Album Review Reviews

New Noise: Zach Rowden – Bone Folder (2017)

labyrinthian architectureZach Rowden - Bone Folder (2017)

Drawing from an eclectic variety of influences that range from contemporary classical music to avant-garde noise performance, New Haven musician Zach Rowden crafts experimental sonics that are both cinematically atmospheric and primally physical.  

Originally trained as an upright bass player, Rowden felt compelled to branch out on electric bass “because there were too many cellos” in his school orchestra class. After this development, Rowden became more interested in contemporary classical music and graphic scores that dealt with improvisation.  Never having played in any real bands growing up and not quite finding an outlet in other bass-guitar driven music, Rowden fills a hole in the canon of experimental music with nontraditional techniques such as scratching or even breathing into the pickups of his instrument.

On his most recent release, Bone Folder, Rowden brutalizes the bass guitar with unconventional but zen-like technical prowess.  Opener “unbekannt zimmer” (inspired by the labyrinthian architecture of Gregory Schneider) starts off with an ominous ambient tension, crafting an indistinct space that feels simultaneously claustrophobic and endless.  That simmering unease ever so slowly and then instantly gives away in “Bruxism” and “to lie in wait”–movements of pure texture that rip and scratch, tearing holes in the impossible foundation created by the room sound until they peak as startling mechanical roars.

If the first three tracks are raw articulations of creating a physical space and tearing it down into pure sound, closer “C O N C R E T E D” is the desolate reverberation at the bottom of that endless free fall.  After filtering through the previous movements’ amorphous anxiety, there is a strange comfort and warmth found in its conclusion, the final fuzz swells emitting from the void with absolute certainty.

Listen to Bone Folder below:

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