Hayat Zor is a beautiful blend of rave-nostalgia, 80s electro-pop and Italo, all shot through with a melancholic, wistful air. Working with analog synths, vintage drum machines, live instrumentation, and the help of a few friends and collaborators along the way.
Encompassing four original productions and two remixes from Gavin Russom and Petrels, ‘Hayat Zor‘ is a collection on which emotional resonance and technical expertise sit side by side. Dancefloor nous, enabled through a love of Italo Disco and Balearic convention, is a strong presence on the EP, with Wright pairing this quality with his enduring spiritual kinship with the music of British new wave artists such as New Order, Cabaret Voltaire and Devo. Although such reference points can be clearly grasped by the listener it is, as ever, to Wright’s immense credit that he employs them with such deftness he could be considered every bit an equal.
Opening track ‘Everything’, reunites Brassica with vocalist Stuart Warwick, (who previously made an appearance last year’s ‘Temple Fortune‘ EP) to create a soaring slice of synth driven pop. Washes of emotive pads, insistent chords and a yearning lead line combine with Warwick’s intimate vocal performance, which restrained through much of the song, until lent a push forward by a drum break as ‘Everything‘ crescendos, goes on to display its genuinely anthemic qualities. Competitors in music related quizzes for years to come would do well to note the presence of vocalist Bobbie Gordon on ‘Smoulders‘, who as a backing singer for (both the Noisettes and) Adele serves to cement an improbable link between the million selling chanteuse and Wright or indeed the other collaborators on this record. The track sees Gordon’s rich diva vox squaring off with live drum fills and a throbbing bedrock of synth chords to create a slice of pulsing 80’s pop.
‘At Least I Know Why‘ is anchored by a bloated elastic groove which pulses with dancefloor potential, with Wright layering cascading filters and synthesizer flourishes atop. A mangled vocal sample of Jeremiah Conlon from American electronic group Nyteowl gives the track a heady dreamlike atmosphere. Although the tools at Wright’s disposal here are apt for crafting four to the floor fare, his mode of attack as ever leans towards the less obvious, with the result a beguiling jaunt which looks towards the disco yet with a refreshing degree of psychedelic tinged distance. Wright’s studio wizardry is augmented by some superbly taut live drumming from Chrome Hoof’s Milo Smee on ‘Ancient Mariner‘. A sullen jam between the two, it finds Smee’s drums doing battle with a scuzzily distorted Resse and exotically sinister keys, with the intensity developing as the track progresses in a fitting reminder of both its creators virtuoso talents.
The release is rounded off by reworkings of ‘Everything‘ from Gavin Russom and Petrels. The former sees the DFA signed New Yorker Russom, discardes the scene setting pads of the original and affording greater prominence to the vocal. A mellow hardware jam, Russom exacts a lolloping warm funk from his new analog, house arrangement. On the other side of the coin, Petrels takes ‘Everything”s latent epic tendencies and amplifies them. Elegant orchestral touches and a choral treatment of the vocal serve to create something more abstract and Sigur Ros like.
Hayat Zor is avant-garde and ambitious in its scope. It retains all the personality that has characterised Brassica‘s work to date and delivers variety whilst never compromising on quality. As his second EP for Civil Music it serves to reinforce his credentials as an artist of transcendent talent.