With such an unconventional name like Zorch, it comes as no surpise that the band itself is quite unconventional. But when I say that it doesn’t mean that it isn’t enjoyable, because the debut album from Zac Traeger and Shmu, who go by the stage name Zorch is an album that is jam packed with sonic curveballs. With some songs riding along the vein of electronic math rock while others present noisy and electronic post-pop rumbles. Despite the many stylistic areas appearing on this record, these tracks manage to package together quite nicely. A strong amount of musicianship ties in with the groups outlook of not playing one style of music, and it works out very well. Though longer tracks like “Mutwa” sounding more like jams than meticulously crafted tracks, many of these songs are deceiving in how complex they really are, which stands as a testament to these talented songwriters.
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While it may not be easy to pin down the duo’s vast influences, it sure is easy to throw this record on and watch a sonic portrait form right before your eyes. With each individual sound splattering on the canvas like a Jackson Pollock piece, what you get in the end is a mesmerizing and fresh look at just how great electronic music mixes with rock and jazz influenced percussion. Tracks like “Zut Alors” are as dizzying as they are straight groovy, while tracks like “Inopportune Sailing” or “Oceans Dawn” see drummer Shmu operate like a machine, making all of these tracks hard to stay away from. The most lengthy track on ZZOORRCCHH is the 10 minute beast “Cosmic Gloss”, and for good reason. Driven initially by a groovy cycle of vocal samples, the song eventually evolves into a delicate and ambient lo-fi ballad before picking back up at the end. It also features a falsetto that isn’t too far off from that of Thundercat, which only makes me think about how beautiful of a collaboration that would be. ZZOORRCCHH is an album that shows just what kind of noise two people can make together, and just how hard it can rock.
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Since the members of Zorch thanked someone for “being patient with their strange and finicky electronics”, its likely that this record was fairly difficult to engineer. Yet, Zac and Shmu managed to play their cards right because ZZOORRCCHH is a great album. And even though it sounds as if their live show would be 10 times the experience of listening to these songs recorded, this album is a well executed, complex and fun listen from start to finish.
Purchase / Download ZZOORRCCHH here