Zsa Gang – Beehive Rhythms EP

When Juno Plus asked Off Minor Recordings boss Jordan Czamanski for more details on the Zsa Gang collaboration with Future Times’ Andrew Field-Pickering, the response was typically tongue in cheek. “We kinda wanted to record a punk 12″ but we couldn’t/were too lazy to arrange a drum kit,” he told us, “so instead we just jammed in the studio on a 909 and a CS30.” It seems like the perfect project for a label that increasingly seems to be more interested in putting out out the rougher music of Czamanski and his cohorts; the recent Tiny Breadcrumbs EP from Magic Mountain High contained material considerably less pristine than their releases for Workshop, while the standout KM20 Tapes (1992-1996) delved into tracks from Move D’s earlier days, lo-fi material that wouldn’t sound out of place on a current L.I.E.S. record.

Zsa Gang - Beehive Rhythms EP
Artist
Zsa Gang
Title
Beehive Rhythms EP
Label
Off Minor Recordings
Format
12"
Buy vinyl

Although Czamanski and Field-Pickering aren’t known for compromising to more conservative ideals when making house music, Beehive Rhythms nevertheless contains some of the wildest music to have been committed to wax from the duo to date. Considering the pair are usually known for their full-bodied basslines, “A1” (which also sees a contribution from Pissflaps, a person described to Juno Plus by Czamanski as “a local drunk who is often hanging around the studio”) is suprisingly bare, with only a queasy lead and inebriated vocal accompanying the frenetic drum loop. Although it threatens to disintegrate into a confused mess, the drum loop always stays impressively focused. “A2” could be mistaken for an obscure Dance Mania B-side if it wasn’t for the detuned doppler effect drone that undulates throughout, all of which gradually decays as the track reaches its end in a frenzy of distorted beats and analogue bleeps. It’s not just noise for the sake of it though; underneath the track’s original structure can still be discerned, reminding us that the machines are being manned by consummate professionals.

While Side A is aimed firmly at the dancefloor, Side B is undoubtedly the record’s deeper half. The gently unspooling “B1” resides firmly in classic Future Times territory, with the slow groove and spongy bass overlayed with kaleidoscopic new age synth flutes and deep analogue chords. “B2” is much more freeform in its approach, with angular keys and scattered rhythms making it difficult to get an handle on the regular pulse underneath. It’s unsurprising that both tracks on this side also feature the talents of Csamanski’s Juju & Jordash partner Gal Aner on editing duties; the primitive, psychedelic approach of their collaboration is just as evident as Field-Pickering’s more blissful touch. Beehive Rhythms may be a far cry from being the punk record Czamanski and Field-Pickering set out to make, but it’s still a record shot through with a “zero fucks given” kind of energy that still manages to feel as focused as their other material. Considering the amount of hardware jams currently being pressed to vinyl of questionable quality, Beehive Rhythms feels like a rare diamond.

Scott Wilson

Tracklisting:

1. A1
2. A2
3. B1
4. B2