Review Summary: Welcome to painting class.
Ever wonder how some musicians can arbitrarily throw noise at a wall and somehow even their chaos sticks? Like a whimsical misdirection that screams “look at this mess”, but the real art is what lies underneath the cacophony. Enter Zaäar and the cleverly artistic and no less unpredictable Magická Džungl’a
. Although since the act itself largely consists of Neptunian Maximalism members who’s 2020 effort, Eons
threw deliberate jazz dimorphism into a lush world of drone and guitar driven antics one could expect that Magická Džungl’a
would knock its listeners six ways til Sunn O))). Comparatively, it’s clear that this is lesser the Eons 2.0
that fans would probably expect from an act known for material on another project (even if the lineup is largely the same), instead Magická Džungl’a
is a free jazz landscape who’s entities exist entirely at the calling of their own whims. Basically, it’s a cosmic clusterfu
ck of droning repositories built to twist whatever soul (tortured or free-range; you decide) that happens across the wider musical horizon. That artwork was our first indication that this would be whack.
As such I can’t help but liken Magická Džungl’a
to the musical equivalent of a Pollock painting; colours and tones strewn across space...and yet you can’t help but appreciate just how every chord and hypnotic tone just works
. Even as the twenty-two minute, introductory “Respiration Aérobie” ebbs in; cosmic refrain and easy tones it becomes easy to forget that this hour and a half journey (split into two halves) is quite that long. The term easy listening comes to mind, but the term is forgotten by the time the saxophone lines chirp in and out of the tribal, near-Middle Eastern soundscapes. At times “Respiration Aérobie” is an opium soaked dance through the desert; camels walking on their hind legs while cartoon elephants share light percussion and saxophone duties without middle beginning or end. “Multicellularité Des Cyanobactéries” takes liberty with the aesthetic of the twenty-two minute opener. Chimes dance above atmospheric climes, leaving only dry ambient leanings that dissolve the occultish tones for something darker, perhaps with sinister intent. As a listener I’m still transported, but I can’t determine the course or heading. Magická Džungl’a
’s first disc closes as it begins; whimsical occult jingles and jangles pave the way for more substantial. By that I mean that the saxophone stands just a little taller in the mix, shifting both the album’s pace and larger mood swings.
The record’s second disc continues in much the same vein as the first. However moments of separation do occur. Whether it’s the space immersion of “Explosion Cambrienne” and the clanging of metal instruments together, that disquiets the air, or the looser free jazz experimentation of the twenty minute closer, “Grande Oxydation” and its mish-mash of monochromatic instrumentation glorified for those who have the stomach to sit through ninety minutes of similar sonic portraits. As much as I want to say that ZAÄAR’s Magická Džungl’a
is transportive enough to carry even the most jaded listener along its path I am fully aware that not everyone will appreciate the folly and grandeur (like that of the Pollock art I mentioned earlier). Ultimately, there’s enough twists and turns here to tie a listener into a knot, discouraging from trying to progress any further into what Magická Džungl’a
actually has to offer. But maybe that’s the point? Just maybe the listener isn’t supposed to soak in all the brush strokes and haphazard blotches that coat the canvas ZAÄAR is working on. Perhaps a listener is meant to pick up on the small pieces of nuance that arrive on a fourth or even twelfth listen. All I know is most won’t have the dedication or the patience to meek out every nook and cranny that Magická Džungl’a
propounds. It’s a study that this magic jungle
will go without, no matter how prestigious the artists behind such a project.