Over the last twenty years, Robin Aoki’s band downy has pioneered a certain strain of fiddly, knotty math rock, teasing ever more impressive and intricate melodies and rhythms out of a genre already renowned for its complexity and convolution. But downy has never produced anything so radical as zezeco’s Sanzen. Seeing Aoki collaborate with Okinawa-based techno artist Manukan, here the percussion is scattered but meticulous, contrasting with roaring distortion and carefully crafted sonic textures. The forms are free and mottled; industrial belches and groans rub shoulders with fizzling drones and eerie ambient spaces. Sanzen feels at once totally chaotic and firmly under control, an exceptional collaboration from two rigorously capable, accomplished musicians.
Listen to “ZEN” below.