Xela Zaid by Photos by Carlo Piscicelli

Local gem Xela Zaid has long been one of the most innovative musicians working the Miami music scene, from his early career as a singer-songwriter using unique tunings on an acoustic guitar with a microphone shoved into its sound hole to his current experimentation with peddles, radio and abstract noise.

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Normal MusicAs promised yesterday, a note on something ironically titled “Normal Music” by Visszajáró (László Lenkes and Ákos Czini from Serbia) and Gustavo Jobim (from Brazil). It is an instrumental album made up of four tracks, each nondescriptly titled “One,” “Two,” “Three” and “Four.” Each piece carries on for just over 10 minutes each.

If you can bear the first track, there are rewards on this recording, made on synthesizers and piano. As banal as these instruments may seem, this trio goes to extremes to create a form of musique concrète recalling the work of Stockhausen. The album opens with piercing screeches that sound like the perfect soundtrack for the climax of a horror film that ends on a hopeless note … for 10 minutes. There is a swirling melody in the din that grows higher and higher pitched as an undulating chorus of din rumbles and shimmers on and on and on. For the finale it fades away, and the tune’s only three pleasant notes on bells close out the piece, like some twisted little gag.

If the first piece may induce headaches, the second piece offers pure relief, though barely a melody appears. It is more an experiment in white noise. It thrums and pulses like some hidden machinery in the walls. Halfway through it downshifts, gradually, sounding like a trip slowly inward and deeper into sleep. In fact, this feels like externally induced biofeedback. It may do the trick for insomniacs looking for some sonic assistance to relax into sleep. There are a few, rare sprinkles of light piano trills, but always dominating is a breathy rhythm of electronic synths.

The other tracks are similar in spirit, but also different enough to reward adventurous listeners. For those intrigued by my description of this experimental drone music above, here is the full album to stream and/or download for free. Click through for more from these artists:

Hans Morgenstern

(Copyright 2013 by Hans Morgenstern. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)

cover artSome of the best things that have come of this blog have been immaterial experiences. This is a labor of love and not-for-profit. Beyond the interviews, early film and album previews are the like-minded interactions with independent artists. Once in a while an incredible discovery arises. Thanks to interaction with members of the legendary Krautrock band Faust, their collaborators and fans, a couple of interesting albums I would have never otherwise have heard have appeared on my radar.

This morning it was a thing unabashedly called Kösmischen Hits! by a duo called Couvre-Feu from France. But the influence is undeniably German, as revealed by the title of the opening track: “Viva Düsseldorf!” It sounds like the best parts of early Kraftwerk and Neu! had been placed in a blender. A pulsing motorik beat is augmented by repetitive guitar lines, constantly shifting in sound by effects. It builds to a freak-out level as screeching electro solos and more repetitive melodies pile on. All the while the beat just goes steadily on.

The creativity and indulgence in all that’s Krautrock is shamelessly on display across the first half of Couvre-Feu’s instrumental album, created from improvisations. But it also has a freshness that will appeal to fans of Kraut-influenced artists like Brian Eno and Robert Fripp. The second track, “Ammoniac,” brings to mind the duo’s collaboration on Evening Star.

The final track, “Part of a diagram for Alpha Centaury,” has a decidedly more experimental side and carries on for almost as long as the first four, more bouncy, tracks do altogether. It indulges in phases and noise, meandering through moments of drone but mostly deconstructing any craft to the strangest sounds to repeat and pile up and then veer away from in surprising left turns. There are enough shifts in tone that also make it the most dynamic track on the record, and quite possibly the most interesting.

You can stream the entire album for free just below, and visit the band’s bandcamp site for a free download and link to their blog (get to following them for upcoming information on a limited edition cassette release of Kösmischen Hits!).

Another decidedly more experimental release I heard about via the same source came out last year, but I have not forgotten it. I’ll add another post about something called “Normal Music,” a collaboration between a Brazilian experimental artist and an avant-garde Serbian musician, tomorrow.

Hans Morgenstern

(Copyright 2013 by Hans Morgenstern. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)