Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Live: Zaza

When: 11/16
Where: Cake Shop

Electronic duo Zaza caught my eye a while back, but this Sunday at Cake Shop was the first time I'd had a chance to hear them live. The two official members were joined by Kurt Feldman of the Depreciation Guild and the Pains of Being Pure at Heart on a spartan two-drum set, adding a touch of raw power to their electronic beats.

Zaza isn't exactly my "thing," it turns out. I'd liked them better recorded, but live, they were too lacking in structure to really draw me in. But that's just a personal preference - if you are a fan of bands like Can and Suicide, you will definitely want to check these guys out. A clear attention to detail goes into the crafting of their textured soundscapes and both members are clearly gifted at synthesiser and guitar alike.

Zaza (picture from

The highlights for me were the complex and tense bass lines, which propelled forward songs that might otherwise have stagnated. The vocal lines were unremarkable and flat, but their atmospheric quality shows potential if the singer (whose name I cannot find anywhere, sorry) is willing to expand his range a bit. Frustratingly, though the electronic beats were well-composed, the sound quality was cheap - vintage and campy gear can be great for synths but for drum machines, it is often damning. However, it won't take much to change that problem if the band decides to do so.

Most promisingly, a few times during the set, the band tried experiments with dissonance and resolution that were, in the context of their dreamy sound, nothing short of stunning. I'm not hooked, but if the band keeps pushing their music forward, I will be soon.

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