Zach Hill
Face Tat


3.5
great

Review

by Brent Stephenson USER (67 Reviews)
October 18th, 2010 | 20 replies | 8,849 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: ...in which Zach Hill stops daring you to listen to his music, and actually invites you to.

1 of 1 thought this review was well written

Between his drumming with Hella and Team Sleep, and his collaborations with artists such as Marnie Stern, Omar Rodriguez Lopez, Nick Reinhart, and Wavves just to name a few, Zach Hill has been a busy, busy man as of late. Still, even with the seemingly innumerable projects Hill already has his hands in, he managed to find time to put together Astrological Straits a couple of years ago. Astrological Straits, was touted as being innovative, forward thinking, bombastic, relentless, etc... and while it was definitely all of those things and more, it was also, to put it bluntly, way too long and kind of annoying. While the album did have a few saving graces, the bulk of the material presented resembled little more than an highway traffic disaster, as Hill's spastic drum work ran head on into walls of distorted, nonsensical vocals, overbearing syntehsizers, crackpot guitar doodling, and countless out of place bleeps, bloops, squelches, and buzzes. Thankfully, Hill's newest offering, Face Tat, makes it a point to succeed where Astrological Straits failed...most of the time.

Where Astrological Straits opened up with Iambic Strays, a tune in which each separate instrumental track seemed to be fighting desperately for the audience's attention, Face Tat kicks off with Memo to the Man, a rather glorious romp through chiming keys and off kilter, staccato drum stabs and vocal lines that effortlessly morph into what I can only describe as a sort of warped latin conga beat. It's about halfway into the second track, The Primitives Talk, which is replete with aggressive hi-hat work, hypnotic vocals, swelling synthetic bass, and ethereal synth lines, that it becomes apparent just how much more controlled and focused Face Tat is musically than it's predecessor. Not only do the pieces actually feel like legitimate songs rather than drum exercises covered up with intrusive noise, but the bulk of the album is actually fun to listen to. The bridge in The Primitives Talk is one of the coolest bits of music I've heard all year, and the beat behind Dizzy from the Twins is one of the most exciting and driving drumbeats Hill has produced in recent memory. Still, Face Tat isn't without it's faults, and though they're far less numerous than those found on Astrological Straits, they are more or less in the same vein. Tracks like Jackers and The Sacto Smile present little more than rambling percussion, distorted white noise, incomprehensible shouting, and swirling torrents of irritating electronics, Ex-Ravers suffers simply from being way too fuzzy for it's own good, and the title track just resembles a lackluster Hella b-side. Still, if the listener can make it all the way to the end, they're rewarded with with the Beach Boys-esque vocal harmonies and swelling keys of Second Life.

So, is Face Tat more accessible and laid back than Astrological Straits was? Not quite. However, it is much more focused, and a much more rewarding listen (most of the time). After a few spins, you might even find yourself inadvertently tapping out the beat to Memo to the Man, or even humming the melodic little vocal/synth hook found in Dizzy from the Twins. Still, there are a few instances where it feels like the rest of the music is being beaten into a corner by Hill's overtly spastic drum work, which could actually be considered an accomplishment on Hill's part when you take into consideration just how overbearing and distorted the other musical elements can actually be.



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user ratings (49)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
marksellsuswallets
October 18th 2010



4848 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Quick write up in between reading dialogues for Philosophy. I hated Astrological Straits, but this is surprisingly listenable...good even.

Stream it at http://zachhill.bandcamp.com/

ShadowRemains
October 18th 2010



20535 Comments


emim?

pos'd btw

Digging: Banks - Goddess

marksellsuswallets
October 19th 2010



4848 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

emim?

eh?

JustJoe
October 19th 2010



1399 Comments


A few more listens and I'll be comfortable enough to rate this. Your review pretty much nailed my thoughts on the album. Pos'd.

Also, still holding out hope for "Hold Your Horse Is Vol. 2".

Emim
October 19th 2010



26618 Comments


Is it bad taste to buy my own music?

marksellsuswallets
October 19th 2010



4848 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Is it bad taste to buy my own music?

You'd just be supporting your own record label...not that you're actually Zach Hill or anything, but that was cute...

Emim
October 19th 2010



26618 Comments


Well that's high talk coming from a Mark that doesn't even sell us wallets...


Zach Hill is one of my favorite drummers though, and my name is Zach and I play the drums. Natural fit I guess.

Taxt
October 20th 2010



629 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album is nasty in the best way possible

Athom
Staff Reviewer
October 20th 2010



17204 Comments


i dont care for this at all

marksellsuswallets
October 20th 2010



4848 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I understand bro

Bitchfork
October 22nd 2010



7584 Comments


haven't listened but i love zach hill, particalarly in hella. would i like this?

Emim
October 23rd 2010



26618 Comments


Everyone loves my work.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
November 16th 2010



23806 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This was kind of a let down to be honest. I expected much more, especially after Terror Eyes The NIght was released.

DoubtGin
December 10th 2010



6749 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

oh well

MaskAtTheMasquerade
February 3rd 2011



2887 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

http://vimeo.com/18484029

if you liked this album or insane music videos check this video out. it's a remix of The Primitives Talk

Ire
October 17th 2012



41754 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

shit rox

Emim
October 17th 2012



26618 Comments


I'm here now, guys.

Ire
October 17th 2012



41754 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

sweet bump some hella threads

Emim
October 17th 2012



26618 Comments


brb

clander270
January 13th 2014



150 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Even after all this time, this is still one of my favorite albums of all time. Just cause I love Zach Hill, noise, weird music, etc...



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