For Headphone Musics, Z'ev plowed through countless old tapes and more recent recordings to assemble a work that deeply immerses the listener in a timeless, all-encompassing Z'ev sound experience. The liner notes are limited to three notices to listeners, broadcast DJs, and reviewers. The one addressed to the latter group is the most direct: "If you can't be bothered to listen to this music using headphones, please don't bother to write about it." These six pieces, all in the seven- to nine-minute range, are very stereophonically active and much more satisfying indeed if listened to through headphones; each one has been created by assembling as many as two dozen different source recordings into half-patchworks, half-kaleidoscopes. Z'ev's website offers details about the whos, hows, and whens of the original recordings, but the CD booklet eschews all that info, letting the listener ask questions or ignore them and relinquish to the sounds. Metallic percussion is at the heart of most pieces, but there are also ethereal voices (male and female) and plenty of electro-acoustic shapes and sounds that lie somewhere between academic acousmatic art (Francis Dhomont comes to mind when listening to "Headphone Music 6") and vintage industrial music. Despite the diverse sound sources used and major differences among the pieces, the six of them unmistakably form a whole, like variations on a main theme that could be sonic memory or the illusory passage of time. The illusion is further nourished by the inclusion of "As Is As," an electro-acoustic work from 1976 (derived from what seems to be a sound poem) that shares very strong similarities with the brand-new "Headphone Music" pieces.
Headphone Musics, 1 to 6 Review
by François Couture