Zu + Outblinker – an earshatteringly good time

BeGood, Barcelona, 28th November 2016 (promoted by Heliogàbal)

Outblinker

To be honest, I came for Zu and didn’t know much about Outblinker at all other than that they’re Scottish and a bit krautrock-y. Then I got my internal organs bashed about by pounding subaural synth beats, precision drums (to within nine decimal places) and hallucinogenically repetitive dervish guitar – all with a layer of electronic sprinkles on top.

Intense beats, stupid volume, and very heavy. Imagine Underworld produced by Lemmy and you’re halfway there.

It was soaring, elegiac, dense as hell and a lot of fun. That, I thought afterwards, was a pleasant surprise.

Jason Costello
Graham Costello
Luigi Pasquini
Chris Cusack
David Ian Warner
(Who was playing what, I haven’t a clue.)

Zu

Zu are getting a bit mystical. Maybe they always were and I didn’t notice. The latest album “Cortar Todo” strips them back to their essential nature and the result is a super-heavy trance-like simplicity.

Fitting with this ritual quality, they open with what sounds like a William S. Burroughs recitation beginning, “The way out is the way in.” Then… boom! Tight asymmetric rhythms, a baritone sax that will eat you whole, synapse-melting electronic textures, and bowel-throttling bass.

Most if not all of the set focuses on the sound from the harder and most intense moments of “Cortar Todo” (they’ve said themselves in interview that even when they play previous material, it now tends to be a no-frills, more succinct version). It’s a masterclass of power and precision, a surgical demonstration of sound and fury. Genre labels no longer apply – to bandy about phrases like ‘noisejazz’ is pointless – Zu are simply Zu. Let go of everything, it’s your only option.

Luca T. Mai – baritone sax
Massimo Pupillo – bass gtr
Tomas Järmyr  – drums