When Daniel Jacobson, aka ZoiD, was putting together a previous compilation record using jazz musicians, the musicians must have wondered how on earth it was all going to gel together.
ZoiD’s music is so texturally rich, with many electronic beeps and snarls that fitting in the natural timbre of jazz between the electronic bits seemed over zealous—yet it worked in such an uncomplicated way. It was simply electro and jazz living harmoniously together. It even ‘gets you humming’ said the Irish times. The trade-off, however, was simple. ZoiD restrained himself a lot of the time. He stuck by using minimal electronic noises, often dictating the rhythm and structure of a tune, letting the jazz instruments carry the emotional pulse.
With his latest, Lyphyz Drumdrops, Jacobsen is completely working alone, and one suspects a heck of a lot more free. Not resting on a specific genre throughout, the four tracks that make up this short EP are all different from one another. Individualism is at the forefront of this new work.
First track, “jazzfishegg3,” has an old Autechre vibe about it—something ripped from LP5. Its energy is snappy, and there are noisy padded sounds panned across the stereo field. As the track progresses ZoiD strips the tune down into something minimal, with a dance-techno beat as the focus, put alongside psychedelic synth noises. “East Berlin 1966″ is one jaunty, disjointed number. As a guitar plays throughout, the rhythmic drum machine spits a beat out, the samples sounding entirely made by someone making the noises with their mouth. It all comes together as a perfectly sequenced beat-box alongside out-of-synch guitar chords.
Indeed, this is experimental territory. “Richman’s Folly” is similar to ZoiD’s earlier work with the jazz musicians. Central to the track is jazz musicianship, and ZoiD plays second fiddle, working around the jazz timbre with an arsenal of electronic noises and sequences. The difference here is that he’s much more manipulative in comparison to his previous work; the entire tune speeds up and slows down as he wishes, with glitch drum sequencing overtaking the tunes rhythmic undercurrent. Final tune, “rye,” is an upbeat little number. It has a ukulele frantically strumming chords alongside a synth-padded keyboard, playing a complicated melody. This is not so far from chiptune territory—the sounds of “rye” are mostly lo-fi and played at a high tempo—with a lot of the tune feeling like it’s intended for a videogame chase sequence. It’s delightfully quirky in full flow.