Lex Records has released experimental instrumentalist and producer Boom Bip’s newest album Zig Zaj. Known for his remixes of artists from Mogwai to Danny Elfman, it’s no surprise that Boom Bip’s latest release features a slew of guest musicians like Franz Ferdinand’s Alex Kapranos and the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ new guitarist Josh Klinghoffer. These collaborative tracks, mixed with Boom Bip’s solo instrumental work, create an album that appeals to a variety of styles, ranging from upbeat synthpop to ambient dissonance while maintaining an overall consistency of sound.
Though the genre seems to fluctuate from song to song, the unifying experimental factor gives this album a sense of fluidity. The Zen-like chanting and melodic guitar line of “All Hands” is juxtaposed by the pulsating beat and dissonance of “Pele,” but their ethereal elements show that they are cut from the same cloth. The upbeat “Goodbye Lovers and Friends,” featuring Kapranos, and the more melancholy “Do As I Do,” featuring Cate Le Bon, achieve the same effect as the guest artists’ vocals share similar styles of timbre.
The biggest pitfall of Zig Zaj seems to be Boom Bip’s inclusion of extraneous music that does little to enhance the overall tone of the album. “Tumtum” is too stagnant and flat to be drawn out for nearly ten minutes and could easily be confused for a website’s background music. The demonic voice that speaks of political uprising on “New Order” comes off as excessive, begging the question of why vocalist Luke Steele couldn’t have just included the lines in his lyrics instead.
In the end, Zig Zaj is still a successful and interesting mix of minimalist music with a contemporary sound. It’s clear that Boom Bip’s latest album is nonetheless a solid compilation for listeners who enjoy music’s ability to have an emotional grasp on them by simply appealing to the “feelings” of sounds.