Sometimes, music stops sounding like music and more so becomes a really neat piece of art. For Israeli musician, Claus Zinger, this definitely holds true. Part indie, part folk, part soundtrack for an art film –Claus Zinger has no restraints. As it stands, when StGA first featured a song of his in February, there was a disclaimer –he admitted to not being the best musician. Despite not creating the most amazing ‘music’, somehow Claus Zinger has created some of the most compelling art as of recent.
If You Only Knew risks being completely wretched. The album is painful to listen to. The layers of instruments never quite blend, Claus’ voice resembles that of a dying cat, and the general tone is just plain weird. The entirety of the album is reminiscent of The Elephant Man. Claus Zinger’s music is completely ugly. The grotesque has a charm to it though –and If You Only Knew is captivating in the weirdest way. Zinger comes off as a very hurt or maybe even demented individual as he whines and cries into the microphone. The music itself gives off a similar eerie atmosphere. The entirety is impossible to stop listening to –perhaps the secret lies within the driving force behind the music.
If You Only Knew is honest. There doesn’t seem to be much talent, the amount of skill that was applied to the album is questionable. If You Only Knew is an experiment in self-expression. Normally music that receives such harsh words is seen as a trainwreck for very different reasons. Musicians try to be cool, and produce something horrible. Claus Zinger is different. If he wanted to be cool, he could have just picked four chords. Instead we have a very texturally full album, with some very simple yet very powerfully sung lyrics.
Really taking in the silver lining –the album does feature a few charming tunes. For example, the third track which shares the album’s title can easily win someone over. The drum beat is bland and the piano chords seem strangely placed. The dark vocals really give off some horror-story like feelings. The song is almost violating. At the same time, there’s something reminiscent of artists like Klaus Nomi to be found in this song. Claus Zinger sounds like a genuine outlier, and it first really shines through in “If You Only Knew.”
“Under The Trees” is the most easily digestible and at the same time really enjoyable song on the entire album. In a way, Claus Zinger takes on an almost Syd Barrett sound and plays out a romantic little ditty. The simplicity of the song, piano and acoustic guitar, the lines, “Under the trees; this is where I want to be with you,” the song is too much –a completely unexpected twist, a break from the dark. Claus Zinger will go from astonishing you in the worst way, to placing a happy smile on your face.
Claus Zinger’s If You Only Knew isn’t very good, it even risks being unenjoyable –but it is not inutile. Claus Zinger’s album is more than likely going to become the most polarizing mess of an album as the years pass. Perhaps the album wasn’t accessible enough for this review, and maybe some other listeners will struggle. Claus Zinger is good, because he doesn’t mind being bad. If You Only Knew holds merit as a fantastic work of expression.