Down by the docks of the River Thames, the self-titled debut album of Moon Zero (Tim Garratt) takes shape. Initially, the music abides in and around one of the wealthiest parts of London, where money is rapidly exchanged and businesses, media empires and financial markets converge under the pyramidal tip of Canary Wharf. In the opening track “Laika”, the sharp-bladed knife of fury is vented. The loop settles down and then dusts itself off for another bout, its anger perhaps targeted at the city’s fat cats who, a couple of years ago, had their new plaything in their paws: the general public.
Recorded at St George in the East, Shadwell, London, the everyday drones are washed of their sins by the overcast, rainy drones that for much of the time resemble the grey skies of London. His fog-fuelled atmospheres are at home in the serene space as they hint at bigger, wider things beyond our sight. The tape-fed drones can growl with a dirty dose of distortion, but they can equally attain a celestial body as they fill the space with a pristine, palatial harmony. It is almost stuck in two minds: one wanting to attain inner calm and enlightenment through meditation, and the other wanting to destroy everything it holds so dear to its heart. The drones are at times venomous in their assault, grinding against the unfair pursuits, the outlandish and jaw-dropping bonuses and the failures in the heart (but not the soul) of the city.
On one side of the street, a lovely row of pink, delicate flowers point towards the sun. On the other side of the street, an enlightened individual has traced an organ unique to the male species – which will go unnamed for the sake of decency – onto the grimy back windows of a white van. Nice. It’s that kind of world: in music, and in reality.
A tainted beauty.
Static crawls and, bit by bit, consumes. Notes skirt around the melody; they echo in a cavernous space of sanctuary so used to silent prayer. “A Bevan Rotation” darkens things once again. The subterranean rumble that you can hear isn’t a train whooshing through the tunnel. The vibrations are deeper than that. Like soft washes of perfumed sunlight flowing through a stained-glass window, the melody sheds a sliver of its light, and the music slowly gives up its darkness. Robed figures slowly move along the dead pews, palms raised to the sound of psalms as they cleanse away the sins of the grainy static with thick, grey clouds of incense. They mirror the skies of London. Moon Zero ushers out music unlike anything else around. These are very different hymns. (James Catchpole)