Ernesto Diaz-Infante and Rotcod Zzaj: Sirius Intrigues (2002)
Futuristic free music from the Bay Area. A member of W.O.O. Revelator and The Abstractions, Ernesto Diaz-Infante is one of San Francisco’s most promising young improvisers. Rotcod Zzaj (you figure it out), aka Dick Metcalf, is a veteran experimenter and head of Zzaj Productions. They explore a wide variety of soundscapes and textures on this blissfully noisy and utterly fascinating release.
On occasion Diaz-Infante is reminiscent of fellow Bay resident Henry Kaiser, avoiding all hints of melody in favor of texture and effect. Some tracks are great pieces of engineering, with Diaz-Infante hammering out low, techno-sounding rhythmic figures or freely improvising while his cohort blasts urgent, fast-tempoed lines and samples alongside him. Other tracks are more haunting and spacy, with scattered harmonics and vocal snippets bubbling in and out of the mix, or ecstatically trippy, with fun drum-machine rattlings and disembodied voices. The rhythmic matrix seamlessly connects the next few tracks, weaving an abrasive continuum of fascinating noise. Aqueous burbles, scrapes, grindings and ominous chords abound throughout the whole project, constantly drawing one’s ears in new directions.
Fans of AMM and Erstwhile Records would find much to appreciate in this disc and other Zzaj releases. Diaz-Infante and Rotcod Zzaj are at the cutting edge of modern electronic improvisation and making their contributions notably more accessible to the virgin listener than many of their compatriots. Especially recommended for aficionados of extended guitar technique, who should keep a definite ear open for Diaz-Infante.
Track Listing: Dog Star Afternoons; Battling the Bull; Beginning the New Year; Black Dwarf Beatnik; Chasing Lepus; Drought Days; High Density; Out Of Orbit; Irradiated Rhodes; Sirius Intrigues; The Pup; Two-Headed Beast; Voyage to Canis Majoris; Orthrus Obsession.
Personnel: Ernesto Diaz-Infante, prepared guitars, voice; Rotcod Zzaj (Dick Metcalf), Kurzweil 88 keyboard, voice.
Record Label: Zzaj Productions
Style: Modern Jazz