Album Reviews

Ziúr – Eyeroll

(Hakuna Kulala) UK release date: 28 July 2023

Say what you will about the Berlin-based producer’s latest record, it’s certainly distinctive

Ziúr - Eyeroll Sound has the capacity to delight, entrance, reassure and stimulate, but it can also unsettle. Listeners are remarkably perceptive when something sounds a bit wrong to them, and unwanted noise can be impossible to ignore. This is to say that Ziúr has packed her latest album full of shrieks, scratches, croaks and erratic bumps, creating a truly visceral body of work with the help of several like-minded guests.

Titular track Eyeroll kicks off the record, featuring Elvin Brandhi’s digitally-altered exclamations which transition from abstract noises to a chanted refrain – “I/eye roll the shittiest cigarettes”. We have something approaching a groove in the latter half, but it’s regularly disrupted by clunky cross-rhythms and blasts of white noise. Elsewhere Iceboy Violet adapts a more conventional tone, rapping short verses (“electric touch, electric push / plug in, electric alchemy / please make skin out of this plastic”) in between various yowls and moans.

Hand percussion is present on all songs, its animated rhythms and resonant timbre particularly dominating Pique. Tumbling triplets rub up against distorted bass hits and the type of rapid hi-hats one might expect to hear in trap music, plus the absence of vocals makes for a refreshing change. Nontrivial Differential rides some furtive plucks and snaking trumpet melodies to a banging, rattling conclusion, an experience that would be much more enjoyable without the re-appearance of Brandhi (she contributes to roughly a third of the album all told).

Not much on Eyeroll could be described as ‘pleasant’ but the chords on Hasty Revisionism qualify, as grandiose chimes mingle with plodding kick-drums and a surprisingly stable 6/8 metre. While on other tracks hand percussion holds the arrangement together, here shambling, intermittent hits are the contrast to a mostly quantised rhythm section. Lacrymaturity closes the record and features some enjoyably woozy guitar: the hiccupping notes sound almost comic in this context, especially as they’re pitch-bent beyond all recognition in the final seconds.

Ziúr is clearly sticking to a consistent framework for this album, and at various points the sound design is very impressive. Indeed, the final few tracks have an appealing sense of character to them, harnessing the potential of organic and programmed elements intertwining. The rest of Eyeroll is so abrasive that it’s hard to love, but fans of experimental electronica could certainly do worse than give it a listen.

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