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Thursday, November 3, 2022

#49 Flork Reviews: ZTB - s p i r i t u s . m u n d i (2022)

 


ZTB - s p i r i t u s . m u n d i (2022) by Ondrey Zintaer, Paolo Tognola and Filippo Bøtøx Cocozza

By Flork
 

Lately, the Florkster has seen a rise in experimental and avantgarde projects on the Slovak alternative music scene. Why this is so, is a good question, but maybe not so difficult to answer. Musicians all around the world have traditionally enjoyed exploring different paths and corners of various genres and musical experiments, often adding much needed breaths of fresh air to their style or lyrical themes. Solo and side projects are useful opportunities for developing and experimenting with one’s own creative and expressional purposes. Sometimes they strengthen the original band while other times leading to irreversible damage. It’s kind of like betting on a longshot horse, with long-term success being on the higher end of the odds. Still, for whatever reasons they may have, whether they are fostering feelings of stagnation or just have extra time on their hands, individuals continue to break away from the pack and venture to do their own thing. And after 2 years of persistent lockdowns and social distancing, there is no doubt that many individual musicians took the time away from rehearsals and collaborations to hone their musical skills and explore their creative abilities.

Now, I cannot say whether ZTB was formed during the pandemic or afterwards, as I have no information regarding its beginnings. But what I do know is that it’s a far different sound from the band Ničiteľ where Ondrey Zintaer sings and which I reviewed earlier this year. Ničiteľ is an amazing dark bass and drum core band that have been around for several years, and they themselves released the epic “Anna” just before the summer of this year. Interestingly, they too formed as a side project from the band Qualludes. And so, when I received the opportunity last week to review ZTB’s 11 + 11 minutes of sound and somewhat organised noise, I jumped on it right away.

ZTB is formed by Ondrey Zintaer, the singer of Ničiteľ and a couple of his mates from Italy. What surprised me was that spiritus.mundi is an experimental blend of jazzgrind with moments of harsh noise. It also includes an interesting logic regarding the order of the tracks, with every second track having the title Chemical reaction 1,2,3, or 4. Moreover, with the exception of Chemical reaction 4, every track is short, ranging from just several seconds (Nothing new – 00:28) to three minutes and change (Darkness Comes – 3:11). Nothing new starts the album off with the peaceful sounds of a slow piano and sax duet, however, the silence is killed by Chemical reaction 1 with its fierce and chaotic mix of “every instrument available.” It’s a type of catharsis with a “get it out of your system” feel, pure fun with a bit of unplanned genius thrown in. Chemical reaction 2 is somewhat similar, but actually really cool with hardcore elements competing with the soothing sounds of the saxophone and high hat of the drums. In fact, there is a lot of this throughout the album, interspersed with heavier, crustier moments like in Chemical reaction 3 (my favourite track). The final track, Chemical reaction 4 matches the previous 11 minutes and leans more to the jazz end of the jam session with a crash and destroy ending.

It’s obvious that after listening to spiritus.mundi that none of it can be reproduced live on stage, since it’s mostly an improvised jam session of good friends chilling and making music together. Yet it has been tweaked here and there in the studio, especially at the mixing stage, and these modifications catch the listener’s attention. Overall, I think that guys in ZTB have amazing talent and should continue creating those amazing chemical reactions, since they all contain the necessary elements.

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