“We invented the wrong notes”, reads the page title on centrozoon’s official website. And, to be honest, they deliver pretty well on their brand promise. Which means that people looking for catchy tunes you can whistle while shaving will be in for a disappointment.
And, by the same token, listeners who favour the dark, the unpredictable, the improvised and the electronic will thoroughly enjoy every second of this album.
In 2002, Markus Reuter (Warr touch guitar, programming) and Bernhard Wöstheinrich (synths, e-drums, programming) were joined by Tim Bowness (vocals), best known for his collaboration with Steven Wilson in No-man. Over the five years that followed, the trio released an EP and two albums, including Never Trust The Way You Are and Never Trust The Things They Do, the latter being a limited edition (300 copies!), vinyl-only companion to the former, also featuring Pat Mastelotto of King Crimson (drums/percussion/traps), Gum B (upright bass) and Bill Munyon (samples).
A word about the record itself. Tonefloat has earned a reputation for providing value to enthusiasts of vinyl. A numbered sheet of paper with the title and the wax seal is only the beginning; inside the dust jacket hides a beautiful, almost transparent disc containing over thirty minutes of music you will not find anywhere on the internet – you have my word. This fact alone makes you feel one of the three hundred lucky ones.
The album starts with a proper kick-off, “Design Resign”, where a fast, heavy drum loop propels a gloomy swarm of samples. Throughout the album it is Bowness’s voice that provides the fulcrum point and guides the listener through the rhythmic frenzy of the first track, the relative calm of “Outsize”, the delightful intricacies of “Dissolve” and the thrilling unpredictability of side two. “Over the Border” is the only track here in which Tim’s unmistakable tone is subject to some devilish manipulations.
The sonic spaciousness and diversity is immense – and those who put on their headphones will instantly understand what I mean by this: odd-time drum loops (“Dissolve”), touch guitar soundscapes, mangled and distorted samples – all of this mixed with more natural, organic matter in the form of Tim’s vocals or the mighty pulse of upright bass (“Girl Of The Week”).
Actually, some of the tracks on the album are variations (or elaborations) on themes taken from Never Trust The Way You Are, but this doesn’t mean that the album is partly just a remixed and repackaged product. On the contrary, the ‘reworked’ material takes on an entirely new dimension. In music, centrozoon have create a universe of their own – if you want to play by their rules, feel invited.
REVIEW BY TOMEK WOLSKI