Boomkat Product Review:
The final piece of V-O-D’s vital Zoviet France reissues is 1987’s ‘A Flock Of Rotations’, an addendum to their Charm, Ceremony, Chance, Prophecy series, and a real standout in their catalogue for its psychotomimetic levels of texturhythmic psychedelia and manacled, grounded grasp of cosmic chaos
A lighting rod for syncretic, esoteric inspiration during the ‘80s; Newcastle, UK’s Zoviet France were and remain one of post-industrial, early ambient, and noise musick’s most illusive, important, and hard-to-categorise groups. Their 1987 LP ‘A Flock Of Rotations’ is the last of 11 x ZF albums made and released between 1982-1987 which form V-O-D’s bountiful reissue scheme, including many of their titles on vinyl for the first time. The album marks a boundary line between the band’s formative first five years and what would come for the proceeding decades, when Ben Ponton would remain the sole member, joined by a rotating assembly of collaborators as his bandmate Robin Storey would head off on other projects, most notably recording as Rapoon.
‘A Flock Of Rotations’ is among Zoviet France’s uncanniest and unheimlich invocations of a parallel or even meta musical dimension that existed at the limen of post-industrial noise, ambient and folk styles in 1987. Although not as expansive as, say, ‘Popular Soviet Songs And Youth Music’, the album is highly notable for its diversity of palette, traversing from a charred void yell intro and the breathtaking roil of ‘Drive’ to mesmerising passages of folk strings proper, crumbling tape loops, and ultimately the haunted hall of mirrors vibes in ‘Dream Hole.’ In between we’re reminded of pre-shiny James Ferraro at his most zonked, as well as the most mottled daubs of Leyland Kirby/The Caretaker, and the imagined pseudo-ethno vibes of Spencer Clark or Gonzo, but as we all have no excuses for not knowing now, ZF utterly nailed the art of enigmatic, dematerialised, sui-generis, and intra-dimensional musick long before any of the above.