Like the audio from what can only imagine to be from the trenches of war, ZK’s material entitled ‘Isilo’ acts as a barrage of weaponry and it’s vicious outcomes. Like repeated stereo, foreground and background explosives that cause massive mounds of earth and material to fly in the air, fall and decay, Polish visual and abrasive sound artist Zuzanna Kuzmicka has, for her first label release, created a cacophony from a perfectly orchestrated battlefield. My first listens to the ‘Isilo’ material left me spellbound over the achieved sound as Zuzanna’s sense of drama and timing that punches, cracks and connects from all layers may be one of the finest harsh noise releases ever recorded. The following notes from Ted Byrnes and William Hutson only further the evidence:
“The ZK material strikes me as somewhat of an enigma. It also just plainly strikes me. It is glacial but agile, densely layered but completely articulate, feels visceral but also feels as though it has been created with electro-acoustic compositional precision.
She, as a person, seems to fall somewhat in line with that – not part of a scene, not trying to follow trends – just a person obsessed with certain qualities of sound and a desire to explore them. When Sam sent me a soundcloud link via email with text that only read “LISTEN TO THIS” I was of course intrigued. What could have him this excited? What could sound so new to warrant such excitement?
Needless to say, I clicked the link and heard Isilo 1, and heard aspects of sound I’ve never heard in a harsh noise context, alongside interesting and well-thought out compositional decisions. I listened to that track 4 times in a row, entirely for the pure joy of hearing it. It was that satisfying. Layers falling in and out from a staccato source that I still can’t put my finger on. The piece almost has an acoustic feeling – as if she’s molding each sound as it happens, with her own hands, like clay.
Isilo 2, almost in contrast, starts as a fast moving barrage of sound and static that makes me wish it was coming out of the biggest PA in the world. It settles in to deep, cragged canyons of static and activity that give a nod to harsh noise masters while remaining completely singular and, frankly, dark and deep. Like a deep sea avalanche where the sound of each individual scraping rock and crevice is amplified. Deep, dark, terrifying – alone in the abyss.
In short, I can’t recommend this enough.”
– Ted Byrnes
“Noise artists are made in isolation. Most places in the world don’t have a local Noise scene. It’s the kind of music that only has enough listeners to even identify its fanbase and artists as a community if you take into account every listener and creator across the globe, each most likely alone in her own city. This condition predates the internet, by the way. By awhile. Before online fora and social media, Noise artists traded tapes and zines by mail, across continents. For these reasons—back in the days when we’d all buy new releases by circling titles on crumpled RRRecords order forms—we expected that the strongest, most surprising new tape could come from a previously unknown artist from some far-flung corner of the world.
The internet has made this exchange faster, but its nature is otherwise unchanged. Poland’s ZK is a revelation. She developed her unique voice without ever releasing a tape, or playing a live show. While the influence of more established artists is evident—particularly The Rita and early Hum of the Druid—ZK’s debut marries several styles and techniques into a particularly satisfying and consistent whole. Her sound is not a radical departure from much contemporary Noise, but rather a refinement, executed in a way that I’ve never heard done before, or at least never heard done so expertly. On its surface, “Isilo” has the crumbling, stuttering texture fetishized by the most detail-oriented HNW enthusiasts, but underneath is a gestural quality, active and dynamic. The impression I get is not one of stillness, but rather turbulence, constant change and movement, all pushed into such an overwhelming roar that distinct events become imperceptible. It’s only a slight reinterpretation of established forms, but a welcome one. Perhaps something like this had to come from an unknown artist, someone who absorbed Noise from a distance, heard what was missing, and figured out how to fill a stylistic absence we didn’t even know was there.”
– William Hutson
Pro-tape C20, gloss card cover featuring artwork by ZK in classic Slaughter / OEC style ziplock packaging. THIS MATERIAL IS MEANT TO BE PLAYED AT A VERY HIGH VOLUME.