Nzʉmbe – Titubeo

Organised Music From Thessaloniki

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An unfairly slept-on masterpiece of “modern baroque love songs.”

Nzumbé (Zombie) is Miguel Prado, probably better known round ‘ere as the snappy-dressed soundsmith of Harrga and Avon Terror Corps-affiliation/affliction, though his pre-Avonian C.V. saw him collaborating with the likes of Mattin, Stephen O’Malley and Jozef Van Wissem. The LP received heavy airtime from Lena Willikens on her Lightning Conductor NTS show.

This one hit us like ten-tonne of bricks when we first encountered it in late 2015. Though primarily composed of modular electronics, guitar, keyboards and percussion, the album features extensive musical contributions from fellow Iberians.

Sparse and impossibly loud floor-tom stabs punctuate the opener ‘Serpientes y Escaleras’, striking with immediate effect. Contrasting these firing cannons is Prado’s signature, baby-soft croon. Though undeniably reminiscent of Scott Walker’s later output, it even closer resembles the murmur of fellow Galician and comrade Don The Tiger. His sultry lisps and lip-smacks are further emboldened in post-processing, no doubt a nod to Robert Ashley’s Automatic Writing. After a couple of tense minutes, drums striking almost perfectly at random, a bass-synth chug builds into a cyclonic black-hole, threatening to swallow up the whole lot.

‘Máscara de Ocelote’ jumps forth with an entirely unpredictable tabla & 2-note bassline loop. Prado’s yelps are echo’d and strung out, making me imagine an alternate reality where Suicide were birthed in rural Galicia (if only…). The flamenco loop spirals beneath wild feedback crossfire for just the right duration before the whole rhythm-track splits into double-delayed abstraction. Never heard anything else like this!

‘Aglaope’ is a perfect mood-piece; atonal guitar strum, gentle maraca shake, autumnal keys and Miguel’s ever-sullen mope. A blown-out Farfisa organ guides us out. ‘Ano Solar’ sees our hero maximising that modular kit, fragmenting bass harmonics into an utterly Hellish glitch-ballad.

‘Segare la Ragazza’ almost continues where the opener left off; a pulsing, flickering bass oscillator left to run amok. Strikingly minimal, verging on Sahko Recordings territory, Prado delivers perhaps his strongest vocalisation of the whole suite. Eventually (inevitably), digital ants gain control inside the gear and quickly shortwire all processes into an incomprehensible schmush. Just when ya think you’ve heard it all, we hit the 5-minute mark and ceremonial gongs and Oriental percussion ring out, a bone-chilling spectre haunts your every move.

‘Trace Lunas Nuevas’ subtly invokes folk traditions and features an overwhelming powerful solo for an unidentifiable electric instrument. ‘Na Man’ is the ideal closer, a perfectly-wrought eulogy. A trumpet mourns, an accordion moans, Prado barely holds it together. We’re completely ignorant to the subject matter at hand, but damn sure it mattered! Once played this at the end of the night at The Surrey Vaults to a standing ovation from John Bence. Make of that what you will...

Mastered by Giuseppe Ielasi, limited edition of 250, last copies anywhere!

1.Serpientes y Escaleras
2.Máscara de Ocelote
4.Ano Solar
5.Segare la Ragazza
6.Trece Lunas Nuevas
7.Na Man

Serpientes y Escaleras


Ano Solar

Trece Lunas Nuevas