It seems amazing that Zone Six have been going for twenty years. Well it does and it doesn’t because this absolute freak out of an album sounds so fresh and exciting, on the other hand it is clearly the product of a trio of musicians who know each other so well, although this line up itself hasn’t been together for twenty years, as to nail the two deep jams here in such a convincing and impressive manner.
These were recorded in June 2016 at one of Zone Six’s favourite venues, the Graf Hugo (the ‘Hugo’ of the title) in Feldkirch, Austria which, unfortunately, is struggling to stay open thanks to the local council selling the land it’s on to build a car park. You can certainly hear in the music here just what a special place it is since the two long improvisations here are wonderfully atmospheric and stretched out, and really do hit you right in your soul. There is passion here, and a real desire to explore the music and emotions around it; and in releasing the album in this manner there is also a clear affinity with the venue and the crowd who go there to experience music at such a visceral level. Venues like this are closing all over the place and they are such a loss when they disappear.
Each track starts in a very etherial way and really draws you in to its intentions before slowly releasing the energy into a crazy acid freak out which just gets more and more intense. What is also great about the recordings here is that while you can appreciate that this is an improvised jam, with the excitement that this brings, you never really think about it being a live performance until you hear the cheers at the end. This is testament to the way it is recorded which has found a good balance between quality and exhilarating raw energy.
This album sees Zone Six do what they are best at here. Two long tracks which just keep on giving with every listen, and while both pass the twenty minute mark there is never any suggestion that these become mundane because the playing takes you on a fantastic journey though strange and freaky sonic worlds. Just put the needle down and let go!
‘Forever Hugo’ is released on vinyl on Deep Distance Records, and available to download from the Zone Six bandcamp.
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