Exposé Online banner

Kramtones and Zzaj — Emotional Circus
((Not on label) no#, 1993, MC)

Zzaj / Kissinger — Critical Mass
((Not on label) no#, 1993, MC)

by Peter Thelen, Published 1995-03-01

Emotional Circus Cover artCritical Mass Cover artRotcod Zzaj is a do-it-yourself musician who produces his own cassettes, right down to the home-made packaging and the handwriting on the labels. Working in collaboration with other musicians, he produces a dreamy yet highly experimental music residing somewhere between improvisational jazz and modern electronics. Most of the pieces are fairly short — in the four to five minute range, and sound more 'constructed' rather than composed, finding an idea within a given area and working with it and around it as the material develops, changes, and eventually self-destructs. These sonic explorations are usually instrumental, employing synths, bass, drums and percussion, and other unidentifiable sounds (probably synths or processed guitars). When vocals are employed, they are usually multiple spoken overdubs, words swirling in and out of focus while the music grows around it, becoming essentially another instrument. Occasionally something can be understood, a word here or there, but in general the voice is just another part of this surrealistic stew. Both albums are full length 90-minute cassettes, and they move through a lot of different territory, like constantly evolving soundtracks to a long night of very strange dreams. Emotional Circus tends to be the more explorative of the two, while Critical Mass may be a bit more composed or arranged, and would likely appeal more to the listener coming from a progressive rock direction — but keep in mind, this is not rock or anything even remotely resembling it, but more of a pure sonic adventure. My only gripe is that the sound quality is more or less substandard, being quite bassy most of the time. I usually find myself wanting to hear the music more clearly. Perhaps the best material here should be collected and given a proper release.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 6, 1993 releases

Related artist(s): Dick Metcalf (Rotcod Zzaj)

Latest news

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Amon Düül II - Eternal Flashback – By now everyone should know that these classic German space rockers have reformed after about a twelve year hiatus. Last year's Nada Moonshine #, while not quite up to the standards set by their early...  (1996) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues