Zomes at the Burlington | Concert preview
Former Lungfish guitarist enlists fresh talent to flesh out his hypnotic vision.
Anyone who followed Asa Osborne when he made the jump from playing guitar with post-hardcore shamans Lungfish to playing keyboards with Zomes should already grasp the fact that the guy does not stand still. Well, to be honest, he’s not that mobile when planted behind the keyboard, but there’s plenty of movement in the music. Over the course of three albums and several tours, Osborne used Zomes as a vehicle for trance induction. His distortion-caked organ melodies swirled like tonal helixes around ultra-simple, mechanical beats.
But after encountering a young singer named Hanna Olivegren last year at a music festival in Sweden, Osborne has changed his game again. While he hasn’t exactly abandoned drones on Time Was, his latest LP for Thrill Jockey, they now function as the foundation for Olivegren’s voice. Singing in both English and Swedish, she isn’t shy about launching her pipes into extravagantly dynamic flights of melody, which Osborne matches with brief piano phrases. And though the beats still don’t vary from song to song, they’re more elaborately patterned. If earlier Zomes records were a bit like kneeling at a private shrine, the new one is more like a drama enacted within some vaulted cathedral.
In concert, things are likely to change even more. Osborne has enlisted a third member, pianist Oskar Bond, to handle the album’s extra keyboard parts live, and considering both newbies are facile improvisers, it’s anyone’s guess where this fresh lineup might go.