4 out of 5
Label: Skin Graft Records, Freeland Records
Produced by: Zeek Sheck
An (I think) oddball narrative on some mind-controlling race strung across outre collages of spoken / sung mantras and rants and tribal drumming, this “remix” of the CD version of Good Luck Suckers – which I’ve yet to listen to – is much more engagingly focused than the last Zeek Sheck release I checked out (perhaps owing to that narrative), and, excepting some stretches of noise, could actually pass as music for the most part. If not for the off-kilter delivery of the “lyrics,” you could sneak it in with some artsier experimental efforts from modern times – those featuring minimalist percussion, punctuating strings, and flashes of electronics / ambience; Kranky / Constellation / Tzadik are calling with similar artists. But that’s not ZS. No, taking a glance at the rambling “liner notes” on the back, which may or may not parallel the narrative, and taking into account album credits such as “Mr. 6-J-10: makeup” – not to mention the humorous but disturbing cut-and-paste style album art – this is a band of a different breed, operating with some kind of quirk that’s smiling the whole time, though you can’t tell if that’s due to some joke you’re not getting, or because the players are mentally disturbed.
But whereas my former Zeek listen suggested that mentality was employed for a randomizing effect, Good Luck Remix – which, by the way, bears no markings of a “typical” remix, and is apparently a selection of new material / rearranged material from the aforementioned CD – gives the experience a very creepy undertone, infused with a good sense of forward momentum that has the sections of sounds and ambient moments feeling properly sequenced, “building” up to the mental takeover of our narrator.
In this story, though, while there’s emoted panic leading up to the event, on the B-side – after the takeover – it’s somewhat more mellow; less engaged. The soundscapes are still focused, but some of the emotion has (purposefully) been removed, which gives it a bit less drive. It’s an interesting juxtaposition, but I definitely think the A-side is more directly grabbing. Regardless, the overall experience is one that, for those open to this style – imagine a less aggressive Brise-Glase, or a less oblique You Fanastic, to put it in Skin Graft references – encourages cycling through it a few times, getting more and more used to its flow, and setting us up to explore where else Zeek Sheck may’ve gone from here…