Wednesday, May 31, 2006

CD: Hidden City of Taurmond by Wizardzz

Wizardzz: Hidden City of Taurmond
Load Records
Mastered by Jeff Lipton

The cover art gives it all away: a city of cones and spires, drawn as in a child’s hand, in blacks, grays and purples that lend, perhaps unintentionally, a dystopian air to the childlike whimsy. It’s like the setting of a Russian fairy tale filtered through Lawrence Paull’s production design for Blade Runner. From incongruities like these, Hidden City of Taurmond weaves its spell, integrating whimsy, majesty, fascistic precision and a free-flow of happy accident.

Wizardzz is a two piece ensemble from Rhode Island featuring Brian Gibson on drums and Rich Porter on keyboards. Taking inspiration from ‘60s krautrock, ‘70s prog-rock, free jazz and post-rock’s headiest provocateurs, these boys whip up a maelstrom that would be the ideal soundtrack for a film too delirious, too dense, too violent, heady and transcendent to have yet been made. Rich Porter has clearly heard some Vangelis in his day, and some press has Porter citing John Carpenter’s score for Escape from New York as an influence. I’d also suggest the keyboard intro to The Who’s “Teenage Wasteland” and the theme to Disney’s Parade of Lights as useful touchstones for the uninitiated. But as much as the music possesses the deliciously cheesy grandeur of such “epic” influences, it is also, thanks to Gibson’s fervent syncopations and propulsive urgency, as nimble as a mountain goat: Gibson’s percussion reels and hops about, dancing on the peaks and towers laid out in Porter’s soundscapes.

In recent years, post-rock acts like Tortoise, Mogwai, and Turing Machine have been toying with a new template for the evolution of rock as an instrumental form, finding ways for its typical lineups, stripped to bare minimum or enhanced with unexpected instruments, to carry “compositions” pithier than those of their classical and jazz forbears, but more complex than mere “songs”. Where Wizardzz departs from such brethren is in their triumphalism: taking cues from heavy metal acts like Isis, Sunn O))) and Pelican (no pop form has ever so thoroughly explored the pleasures of triumphalism as has metal), Gibson and Porter balance whimsy, aggression and sheer brawn with athleticism and aplomb.

Where tracks like “jelliper-lilly field” and “diamond mirror” recall what the poppies scene in The Wizard of Oz might have sounded like had the film been made in the ‘70s, tracks like “whispers from wallface” and “sea battle at orkusk” match such sonic musings to epileptic fits of percussive clatter. Paranoia and apprehension creep through such post-industrial-by-way-of-proto-industrial outbursts like “chasing our shadows” and “ladydragons” (the latter of which erupts from this apprehension to effectively simulate the terror of attack). We’re left with a long, live track called “mimi vivian sunrise”, which calls to mind Ministry-covering-Yes-covering-Neu, which reduces all elements to unadulterated propulsion. Still, the album is ultimately a good trip, one where the good guys win, where dragons can be vanquished or harnessed, and where the wizards—or Wizardzz—are on your side.

thelyamhound – 499 words



Blogger JJisafool said...

Dude, you may have found your calling.

4:25 PM  
Blogger Stine said...

Dude I'm cutting and pasting this shit to Rolling Stone. I'm tired of waiting for you to do it.


9:37 PM  
Blogger JJisafool said...

Stine, for some reason I had comments set to moderation, so that's why it took so long for it to appear. Seems my controlling nature has gone subconcious. Comments are all open and unmoderated now.

9:50 PM  
Blogger Stine said...

It's all good, just ask Ly, "sometimes" I like to be controlled.

12:54 PM  
Blogger the beige one said...

Stine you should write a 500 word or less letter to Penthouse Forum.

1:10 PM  

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