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The Way of the Animal Powers

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Album Review

It seems that collaboration is a key element of the Zu aesthetic. They've done albums with Eugene Chadbourne and Roy Paci, and an album with Mats Gustafsson (How to Raise an Ox) was scheduled to hit the same day as The Way of the Animal Powers, their collaboration with cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm. This is aggressive improvisation, pitched somewhere between rock and jazz, with lurching rhythms that always supply forward momentum but with an ear tuned more to tone and texture than melody. The big meaty electric bass sound is in your face, and Lonberg-Holm continues to display his versatility by conjuring up some of the most abrasive cello playing you're likely to have heard (in other contexts, he can play as elegantly as any classical cellist). Lonberg-Holm seems to alternate reacting to and with the sax and bass, while the drummer keeps pushing everyone. There is some excellent group interaction, but this set is not for the faint of heart. However, if you enjoy noisy improv, The Way of the Animal Powers might just do the trick.


Formed: Rome, Italy

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

An avant-garde jazz and rock trio out of Rome, Italy, Zu feature a punk-informed free jazz style that defies easy categorization. Formed in the late '90s, the trio consists of Luca T. Mai on alto and baritone sax, Massimo Pupillo on bass, and Jacopo Battaglia on drums. Ever touring and prolific, Zu have a lengthy album discography that includes Bromio (1999), The Zu Side of Eugene Chadbourne (2000) and Motorhellington (2001), both with Eugene Chadbourne, Igneo (vinyl LP in 2002 and CD in 2005), Radiale...
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The Way of the Animal Powers, Zu
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