Berceuse Heroique presents Fata Morgana by Zov Zov, a project from Oliver Ho and Tommy Gillard inspired by a years-long love for the musical traditions of the Middle East. Like with their previous work, these passions are channelled into an aesthetic which is broadly related to industrial music but this time with a form so modified it verges on all-out subversion.

On “From The Ashes”, a synthesized bass echoes the harmonic overtone series of a plucked string through its distorted resonances that surge up in pitch. The effect – a droning, inert miasma – anchors the freneticism of its surroundings with a unifying flourish. What on first listen may seem like copious distortion functions in this context more like an impressionistic representation of natural harmonics. Elsewhere, on “The Souls”, fragments of melodic intervals derived from non-Western modalities are chopped and sliced to construct a queasy melody, its dissonant quality emphasised even more by the crazed trills that embellish its contours and lop-sided cadence.

There are two broad approaches that unify the 8 tracks on Fata Morgana. The first is a deep debt to Middle-Eastern percussion which take on a central role on nearly every track on the LP but spring to life most in the chimes of opener Casting and the driving doumbek syncopations of Burning & The Sands. The second is in how Zov Zov captures chaos; their sense for musical drama is most obvious in wild left-turns, the rejection of repetitive hooks and most importantly in the patchwork, through-composed nature of their approach to musical structure. It makes for some of their most evocative work, and instils a sense of uncanny disquiet not unlike the mirage that makes up the LP’s namesake.

For those who get a copy of the first edition, you’ll be treated to an additional 7’’ by Desert Burials, another of Oliver’s side projects. A fitting accompaniment to Fata Morgana, the Desert Burials 7’’ references ‘80s punk & funk with a contemporary twist – for fans of Cabaret Voltaire, Raime and any of Ho’s Broken English Club material.

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