Zero Cult - Vacuum

1 rating since posting on Thursday, December 29, 2011
Zero Cult - Vacuum
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(submitted by Morpheus Music )

Overall Rating

*****

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*****
Zero Cult - Vacuum
STYLE
December 2011
Ambient chillout and blissful downtempo.
Vacuum is a delicate and sensitive album of lush, evocative electronica where languid beats and dream-like soundscapes support subtle melodies. These softly unfolding themes heave with hypnotic beauty, yet always retain plenty of complementary shade and dignity. Most tracks have extended, unhurried introductions where Zero Cult's ambient atmospheres can fully spread like multi-coloured mists before the rhythmic material sets everything in motion. There are also plenty of beatless interludes where the percussion falls away completely and sometimes the whole melodic framework too, leaving the listener gliding upon faint air currents ready, anticipating the second coming. Overall, Vacuum has a fine balance of light and shadow, delivering attractive compositions that feed the attention whilst neatly avoiding the clich├ęs of the psychill mainstream.


IN DEPTH
Vacuum opens gradually with a hypnotic interplay of misty pads and lustrous echoing effects; sonic winds curl around ascending tones and a gentle rhythmic structure slowly coalesces: vibes, synth arps, bass pulse and, about three minutes in, a ponderous programmed groove. This track - Muse - establishes what the album is all about: saturated colour; serene harmonies and breezy beats. Heartworks sees the trance elements of Zero Cult's sound solidify around a bubbling bassline and measured beat, but this denser sound quickly evaporates as the next track once again takes on a more weightless approach. The album has at its centre the gorgeous Second Breath, this is a wonderfully transportational piece that revolves around a mesmerising motif that carefully evolves and repeats with a tender, insistent intensity. 8 Hertz introduces a more mechanistic tone arising out of dark drones and reverberating voice samples: here a sparse, thumping kick and grumbling bass line give the track a slightly sinister edge. For the most part this is a purely instrumental album, however, just before the end there is a track that casts a different spell: a soporific, meandering piece of hazy euphoria where an unusual female vocal hangs in the air, haunting the synthetics with a wistful song from New Zealand's Aviatrix.


ARTWORK
The cover artwork for Vacuum features a hi-key design where a complex tangle of synthetic grey-white thorns lies upon a smooth, pale, infinite plane. Like some hollow, plastic urchin or structure of artificial cactus spines this jagged, monochrome formation is in stark contrast to the curving, fluid music within. I don't yet have a physical copy of this album and so can't comment on other artwork except to say that I have had a number of Cosmic Leaf releases over the years and the graphic quality is of a consistently high standard.

OVERALL
Israel's Emil Ilyayev returns here with his sixth album of downtempo trance and follow-up to the 2010 release: Clouds Garden. Once more on Cosmic Leaf Records, Zero Cult delivers a maturing sound that luxuriates deep within the reverie of ambient chillout. The ten tracks here include two versions of the deliriously laid back Second Breath: an original mix and a second vocal radio edit featuring Aviatrix with the distinctive voice of Kerensa Stephens. Dying Dolphin has an accompanying video aimed at raising awareness of the plight of these endangered mammals. The footage displays some of the horrors of the 30 000 or so dolphins slaughtered around the world each year. You can further learn of Vacuum at the Cosmic Leaf website or you might like to visit the official Zero Cult pages at Myspace and Facebook. - Morpheus Music , posted 12/29/11

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