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Illusion of Safety & Z'EV

Illusion of Safety & Z'EVFinally seeing the light of day after two years of production related delays, with the recordings dating back even longer than that, this collaboration between Daniel Burke (IOS) and the late Stefan Weisser (Z'EV) could almost be a time capsule, except the sound of it is entirely timeless. Recorded and mixed between 2008 and 2012, the two lengthy pieces that make up this self-titled album clearly bear the mark of both individuals, but mesh together beautifully in the very different sounding sides of the record.

Feast of Hate and Fear / Cipher Productions / Oxidation / Korm Plastics / Drone / Personal Archives / Public Eyesore / Tribe Tapes / Liquid Death / No Part of It

Although a mail-based collaboration, Z'EV and IOS's work complement each other perfectly, with the acoustic percussion from the former weaved into the electronics and field recordings of the latter, and both artists having a hand in further mixing and processing afterwards. These elements are clear on both side-long pieces that make up the album, but structurally the two halves differ rather notably.

The first piece, "A Strategy of Transformation," is the more chaotic of the two. Jerky stop/starts, abrupt percussive outbursts, and oddly processed field recordings constantly flow and keep things moving, albeit in a extremely unpredictable way. Disorienting in its structure, the piece drastically swings from violent metallic clattering to subtle synth tones and into processed field recordings. Harsh, pummeling layers of noise are quickly pulled back to leave only open space before blasting off again. At the end some of the few clearly discernable sounds come in, mostly the plucked strings of a guitar (I assume) and banging metal, but the most of what precedes that is pure ambiguity.

The other side, "Smaller Revolutions," features the two working instead with sustained, elongated structures as opposed to the chaos of the other half. Bright electronic tones underscore metallic percussion bathed in heavy reverb. Electronics tend to stay consistent, with other layers brought in and out, although less abruptly than the other side. Fragments of conversation, what could be the rhythmic clattering of a train, and the sounds of birds all appear. It might be comparably more structured, but it equally as challenging as the first half.

Apparently, this is only a portion of the recordings Burke and Weisser exchanged, so I would imagine more work is likely forthcoming. But even with just this record, the two have produced a work that balances complexity and harshness extremely well. Never full on brutal, nor purely ambient, but drifts nicely between those two extremities, and the differing structures kept it a fascinating work from the beginning all the way to the end.

Listen here.