Once you get plugged into this Euro-ambient experimental scene, you’re soon trapped behind the looking glass and there’s no handy diamond ring to let you cut a wormhole back to Smallville. Not only are the sounds so spaced out that you can accept almost any sequence of sonic ripples as music, but the old-fashioned terminology of vinyl records is equally warped. Example: Zokuhen is a “double EP.” So, how is that different from an LP? They’re doing a vinyl release, and all these cuts total up to about what one disc of Led Zep would serve up.
Enough editorializing. This oddly sonic collection of skipping rhythms and minor clank chords is the second effort of Mr. Burnt and his staff of umlaut-speckled musicians. The tracks all have cryptic titles like “Riku Ro,” “En Bu2,” and “Bokoboko 2,” and the transition between tracks is subtle and hard to catch. What I’m saying is there’s not a lot to grasp onto here; you have to take the project as a whole and any attempt to deconstruct a single cut will only get you deeper inside the Matrix. So, what’s the takeaway here? “Zokuhen” is a light industrial sound with clicks and clanks and clunks making a rhythm both solid and tractable, jungle-steady with just enough variation to not bore you to tears. Over the jungle production line float little accents, some on traditional percussion, some on synth, some on Sarod. The net effect is artsy and urgent, dronish but not tedious, and if you’re into nontraditional rhythms and arrangements, it might be just what your head needs this week.