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Absolute Zero - Crashing Icons CD (album) cover

CRASHING ICONS

Absolute Zero

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.55 | 41 ratings

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The Hemulen
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This album is nothing short of monumental. In a tortuous history spanning thirty years Absolute Zero has released just one studio album (despite having material/recordings for another three according to their website - itself dormant for the best part of five years). This is that album, and by God you can tell. Every note is played as though it could be their last (and I can only pray that it is not) and the four meaty compositions which make up the album are all overflowing with more musical ideas and inventiveness than many long-standing group's entire discographies.

Made up of just three musicians, Absolute Zero brings new meaning to the phrase "power trio". Enrique Jardiness' bass playing is quite frankly second to none. His choice of sounds are hugely creative and his dexterity so outstanding that there are many occasions that one feels he simply can't be playing a bass guitar. But a quick glance at the line-up tells us he must be - there are no other stringed instruments used on the album.

Pip Pyle is a name that I'm sure is familiar to almost anyone reading this review, unless they stumbled upon it by total chance. A veteran drummer on the Canterbury Scene (and indeed the wider world of avant-garde and jazz), he's played with the likes of Gong, Hatfield and the North, National Health, In Cahoots. well, you get the picture. He's the perfect drummer for a musical project of this nature and it shows. Whether thrashing drums or tinkling on tinkly things, Pyle's drumming is quite simply impeccable.

However, for me it's Aislinn Quinn, the final third of the band who truly stands out. There is not one sound on her keyboard which causes me to cringe or criticise in any way (unusual, as synthesisers and keyboards can so easily end up sounding awful in the wrong hands) and quite often they're simply astounding. A sound used on "Stutter Rock, You Said" for example, which sounds like some sort of babbling turkey has to be heard to be believed (and enjoyed). Add to this the fact that Ms Quinn is on vocal duties throughout, with parts ranging from the frail and delicate to the semi-operatic. well, it's easy to see why I'm impressed.

I need not remind you, I'm sure, that this album is not for the faint-hearted. It is dissonant, brash, at times wholly devoid of any discernible melody, but it is likewise captivating, beautiful and hugely rewarding. For those who feel that good music should be a challenge then I can't recommend this album strongly enough.

Highlights: "Stutter Rock, You Said", "Suenos Sobre un Espejo"

The Hemulen | 5/5 |

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