Zane Brune – A Scenic Harvest – Album Review
You know…it really wasn’t that long since we last heard Zane Brune, yet it appears this dude is back again to perform another collection of songs in the abstract once more his new album “A Scenic Harvest.” With an album full of creativity, spoken words, emotional and artistic tones; Zane Brune continues to impress with ingenuity in his authentic ideas.
When it started…I was partly worried that the performance of Zane Brune this time around, vocally, might lack the dynamics I was going to need to keep me interested. Lyrically, I’m always listening to what is being said…but the tone itself, somewhere in between the calm, tremble of a Lou Reed and the growing confidence of a young Nick Cave…can sometimes come off a little weary. With opening track “In A Kingdom Of Pain,” lacking much of any kind of shift in tone throughout Zane Brune’s near monotone voice; it’s the incredible music happening in the background that continued to pull me along with this opener. Musically, I love it. Lyrically, I’m pretty much always going to love true combinations of music and spoken word…these are the poets of our time; Zane Brune is certainly one of them.
My fear would be that too much of this flat-lining in the vocal department might result in a lost message. Looking for a little more of a vibrant & dynamic performance will lead you right to the next track, “Comin’ For Me,” which is a nasty little number, dark in story and with fantastic imagery. You also get a real like…70’s smoky-lounge/jazz-club feeling to this…it’s a song that the beat-poets out there from the Koolaid-Bus would have loved. Well, let’s face it, they’d either have albums of their own much like this, or be huge fans of what Zane Brune is doing anyhow… In any event, the vocal sound is intensely diversified over this track and the next, “Big Sleep,” making it much more forgivable that the first track starts how it does; Zane Brune is giving a different performance on each track. Accenting and putting the right tones and aggression in his voice whenever it’s required, “Big Sleep,” is an excellent performance from ZB and really stands out. Loving the background track vocals drifting in and out like constant conversations invading this track; it’s effective and sounds awesome against the bass-line background. The same could be said for the ingenious way that he uses vocals in “Remember My Face” within the background as well. Zane Brune is definitely in the habit of bringing excellently-played, inventive music to his creations…it’s certainly the avant-garde side of music – but shouldn’t it always come out with such an echoing implication of musical-freedom like this does?
“No Track Pony,” was certainly impressive through both performance and through the complexity of the drumbeat in the background…the timing on this track is nutty, but with the incredibly background instruments, strings, violins, pianos…this jazzy little ditty sounds a lot like something you’d find on the first Soul Coughing album Ruby Vroom. It has that combination of free-flowing jazz alongside real-grit…the kind you have to scrub off you with a wire brush…thick and uncompromising. This music sticks to you…”No Track Pony” has an excellent atmosphere to it.
Now…you can argue that maybe I should be careful what I wish for. I know not everyone is going to dig what’s happening here on Zane Brune’s album, but man do I certainly wish you all give it a chance. “Dirty Little Life,” is a great track to bring you in. There’s a lot going on in this track, lots floating in a tremolo atmosphere, bending in and out; but a real glimpse into the inner-workings of the mind behind Zane Brune. It’s a shade closer to the vocal sound of the opening track, but this one packs a slightly more energetic performance.
And for the record…I don’t NEED energy. I need something to say or something to prove from a sound for me to be genuinely interested…and Zane Brune certainly has lots to say. But case in point, I’m a huge fan of the innovative track “We Were One.” The violin sounds here are incredible…as haunting as those you can find on Jane’s Addiction’s Ritual De Lo Habitual album. Overall…it’s one of the hardest tracks on the album for me to pin-down exactly WHY it’s catching me, but it does all the same. It’s gotta be those violins…and again, another switch in the vocal ideas, which I thought worked very well here.
True poets, are often misunderstood. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was every possible opinion on Zane Brune’s music fired off at one point. People will describe it as self-indulgent, possibly somewhat pretentious…only for ‘him’ and not for ‘us,’ and all kinds of other arrogant, ignorant and uninformed dismissals. As “One Unimaginable Scenario” starts out…I can only hope there’s an equal amount of praise from the creative minds out there that see this music he’s making the art of which it IS. There’s nothing typical about the way Zane Brune comes at music, and a person like me could only hope that something like this has room in plenty more speakers as time goes on.
Cause C’MON people…listen to the music in “Without You Blues,” and YOU tell ME who else is doing something like that right now. Come on…no worries at all…I can wait until you get here before continuing…
That’s completely sarcastic of me. If I was to wait for that, I’d never leave here again and be stuck waiting on your proof my entire life, all the while knowing full well the precedent you require simply does not exist. Zane Brune is very unique in many aspects, but man does it shine musically on the distorted, jazzy rhythms on “Without You Blues,” undoubtedly one of my complete favourites on A Scenic Harvest.
As ZB croons away on “I Drank You Like The Lather,” the final track on the album…it has a vague familiarity to it…somewhat like “The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me)” by Tom Waits. Again…Zane Brune is just KILLING it for me with this excellent keyboard driven track. There is more emotion here on this one song than you might realize…it’s definitely one of those complete-repeatables that carries a lot of weight and delivers the memorable impact you want on a creative endeavour like this.
Zane Brune is never going to be, sound or act….normal. This is music for the fringe…the people out there that want something different than they’ll ever hear anywhere else…music that challenges the ears in all kinds of splendid ways and truly takes you into the world of a true audio-visionary.
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