Zeroh defies genre or categorisation. For the last decade or so, the LA-based artist has released some of the most innovative electronic and psychedelic music I’ve ever had the pleasure if listening to. From the 2013 projects Bred: A Dedication and Dead: A Bredication to his warped out 2016 album Tinnitus, the creative polymath has stunned me on every occasion, and this time around is no different. BLQLYTE is an album that paints Zeroh’s growth and musical metamorphosis over a span of about 6 years, and the results are truly stunning. Warped-out, psychedelic, soulful and mind-bending, he is able to create a cacophonous and cathartic body of work that represents the extent of his artistry and spiritual existence.
There’s a raw, overpowering and almost unsettling energy that dominates throughout the 14 stellar tracks on this album. The opener “BLQLYTE” sets the tone sonically for this mesmeric project. Warped out synths and animated effects dominate throughout this record, while Zeroh provides an enigmatic flow and vocal performance that is equally as captivating as it is unsettling. The apocalyptic tone of this album continues to pierce through the dark soundscapes. The haunting beat on “Rites Of Passage” is incredible, while the loud and overpowering instrumental on “Hydro” is absolutely stunning. BLQLYTE is a claustrophobic listen. The hellish and haunting soundscapes act as collages for his mental state and perspective. Shorter tracks like “The Fade” and “You Can’t Unsee It” are equally as poignant in their sound, bringing slow-paced, unassuming energy to the records, as Zeroh’s often inebriated-sounding flow makes these tracks thrilling. The tribal tone of “Mudbound” is infectious and enthralling, before the album bursts into distorted noise on “Sworn Free.” The tortured, heavy and utterly maddening sound of this track is met with a juxtaposed sense of peace and serenity from the poignant keys and synths that meander in the background. The track transitions flawlessly into “Invaluable,” a mystical and pulsating track stands as one of my favourites on this 14-track masterpiece. The colourful and glossy sound of “Glory Drip” is a welcome change of tone in contrast to most of the album, with colourful synths and guitar leads that add texture to the track, while the slow-paced drums allow for Zeroh to meditative musically with an amazing vocal performance. It’s one of the rare moments on this album that he is able to really let his vocals breathe and fully relax. The thumping beat on “JAADE” is incredible, while the interstellar closer “Aquamane” is a meditative and reflective track, capturing the contrasting feeling of darkness and unsettling energy with a more psychedelic, uplifting tone. Sonically, the cacophony of sounds brought by dense synths and guitar leads, as well as the intense drumming throughout yields a dystopian and apocalyptic tone, perfectly capturing the psychedelic world of Zeroh’s music.
Lyrically, the album is dense with thoughts and observations about his life and the world he perceives around him. A lot of the time his voice is lost in the dense soundscape of the instrumentals, making it difficult to catch some of his lyrics, but there’s a charm and beauty about that. On the raw and potent “4D” he talks about “sinking in the carpet” which is a clear drug reference, something that has been prominent throughout his music for years now. Incredible poet FR/BLCK/PR appears on the angelic “Metacine,” bringing a hallucinatory spoken word piece about black experience in the US relating to the socio-political tensions in the country. He opens with “Europeans have no woman God in their mythology, but we do / so what of the African mind, drunk on fat, clouded by point of view, uniquely Bourboned with third-party controlled strategies (?).” It’s obvious from these opening lines that the despair and hopelessness for Africans in the Western, supposedly “developed” world is still rampant throughout our society, and the inequalities that black people face are still relevant today. Zeroh’s transcendence into a peaceful and serene state of mind throughout this album is inspiring and fascinating to hear, as he uses psychedelics to both escape the reality of the world as it is and find clarity. Finding this balance can be difficult, but essential to maintaining a sense of sanity within this tortured world.
Zeroh’s perspective is an incredible breath of fresh air, as the musician is able to bring a cathartic, revealing body of work that sounds claustrophobic yet liberating. BLQLYTE is a sonically warped and thematically introspective album capturing Zeroh’s spiritual and psychedelic essence and aura to absolute perfection. Musically it’s a flawless body of work, and I really hope Zeroh continues pushing boundaries within music because he is well needed.
Zeroh’s new album BLQLYTE is set to be released on the 24th April via Leaving Records. Listen and support below!