Keys And Chords
Zu, Morkobot and [sic]
Zu, Morkobot and [sic] • 4 December 2014 • Magasin 4 Brussels
YEARS OF MAGASIN4
Within their outstanding and comprehensive endeavor of bringing on stage a huge list of bands for their 20th anniversary, here we had another jewelrish event from Magasin4: a hardcore evening of 100% pure instrumental. Have you ever thought of putting “instrumental” and “lack of guitar” in the same sentence? I haven’t until seeing on stage together these three bands rocking out loud without the use of the guitar.
There are many ways of exploring contemporary sax-driven free jazz. [sic] is a band where the rhythmic parts of drums and bass are enriched with no less than three sax players. The core is built around the edgy distorted electric bass of Lieven Eeckhout and the highly virtuosic drumming of Mattijs Vanderleen. But the indispensable element that can switch the beat from desolating ambiental to an experimental, fusion or big bands sound is the sax section. Eva Vermeiren, Bertel Schollaert, Thomas Van Gelder master their saxophones no matter whether they complement each other or race for extreme noise. A great live experience.
If you missed them here, you can still see them on 13 December in Ancienne Belgique for a mad evening full of Sax-noise, together with the Dutch band RaaskalBOMfukkerZ.
The latest album RAY can be listened and bought online on their bandcamp page.
Not even two years ago, my friends were still reminding me of Ufomammut when I was mentioning MoRkObOt. Could have been because both bands are Italian, both into the psychedelic experimental whatever sludge metal, both enjoying the Malleus artwork’s signature, anyway, clearly MoRkObOt was standing somehow in the shadow of the big mammoths. I read somewhere that MoRkObOt is the mix of Pink Floyd’s psychedelia, density of the Ufomammut’s magma, the madness of the Melvins and soundness of Sunn O))). My ignorance saved me from seeing them as an extension of these ancestors. I have always believed that MoRkObOt have their own universe, which they built with one set of drums and two bass players. And considering only this, it would be unrealistic to define them by their influences. The answer of whether this is true or not is in attending one of their concerts.
Structure is a term that applies to all their work. With the first three albums – Morkobot (2005), Mostro (2006), Morto (2008), they constructed a trilogy. In 2011, they added MoRbO to their extraterrestrial world. And last year they split an album Vanessa Van Basten. Their live sets are constructed following a crescendo, from excellent to mind-blowing. Not using guitars gives them a unique distinctive sound, recognizable as their signature. Repetitive short, fast, metallic, very technical, instrumental only, MoRkObOt do not come from out of space but from somewhere deep underground, with effusive eruptions and a continuous surfacing that leaves the audience in need for more. Good choice for opening a ZU performance then.
John Zorn described ZU as creating ‘a powerful and expressive music that totally blows away what most bands do these days’. The Italian trio - Jacopo Battaglia (drums), Massimo Pupillo (bass) and Luca T. Mai (saxophone) - formed in the late ‘90s after having worked together as composers and players for local theaters. Since then, they have been escaping to any labeling and still being mathcore, jazz, noise, metal, punk, no-wave at the same time, in a unbroken effort of finding a each time new self-definition. But even though their music defies any categorization and moves along the borders of any genre, they brought the most industrial sound of the evening.
They made us waiting for them on some ambiental dark tortured music, which filled in also the pauses between the songs. Starting with this, each song added layers and textures to the extend of high decibels dangerously outbreaking, but never to the disadvantage of the sound. Luca T. Mai’s presence makes millions more than of a vocalist. His sax playing struggles with the rhythms in a battle of setting the sound free. From such expertise one could expect a pure expression of virtuosity but instead there is pure energy coming out the mixed noises and sounds.
Their performance ended in an obsessive distorted and penetrating wall of sound. To be taken home and cherished.
Luca from ZU will be back in Brussels in January with Mombu in Café Central.
Report: Ioana Nica – Photo’s: Jean-Pierre Daniels ©