Various Artists - Zelphabet Volume L [Zelphabet - 2012]
GX is back with L. If you're not puzzled by that sentence, then you know that I'm referring to the L installment of GX Jupitter-Larsen's Zelphabet series. Volume L consists of six tracks contributed by Lasse Marhaug, Leather Bath, Lee Gamble, The Legendary Pink Dots, Leticia Castaneda, and Lionel Marchetti.
Starting off the cd is Lasse Marhaug's Zen. The initial clicking and turning of some device is slowly built upon over the course of the ten minute running time. Higher, ethereal, glasslike ringings and deep rumblings are added to the mix and really help to fill out the sound. Even lower rumbling is added to the song's progression. Soon enough, Lasse adds some lovely feedback to the mix and continues forward. The deep lows and almost saxophone like feedback highs really cap off the dynamics of this track wonderfully. Zen moves and progresses at a really excellent pace. Every moment is utilized, and no sound overstays its welcome.
Leather Bath - Armistice follows and starts off with a similar energy level as the ending of Zen, which really adds to the flow of the cd. This track is full of vibrations on metal, the subsequent ringing, and deep reverberations. I like to call this track "Alarm Clock Nightmare." The sounds presented are really fun and physical. It's pretty much balls out the entire run time, and a nice juxtaposition to Zen's slow build.
Lee Gamble's Decode Parms UCK Dub is an interesting piece. The digital deconstruction and Super Mario Bros coin goodness that starts the track quickly transforms into a low, meditative synth drone and insect attack. Mario returns as a segue and leads us to a boppy, glitchy groove. This track is fun and everything, but a little too all over the place and disconnected for my tastes.
The Legendary Pink Dots come next with their track, Goldilocks. This song consists of a really solid, low groove and some nice, high flying synths on top. The vocals are spoken and really up front in the mix. Unavoidably so. The last half of the song has a Near Eastern feel coupled with some crackly static. While being a good groove and entertaining, Goldilocks feels every minute of its run time, if not longer.
Leticia Castaneda's entry is a tough one for me. The starting violins and oscillations are interesting. This morphs into a lower cricket and frog jamboree of some sort and then randomly changes into synth noodling. Museum for the Blind is meandering and long. My initial notes say "Museum for the Deaf," and I'm partial to that assessment.
Lionel Marchetti finishes up Volume L with the epic Natura Morta. We're treated to fifteen minutes of low, prepared pianos and crackling fires. The sustain on the pianos is really nice and the fire adds some interesting texture to the piece. It's fine Musique Concrete. Long, but fine.
For the most part, Volume L works really well. The problems I have with it are due to overlong tracks and random song composition. Put this on in the background, and those problems are all but a thing of the pastPaul Casey