This album was a lucky find. Well, it wasn’t so much “found” as it was “sent to us via the email that we’re supposed to diligently check,” but before you jump down my throat, that email, up until a few weeks ago was so full of clutter, it could have had its own segment on Hoarders. Anyway, after countless times glancing over the email with this album, I finally realized it was a music submission, checked it out, and immediately decided it to be my next review.
Zoetrope intertwines organic performance with computer-generated instrumentation in an entrancing sonic weave. In my short time with ITR?, I’ve listened to a ton of music submissions, plenty of which have used synthetic instruments. I’ve deleted most of them. I don’t care for them much. I’m fine with very obviously synthesized sounds. The ones that are intended to sound like real instruments, I am not so keen on. I find the timbre grating most times. Zoetrope is a glaring exception. One of the most endearing qualities of the album is the use of the synthetic instruments alongside the organic performance. A great example of this is the fifth track, “Nebulous.” The use of the MIDI vocals against the live electric guitar produces this bold, tantalizing texture that pulls you in close with the vocals’ sweet, curious allure, just to get you to the centre of the blast radius of the heavy, distorted guitar chords and blow you right back. Combine this with the subsequent soft wails of the guitar, and you have just a small taste of the highly dynamic interaction of the instrumentation. Point being, this album demonstrates an adept approach at aural multimedia.
I first listened to this album on Bandcamp through my phone, so the first track I heard wasn’t the first track on the album. It started me with the third track, “Underneath It All.” I had no idea what I was listening to, but I knew I loved all of it. The structure of it, as well as a lot of Gypsy Cab Company, is similar to many of the artists in the category previously mentioned. The difference? He does it right. The transitions are logical. The timbres are pleasing. Most importantly, GCC breathes life into a medium petrified with lifelessness.
So…? There are many artists that attempt what GCC does. I know of few that do it well, and fewer still that do it in the realm of efficacy seen here. My biggest complaint is that the album takes a while to get going. “Pulse” and “Mute” are okay tracks, but they seem to lack the passion of the rest of the album. On a six-track album, that is an issue. That said, the other two thirds of the album are still great, earning this album three and a half kegs.