Thrill Jockey Records
I was totally without the internet for like a week. Now, it was kind of okay, because I was sick and just watched a lot of TV anyway, but the problem was I really wanted to order the new album by Asa Osbourne under his Zomes moniker. And this is a problem because I love Zomes. This lo-fi, minimalist music is some of the greatest music I have ever heard in my entire life. And somehow I knew, that in the four years since his eponymous titled debut, Asa would have the sonic qualities of this new project tightened up and presented in a cutting and crisp new way. The Baltimore native did not disappoint. Earth Grid is beyond stunning.
The details of how this music is made are important. When I saw Asa perform, sadly only once and once is probably all I will get, it was Casio keyboard and tape player hooked up to a massive bass amp. It was loud and pulsating and moving and vibrating and it took away my soul from my body and put it somewhere else in the universe. It was like getting lost in an episode of Dr. Who or falling deeply in love with Douglas Adams. In that dark theater, nearly alone, I was transfixed on a point of sound, but also removed from my temporal being.
So the arrival of said majestic sounds to my tiny apartment in Northwest Albuquerque was beautiful. It emerged in my life as the respiratory infection began to ungrip itself from my insides. And though the congestion and irritation lingers, it’s made so much better as the hums and bursts emit from my speakers. Earth Grid is much of the same, much of the expected patterns played on a keyboard with a hollow echo of electric drums as the only accompaniment.
Occasionally, Osbourne augments the pounding kick with a soft tink of hi-hat. That’s about as crazy as the drum beat gets. And yet it’s perfect, that small clink infecting and perfect in time. Over top is the far out sounds of a most fucked up keyboard the world has ever known. This time out the recording is not studio precise but balanced and cleaned up, focusing more on the sounds than the method. Though the occasional tape hum and hiss adds an element of ghost like atmosphere to certain songs. The pause in “Stark Reality” hints at another tune all together.
This is not pop music. You aren’t going to hum and sing along to this, but you are going to be transformed. Earth Grid has the ability to transfix your being and take you away from the so-called reality you inhabit. There is another space of consciousness possible on this earth that does not require the use and abuse of substances. It can be found in the power of sound. Asa Osbourne has once again, graciously, unlocked that for you.