All great ends lead to the birth of something new, and so, in the spring of 2020, right in the beginning of pandemic in Europe, Berlin-based drone trio zeug had a drastic lineup change. Despite the shakeup, the band, always up for experimentation, recorded their previous EP, Grounded, in der kleine Wasserspeicher, a vast ancient water tank with 5-6 sec. natural delay.
After the release of Grounded the band withdrew to their creative workspace at Gaswerk, Berlin, and spent Covid lockdown composing the material that would form Womb, the final EP of the trilogy. They took the term literally, descending into a dark, ancient labyrinth with a watery atmosphere to birth their creation.
This acoustic environment would have proven to be an absolute nightmare for any loud band and their producer, but for Zeug it was just another scene, a space, which had sonic rules, power, and its own will.
“This time we decided to go bigger and spent 3 days in dem großen Wasserspeicher, because the new material demanded an appropriate context, and because of the unspoken rule of the band never to go to a well-treated recording studio,” says the band. “Here, in a maze-like brick cave carved into the middle of Berlin, the natural acoustics shaped the EP’s sound (18 to 20 seconds of natural reverb).”
Womb begins with the two-part “Garbino”. Here an unsettling mood is summered by the cavernous percussion, like stumbling through dark corridors into some sort of ritualistic mass. This is led by the atmospheric rhythm section provided by Barbieri and Overchuk. Nash’s guitars groan serpentine invoking a doom-laden haze until the vocals unleash into an angry frenzy. This is continued in part two of the track, which is unrelenting and more chaotic.
The middle two tracks “Svet” are named after the Russian word for ‘light’. The first is a slow-burning drone, imbued with ominous vocal incantations. The overall sound is creatively derived from recording the track employing the massive acoustics of a water tower. The end of part one gives way to a soft apocalyptic rhythmic funk overlaid with what sounds like Mongolian throat singing.
The final two-parter is the psychedelic post-industrial jam “HazeOver”, sounding like if JG Thirwell and David Tibet were to retreat to a cave in Scandinavia and conjure up metal-laced poetry over cannabis and mushrooms leading into a dark foray into both heaven and hell while exploring the Aeons of the universe and beyond.
Zeug’s Womb is definitely both a mood and a mind-altering experience not for the faint of heart.
Preview “Garbino” via live session below:
Four days ahead of the official release of “Garbino”, Zeug will be performing live on October 24th with the noise-unit BADA (feat. Anna von Hausswolff).