Trembling Air

12Z, 2016

There seems to be new genre terrain opening up, triangulated somewhere between post-rock, electro-acoustic composition and improvisation. Pigeon-holing these albums is getting increasingly hard. To parse them completely you'd need to know the methods of performance as well as the construction and even the intention of the creators—none of which is information that is always available. For lack of a better term, I've been calling these records, simply, vague terrain. It's descriptive not so much of the music but the confusing experience of listening to them. The tricky thing is, with such a confusing stew of styles and influences, it can be hard to assess them. What are the measures that makes one listenable while another falls flat? 

The best answer I have is: the medium and the content have to tell a compelling narrative. Does it define it's own terms and inhabit the world it creates fully? Does it surprise you, but invite you to be in on the surprise. With Trembling Air, I would say One-Two-Zed does most of the above. They deploy ambient electronics, industrial noise, downtempo beat patterns and field recordings—but the results never feel like hackneyed collage or hodge podge. Motifs are reprised across both sides of the vinyl and the songs drift into one another, and yet you don't lose your place in this new land. Even after multiple listens, my attention doesn't drift (even if I'll be damned if I can remember what's coming up in the next few seconds, from the last listen). I don't know exactly what story they are telling, but their narrative is gripping.