The Sunburned Z

[Ecstatic Peace; 2007]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles: free folk, new weird america, psycho-delic kraut rock
Others: No Neck Blues Band, Can, Tower Recordings, Egypt is the Magick #

Z's humble beginnings echo the chaotic sex and mischief of Eyes Wide Shut. Mystical chants and strange incantations bounce off stoned walls as sexual partners choose each other in a seemingly random sequence that is actually far from random. The secret to The Sunburned's brand of ecstasy doesn't lie in acts of the carnal, but in the ability to tap into the most primal and rudimentary structure of man: the infinite. The explosive bursts of derelict distortion and chaotic blasts melt the line between the perceived and the actual. No big-budget casts and far-fetched storyline needed — just music that cuts to the heart of the issue.

Yet no matter how cut and dry the music may seem, the genre lines are blurred. The Sunburned has never stuck to one sound for very long, and throughout Z’s trip to explore the infinite, the group is unafraid to ransack various stylings to build a better monster. The result is one of the most cohesive Sunburned Hand of the Man releases in some time — perhaps in the group’s storied history. Jazz, folk, psych, and avant are thrown into the cosmic blender to create the soundtrack to the birth of the unknown. In the end, Z is nothing more than symphonic chaos; the search to find infinity among music. Such a hunt will never end, but it certainly doesn’t make Z a worthless trip.

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