Do you ever unsuspectingly put on something and immediately feel like someone would’ve forcibly rammed their way through your eardrums to tear, stretch, and twist your brain until all that’s left is an unrecognizable mush of fat and proteins that slowly starts to drip out of your cranial cavities while you’re staring forward with a blank expression on your face, somehow feeling rejuvenated and exhilarated yet unable to do anything about it in the wake of this grand lobotomy that just transpired? Well, you will.
I went through the above whirlwind when I first hit play on the new album from Zohastre, Abracadabra, after it landed to my inbox some while back. I’m not exaggerating in the slightest when I say that I honestly have never, and I mean never, heard anything that embodies the meaning of the word wild to this effect. Abracadabra is an utter doozy, and I’m happy to bring you the full premiere of it today, ahead of its official release via zamzamrec and La République des Granges on the 12th of this month. So strap in, stay hydrated, and dig into the extraordinary world of Zohastre‘s making from below;
From the first seconds of the opener “Dune” onward, you understand all of my preceding, rather hyperbolic but tangible blabbering. You’ll also understand perfectly well when I say that Zohastre is the kind of entity that you either absolutely love or steer completely clear from, with nothing in between the two extremes. Granted that if you’re here, you most likely have a mind open enough for Abracadabra, or at the very least are willing to subject yourself to all kinds of weird and wonderful things. These two aspects keep lingering on the surface of Zohastre‘s starlit ocean of tonalities, and I know that after you adjust to the barrage, discovering the robust currents seething below will strip you of any disinclination and poof, just like that, it takes you with it for good.
The French-Italian duo consisting of Heloise Thibault (electronics) and Olmo Guadagnoli (drums) manage to conjure such perception altering and psychosis inducing vibrations throughout Abracadabra‘s 35 minutes is impressive and borderline unbelievable, let alone inexplicable in their caliber. The duo manages to stretch all imaginable limits just to their breaking point, creating a persisting tension, that never really falls apart or even decreases. Right there, on the precipice of human endurance, lies Zohastre and their contorting appearance, dissolving and moulding the known reality into one of their own. The eclectic concoction brings fluently together elements from electronic music, krautrock, psych, noise, dream gaze, and a multitude of others I’ll refrain from listing in order to avoid making this but a list of genres. Zohastre play a blend of everything, plain and simple.
Normally I’d go into varying lengths of detail regarding every song on the album, either in-depth or in a more grazing manner, but doing that for Abracadabra doesn’t feel necessary — in fact it’d be completely futile. I’ve had the album on repeat for two weeks, and even though I’ve made drafts for each song, characterizing them and bringing up some key points in each, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t keep the wall of text succinct enough, but began wandering to all kinds of nooks and crannies. I still could do that later, and maybe I will, but there’s way, way too much nuances and details to go over, as each ten second snippet could easily make up a paragraph, and I’d rather have you experience all of those insane seconds yourself first.
I know for a fact that there exists a realm of music that entails rogue creations, and I also know for a fact that Zohastre will slip right into that particular place with Abracadabra. As the title suggests, there’s something magical running in the act’s veins, and it’s no sleight of hand either, but something real and unfathomable. It’s the kind of magic that is so alluring that even though it at first leaves you gawking at emptiness like an idiot with no idea whatsoever about what to do with yourself, it quickly beckons from the beyond and invites you to replay it, time and time again.
As said, Abracadabra is out next week, and you can grab one of the exquisite physical versions alongside digitals from here or here, and be sure to follow Zohastre over here to stay up to date on the duo’s further shenanigans.