- Ziúr imagines a better world on her immersive new album.
- Imagine a place where sex is open and encouraged, and different sexual proclivities can exist side by side without shame or punishment; a place where food is never lacking and cheese rains from the sky (sorry, lactose intolerants); where the harshness of daily life simply melts away, bosses are punished instead of their workers, and no one has to scrimp and save to pay the rent. Can you see it? Ziúr can. Welcome to Cockaigne, a mythical medieval land of plenty where the artist sets her new album, Antifate, caught between the lofty whimsy of fantasy and the painful drudgery of reality. Except Ziúr's reality is not that of medieval peasants, but a thoroughly modern one—a global pandemic in the Internet age. In the past year, as the gap between the interior and work spheres has become miniscule, the gap between people has widened.
Born from this age, where distance is mandatory but the need to connect has never been stronger, Antifate plays with space, pulling in close before it draws away again. The unsettling high-pitched synths that open "Alive, Unless?" act like a flock of angry birds on the attack, repeatedly swooping in close then flying off again.
The album as a whole is slow-paced and tends towards the minor key. But far from dragging, this lends the LP a ceremonial importance, as though by merely listening to it you're being inducted into some kind of ancient secret society. In this way, Antifate truly immerses you in the world of Cockaigne.
From chuggers like "Orange Cream Drip" and "The Dip," to the buzzing chaos of "Sister Lava", the percussion is equally ritualistic, as if the rhythms were a tether to a higher power. The dubbed-out "Gravity’s Gravity, Clout Is Clout" dances around a defined beat, and the bursts of melody through the low-end make for magical moments. It's as though Antifate encourages you to take part in its ceremony, which is at once grounding and transportive. Like Cockaigne itself, the drums on Antifate root you to your current reality while inspiring flights of imagination.
On closer "The Carry," a flute line circles around a beat that sounds like a stone being skipped over a flat pond—it's almost like listening to the Pied Piper or some other folklore character. Then jarring synth rumbles come in, as the soft is married with the harsh, the electronic with the acoustic. If not holy, "The Carry" is certainly meditative, finding some sort of compromise between the utopian fantasy of Cockaigne and the harsh reality of our world. If there's been any lesson to learn from the past year, Ziúr embodies it with Anfiate: cling to the moments of intimacy wherever they present themselves, even through a time of physical distance. Find a way to let your fantasies inform your realities, or at least improve upon them.
01. Alive, Unless?
02. Orange Cream Drip
04. Gravity's Gravity, Clout Is Clout
05. Fringe Casual
06. Aid Is What It Is
07. Sister Lava
08. Aka Doctor Opp
09. The Dip
10. The Carry