Boomkat Product Review:
Berlin mainstay Ziúr shatters her musical glass ceiling with this completely essential, exalted, airlock dub pop masterpiece. Jagged, genre-bleached instrumentals that sound like John Carpenter, Talk Talk and AFX mucking with the dials at Black Ark Studios.
Sometimes it takes a period of dramatic change to truly channel the creative mind. For Ziúr, lockdown meant winding down the momentum she'd been building for years running game-changing events in Berlin and regularly touring as a DJ. Facing the anxiety of endless time and missing the affirming validation of social space, she retreated inwards, configuring a sound-world that's part biography and part escapist fantasy. "Antifate" is a concept album of sorts, but built around a place rather than a specific narrative. Ziúr uses sounds - clattering off-world percussion, booming subs, whimsical instrumental snatches - to texture-map a 4k, widescreen image of the world of Cockaigne, the medieval land of plenty.
In 14th-century European folklore, Cockaigne was a peasant's dreamland, where gluttony and laziness was encouraged, sex was readily available and food was free and luxurious. Ziúr fleshes out this oddly contemporary anarchist concept by spiking her music with aural opulence, engineering it for sensual pleasure and bathing it in reverberating excess. The tracks map out a personal journey that's seen Ziúr shape-shift through various scenes and sounds over the years, from death metal and aggy hardcore punq to deconstructed club and shimmering abstract electronics. This openhearted storytelling has always been present in her DJ sets, but on "Antifate" resides far outside the club.
'Orange Cream Drip' sounds like a no-wave "Assault On Precinct 13" beefed up with tin can percussion and rolling kicks; the title track is a dreamy psychedelic shuffle that reminds of '90s back-room head-fuzz and Seefeel's electrically enhanced shoegaze; and 'Fringe Casual' is Talk Talk's "Spirit Of Eden" fragmented and rebuilt from damaged circuit boards. But Ziúr saves the best for last, closer 'The Carry' might be her most unashamedly elegant track to date, with lilting fairytale flute loops splayed over gut-wrenching bass and malfunctioning electronix. It's a fittingly theatrical finale to one of the deepest records we've heard this year.