By Dusty Ray
It takes a certain amount of daring to release an improvised EP that consists of only one eighteen-minute track. True Aristocrats take on this task with impressive gallantry and amazing instrumental talent, creating an aesthetic gesture complete with the decadence of aristocracy.
Zikkurat Thaurmatuge opens with a frantic conversation between Tyler Lindgren’s machine gun drumming and Will Wayland’s virtuoso guitar playing. This sets the vague and paranoid mood of the EP; at times it sounds like The Ventures on PCP, and at others it bangs through with the speed and aggression of Hella.
There is a certain order to this madness; the piece moves from laid-back psychedelic refrains into massive outbursts while keeping a semblance of symmetry. A strange balance is found, and what appear to be individual songs materialize.
Though the compositional experimentation is impressive in its own right, it is by no means the highlight of Zikkurat Thaurmatuge. The musical skill of the band is what makes this EP so great. Lindgren has a keen ear for polyrhythm, falling off the beat with uncanny ease while weaving through the melodies wailed by Wayland. The guitar work of Wayland is a collage of sounds and influences: He shreds with a technical ability that does not overshadow his knack for improvisation.
This EP is unabashedly, yet refreshingly, anti-pop. Zikkurat Thaurmatuge is highly recommended for musicians as well as anyone with an appreciation for the experimental. With this release, the True Aristocrats have created a musical caste of their own.
By Dusty Ray