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Rockin' Our Turntable: Z's 'spacesick'

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Jan 23, 2014 5:30PM

Z, the latest project from ex-Ultra Sonic Edukators frontman Matthew Zwirkoski, isn't too far a leap from the Britpop inspired songs preformed by his previous band. When the Edukators broke up in 2010, Zwikorski went to work on putting some new music together but it took him a few years before he felt it had progressed enough to set it out into the world. We remember seeing a performance from around this time period, it might have even been under the Edukator banner, but it was most obviously something far more somber and different. The performance held promise but in the end we think it was a good idea to allow the ideas to percolate and form more fully before Zwikorski "official" unveiled Z. In late 2012, he quietly began to release some music from his new project, and then, suddenly in late 2013, he officially released the band's full length debut, spacesick, for free.

We've spent quite a bit of time with the album and have come to appreciate the way it slowly blossoms under repeated listens. It's no secret that Damon Albarn is a huge influence on Zwirkoski—Edukators mined mid-era Blur for their sound and on spacesick Albarn gets a more literal shout out in the middle of one of spacesick's songs—but here Z attempts to take that fact as a point of guidance instead of mere tribute. Z delivers a sophisticated take on Britpop that seems infused more with the weariness of the next day post-party comedown with occasional flashes of the buzzy brilliance from the decadent night before.

Spacesick opens with the slow build of "Criminal" and it sets the tone for the various textures to follow as it slowly blossoms from a simple few chords into a full throated massive arm-waver, lighter-raiser. "Moment Of Your Time" stomps around like a petulant child still high off the rush of the previous song and then flows into the woozy slowdown of 'Low." The following trio of "Repo," Falling Through," and "Future Cities" strips Z's sound back to reveal an island of starker sound that abuts quite nicely against the majestic rise of "Too Much Too Late." The surging "Meeting Again" leads you to believe, if only for a second, that after a little downtime the party is about to leap back into fifth gear but you realize that it in fact precedes the last gasp of the festivities. "Old Day" creeps along for seven plus minutes and imparts a weary, but not sad, spirit. Z closes out the album beautifully with the mostly acoustic "Empire," creating a delicate final wash of quiet color before allowing the music to swell into one final technicolor blossom of sound before fading out. The party's over, but it was full of memories and all you have to do to relive them is flip the record and let the needle drop one more time.

Z plays on February 3 at Township, 2200 N California, 8 p.m., $10, 21+

You can stream and download spacesick below.