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Z'EV and Julien Ottavi - Crash & Cross [4iB Records - 2022]

Crash & Cross is a seven-track collaboration that moves between churning ‘n’ grinding noise craft, and more eerie ‘n’ unsettling fare. It brings together two respected experimental sound maker- American percussionist/ sound-artists Z'EV, and French composer/ musician Julien Ottavi who is known for his abstract noise project The Noiser.

The release appears as a CD on Singapore’s 4iB Records. The disc comes presented in a six-panel digipak- on its unfolded front side we get a close-up monochrome picture of an ageing key lock system. And on its unfolded reverse, we find a close-up picture of yellow and grey lichen. With a six-page colour inlay booklet featuring pictures of both projects in live/ coloured smeared picture form. So a nicely presented release, which is Ltd to just 200 copies.

The album takes in seven untitled tracks- these each have runtimes between four and thirteen minutes. In the first half of the disc we move from the sweeping grain-meets-warblingly harsh electronics of “Untitled I”. Through to the sinister drone hoover and loose murky guitar slug ‘n’ sear of “Untitled III”. Onto unease drift and ebb of “Untitled IV” which brings together grey drone bob and low-key tone bay. 

In the album's second half we go from the murkily nocturnal “Untitled V” which pulls together unwell pitch drifts, light textural electro jitters, and waving simmer. Onto the slowly slicing percussive cuts ‘n’ clangs meets unwell electro-dark ambient bubbling of “Untitled VII”.

Sadly, Z'EV passed away in 2017- so it’s always nice to hear unreleased work from him.  All in all Crash & Cross is a most worthy collaborative release, which nicely sits in both noise and uneasy ambient camps.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Roger Batty
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