[sic] Magazine

zazie von einem anderen stern – regen:tropfen

Already featured in First Glances, zazie von einem anderen stern means “zazie from another star” , which is kind of cool but does rather prompt the thought; ‘uh-oh, here comes another bird mad girl armed with glokunspiel and field recordings’

Hold that thought.

Zazie is the latest in a crop of talent currently nurturing at Drifting Falling. The stable itself is youngish, modest sized, and focuses on the drifty fally side of things. Currently home to the likes of Matt Bartram , Televise and Oppressed By The Line , there is nothing to dislike about DF. They make worthy, respectable stabs at all manner of electronica, ambient and drone. And it’s all rather nice. I just can’t help but feel that it’s all a bit too comfort zone . Are they playing safe? It isn’t really for me to say but the label as it presently stands, reminds me of the early days of Bella Union. Not so much for the content but in the sense that it is all decent but they lack the breakthrough act that’ll put them firmly on the musical map. With BU it happened almost a decade on with the likes Midlake , Fhionn Regan and Fleet Foxes . The question is, who will perform this role for DF?

Signing Zazie could be a first step down the road of eclecticism. Then again it could also be argued that it is risk free in the sense that the idiosyncratic female singer-songwriter is somewhat in vogue at present. They could be killing two birds with one stone, or two birds…with one bird, even. Her music is driven by sustained piano and fleshed out with glock, glitchy electronics and odd recordings. Imagine an impromptu live rendition of The Piano, (the movie soundtrack) except in a pet shop, with all manner of chirping and scrabbling for accompaniment. Add to the mix the occasional cherubic vocal and you more or less have a handle on this album.

Boxharp and Dalot could be said to be contemporaries but Zazie’s use of languages help to single her out. She alternates between German and Swedish and because of the Scandinavian element, Múm strike my mind as the clearest reference point of all. The album though, is all much of a muchness. It lacks a standout, a ‘Green grass of tunnel’. Like her label, her record is crying out for a highlight. Tracks are playful and suggestive of something else/more but the payoff never arrives.

The album also lacks melodies. I’m fine with the idea of injecting character into your music with all the little creaks and giggles but the music has to be in place to begin with. Weirdness should never be a compensation. It also lacks drama. Pieces flit and flicker in front of you but never quite come into focus. Like those white dots you sometimes get before your eyes, trying to follow is futile. These tracks are ephemeral, intangible. That, I suspect, was the whole point. I realize I’m being unfair. There are melodies. The piano doodles are effortlessly beautiful and Zazie herself is an intriguing and beguiling creature.

Another girl, another planet. Zazie may be from “Another star”, but soundtracks may provide a more suitable Universe. This record may not work as a song-based album but as an exercise in restrained elegance, in tonality and reverie it ticks a lot of boxes.