Great Western Laymen

10.05.10 Words by: Charlie Jones

It’s time to stand up and be counted. No, I couldn’t give a penny farthing who you voted for. Music and politics should not mix (but incidentally if you are a Tory, then get to…). I’m not talking politics, I’m talking religion. Yes God is a DJ, but what are you? Creationist or Evolutionist? Depending on which side of the chalk line you find yourself will indicate where you stand on this album.

In recent months I have been privy to two schools of thought; one is people tiring of the Dubstep derivatives and wanting the next Big Bang; then there are others who welcome musical evolution and find it exciting that the wobbly bassline is crossing genres. Rudi Zygadlo’s debut album ‘Great Western Laymen’ on Planet Mu has been labelled Dubstep, Pop, Wonk and a whole host of other things. But when I interviewed him earlier this year (READ IT HERE) he said: “Yes, I share some of the same sounds, but if I was billed at a night as Dubstep people could be disappointed.” To classify this album would only sell it short, so lets just stop pigeonholing for a minute and celebrate it as a stage in music evolution.

Zygadlo hails from beneath the same grey Glasgow skies as Hudson Mohawke (HIS FAVOURITE VIDEO MUSIC HERE), Dam Mantle (REVIEWED HERE) and Konx-Om-Pax (DOWNLOAD A MIX HERE) and it would seem the supply of council juice they’ve all been drinking is heavily hydrated with some erratic, chip-chopped, off-kilter, experimental gizzzm. But to glitter them all with the same brush does them a great injustice – each has his own totally unique and idiosyncratic sound. However, there is one common denominator: they are all pushing boundaries and without exception creating the most innovative and exhilarating music at the moment. They are flying the flags of musical evolution. David Cameron isn’t the only one after change. Change is happening and these boys are our zeitgeists.

Zygadlo’s album opens with the slurring lunge and resounding thump of the magnificent Manuscripts Don’t Burn. Combine this with the dual tracked choir-like vocals and the tone of the album is laid out before you. Both A Room To Sing and Song of Praise share angelic ephemeral melodies dancing amongst steadfast reverberating backbeats. You lurch and get pushed around a impressive multitude of sounds. Not an aggressive moshpit but an irresistible swell and sway of a crowded dancefloor. Or an illicit high. Resealable Friendship, if you permit it, will submerge you beneath the depths of murky basslines while your head takes flight on the feathery beds of euphoric vocals. Add to this Filthy Logic and the whirlwind of synths entangle you until you are released into the altos of a divine chorus. There is a helluva lot going on in this album and to an impatient ear it might sound erratic. But surrender yourself and plummet deep beneath the purple passages of dense layers of sounds and samples and you will be rewarded with a finely tuned symphony from a one-man-band. A soundtrack for the chaotic decadence of a mad hatter’s tea party.

The very soul of Zygadlo’s music lies in the angelic and sublime, but it’s execution is totally debauched and filthy. Like Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s most famous poem, Kubla Khan, a description of paradise inspired by an opium trip, Zygadlo’s album is suspended between the fully submerged search for Shangri La and the dawning of the morning. Make sure you don’t judge this album by it’s artwork, it doesn’t do it justice. Zygadlo’s not just a pin-up pretty boy with floral fonts. He is the mastermind behind a captivating debut. The sheer amount of exploration between the celestial and gritty contained within this one album is astounding and you can’t help but buzz with excitement about where he is going to evolve to next.


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