form musikalischen Ausdrucks anfangen konnte,
wird es auch nach "Alien Nature" nicht tun. Am ehesten dürften eventuell
noch Anhänger von Soundtüftlern wie Tangerine Dream etwas mit ZONE
anfangen und mit Hilfe von "Alien Nature" in ihre ganz eigenen, für mich
fremde Welten, eintauchen können ... viel Spass dabei.
Zone is a Welsh duo with a trancey, avant-garde album: a throwback to
early industrial, a la Throbbing Gristle. There are bouts of more readily
palatable tracks in the mix, such as Enchanted Domain, with its basic,
sorrowful piano, and Sun Blessed, with its Orientalesque electronica, as
well as occasional spoken word that breaks up the ambience, but this is an
experimental album. In my opinion, it's too monotonous to go anywhere,
although I'm sure some clever DJs would swipe some tidbits here and there.
Ihre Homepage (Potentia Zone) hat nichts mit Viagra zu tun, ihr Albumtitel
nichts mit Sigourney Weaver, ihr Bandname nichts mit der DDR. Dennoch läge
ZONE nichts ferner, als ihre Hörer in die Irre zu führen.
Das hätten sie auch gar nicht nötig. Schließlich frickelten Chris
Brandrick und Andrew Cadmore bereits an ihren Geräten herum, als der
Verfasser dieser Zeilen gerade die PET SHOP BOYS entdeckte. So kommt es
auch, dass die beiden vom Pressefoto nicht colgateweiß strahlen wie, sagen
wir, Neil Tennant und Nick Lowe, sondern eher wie die inzwischen schon
pensionierten ORBITAL. Kein ZONE-Poster an den Türen Popcorn-lesender
Teen-Mädchen also, kein Special in der Bravo. Dafür aber eine Scheibe,
welche locker alle Hürden gängiger Kategorien überspringt und seine ganze
„Altersweisheit“ in ungewöhnliche Strukturen und vielschichtige
Kompositionen fließen lässt: „Alien Nature“ ist ein wahres Wunderwerk
wildwuchernder Welten aus Klang, Krach und kosmischer Harmonie. Da
verbinden sich warme Blechbläser mit einem traurigen Klavier, finden
asiatisch anmutende Melodien und singende Streicher zusammen, steigert
sich ein einfaches Gedicht zu einem eindringlichen Geflecht aus Stimme,
Flächen und schillernd leuchtenden Sound-Partikeln. Vor allem letztere
haben es ZONE angetan, so dass dieses Album in allen Farben des
Regenbogens zu leuchten scheint.
Ihre Musik hat nichts mit Industrial zu tun, nichts mit Ambient und nichts
mit reiner Klangmalerei. Dennoch ist sie all das. Wenn man einfach hinhört,
statt zu viel nachzudenken, wird einen das nicht verwirren, sondern
The duo of Zone brings a wide spectrum of ambient influences. It starts
in a rather electro-ambient way, but rapidly moves into experimental
collages and later on into pure cold ambient parts and even neo-classical
inspired cuts. The cold ambient “Dream abuse” and the rhythm driven
“Chinese whispers” are the best parts of this honest and diversified
It's a wonder that Chris Brandrick and Andrew Cadmore the duo behind Zone
aren't more widely known in experimental circles. Zone were an early
signing to World Serpent and while others have gone onto greater things,
the Welsh duo have been left somewhat languishing. Alien Nature
represents their fifth album and the first airing of material since the
demise of World Serpent. It's a confusing and frustrating release - and
I mean that in a positive way - fusing together experimental,
electronic, experimental electronics and electro-acoustic with ethnic
music, sound poetry and at least one nod to neo-classical. And that's
just the first couple of tracks.
The rhythmic electronics that feature on Alien Nature are, at
times, not too far removed from the works of Chris and Cosey or Carter
Tutti. 'Deluge' is a case in point that despite the abrasiveness
maintains a melodic feel. Even the pulsating beat of 'He Came Out To Me'
ensures it remains quite accessible despite the layered electronics
appearing to fold in on themselves, and the occasional appearance of
wailing ethnic instruments. 'Chinese Whispers' absorbs an electro rhythm
from flickering chime like sounds, tablas and playful piano stabs. For
around nine minutes the rhythms continue unabated in mantra like
fashion. Spacey sounds and varied electronics are looped to create a
hypnotic and beguiling track.
'Duchamps Cycle' sets shards of TG-esque electronics against a ticking
clock. It's immediately followed by an evocative piano score and gentle
keyboards. The giddy sounds of 'The Cabinet' feature playful rhythms,
electronic noodling and snare drumming that evoke visions of a sinister
troop of Toy Town soldiers. The vast array of sounds that Zone have at
their fingertips is inspiring but as each track adopts elements of
varied styles it becomes somewhat intimidating. It's a testament to
their diversity and creativity that I was literally tired out after
trying to pin this album down.
The shuddering vibrations, drones and alien rhythms of 'Attacking The
Heart' display an other (third?/fourth?) dimension to the group. It's
followed by 'No More Words' which pits the poetry of Jeremy S. Gluck
against jarring electronics. Its by far the best of the collaboration
with the wordsmith, as the words have to battle against the treated and
twisted sounds. The spectral electronics, reverberating tones and
otherworldly hums of 'Dream Abuse' complete the trinity of tracks that
could easily be consumed by Coil, Cyclobe et al enthusiasts. An albums
worth of material in this vein would certainly be worthwhile.
Alien Nature is a bewildering release and one that I think the
more adventurous listener would enjoy; it's certainly a release that
deserves wider exposure.
If you are aware of any other reviews of
Zone's Work, not listed on this Web Page and whether good, bad or indifferent,
we would be very pleased to receive a copy for our records and possible
inclusion on this Web Page.