Riding a deeply trenched groove of improvisation into the recessed corners’ of the night, Zilla returns with all iZ. The Boulder, Colorado trio, comprised of renowned Hammered Dulcimer player Jamie Janover, multi-instrumentalist Aaron Holstein and String Cheese Incident drummer Michael Travis, take the listener on a voyage into the vibrant world of improvised music.
all iZ was completed live, from absolute improvisation. The band went into the studio for two days, dove head first into playing, and created a totally boundless album. Experimenting with new instruments, the release finds Travis playing keyboards along with his bevy of drums and percussive toys. Janover, who is second to none on the hammered dulcimer, also contributed some great sitar along with everything under the sink, including the “tongue drum” and water. Holstein also holds his own with driving bass lines and contributes greatly to the psychedelic samples and loops that are used throughout the interplanetary experience.
The electronic heart of the project certainly makes dancing around compulsory. With full throttle beats, pulsating bass lines and a captain-less ship; Zilla offers up mind-melting grooves that warp from one song to the next. Unlike your garden variety electronic musicians, Zilla’s sound goes way beyond the beat, and organically grows grooves from live, eclectic instrumentation and a seemingly endless supply of creativity.
Though the names of the songs are insanely entertaining, I could not tell you which is which. The project almost demands that you listen to it in the same way in which it was created, free from boundaries and constraints. So, if titles like “Funeral March of the Penguin Mafia,” “Crouching Camel,” “Hidden Raisin” and “Very Important Other Song” strike you as fabulous but you can’t seem to remember which one is which, do yourself a favor.
Just listen to the whole album.