Zenlo – Skelethal Antics

Ambient minimalism – that’s what I get from Napo Camassa, aka Zenlo‘s 2009 release called Skelethal Antics, released on Porter Records. But inside that same minimalism there is a lot to what this album actually offers. The ambient and atmospheric elements mixed up with a sort of psychedelic rhythm and heavy drone and the list of the musical elements is already pretty wide. A bit of free jazz here and there is enough to add up another category and spread the album’s accessibility.

Zenlo is a multi-instrumentalist and shifts from lip accordion in the opening The Crab to the soprano saxophones in War Prayer to electronics that thread out in Call of the East and further more. The Crab is a sort of an electronic blues kind of thing, a real hodge-podge reached reached with synthetic drum beats accompanied by twisted lip accordion soloing.

Call of the East continues to tread in electronic waters, this time with saxophones taking a lead, which are framed, but still untamed to break into the minimalistic free jazzish shorty Re-Mex. This tune carries a soundtrack feeling, like something out of a 60′s/70′s crime movies. You Did it Again keeps on the same track set by Re-Mex, picking up speed and bringing up a krautrock bits in the rhythm section

At a German Fun Fair comes up with a bunch of scattered chords and once again, repetitive minimalism. The organ appears in a way to break the monotonous image this piece gives away.

Beaming Greetings on a Far Away Beach is a tribute to William Blake, and it indeed gives a feeling of “wandering among the trees“, as Zenlo stated in the liner notes. Droning saxwork obtains the atmosphere of being surrounded by nature and creates a heavy fairytale.

Dance School opens with a grand piano which makes me feel like I’m floating in the deep darkness of space, with a slideshow of memories and past lives. Very spacy and atmospheric track which somehow does not fit to the overal soundimage, but still is a pretty good part of the album.

War Prayer kicks off with saxophone releasing a kind of weeping sound and is an ode to the “post-Hiroshima nebulosity“, a witnessing track.

The Big Dish Suite (Excerpt), Zenlo sets himself to a karmacosmic journey into the unknown, this track being lenghties off the album puts up an atmosphere of reaching the abyss depth’s and going back all the way. The psychedelic vibe is gained through „Japanesely tuned“ guitar and variety of effects. Personally I single out this one as my favorite piece.

Psitunion is dark, ambient and droning. These three elements have deep relations between them and this track actually proves it. If the previous track was the most psychedelic, Psitunion comes as the most ambient track on Skelethal Antics. I swear I could feel that evil resting somewhere between these soundwalls.

The closing Remote Viewing employs a grand piano, which struggles with noise that could easily make your ears bleed. An intense track, which doesn’t give too much.

To summarize, Zenlo’s Skelethal Antics is not an easy release and certainly not an album that you could play anytime you want to listen to something. Anyway, to find out how it all sounds like, check out Zenlo’s MySpace (www.myspace.com/zenlo) and judge for yourself.

Tracklist:

The Crab

Call of the East

Re-Mex

You Did it Again (R)

At a German Fun Fair

Beaming Greetings on a Far Away Beach

Dance School

War Prayer

The Big Dish Suite (Excerpt)

Psitunion

Remote Viewing

Line-up:

Zenlo – all instruments

Links:

www.myspace.com/zenlo

Nikola Savić is a prog enthusiast, blogger and author, in addition to being the founder of Prog Sphere, Progify, ProgLyrics and the ongoing Progstravaganza compilation series.
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