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Zopp - Dominion CD (album) cover




Canterbury Scene

4.25 | 96 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
5 stars And for round two of the crazy about the classic Canterbury jazz, the Nottingham based ZOPP returns three years after the lauded self-titled debut took the prog world by storm and found the UK finding its way back into the world of the improvisational psychedelic jazz-rock that emerged from those fertile county of Kent soils over half a century ago. Yep, it seems the Japanese have been wresting away this little nook of progressive rock from its inventors but ZOPP proves that there is still more than enough steam in this little genre that was never supposed to be in the homeland that has become the staple of prog rock fanaticism.

DOMINION is the sophomore release of the duo Ryan Stevenson and Andrea Moneta and has just hit the world in early February to vie for top album of the year. Stevenson is back for the attack with his multitude of mellotrons, Hammond organs, pianos, synthesizers and all things classic era prog along with percussionist Moneta and seven additional guest musicians and vocalists. Keeping in line with the golden years of prog on vinyl, DOMINION features seven tracks that just squeak over the 42-minute mark with the closing "Toxicity" featuring all the pomp and excess that true prog lovers crave with a running time of over 14 minutes!

Slaving away in their Nottingham studios has been fruitful and the album strikes a pleasant note from the very beginning. Sounding like a classic Canterbury act graced with the benefits of modern mixing and production, "Amor Fati" wastes no time introducing a warm tone that sustains through the entire album. One of the first things that noticeably different from the debut is the use of vocals this time around with not only Stevenson offering his best utterances but also with the divine diva duo of Sally Minnear and Caroline Joy Clarke offering some feminine touches to the nerdy masculine musical workouts.

No sophomore jinx here as the band effortlessly and nonchalantly cranks out classic Canterbury sounds that never were but should have been with nice percussion driven rockers graced with atmospheric cloud covers with jazzy sax accompaniments and folk-fueled flute. The tracks are as diverse as the debut with chilled out psychedelic numbers ("You") followed by bouncy uplifting rockers ("Bushell Keeler") and then pastoral folk-fueled placidity ("Uppmärksamhet.") Knotty hairpin turn rich complexities a la National Health have been completely melded with angelic Hatfield & The North etherealness while Wyatt-free Soft Machine jazz-rock passages decorate the varying musical motifs in a menagerie of classic Canterbury crammed into every nook and cranny of the musical processions.

There has been a great boost of confidence on DOMINION as if these guys have come of age with strong compositions that evoke the visionary carefree craftiness of Supersister with a sense of defiant ambitiousness not heard since The Muffins. Vocal references from Hatfield & The North suddenly give way to electronic weirdness on "Wetiko Approaching" while the closing proggier-than-thou closer "Toxicity" rocks the classics Canterbury style with a vocal led guitar, bass and drum dominant number that showcases some of the tastiest piano playing in any era of Canterbury. And just as soon as it begins it feels like it's over, the sign of a true smashing success. You simply want more! Even Robert Wyatt inspired vocals come to the party!

These guys have scored another huge hit with DOMINION and although many a band has tried to catch those classic Canterbury sounds and bring them into the modern world, few have done so as convincingly as ZOPP and with a second classic album in a row, it seems there is no end in sight! Tightknit grooves - check. Canterbury warmth - here. Fuzz fueled organs and jittery rhythmic grooviness - oh yeah! Excellent compositions that offer more than enough variety to sustain an album's worth of material? Without a doubt! Honestly there's not a weak moment on this one. Add to that this album sounds totally original, not just another tribute to the past. Another major score for Nottingham. Sorry Canterbury, i think ZOPP has successfully usurped the throne and now we must call it the Nottingham Scene!

siLLy puPPy | 5/5 |


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