Boomkat Product Review:
Vinyl premiere of Zoviet France’s 1986 LP ‘Gesture Signal Threat’, which was previously only available on tape and CD, and formed the 2nd part of their ‘Charm, Ceremony, Chance, Prophecy’ tetralogy
By this point in their catalogue, as beautifully cued up and laid out in chronology by Vinyl On Demand, the rogue Geordie unit had begun to soften the edges of their sound, known for its tendency toward cranky dissonance, to a sort of mystic, gauzy middle-distance gaze that reaches toward a bleak unknownness and conjures visions of both natural and supernatural phenomena, as well as both the brutalist concrete architecture of Newcastle and the sprawling clash of rugged countryside and coastline that surrounds them and their city.
Following the declension of their gritty, angular early sound circa ’82 over successive LP to this point in ’86, the 12 pieces of ‘Gesture Threat Signal’ locates the group going ever subtler and tenebrous while essentially holding their line through dissonant texturhythms and eerily resonant dub space. However, the playing is detectably more low key and lilting from the onset of ‘Gote’, before they most potently smudge and submerge the senses with ‘Blow’, and what sounds like a recording made in a city centre underpass at 3am on ‘Dhimmi’, while the wavering flute of ‘Bran’ appears to carry warm, migratory breezes from East Africa, catalysing their rshapeshift into more distinctive ambient zones with ‘Glisten’, and conversely dark ambient tones in the final run of ‘Signals’ and ‘Threats’.