Sat April 21, 2018

Anarchist Republic of Bzzz (TK/USA/GB/NL/F)

Seb el Zin: electric guitar, ney, saz
Mike Ladd: vocals
RTKAL: vocals
Nora Mulder: electric cymbalum
Fannie Lasfargues: electric bass
Thomas Ballarini: pads, percussions
Onur Secki: derbouka, bendir

Seb el Zin’s latest experiment has everything the informed music-lover needs to fuel his fantasies, be it only mention of these hallowed names in the line-up: Arto Lindsay, Archie Shepp, Mike Ladd, Luc Ex, Juice Aleem and ErikM, to name but a few. But these names merely represent the foundations for an even more demented music than that on A.R.of Bzzz’s first offering which, along with Lindsay and Ladd, featured Marc Ribot and Sensational.

This time the barbed-wire guitars of the last record, interwoven by Lindsay and el Zin (who on this album also plays the ney) are borne on the back of Luc Ex’s visceral bass and the thwacking rhythms of two talented Turkish percussionists. On this blazing canvas, the rhapsodic flights of the kanun and the violin, the saxophonic slashings of Mr Shepp and the abrasive minerality of eRikm all jar superbly with the machine-gun vocals of Ladd and Aleem, both more seething than ever. (Pressetext)

This piece of agressively bright red vinyl, masterminded by Seb el Zin, a.k.a singer of ethno-punk band ITHAK, is one of those records that feel like it already existed. The fusions of freestyle rap with mischievous, tricksy improvisations of post-No Wave skronk feel so natural that it’s hard to believe that this hasn’t been done before. Certainly Mike Ladd, the project’s most prominent vocalist here, has done some comparably noisy tracks in his time, but never with the grubby backstreet sense of rackety rythmic fun that Arto Lindsay’s, Seb el Zin’s and Marc Ribot’s guitars provide, and definitely never with a vocal foil as liquid in his delivery, as narcotically spontaneous, as convincingly hiphop as Sensational, who features on three tracks to Ladd’s five. The vocal styles are dramatically different – Ladd declamatory and hectoring, Sensational louche, loose and insinuating – but but both present nonsequiturs with huge authority. Like rap versions of Bill Burroughs, they endlessly spew what the Church of the SubGenius called “BullDada” about neural pathways and psy-ops, the Afghan war and Berber scholarship, while sounding the way you’d expect 21st century angry black beatnicks to sound. Tied together by Seb el Zin’s fine-grain production and edits, the record feels entirely consistent in its rambunctious fracturing. Its closest antecedent might be RammellZee’s and Bill Laswell’s 1988 track “The Lecture”, but this is unmistakeably the present day rendered in tarnished science fiction form, and its explosions of instantaneous creation are very much of the now. (Joe Muggs, The Wire)