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  • Nathan Yoder

Recommended Listening: Dau - Zed Zed

Phil Self, a UK musician who records as Dau, is about to release one of this year's most beautiful albums. Zed Zed is comprised of six acoustic ambient tracks, the artist eschewing synthetic textures altogether, opting to present his instrumental meditations unprocessed. This organic approach renders music with heavy breath, bowed guitar and reed organ animating these slow-motion constructions. Zed Zed is a gorgeous, graceful work, and we feel fortunate to preview it today in this space.


Sections of Zed Zed remind us of C. Diab's sound, probably because bowed guitar isn't something you hear every day. The opener, title track, and closing song all feature this instrument, which produces such a straining, melancholic noise. But it's the two reed organ pieces, the album's longest tracks, that really get us. On The Death of Smut, Dau imagines a PG future, devoid of unsavory vices, but the melody recalls Motion Picture Soundtrack and we can't get lyrics about red wine, sleeping pills, and cheap sex out of our head. Then comes Die Gestalt, a layered drone working at whisper-level. Both of these cinematic instrumentals demonstrate Dau's expert ability to evoke emotion without using words.


Phil Self, courtesy of Phantom Limb + Spirituals.


Zed Zed is out on June 11th via Phantom Limb's Spirituals imprint, and can be found through this link. Hear a preview track below, a few days ahead of the album's release date. It should be mentioned, too, that Dau's music has caught the attention of Brian Eno in the past, so if DC's recommendation is not enough, take his.