Caspar Brötzmann


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Just the thought of pairing Caspar Brötzmann and Page Hamilton has some intense implications. Independently, both had been sonically investigating the ambiguous and organic for years before recording Zulutime. Brötzmann, whose spirit of musical investigation was perhaps handed down genetically by his father (free jazz phenom Peter Brötzmann), had been actively working soundscapes since he was a teenager in Germany. Page Hamilton, however, is most notably recognized as an indie rocker in the early-'90s band Helmet. On any Helmet album, one will find sonic explorations of a sort, albeit constricted into a 4/4 time measure. Helmet was Hamilton's baby, but it could be argued that grungecore was selling his classical training a little short. More closely related projects could be found with his collaborations in Glenn Branca's wall-of-sound symphonies.

Zulutime is a great meeting between two guitarists of a like mind. The sound is deep, resonant, and confrontational -- but also contemplative. The two waste no time in hitting the listener hard with aggressive feed and fuzzy distorted chords. At the halfway mark, the ironically titled "Hit Single" takes the listener to warmer places, letting some open space take over for aggression by means of slight feedback and the tapping of muted strings. It is a much welcomed change, as the first half can be a little overbearing. There's no time signature here, so the musicians flow quite independent of each other, but the trance-inducing result is as cohesive as this kind of stuff gets.

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