Finally!! After a string of so-so releases from Irish based electronic producers, here’s one we can all set our watch too. All hail the mighty Zoid with Selected ZoiDworks 05-12. Zoid is the one of the many alter egos of Dublin musician Daniel Jacobson, a classically trained jazz musician who knows his diatonics from this thuganomics. 2007 saw the Zoidrage rampage of his debut album ZoiD Versus the Jazz Musicians of Ireland Vol 1 earn some favourable reviews, its no nonsense approach of post apocalyptic jazz noodling taking things to a whole other level. He returned in 2011 under the Zoiband guise with the wonderful Sundillion EP. Now, with another full album to boot, it might be time to tape up those jazz hands and stick your head firmly into the zoid.
Selected ZoiDworks kicks off with ‘Aerosoul’. A minor chord progression that ever so slightly (and strangely) echoes Metallica’s ‘Nothing Else Matters’. It has the sound of the future world, where jazz meets electronica in a hazy hybrid, seeping through the window of New Orleans Bourbon St, Circa 2050.
It’s both refreshing and welcoming to hear electronic producers cast the 4/4 time signatures aside. On ‘Phroph’ Zoid drives it 5 to the 4, with minimal being the word of the day. In saying that, it’s what he does with that minimalist approach that matters. The bass blips stay consistent throughout, so too the padded organ sweeps but it’s the sequencing that really captures the beauty of this track. It requires attentive listening but that reaps its reward.
My personal favourite ‘Acid Leaves feat Bruce Morley’ follows. If ‘Aerosaul’ was Bourbon St, Circa 2050, then this has got to be the after party. An absolutely bonkers ride, where fat digital drum pads meet the natural warmth of real hands and real drums over apreggiated synthesiser spirals, nylon string flourishes with more noodles than Deans Hall, Barrack St and College Rd combined.
The intro to ‘Particle Dither’ sounds like some obscure Cobain song that just got remixed via Kid-A era Thom Yorke. There are some tasty little 303 sounds here too, bouncing in and around the percussive psychosis that Zoid seems to thrive within. At just over five minutes it still manages to keep you on board, again largely due to the ingenuity of the sequencing.
From here we are treated to the straight up mind-fuck of ‘Obelisk’. Starting as a gentle and fragile piece of break beat electronica, its pace gathers frantically, devastating drum loops in tow as it falls over the finish line at 2:32 and floats uninterrupted into the galloping snare shuffle of ‘Cember’. Fat bass lines squelch like heart stabs as the gallops penetrate to and fro in the mix.
‘East Pier Early Morning’ lets its glowing ambience radiate as a come down from what has gone before. Like a morning-after gaze through the curtain of Bourbon St, a sense of wonder floating in the fresh breeze. Radiant, glorious and perfectly placed in the track sequencing.
From here Zoid goes all straight up improv on ‘jwrong’. The percussive snapping of the higher tuned snare works beautifully in tandem with the low end punch of the kit’s snare. Here the combination of electronic guitar jazz and padded chord progressions make it sound like some sort of 70′s crime thriller soundtrack. Beautiful!!
The TB303 is back out for some more smartly crafted electro-improv on ‘Bluesqueek’. It’s about now where you realise that either (a) a lot of time has gone into the sequencing of these beats and progressions or (b) he’s got one hell of a delay pedal. Either way, the mid section from 3:03 (no pun intended) into to 3:30 is a must here.
We’re almost there, last up (and my next port of call) is ‘Munch’. A wall of 8 bit noise opens proceedings before unfolding into some nasty white noise. From here Zoid takes us on a nasty 4/4 ride through a dirt track of distorted blips and beeps, shrill static and jazz-infused syncopation and polyrhythms. It’s a ‘fuck you’ to his contemporaries, it’s a ‘fuck you’ to the jazz world but more importantly it’s a ‘fuck you’.
Zoid gets the seal of approval from me. For a a classically trained jazz musician, not only does he possess a sense of humour but he pulls out the Zoid Avoid for using ‘overkill’ as the word of the day. He could have gone all wanky and pretentious with it, overdoing his knack and ability for jazz chord progressions, weird scales and traded fours. Instead he explored what every great jazz musician has to offer – creativity, individuality, and a willingness to explore. Utilising both expermemtation and improvisation to create something unique is a tough task in today’s world. Zoid seems to have utilised both and has created something that will be tough to top in its field. In saying, I don’t think Zoid will have much in the way of neighbours in that particular field – here is a man that is standing on his own, surrounded by walls that any man will find tough to break down. Viva la Zoid! and Viva la ‘ZoiD – Selected ZoiDworks 05-12′!.