Twofish, a group that first became known via London's Whirl-Y-Gig club back in the Shoreditch days, have been writing their cinematic "intelligent ambient techno" together for around 15 years. Their music has featured on numerous compilations and several soundtracks, but this is their first full-length album.
Zero Crossing was created using a mixture of real, sampled and electronic instruments (including some custom-built by the band's guitarist and chief synth fetishist Harry Richardson). It also features guest musicians including Heather Meyer, Bill Stewart and Barney Weston.
The resulting record is original, eclectic and clever.
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Filled with surprise and detail, the sound quality is superb, and it is original and creative without being gratuitous, just eminently musical and beautiful. The mix is never overly complex, but there are layers and layers to discover. The album has surprises lurking at every corner, rewarding repeated listening.
I have put on this album numerous time and simply sat with my eyes closed through the whole thing, and the balance between the intellectual side and the sound and feel just blows me away. For lighter listening, the amazing soundscapes envelope you in a sea of ambience, and will repeatedly put a smile on your face as it lightly taps you on the shoulder as it plays on.
Just a few of the highlights:
Berlin is just HUGE. I love how huge it is. Not loud, not obvious, just HUGE.
Radio Columbia surrounds you, the vocal sample cuts through, and then a wonderful vocal patch gets wider like breaking through a thick fog. Anyone who wants to sell headphones should have this on hand because as nice as it is through speakers, with headphones it hypnotizes you. The ending is awesome.
Times Tablas is mesmerizing. So much space between everything that it breathes great. The percussion sounds superb, and the song has a great theme that is bolstered by numerous interesting moments peppered throughout.
The Magic Fruit is another gigantic soundscape. Amazing vocal work here. The bit-crunched stuff starting just after the five minute mark is just incredible.
tl;dr - yes, please.
If the killer mixing and the groovy ambient techno don't strike you as standout, then the beautifully wistful instrumentation and raw, organic guitar lines will hook you. Really, give it a shot.
There are knowing glances at Node, Nithin Sawney, Connie Plank, Eno, Boards of Canada but these are mere hints, this is not derivative but an original work that stands alone.
Gorgeously constructed and sensitively mixed, I simply can't stop listening to it.