Ziúr – Antifate (PAN 120)
Ziúr’s music has always been difficult to classify. A longtime fixture in Berlin’s nightlife, the musician, producer and DJ has cut through decades of threads to arrive on a sound that accurately represents her journey. She’s sung, played guitar and drums and reduced club music to a burning cinder; with “Antifate”, her third album under the Ziúr moniker, she approaches electronic music without any preciousness or reverence to genre.
2019’s acclaimed “ATØ” re-introduced songs to her canon, contorting her vocals over an undulating electronic backdrop. On “Antifate”, she takes this idea further, pushing abstracted pop forms into mists of digital euphoria and extracting unexpected instrumental flourishes from collapsing clouds of distorted rhythm. Electronic instrumentation is melted into acoustic sounds and vice-versa, creating a breathing organic universe that’s entirely Ziúr’s.
“Antifate” is an abstract reference to the mythical land of Cockaigne, a utopia where wine flows freely and houses are made of cake, that provided escapist fantasy for medieval peasants. As the space between our private worlds widens, this fantasy becomes alluring once more – a place where we feel free, with the people who allow us that freedom. With this in mind, Ziúr crafts a soundtrack that’s fantastical and magical, hinged on the idea of closeness and connection at a time when distance is mandatory.
Ghostly voices echo wordlessly over clattering beats and dubwise bass on opener ‘Alive, Unless?’, while the album’s title track sings a more epic fanfare, with a chorus of voices echoing into glittering synthesizer pearls and volcanic kicks. “Antifate” is almost even theatrical at times, something never more evident than on the Talk Talk-esque ‘Fringe Casual’ with its dreamy piano and plucked bass and on closing track ‘The Carry’, where flute is introduced into Ziúr’s rapidly expanding narrative.
It’s tempting to say that this is the album Ziúr has been destined to make, but “Antifate” rejects this concept. Rather, this is the album that Ziúr needed to make now, surrounded by the people that have been able to offer her the place to do it. In mapping out her mythical paradise, Ziúr has produced an album that is deeply tender and inescapably human. It’s an album about freedom, and she has never sounded so free.
The album is mixed by James Ginzburg & mastered by Rashad Becker, featuring artwork by Stefan Fähler.
Hand drum on Antifate: James Ginzburg
Piano & bass on Fringe Casual: James Ginzburg
Flute on Sister Lava & The Carry: Adam Sinclair
Clarinet & saxophone on Aka Doctor Opp: Sam Wilder