What started as an improvisational jam-session has turned into a wild, loud, and wee bit eccentric duo called Zorch, consisting of Shmu (on drums, omnichord, and vocals) and Zac Traeger (keyboard, omnichord, and vocals). Each of their improvisational recordings has been reimagined, refined, and remade into a brand new full length album: Zzoorrcchh.
Getting right to business, these two pack a punch. From a vocal standpoint, the two create entrancing melodies and often interesting lyrics. Notably, “Giant surprise! We are lizards in disguise, and we’re controlling your lives,” from the song “Zut Alors,” stands out big time. From a more instrumental standpoint, I have no clue what’s going on. No really, never have I heard a keyboard, a synth, and a set of drums sound so amazing in my life. Zorch breaks the idea of what’s to be expected and delivers some sort of mathy, noisy, just plain crazy rock experience that you won’t get elsewhere.
Also worth noting is how well composed the album is. Zzoorrcchh is by all means a great album for a ton of reasons, but almost most importantly is the little things. Even if you’re not a rock fan, anybody with an appreciation for good music should seriously listen to Zzoorrcchh. At times, it’s just the neatly placed sounds that add to a song. Sometimes it’s just the buildups and transitions between tracks. A lot of times it really comes down to the way the song itself is built, with a change in tempo or change in key to send just the right message. Which leads us to major point number two.
Music is emotion-evoking by all means, but few musicians can deliver the way Zorch does. The duo utilizes the maximum extent of their creativity to really pull you in. The entire album is like a series of short and incredibly unique films or books. Zzoorrcchh isn’t just music you listen to, but music you experience. It’s absorbing, it’s infectious, it’s plain brilliant. You’re being a told a story through a series of notes and chords.
In particular, the band does their miracle-making through approach. Each song sounds significantly different, and more importantly, incredibly unique. The mood is constantly changing, and a new chapter is constantly being told.
At times, Zzoorrcchh comes off as tribal in sound. For instance, the third and fourth songs fit together, and what started with a chanting group of voices turns into a pulsating beat. The fourth track, “This is the Way it Goes,” shows off how versatile and how stylistic Zorch is. The pulsating beat and atmospheric flurry of synth sounds create an audio-scape world of jungle gods armed to the teeth with instruments.
Now the obvious rebuttal to this kind of variation is, “Well that doesn’t sound like a very coherent album!” And even I would complain about it myself; but somewhere within all the musical intricacies and composition is a little bit of magic. Not once did I think to myself, “Boy, I have no clue what the hell is going on with this album,” because truth be told, it all fits incredibly well together. Zorch may enjoy experimenting with various styles but their particular sound remains the same.
In conclusion: holy crap, Zzoorrcchh is great. There’s a little something for everyone in this album. Music nerds have something to gawk at, math/noise rock fans have something brand new to indulge in, and everyone else has something just plain awesome to get all wrapped up in.