Asa Osborne is back again, and once more he is joined by Hanna Olivegren to form the duo incarnation of ZOMES. Few bands could pull off switching it up as late in the game (four albums and a single deep) as Osborne has with ZOMES. NEAR UNISON marks the second outing by the pair that met via SKULL DEFEKTS in that band’s and Olivegren’s shared homeland of Sweden. Olivegren and Osborne join the latter’s LUNGFISH band mate Daniel Higgs and his SKULL DEFEKTS bandmates in bridging the 4000 miles that separate Baltimore and Stockholm. What a wonderful spreading of LUNGFISH magic.
NEAR UNISON is being released into the world by DISCHORD RECORDS, long home to LUNGFISH. Thirteen hypno-synth and voice spirals for meditating to, or zoning out to in whatever your preferred way might be. “Fieldplay” shows off the band’s dual interests in folk melodies and cheap-organ modal hypnosis. These interests fully permeate the album, their interplay creating the magical, ethereal sound of ZOMES. On the other hand, “General Wizard” marks a stab at some kind of new age “pop,” even—stuttering new age “pop,” but still.
“Syster” brings us as close as we are going to get to LUNGFISH in this set of songs, perhaps even existing as some kind of opposite-sex, lower-fi approximation of the SKULL DEFEKTS sound with Higgs at the helm. There’s no slight in that description; the DEFEKTS + Higgs are one of the most powerful bands on this planet. “Syster” might be the noisiest, closest-to-in-your-face track on this record, and if I am left wanting any little thing to be different about this recording it would be for there to be more songs with the feeling of this song present here. But that is quibbling, surely. NEAR UNISON is amazing. I truly feel that Osborne and Olivegren together adds up to far more than Osborne alone, as much as I do love older ZOMES stuff.
A rare and intoxicating example of where drone music can go to evolve, and another magical musical experience offered up by Baltimore hero Osborne. Guides me to places that only amazing records like TORODI and M DWINELL’s recent offerings have been able to take me as of late. And oh, that cover!