From the opening vocal sample / reversed piano to the closing piano / xylophone refrain I absolutely love this album. It was sent to us with the word hip-hop mentioned but while there may be a degree of hip-hop sensibility in there (some beats) it transcends the genre tag in a pretty major way. After repeated listens I think the closest observation I can make is that it’s like a supergroup composed of Endtroducing era DJ Shadow, Illinois era Sufjan Stevens and The Avalanches.
I knew I wasn’t getting a traditional hip-hop album when the first beautifully melancholy bit of fiddle arrived. And since when did Hip-Hop ever use a piano sound that clean and delicious with live drums ? When it comes to reviewing this album I’m like a kid at Alton Towers (the world’s greatest amusement park). I spin in circles pointing at everything, my mouth hanging open in wonder. “Curtain” is a beautiful sort of Baroque boogie-woogie with one of Hectic Zeniths many elegant, ornate and perfectly situated piano riffs rolling through its middle like a particularly attractive unicorn. The piano is definitely one of the major reasons to get hold of this album, as virtually every song has a little melody or refrain or hook that will bounce round in your head for days. It’s not all like being trapped in a sumptuous snowglobe though. “Why shoot debris about it ?” is a swampy slice of duelling guitar solos which comes across like some live version of Rick James feeling particularly horny (albeit for only a minute and a half).
It’s a short album and most of the songs are pretty short but literally every note and sound is perfectly placed. Not only can I not wait for more from Hectic Zeniths but in a busy year in which some very good albums have been released he has shot himself in to my top ten list. I rarely make predictions about who might achieve what but I pray to whatever deities might listen that the Zeniths make a name for themself. After a little research I found that Hectic Zeniths is a group effort led by Adam Prince so if you’re reading this I’d like to personally thank you all for “Zeitschtichen”, “Curtain” and “The Loneliest City”.
Get it here: http://hecticzeniths.bandcamp.com/