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Z'ev - 5.14.93

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Artist: Z'ev

Album: 5.14.93

Label: C.I.P.

Review date: Jan. 13, 2004

I was surprised to receive this little 3" CD single for review, as it's been quite a while since I've heard or seen anything from Z'ev. A member of the original "industrial" cadre (if we go by the Re/Search Industrial Culture Handbook list), Z'ev was one of the earliest artists to extensively utilize metal percussion, from barrels to pipes. I was fortunate enough to see him play a show with Rhythm & Noise in San Francisco in the late ’80s, and it was quite a performance. The band blew the venue's power temporarily, at which point Z'ev looked up, realized he didn't give a shit about electricity, and gave us a five-minute percussion solo until power was restored. It was the highlight of the show.

This single, recorded at New York's Performing Garage in 1993, is divided into two tracks, the first nine minutes and the second 11 minutes in length. The first fades in with reverberating, deep metal drumming, a regular mid-tempo rhythm. Midway in, the tempo has increased slightly, and the density has increased significantly. Heavy, insistent metallic clanging and banging like being inside a church bell tower during an earthquake. The recording is somewhat murky, but the performance still makes itself felt. The varying timbres of the metal gives Z'ev's work its dynamics – the crashing metals at the end of the first track are a perfect example.

The second piece almost sounds like it might have been recorded at a different time or place; the bangs and clangs sound closer and less soaked in natural reverb. But presumably, given the name of the single, this was recorded on the same date. In any case, it begins with a less-insistent rhythm, almost a free-flowing series of clashing metallic hits. Towards the end, the piece picks up momentum until it's a constant rolling cascade of drumming, then drops back into a less-cluttered, open break before Z'ev takes it up and down into a rollercoaster of intensity. As a demonstration of the many variations on metal percussion, it's a convincing case.

This is limited to only 500 copies, so it may be difficult to find, but if you're a Z'ev fan you'll certainly want this. If you're curious, it's worth your while to hunt it down, as it's fine work by a longtime master. Hopefully this little reminder will give some label the urge to reissue his long out of print albums (especially My Favorite Things).

By Mason Jones

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