Featuring an eclectic selection of 32 tracks from artists including Zach Hill (Death Grips, Hella), Xiu Xiu, Body Double, Prissy Whip, members of Amps For Christ, Acid Mothers Temple, Yellow Swans and many more, Zum Audio Vol 4 surveys a cross-section of this decade’s art rock, punk, damaged electronics, and improvised music. Unconstrained by the limitation of previous CD incarnations, the thirty-plus tracks here span musicians from the US, Canada, Japan, the UK, Italy, and Australia. Curated by George Chen (KIT, Common Eider, King Eider, Chen Santa Maria), a writer and musician-turned-comedian, these international connections grew out of years touring the US and Europe as well as promoting all-ages events in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Today we have teamed up with the long running Zum Audio label, helmed by musician-turned-comedian George Chen, to give you the official stream of first two tracks from the record, Alien Owl Cafe’s “Magick Matcha Moment” and My Heart, an Inverted Flame‘s “Five Felt Sevenly, Pallid and Sallow”!
Alien Owl Cafe is an international collaboration between New York’s Matt Mottel (Talibam, CSC Funk Band), Japanese guitar legend Mitsuru Tabata (Acid Mothers Temple, Boredoms, Zeni Geva), and Japanese powerhouse drummer Shinji Wada (DMBQ). The trio recorded an album’s worth of improvisations when Mottel travelled to Japan, and the name is a variation on Mottel’s other project Alien Whale (with Colin Langenus and Nick Lesley).
My Heart, an Inverted Flame is a synth and drums doom-drone duo from San Francisco. Both Andee Connors (Common Eider, King Eider, A Minor Forest) and Marc Kate (Never Knows) have appeared on the Zum Audio Vol 2 compilation over two decades ago in their respective projects P.E.E. and I Am Spoonbender. Their debut album Plague Notes, Unnamed, Unknown, A Finger Dragged Through Dust was released in 2020 by Deathbomb Arc, Zum, and tUMULt. Their song here, “Five Felt Sevenly, Pallid and Sallow”, has a Carpenter-esque arpeggiated rhythmic thrust that varies from previous MHAIF output.
The wishlist for this compilation was like putting together a virtual festival, which was conveniently the only type of festivity during COVID-19. Between established legacy acts on the Zum label (Body Double, The Acharis, My Heart, an Inverted Flame, Core of the Coalman, Somnambulists, Neil Campbell), veteran associates playing in new configurations (Spaceburn, The Skin Horse, Carrom, Gabriel Saloman), and newfound discoveries (Barbican Estate, It Sound, Bavaria), one senses the continuity of expansive tastes that has defined the long-running series.
Zum Audio Vol. 4 will be available for download & streaming via Bandcamp on November 5th, 2021. Other digital streaming platforms will have the compilation a few weeks later on November 19th. Pre-orders are available HERE.
The cover art was illustrated by Wouter Vanhaelmeesch, a Ghent, Belgium based artist who promotes concerts, runs the audioMER label, and has illustrated album covers for Jozef Van Wissem, Steve Gunn, and Smegma.
Zum is the longstanding label established by siblings George and Yvonne Chen in the late 1990s in the San Francisco Bay Area. They started off putting out a magazine with a compilation CD and expanded to releasing vinyl in 1999. Interview with George and Marc Masters in Pitchfork.
While the label may not have gone on consecutively for 23 years, the pandemic brought back a sense of focus. Even as plans had been formulated prior to shutdown, it seemed urgent to put out albums while the entire touring and live show circuit was on hold.
To that end, George Chen, who had taken over as sole proprietor in 2007, decided to take both promising demo submissions and longtime friends to assemble a survey of everyone’s quarantine projects. Chen places a premium on building community and views this compilation as an extension of that.