ProgressoR / Uzbekistan Progressive Rock Pages


Absolute Zero (USA) - 2003 - "Crashing Icons"
(63 min, 'M=R')


1.  Barred Cross 13:49
2.  Further On 20:45
3.  Stutter Rock 11:52
4.  Suenos Sobre un Espejo 18:46

All music & lyrics: by Absolute Zero.
Produced by Absolute Zero. 

Aislinn Quinn - keyboards; vocals; vibraphone
Enrique Jardines - bass; percussion
Pip Pyle - drums & percussion


Jim Stewart - percussion (on 2 & 3)
Keith Hedger - trumpet (on 3)

Prolusion. I wonder if some music lovers would've been waiting for the first full-length Absolute Zero CD more eagerly than I. Anyway, I believe some of you connoisseurs of highly complex, intricate and adventurous forms of music still remember that wonderful "A Live In the Basement" CD released by the band far back in 1990 at their own expense. Yes, it was just a 20-minute mini-CD, which, yet, is filled with so unusual, diverse, intricate, and in many ways revolutionary music that to comprehend it properly, we all had to listen to it more times than to some very complex full-length albums. For all those who aren't familiar with the band's creation I'd only add that all the members of Absolute Zero have had a high musical education (and not only).

Synopsis. Although according to the details of equipment used on "Crashing Icons", Enrique plays a bass guitar, his instrument changes its sounds, tones, and colors just like a chameleon. While this little animal has just a few colors to change the image, then, talking of sound colors, Enrique's bass guitar is one of the two most diversely changing instruments on the album along with Aislinn's vocals. Apart from Jardinez's firm fat bass lines, the instrument, being in his hands, masterly calls forth strong electric guitar-like riffs and even solos, apart from a lot of other strange and indescribable sounds. To these ears, Enrique's bass sounds more diverse than even a Stick. At least, this is probably for the first time I hear a bassist playing such outstanding and variegated roles the album throughout. Aislinn Quinn uses the voices (sounds) of electric and acoustic keyboards, and also her own voice, which itself sounds like a real musical instrument, in incredibly diverse and unpredictable ways, too. It would be a long story to list all the possible sounds from her keyboards, while her own vocals range from high-pitched and very female to dramatic and operatic to aggressive. Aislinn moves easily from an Eastern woman's praying-like singing to an unearthly woman's roars of laughter and there are no limits to transformations into different singing entities in her vocal qualities. She sings, however, not too much on the album's star-war fields, and the extremely intricate, kind of elitist sci-fi, actions that are as surreal as Aislinn's vocals, will never stop until the end. These instrumental actions-arrangements, as though in an endless development, don't stop their steady movement to absolute zero (which is equal to absolute infinity, as well as microcosm is equal to macrocosm: just reasonably think of computerization) either Aislinn sings or she's silent. Grotesque, fantasy structures replace each other contrary to Euclidean geometry to the accompaniment of mind-blowing, full of unexpected beatings and breaks, often atonal drumming by Pip Pyle. "Alien" solos by the guest trombonist, especially in the middle of Stutter Rock, and percussionist (especially that long in the beginning of Further On) just add more colors to the already wonderful picture of "Crashing Icons".

Conclusion. Although I've found elements (just elements!) of probably all the known progressive genres on "Crashing Icons" (RIO, Jazz Fusion, Symphonic Art Rock, Prog Metal, and not only), I can't squeeze the music of Absolute Zero into any of them. In other words, this is the most brave and innovative manifestation of Fifth Element (link) I've heard until now, and the band is among a few of those that are in the vanguard of contemporary Progressive Rock movement. Finally, I am acquainted with the creation of several vanguard-avant-garde bands with female vocals: Henry Cow, Art Bears, Thinking Plague, U Totem, Ledesma Q: You won't find even vocal comparisons between Absolute Zero and any of these or other bands. Well, while cinema makers in their mostly just dumb movies are still stuck in an endless search for the fifth element, this one, thankfully, exists in Art's another, most marvelous, dimension, the name of which is Music. Dear connoisseurs of profound progressive music, I heartily recommend you this CD (which, in addition, features a very original poster). You can purchase it from Fred Frith's ReR Records and Steve Figenbaum's Wayside Music. Please check Related Links below.

VM: November 18, 2003

Related Links:

Absolute Zero
ReR Records
Wayside Music


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