I never got into electronic music back in my younger days, though Mrs. Life in the Vinyl Lane and my friend Tristen are both big fans and they send CDs and recommendations back and forth to one another. Sometimes I feel like I’m missing something by not listening to this stuff. I’m not sure if that was in the back of my mind when I was at Silver Platters the other day, or maybe I was just ready for something different after my recent two year exploration of punk, but when I ended up at the counter with my records I was somewhat surprised to find that all but one of my selections were electronic artists that I’d never heard of before. I’ve done pretty well there recently picking through the DJ Masa collection, finding some great post-punk and industrial, so checking out Masa’s taste in electronic and acid seemed like a reasonable thing to do.
One of those purchases was Zulutronic’s Mission Zulu One. I won’t lie – the plastic army man on the cover is what initially caught my attention since interesting covers routinely stop me in my tracks. I’m sure I miss out on a lot of cool stuff that way, especially in electronic since so many of the 12″ releases are in generic, plan jackets, but I can’t help myself; it’s just the way my brain works. A quick search of the web made Zulutronic sound interesting enough and the price was right, so it was worth a roll of the dice.
Near as I can tell Zulutronic is a project group comprised of German based musician/producers Cem Oral and Roger Cobernuss. Reviewers online who at least seem to know a lot more about electronic music than I do describe this as mid tempo electro, which sounds about right to my ear. There are no vocals per se, only various samples and snipits, and even these aren’t prominent on most tracks – it’s about the beats and breaks. I had this playing while I was doing some chores on Sunday morning (Swiffering the floor, if you must know) and found that Zulutronic had me moving around a bit, and I’ll take any help I can get when I’m sweeping.
The most intriguing part of Mission Zulu One is side C (this is a two record, nine track on the vinyl version), which features both the best and the weirdest songs. At nearly nine minutes “Evil Zombies in the House” is by far the longest track on the album and in my opinion the coolest. The beats are great and the vocal samples are more prominent than those in most other tracks, which may be part of the appeal to me. The other song on this side, “Farma Çörç,” is the shortest at just under three minutes and can be best described as futuristic martial music – it sounds like something you’d hear in a movie set in dystopian future fascist state that uses weird martial music in its ceremonies of state (think Brazil). It’s disconcerting, to say the least.
In terms of electronic music in general, I have no idea how Mission Zulu One is perceived by fans of the genre. It sounds pretty damn cool to my newbie ears though – I find that I prefer stuff that has at least a bit of vocal sampling and there’s just enough here to keep me from simply falling into a trance and drooling on myself.