2012 delivered quite a few new and unexpected and refreshing acts, especially when considering the variety of great noise releases from this year including larger projects such as Kevin Drumm’s arresting long-form release, ‘Relief’ to newer gems such as Divorce, So Stressed, BNNT, White Suns, and that Wreck and Reference debut that resonate so well with me. Overall the amount of creativity that came out of the experimental music scene in 2012 was overwhelming to say the least. Zebra Pulse however, is a noise project of an entirely different variety, offering a their own take on what seems to be an infinitely expansive genre.
Within the past year I’ve been hearing and reviewing quite a few projects from Edmonton, Alberta, specifically noise and experimental music ranging from the meditative noise of Pigeon Breeders, to Taiwan’s surreal nostalgia driven soundtrack experimentalism, and Meat Force’s horror inspired glitch pieces just to name a few. Zebra Pulse is a four piece noise band whose wholly improvised approach to noise music combines free-form drumming with electronics such as tapes and turntables that results in a wholly organic collage-like body of sounds.
What you will hear on ‘Endings’ are plenty of off kilter drumming set to a background of strange and sometimes unsettling noises. These noises range from discordant harsh electronics to warped vocal samples. Like I mentioned at the beginning of the review, Zebra Pulse’s style works like a collage of sounds, each musician bringing together different pieces of the music, many times pieces that shouldn’t go together and build from it. Their approach to creating noise rock is much like attempting to fit a puzzle piece in a place where it shouldn’t go; instead of finding the proper pieces Zebra Pulse says “fuck it” and smashes it into place until it does fit and thats not to say that this technique doesn’t work well, in some cases it works surprisingly well, much more than you’d think a band with a drummer and three other guys playing with tape loops and record players would be able to make it work. Other times however, the songs do come of as sounding forced or just out of place.
While there are moments where the electronics do compliment the drumming for the most part they come off as sounding like improvised pieces where drums are just being played overtop of a bunch of noise. ‘Endings’ lacks cohesiveness, the album sounds more like a bunch of jams than a fully realized record but although not entirely gripping it makes for an interesting listening experience for fans of noise and experimental music who are looking for something out of the ordinary, even in genres where ordinary is an often foreign word.
Overall Rating: 6.2
Favorite Tracks: “In The Tub In The Club”, 1GB of Dada
Released: 12 October 2012