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z_Bug at the Flux 53 Theater in Oakland

Bill Leikam By

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z_Bug is a textural journey; a sound--sculpture into the unknown.
z_Bug
Flux 53 Theater
Oakland, Calif.
Aug. 25, 2009

"An Intimate Evening with z_Bug" filled Oakland's Flux 53 Theater with eloquent textures of sound, sometimes hypnotic, sometimes sonorous as though rising from the depths of a volcano and sometimes teetering just on the edge of silent space.

zBug, creator of this edgy group, took up his analog Moog synthesizer and electric bass along with Zachary Morris on drums and percussion, Sean Price on modular synthesizer and laptop, and Craig Latta on infrared Theremins and laptop. z_Bug is an up and coming sonic unit in the San Francisco Bay Area.

It's important to understand that this style of music is far more a journey into textural sound than what one would ordinarily expect when the word music is being used. I've always thought of it as sound-sculpture.

The concert began with z_Bug's Moog setting the ambiance with a spacey series of rolling waves which were picked up by Craig and Sean on their instruments. As these three developed with an ever increasing yet subtle intensity, they produced a hypnotic effect that captured everyone present. From there everyone was hooked and fell into the patterns that emerged. Zach settled in on his electrified percussion and blended nicely with what could only be described as pitched, rapid paced bongos, connecting nicely beneath the electronics.

As the first hour of the concert neared its close, z_Bug changed from his Moog to his electric bass. He delicately soared on it as Zach challenged on his marimba and other percussion. Craig and Sean picked it up and came in under these two. They juxtaposed themselves against the bass and the percussion with a series of rising and falling eerie electronic effects that fit perfectly.

The second hour began with Zach ripping away on his drum set, a radical change from their first set. Cracking and breaking through the intensity of Craig and Sean's electronics the unit plunged through a high energy journey filled with a multitude of textures especially Bug's melodic keyboard. At first, it didn't sound like they were coming together. On the one hand, it had a sense of the eerie while on the other there was the clatter of the drums but this fast-paced set glued itself together to take the audience into shadows and heat, especially with z_Bug's Moog. Craig's Infrared Theremins and Sean's synthesizer emerged as on a wave to bring in a conclusion reminiscent of the first set.

In the end and again, this is not music as one would ordinarily understand it. z_Bug is a textural journey; a sound—sculpture into the unknown. It is not dance music. It is not the kind of music that establishes a consistent theme returns to it from time to time. Far be it from the familiar. z_Bug is a cruise through sound much like Brian Eno, cEvin Key, Robert Rich and others who have led the way.


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