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Gabriel Zucker & The Delegation: Leftover Beats From The Edges Of Time

Leftover Beats From The Edges Of Time is an album that has been in the making for five years from polymath and musical maximalist Gabriel Zucker. Portions of these compositions were premiered at Carnegie Hall and Roulette in 2017 and 2019. The concept behind the music reckons with time, and the competing impulses of a backwards-looking nostalgia and a forwards-looking futuristic belief in progress.

This is an intense listen, and is certainly not for the faint of heart. There is nothing ordinary or run of the mill here, and honestly I cannot identify or classify this in any way, shape or form. If you are scratching your head (as I am), that is a veiled compliment, because the music is original (at least to my ears), challenging, and covers a lot of stylistic ground. There are vocals scattered throughout, and I find those a bit distracting, and often sounding off key. Whether this is intentional to make a statement or convey some type of emotion, they don’t help an already puzzling listen. An example of this is on CD2, the haunting chamber piece “Requiem #2 (Well)” was stark and sparse, but once the vocal came in, it lost the atmosphere. There are moments of beautiful piano playing, and other times you get various combinations of instrumentation that gets overwhelming. The music often builds to a cacophonous crescendo, and suddenly crashes to a minimalist piano line in the blink of an eye.

There is nothing easy about this music; every track presents a challenge to the listener. The musical talent here is obvious, and I am sure performed by virtuosos. The 11 minute “How To Keep, Forever” stands out to me on CD1, and honestly, as impressed as I am with the musicianship, I have to ask myself, am I enjoying this music? That is a difficult question to answer, but if I am honest, enjoyment is not the first thing that comes to mind. For originality and talent, this gets high marks. As for my listening experience, I found very few moments appealing, and ultimately we listen to music for pleasure, I can’t say this will find its way back to my player again.

Track List:
CD1: Part I. The Past
Requiem #1 (Leftover Beats)
Such Closer #1
How To Keep, Forever
CD1: Part II. Autumn 2016
Someone To Watch You, Parts 1-3 (September)
Stage Whisper (or, The Inability To See The Present In The Present) (October)
Confidence White (November)

CD2: Part III. Present
Requiem #2 (Well)
Shallow Times
CD2: Part IV. Future
Such Closer #2
Requiem #3
How To Know, Forever (Evasiveness)

Added: January 17th 2022
Reviewer: Eric Porter
Related Link: Artists @ Bandcamp
Hits: 510
Language: english

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