Low is the third EP by Berlin experimental noise-rock band, Zeug. The EP is only three tracks long, but the improvisational nature of the project means it runs for nearly thirty minutes. The songs are big, fuzzy, and full. It feels like they were recorded in a big abandoned factory with a leak in the roof and maybe a fox or two roaming around.
The drums in the album jump from slow and trancy to spontaneous and free, guided by the guitar and bass which bounce off each other as they dig deeper into the tracks. Although songs‘ structures are drawn out, there is a synchronicity to them. The band, which has been playing since 2015, has become tighter since their first release Demo; their songs are more structured and the arrangements are more intertwined. The tightness of the songs allows them to build tension, make soundscapes, and experiment with rhythm. This pulls you along an immersive journey.
Strangely, when I hear Low’s third and final song Cliff Young 6 Day Race, I’m reminded of Neil Young’s score for the Jim Jarmusch film Dead Man. Young live scored Dead Man by standing with a guitar in an empty warehouse, improvising as he watched the film. It may not be tonally similar, but there’s the same feeling of freedom to the guitar playing here; the pace is slow and the emphasis is placed upon the feeling of each note, on the contribution it has to the world being built, rather than an overall melody or hook. Chords ring out and sections bleed into each other and it feels like you’re in a trance.
The album description on Zeug’s Bandcamp says: “This music was recorded for the subliminally shady areas in your headspace. Listen closely for maximum effect, headphones advised.”
Maybe that’s what Zeug is live scoring: a headspace. You have to be in the right state of mind to listen to Zeug. I do, anyway. It’s not something I can blast while I’m cooking dinner or what I’d play while I have friends around. The songs are introspective and heavy and immersive, the production is textured, and if you’re looking, there is always something new to explore.
Zeug’s EP Low is a well-arranged piece of improvisational noise rock that, when you’re in the right headspace, grabs you and pulls you into the flow of their songs. For such a heavy band, it’s surprising how peaceful this can feel.