On Wed., March 10, Zoroaster was at the dog-end of a ten-day recording marathon with producer Sanford Parker (Minsk, Pelican), at the Living Room Studio. I spent a few hours with the group while they tracked songs for their forthcoming album, Matador, due out July 1 via E1 Music.
The group had been in the Living Room -- a well-worn house off of Howell Mill Rd., where a bedroom has been converted into a control booth, and bands set up and play in what used to be a dining room -- since the previous Sat. Before that they recorded the drum and bass parts for the album at Glow in the Dark's much roomier facilities.
During much of my time there on Wed., Parker and Living Room co-owner Ed Rawls twisted knobs on Moog pedals and a synthesizer, layering blackened and abrasive noises and drones for a bonus track of metallic improv.
But despite all of the experimentation, Matador is pretty much shaping up to be the group's harshest and most direct listening experience so far.
The growling mantras and blasts of distortion, and each and every bass and drum cluster is being boiled down to short, sharp songs that part ways with the droning, psychedelics of Dog Magic and Voice of Saturn. But the album is not sparse by any means.
After jetting back and forth through the reels of the thick, black recording tape in the control room, guitarist Will Fiore was locked in the dinning room to record a slow and steady plod of acoustic strums for a song, called "Seasick." It's a monstrous number that sways with dark, oceanic rhythms.
Just as I was sitting down to write about hanging out in the studio with Zoroaster, I received a text message from the drummer, Dan Scanlan, telling me that their van had been stolen from the parking lot at Thunderbox where they practice.
The timing couldn't be worse as they were supposed to be driving the van to SXSW on Tues., but it still hasn't been recovered.
It's a white 2000 Ford Econoline 350 passenger van with tinted windows. It has no plates -- it was purchased recently, and still had the tag applied for sign in the window. It also has red and white caution tape running up both sides of the back doors. According to Fiore, unless the car thieves washed it, the van is filthy and has upside down crosses carved into various places on the van's the exterior.
(Photo by Kevin Griggs)
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