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Absolute Zero - Crashing Icons CD (album) cover


Absolute Zero



3.57 | 49 ratings

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4 stars Rating: A-

From the moment "Bared Cross" comes blaring out of your speakers/headphones, you know you're in for a treat. Or, at least, you suspect. After all, sustaining a CD for over an hour with just four songs and, for the most part, four instruments (bass, drums/percussion, vocals, and keys, though "Stutter Rock" has some excellent guest trumpet) is hard. Unless, it seems, you're Absolute Zero. And, indeed, to say that they succeeded in their goal of delivering a hard-hitting avant-garde rock release would be an understatement. Crashing Icons takes all of the ideals of the original Rock In Opposition movement of the late 1970s and plays them with twice as much fire. The result is a stunning release, to say the least.

Start with the opener. "Bared Cross" is an all-out frontal assault on the mind, with the amazing rhythm section of Pip Pyle (the Canterbury stalwart) on drums and percussion and Enrique Jardines, who plays a mean bass, holding down a groove as Aislinn Quinn goes hogwild on her keyboards. While the unique style of Pip Pyle (no rhyme intended) is always a treat, and while Enrique Jardines is probably the stabilizing force in the madness, it is Aislinn Quinn who steals the show here. She brings out sounds you've never heard before, and every single one of them is amazing (if rather dissonant).

Proceeding, we arrive at the longest track on Crashing Icons, the twenty minute plus "Further On." Flirting between krautrock type grooves and blaringly avant-garde, vocal dominated sections, "Further On" is enchanting enough that you can enjoy each individual moment and moves forward quickly enough that you never get bored. But, as strong as it and "Bared Cross" are, both pale in comparison to what comes in the second half, starting with "Stutter Rock/You Said."

"Further On" may have been groove dominated, but it can't hold a candle to "Stutter Rock/You Said" when it comes to sheer groove power. From the moment it starts to the moment it ends, the intensity never lets up, making this both the highlight and the most accessible song on Crashing Icons. To top it all off, there is an astounding trumpet solo in the middle of the song. Thankfully, the intensity doesn't let up for the closing sixteen minutes of "Suenos Sobre Un Espejo," and thus the CD ends just as strongly (well, even more strongly) as it began.

That about sums it up, really: Crashing Icons rocks from start to finish. It's terribly inaccessible (it's the keyboards), but as multiple listens reveal its hidden subtleties, it proves to be a real gem. One to remember, to be sure, even if you don't like it. I can't recommend it beyond the confirmed avant-gardeheads, since it's too inaccessible to serve as an entry to the genre, but for those who like Henry Cow, Univers Zero, and their ilk, this is an essential purchase. Damn close to being a masterpiece.

Pnoom! | 4/5 |


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